Monday Menus: Our Traditional Thanksgiving

When it comes to thanksgiving my family is spoiled, picky, or just plain traditional. I am not sure which. But we are very stringent in our thanksgiving meals musts.  Any other meal, food is food. But don’t mess with their turkey day or I’ll hear about it for years.

I still haven’t heard the end of the complaints about the year I accepted a dinner invitation to a friends. The food went around and there was something missing. No gravy for those mashed potatoes. My children were all rushing into the kitchen searching high and low for drippings. . anything that might look gravyish. It was all I could do to keep the four of them shushed and polite and back in their seats eating very dry potatoes without crying.

And then after the meal another catastrophe hit when the dessert was offered. I had coached the kids on the way there to be polite. I mentioned, “If there aren’t any pies that you like just say- I’ll just have ice cream, thanks”. Little did we know . . . they didn’t believe in gravy with mashed potatoes or ice cream with pie.  My kids were devastated to find WHIP CREAM only. It didn’t matter that there were 6 kind of pies if there was no ice cream in the house.

Thanksgiving is all about tradition. I read magazine articles about mixing it up like throwing cranberries and apples in the stuffing etc. I would totally do it but I know that my family would kill me for ruining their highly anticipated stuffing.  It always has to taste the same. And I am willing to bet your family is the same way.

First there has to be a party favor/place card. Last year we took sugar cones and steamed the end to bend it like a cornucopia. Then we threw in some pretty candy, covered with saran wrap and tied a ribbon with their name. The only reason I somehow always go to this extra effort is for  . . . tradition. That’s what my family did. We always ate at my Aunt Shannon’s and she always had something different and exciting every year. Decorated turkey sugar cookies with your name written on them, pretty tied bags of candy, personal stuffed cornucopias. . always something to ruin a 3 year old’s appetite before the meal even arrives. I carry it on for Aunt Shannon though I still haven’t been ambitious enough to add rolling out sugar cookies and frosting them with names yet.

And Here’s the traditional Casper Spread. It actually is exactly the way it always was growing up. Besides the fact that there was always at least five salads and a hundred pies to go along with it. We do just one salad and way less pies.

This is the one tradition I started.  I don’t see the point of all the salads on Thanksgiving. . . when it’s just me making them.

Poppy Seed Salad -the kids get to top their own salad plate of romaine with their choice of sliced apples, pomegranats, feta cheese, mandarin oranges, homemade candied almonds, and my most favorite dressing ever that I make. We put these on the table next to our place card and eat them first before passing around the feast.

Then comes:

Candied Yams- only 2 of us eat it but it is a must. I am one of the two. I rotate between the marshmellow ones my family served and the praline topping ones that Brent’s family likes.

Cauliflower and Cheese -homemade white sauce poured over partially cooked cauliflower and topped with grated cheddar cheese and baked till bubbly.

Homemade cranberry sauce- I started making my own a couple years ago and now love it so much I make it year round just to put on pancakes. I am the only one who eats this dish. 🙂 Maybe I am the spoiled one, huh.

Stuffing- only once a year I make it from scratch and don’t use stovetop. I stuff half of it and bake the other half. Then I toss them together so it isn’t too dry or mushy. . . just right. I came up with that combo and I am pretty proud of it.

Homemade WHITE rolls -It’s tradition that Mom leave out the wheat for once.

Mashed Potatoes and GRAVY. Plenty of it.

Turkey- roasted in an open pan with butter and herbs stuffed under the skin.

I count the salad for the green vegetable. I just don’t think any other thing could fit on the plate so that’s why you don’t see any green beans on the list.

We also splurge for sparkling apple cider or at least some kind of juice/ soda mix.

What a production!

Then dessert. We have cut back a ton on this one now that we are on the east coast holding our own feast most of the time. I feel so guilty but I usually wimp out with three pies only.. Aunt Shannons’s Homemade Banana Cream for me. Pumpkin for Brent and Kennon. And Chocolate pie for Savannah. The rest just care about the ICE CREAM.

It there are any readers who are more adventurous than my clan and want any of these recipes for your family’s feast let me know and I will be glad to post a recipe.

I am getting hungry. Aren’t you?



3 Responses to “Monday Menus: Our Traditional Thanksgiving”

  1. Donna Michell Says:

    So, how about recipes for the poppy seed dressing and the cranberry sauce? Don’t tease us by mentioning homemade specialties without the recipes! Love your story…


  2. Pam Belanger Says:

    We New Englanders are pretty strict about what we have for Thanksgiving, too, although some of the family “favorites” were my father’s favorites, not the rest of the family’s favorites, so those are left out. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner we had boiled onions and Hubbard squash. I hate both, especially that Hubbard squash. It made me gag every time I tried to eat it. I never knew how good butternut and acorn squash was until I was an adult because of my father’s and grandmother’s insistence on that Hubbard squash.
    Now our traditions include mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey, stuffing, vegetables–usually corn-and lots of pies, as I said in last week’s posts. We have to have those pie crust cinnamon rolls, too. I usually make just apple and chocolate cream pie, but my sister will make coconut custard and pumpkin, and I found a great recipe for chocolate pumpkin in the newspaper that I want to make. Oh, bring on those holiday traditions!!! Pam

  3. Ginger J Says:

    You know, if you’re going to all the effort to make such a feast, you’ve got to have something for yourself! We mostly travel to my in-laws for Thanksgiving, but when we stay home, I always make sweet potatoes with streusel that is mainly for me.

    I love my in-laws, but I think I’d rather be sitting at your table this Thanksgiving! Sounds good!

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