Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: Shakira on September 21, 2012, 08:24:53 PM

Title: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Shakira on September 21, 2012, 08:24:53 PM
DH and I will be hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year! I'm very excited because this means our parents will be coming to us, instead of us to them; we only have to eat one dinner instead of two  :D

Since we are hosting, we get to set the menu, right? I've already told both sets of parents not to bring anything. My question is about serving a few "untraditional" menu items.

Menu:
Champagne roasted turkey (who, btw, is being lovingly cared for and fed organically by a friend of mine)
Rosemary roasted bite-sized potatoes
Roasted veggies (squash, carrots, pearl onions, asparagus, zucchini)
Kale, quinoa & apple salad
Cranberry jelly
Cornbread-stuffing muffins (I invented these recently and they. are. AMAZING.)
Pumpkin dump cake with cinnamon ice cream

DH is concerned that our menu isn't traditional enough, and that our parents won't like it. I'm of the opinion that it's our house, our grocery bill, and therefore our menu. However...I'm not going to reveal to our parents what the menu is because I don't want anyone to try and "fix" our dinner by bringing a side of traditional mashed potatoes  ::)

So would you ehellions be OK with such a menu? DH's concerns are no mashed potatoes, a non-pie pumpkin dessert, and the stuffing and bread mixed together. I know my FIL will be somewhat upset that we're going to ask him not to bring his homemade bread. That will be the only heads-up that it won't be a traditional menu.

Also, I'm in need of a good small starter to have sitting out. Just something sort of light we can munch on while dinner is finishing up.

ETA, yes, we will have a gravy. The champagne and turkey drippings make an amazing gravy.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: SiotehCat on September 21, 2012, 08:29:21 PM
I don't think I would like to be surprised with a non traditional Thanksgiving meal.

I don't care for Thanksgiving, but I know that a lot of people really look forward to it.

I think that you should tell them your plans for the menu. Then, if they decide that they do not want to eat that, they can choose to have it someplace else.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: POF on September 21, 2012, 08:36:39 PM
DH and I will be hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year! I'm very excited because this means our parents will be coming to us, instead of us to them; we only have to eat one dinner instead of two  :D

Since we are hosting, we get to set the menu, right? I've already told both sets of parents not to bring anything. My question is about serving a few "untraditional" menu items.

Menu:
Champagne roasted turkey (who, btw, is being lovingly cared for and fed organically by a friend of mine)
Rosemary roasted bite-sized potatoes
Roasted veggies (squash, carrots, pearl onions, asparagus, zucchini)
Kale, quinoa & apple salad
Cranberry jelly
Cornbread-stuffing muffins (I invented these recently and they. are. AMAZING.)
Pumpkin dump cake with cinnamon ice cream

DH is concerned that our menu isn't traditional enough, and that our parents won't like it. I'm of the opinion that it's our house, our grocery bill, and therefore our menu. However...I'm not going to reveal to our parents what the menu is because I don't want anyone to try and "fix" our dinner by bringing a side of traditional mashed potatoes  ::)

So would you ehellions be OK with such a menu? DH's concerns are no mashed potatoes, a non-pie pumpkin dessert, and the stuffing and bread mixed together. I know my FIL will be somewhat upset that we're going to ask him not to bring his homemade bread. That will be the only heads-up that it won't be a traditional menu.

Also, I'm in need of a good small starter to have sitting out. Just something sort of light we can munch on while dinner is finishing up.

You do get to set the menu,  but I think that on holidays - people look forward to some traditional foods.

I would be unhappy to be surprised with a menu that was completely divergent form the traditional T-Day. I allow myself some favorites on that day I do not normally eat.

Personally when I host the holidays - I try to make the menu a mix of old and new.  I also want to please everyone, make them feel welcome and at home.  I do not worry about gourmet cooking.  I remember that my MIL, my first T-DAy away from home called me and asked what I would like her to add that would help me think of my mothers dinner. I felt so welcomed by that gesture.

Here is my honest opinion:
Turkey - looks great, will there be gravy or sauce ?

I would add mashed potatoes in place of the oven roasted . I think they would help bridge the gap. Also already have a roasted veggie dish.

Veggies - look great

For me - the salad would be too exotic for a family T- Day. ( but I hate quiona ) - I would add something green/ crunchy and more traditional .

Muffins sound great - I make something similar for T- Day

Cake sounds great - we actually do not do pie for T-Day

Why not let inlaws bring bread or a dessert ?
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sourwolf on September 21, 2012, 08:41:27 PM
Honestly? Not really.  The menu sounds great, but not for Thanksgiving.  In my family it's not Thanksgiving if there is no stuffing,  mashed potatoes or pie (apple & pumpkin.)
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: camlan on September 21, 2012, 08:47:13 PM
I think the menu sounds amazing. I'd probably miss the stuffing, but that's just me. I like a combination of the traditional Thanksgiving menu, with one or two new things to keep it all from getting too boring. My SIL sometimes hosts Thanksgiving and you never know what she's going to serve--pumpkin soup, stuffed mushrooms, there's something different every time.

Only you and your DH know your parents and how they will react. I suspect that your DH is concerned that his parents will not react well to your menu. I would listen to him. And think about how you will handle things if any of the parents get upset about the food.

While you have every right to serve the menu that you want, and just about everything but the salad seems to be a variation of a traditional Thanksgiving dish, how much grief do you want to deal with on a holiday, because of the food you are serving? You need to find the balance you and your DH can live with.

Some people will just eat what they are served and not comment at all, until they are in the car going home. But some people will complain loudly and at length during the meal. Are you prepared for this? Do you think any of the parents will react this way? How will you deal with this, in the middle of what's supposed to be a happy holiday dinner?

Because it is Thanksgiving and it is a holiday that centers around the food, my solution, in your shoes, would be to ask each set of parents to bring one dish--if they want to. It's Thanksgiving; can you have too much food on the table? Not a crucial, centerpiece-type dish, but something that would work with your menu, allow both sets of parents to contribute, and give them a "traditional" dish to eat. So I'd ask FIL to make his bread, and find something else for the other set of parents to bring--maybe the appetizer or a second dessert? Or in my family, the traditional relish tray.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: Acadianna on September 21, 2012, 08:54:41 PM
I'm going to go against the grain and say that your dinner sounds lovely!  I think my family would enjoy it thoroughly -- and they're accustomed to my having made pretty much the same T-day dinner for the last 35 years.

I think previous posters have made a great suggestion, though -- why not include a few of the "old favorites" too?  Especially ones that can be made a couple days in advance, and then just heated up on the holiday.  There's no rule that says you can't have two different potato dishes, for example.  For another example, at our house, I make a traditional stuffing, because that's what my DH grew up with.  I also make rice dressing (aka dirty rice, Cajun) because the way I grew up, it wouldn't be T-day without it.  We certainly don't need both, but having both makes everybody happy.  I can fix the rice dressing a day or two ahead, and just heat it, so I'm not overwhelmed on the actual day.

Now I'm really craving those roasted potatoes and vegetables!
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: Kaypeep on September 21, 2012, 09:13:39 PM
I think you need some 'bridge' items.  I'd give in a little and offer mashed potatos, let FIL bring his bread, and get a pumpkin or apple pie from the bakery (my family never did pumpkin pie, ever, but some do.)  It sounds like you love to cook and try new things, but honestly I think you'd impress everyone more if you made these special things on some other dinner night instead of springing it on them on a holiday where traditional menus are most preferred.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: CluelessBride on September 21, 2012, 09:14:26 PM
Technically I think you can serve what you want and be okay from an etiquette perspective.  But your parents would also be within their right to decide to decline all future Thanksgiving invitations in favor of something more traditional. 

Also, just because you *can* do something, doesn't mean its the most gracious thing to do.  And something about your plan just doesn't read gracious.  It's one thing to set a menu.  It's something completely different to be so controlling of that menu that you aren't willing to allow people some traditions (mashed potatoes, homemade bread, pumpkin pie etc) even if they are willing to bring them.  It just doesn't feel very "family" to me.  And I'm sure you don't mean it that way,  I'm only mentioning it because I'm worried how it might come across to your family. 

I can only speak for my personal relationship with my inlaws, but I know they would be really hurt if I did something like this.  I'm from a completely different part of the country than my husband.  So his mother's traditional TDay dishes are completely different than mine.  So that everyone is happy, when she hosts I bring my favorite potato dish and apple pie (the two dishes that really "make" Thanksgiving for me).  When I host, she brings her favorite butternut squash and makes the gravy the way she likes for the turkey and mashed potatoes (the two dishes that really make Thanksgiving for her).  It may not make for perfectly paired menu, but it makes for family harmony. 

That said, I do actually like your menu. I'm especially intrigued by the champagne roasted turkey, I'd love the recipe if you are willing to share.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: something.new.every.day on September 21, 2012, 09:20:06 PM
I love the menu.  That being said, I'd be so disappointed not to have mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing.  My vote is to serve the classic items along with your menu (or ask the parents to bring them). 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: norrina on September 21, 2012, 09:24:02 PM
My originally instinctive response was that the menu sounded great, but I grew up vegetarian and thus am well accustomed to non-traditional Thanksgiving dinners, so I didn't really feel like my reaction was necessarily representative of the general population. When I started thinking about the menu more though, I realized that even with my vegetarian upbringing, I have come to really look forward to drowning my plate in gravy since turning omnivore. So even though that menu is food I would love any other day of the year, if it were presented to me at Thanksgiving I would be disappointed to realize that my usual gravy platforms, mashed potatoes and stuffing, were missing.

When I go to my parents' for Thanksgiving though I don't expect gravy because I know we'll be having a vegetarian gravy-less meal like we have for the past 30 years, and although I still miss the gravy flood I'm not actually disappointed. But if I've gone home for Thanksgiving I'll be expecting dinner to be entirely from mom and dad's garden, because that has been our tradition for those past 30 years, and if it isn't then I will be disappointed.

So I think it is human nature to look forward to certain traditions, and to be disappointed when what you get is not what you were expected. I also think that some advance warning when a tradition is going to be broken can go a lot way towards easing disappointment too though.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: violinp on September 21, 2012, 09:29:53 PM
I'm going to go against the grain and say that your dinner sounds lovely!  I think my family would enjoy it thoroughly -- and they're accustomed to my having made pretty much the same T-day dinner for the last 35 years.

I think previous posters have made a great suggestion, though -- why not include a few of the "old favorites" too?  Especially ones that can be made a couple days in advance, and then just heated up on the holiday.  There's no rule that says you can't have two different potato dishes, for example.  For another example, at our house, I make a traditional stuffing, because that's what my DH grew up with.  I also make rice dressing (aka dirty rice, Cajun) because the way I grew up, it wouldn't be T-day without it.  We certainly don't need both, but having both makes everybody happy.  I can fix the rice dressing a day or two ahead, and just heat it, so I'm not overwhelmed on the actual day.

Now I'm really craving those roasted potatoes and vegetables!

I agree. It sounds like a lovely meal, but it's not Thanksgiving dinner to me.

In my family, we always went to Dad's mom's house for Thanksgiving, and had a traditional Thanksgiving meal, sans pumpkin anything, because most of the family hates that. However, when Cabbage and I started to go off to college, Papa and Mama Violin decided that we were just going to stay home, because it would be too much travel to drive to get both of us, to turn right around and drive 2.5 hours to Grandma's house. So, we had our maternal grandparents over (we all live in the same town), and had a semi - traditional Thanksgiving dinner - that is, we had all the stuff we love, but our parents added things to the traditional menu. I can safely say now that oyster chowder is just as much a part of Thanksgiving now as Dad's mom's recipe for cornbread dressing, and the hugest turkey Dad can buy without incurring the Wrath of Mom.  :P

Our menu is:
-Oyster chowder (this is our starter, not served with everything else)
-Turkey (we got a 13 - pounder last year, I believe)
-Cornbread dressing
-Mashed potatoes (gravy in another bowl)
-Creamed corn
-Cooked carrots
-Deviled eggs
-Cranberry sauce
-Pecan pie
-Pumpkin pie (Parents finally relented, and Gran and I were the only ones who ate the durn thing  :P)
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: MrsJWine on September 21, 2012, 09:54:04 PM
That sounds delicious. However, I do think you should bend a little. I think when a family agrees to have a certain holiday at one person's house, it's an unspoken agreement that she'll uphold certain traditions, including certain traditional foods--especially on such a food-heavy holiday as Thanksgiving. This is different from a regular dinner where it's completely your prerogative to do everything however you want.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: EmmaJ. on September 21, 2012, 10:26:44 PM
I wouldn't change a thing - it all sounds delicious.  The "traditional" Thanksgiving dinner is way too carb-heavy for me.  Mashed potatoes, yams, yeast rolls, stuffing, green bean casserole - all delicious, but served all together in one meal?  I feel like going into hibernation after eating all that.

I love trying new dishes.  I would love to eat everything on your menu.  As long as I have some turkey and cranberry - I'm supremely happy.  That's Thanksgiving for me! 

But... you might want to tell the family your menu.  They might surprise you and be excited.  But no one likes to be blindsided.

Would you consider sharing your muffin recipe?  I like the sound of those!
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: NyaChan on September 21, 2012, 10:32:36 PM
I think that when you host people in general, the point is not to serve yourself but to serve your guests.  I believe that this is especially true at a holiday meal.  To purposefully ambush people with a menu you have been told they won't like is not gracious or hospitable.  Even if they don't say a word or are so blindsided that they don't think to bring the foods they would want to eat on Thanksgiving, are you really going to feel good knowing that people are sitting at your table disappointed about their meal?  I find myself wondering why you want to do this menu on this day?  If you want a chance to try out new dishes, why not have a dinner party on another day that isn't associated with a particular type of menu rather than hijacking this one?  I particularly think that you may want to be careful since this is the first time you are hosting and can set the tone for what sort of hospitality people expect from you.  Do you want to be known as the hostess who just made whatever SHE wanted without a thought for others' wants just because she could? 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: Sophia on September 21, 2012, 10:45:10 PM
What is wrong with allowing them to bring something that makes Thanksgiving dinner complete for them?  Not sharing the menu sounds ...  I really tried to think of a better word since you came here for advice, since you are trying to do the right thing.  But, I think you are being a little sanctimonious about the menu.  The dinner won't be ruined if mashed potatoes shares the same table as your menu.  Or the homemade bread.  But, if your parents are morose, that could ruin dinner.  You are probably thinking that would be an over-reaction.  But, it is a holiday dinner laden with tradition, and it sounds like you are rejecting all the traditions.  The ones you grew up with.  This is family, not a dinner party on a random day. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: NyaChan on September 21, 2012, 10:49:43 PM
What is wrong with allowing them to bring something that makes Thanksgiving dinner complete for them?  Not sharing the menu sounds ...  I really tried to think of a better word since you came here for advice, since you are trying to do the right thing.  But, I think you are being a little sanctimonious about the menu.  The dinner won't be ruined if mashed potatoes shares the same table as your menu.  Or the homemade bread.  But, if your parents are morose, that could ruin dinner.  You are probably thinking that would be an over-reaction.  But, it is a holiday dinner laden with tradition, and it sounds like you are rejecting all the traditions.  The ones you grew up with.  This is family, not a dinner party on a random day.

I was trying to think of what sort of feeling was coming off the post and I have to say I agree with Sophia.  I mean to say, there was a sense in your post that your menu was somehow superior to typical Thanksgiving foods and certainly too good to have with pedestrian mashed potatoes nearby. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sparksals on September 21, 2012, 10:53:13 PM
Your menu sounds awesome and i would love to be a guest at your dinner.   I am quite shocked by the answers here and now that I think of it, this topic has come up in the past and been quite divided.  I believe you can serve whatever you want.  You and dh are allowed to start your.own traditions.   I dont think you should change a thing.   
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: greencat on September 21, 2012, 10:55:47 PM
Why prevent your FIL from bringing the homemade bread, since you need a "munchie" to eat while you're finishing?  Just use the bread.  That way you don't have to upset him or cook anything else.

As most of our "standard" Thanksgiving food is the product of corporate cookbooks trying to get people to use "convenience foods" (the dreaded green bean and cream of mushroom soup and french fried onion casserole recipe, for example, although I personally enjoy the taste of that dish) rather than actual long-established tradition, your menu mostly sounds great and is made up of plenty of "traditional" foods.  Rosemary-roasted is a way I commonly prepare potatoes - that's not even fancy food for me.

The only thing I would suggest you reconsider is the salad - it's a lot more exotic than the rest of the meal, and I don't think the tastes and textures of it (just considering the quinoa and kale and apple, and not even going into what your choices are for dressing the salad) will go well with the rest of what you're serving.  Stick with fancy lettuces - maybe even endive, which I think would go particularly well with the other flavors.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sparksals on September 21, 2012, 10:56:25 PM
Everyone's traditions are different.  I don't expect mashed at thanksgiving.  The OP and her husband don't have to.cook the meal their parents made.   They have the right to start their.own traditions.  If family does not appreciate their effort, then that is their problem. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: Brockwest on September 21, 2012, 10:58:47 PM
I forgot what time you said to expect me to arrive for dinner?
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: MrsJWine on September 21, 2012, 11:07:16 PM
You can start new traditions with eradicating several of the oldest, most expected ones.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sourwolf on September 21, 2012, 11:12:17 PM
Your menu sounds awesome and i would love to be a guest at your dinner.   I am quite shocked by the answers here and now that I think of it, this topic has come up in the past and been quite divided.  I believe you can serve whatever you want.  You and dh are allowed to start your.own traditions.   I dont think you should change a thing.   

I'm not sure how you are shocked if in your next sentence you say this topic has come up before and been divided? Why not just say what you think instead of saying you are shocked that others believe otherwise? If the OP didn't want opinions she wouldn't have asked for them. 

No one is saying you aren't allowed to start your own tradition but if you know that people will be disappointed not to have their favorites either give them the option of having the dinner they want somewhere else or compromise and add some mashed potatoes to the menu.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: buvezdevin on September 21, 2012, 11:35:41 PM
I think your menu sounds amazing, but you may want to tweak your agenda.

It sounds as though you will be hostin both sets of parents for *your* first formal TG.

While I understand keeping your menu to yourself for most hosted events (other than asking for special restrictions of guests, as deemed an appropriate request) - you are sailing into waters which may involve family traditions on either side, which are unique to the holiday - which I do not doubt you want to be pleasurably experienced and remembered by all.

I would, in this case, share your "draft" menu thoughts with appropriate family memnpbers in advance, possibly with your thought "Aunt Bessy always made such a nice dressing, I like a version I have developed with similar flavors" - but I would also add that as the meal and celebration of a holiday are meant for all, you will enjoy a chance to update some things to make them reflect you and DH, but don't want to omit some important family tradition if there is one of importance.

Doesn't mean you have to change your offerings, but if it won't be Thanksgiving to someone without Uncle Fred's fig preserve appetizer, let them offer to bring it.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: Shakira on September 22, 2012, 05:17:35 AM
OP here! I just wanted to kind of respond to some of the things that people said.

I didn't realize that people loved mashed potatoes so much! DH can take them or leave them, and I detest them. I don't want to make something i don't like. I figured replacing with another potato dish wouldn't be such a stretch.

As far as not serving stuffing as a side dish, I thought it would be a little much to serve that in addition to the muffins. Same goes for not serving the bread.

The only people we will be hosting is each set of our parents and my SIL. I think my mom will really like everything on the menu....she's just excited that she doesn't have to cook! My stepdad doesn't care much about food either way. My MIL grew up in Europe and only moved here when she was in her 20's so there's no traditions that she will associate with T-Day. Unfortunately her idea of great mashed potatoes is the kind that come in the box. That's what the eye roll was for; I'm sorry.

As far as not serving pie: in the past when I've made pumpkin pie, I don't like the way it turns out and after reading about so many other yummy pumpkin desserts, I wanted to try a new one.

I will let my FIL bring the bread, since that is his tradition and I do like it. I was just afraid that it would carb-heavy...but I guess it's supposed to be on T-Day! :) Also I will replace the salad with something else, I guess it is pretty exotic for our families. Any suggestions for a replacement? Both of our families serve very carb-heavy and starch-heavy foods for Thanksgiving and I want something a little lighter, especially since DH is doing P90X and wants to avoid most of that anyway.

For people that wanted recipes: the champagne turkey is EASY. Stuff cavity with chopped apples and celery. Make a rub of salt, pepper, rosemary and sage and cover the bird with that. Open champagne. Do a taste test and make sure the champagne is good  ;D Place turkey on rack in pan and pour the entire bottle over it, making sure to get some in the cavity. Do the same thing with a can of chicken broth. Tent the bird with foil and roast at 350* for however long your bird takes.
Stuffing muffins: prepare your stuffing however you like. I make mine with cubed bread, onion, celery, dried sage, dried thyme and a little crumbled sausage. Then I just used a box of Jiffy cornbread mix and prepared that according to instructions. In well greased muffin tins (or use papers) put a spoonful of the stuffing in, so it's about 1/3 full. Pour some cornbread mix over that so its about 2/3 full. Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sophia on September 22, 2012, 07:18:04 AM
Great update. 
Yes, T-Day is one meal that you don't have to worry providing balance or it being carb-heavy.  After all there is that traditional after T-day dinner nap in order to process the carbs. 

I think with the exclusion of the bread and boxed mashed potatoes, I (and maybe others) were reacting not to the exclusion of bread or mashed.  But to the exclusion of Side Dish That Must Be Included.  In our family it is a particular corn dish and the green beans.  My Mom and Dad would get grumpy if they were not included.

That said, you can start gently steering the tradition in another direction.  Since you seem to want to host thanksgiving, and presumably will want to do so for the near future, I would make sure everyone is happy.  I would tell everyone the menu.  Let the homemade bread come.  Maybe get some fancy butter to put out with it before the meal.  If someone fusses about the lack of XYZ, let them bring that too.  What will probably happen is that the boxed mashed potatoes will come, and then they will see you roasted potatoes and eat them instead.  BUT, they won't be grumpy about it.  Same with the pumpkin pie (which looks unappealing) and your pumpkin cake.  I think you will find that as time goes on, people won't be so keen to bring the dish that no one eats and tradition will have changed. 

My husband and I did something similar with the Green Bean Casserole.  I always detested it.  Then I discovered I liked Green Beans if they weren't overcooked or from a can, so we started to use frozen beans.  I found a recipe on Allrecipes that instead of canned soup uses a white sauce and sour cream and cheese in the sauce. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: jemma on September 22, 2012, 07:30:18 AM
Add a potato dish and I actually think it is a pretty traditional thanksgiving dinner.  Everyone does a different style of stuffing, turkey, cranberry, and dessert so as long. You have all those things I think you are good. My mom always did single serving potato rouille yes for thanksgiving where she mashed potatoes, added herbs, cheese, and sautéed vegetables, and baked them in the oven.  You can have a variety of them and they hit the mashed potato idea while still tasting special.  I'm not sure why everyone thinks your menu is so untraditional other than the lack of potatos though.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: O'Dell on September 22, 2012, 07:37:04 AM
OP here! I just wanted to kind of respond to some of the things that people said.

I didn't realize that people loved mashed potatoes so much! DH can take them or leave them, and I detest them. I don't want to make something i don't like. I figured replacing with another potato dish wouldn't be such a stretch.

As far as not serving stuffing as a side dish, I thought it would be a little much to serve that in addition to the muffins. Same goes for not serving the bread.

The only people we will be hosting is each set of our parents and my SIL. I think my mom will really like everything on the menu....she's just excited that she doesn't have to cook! My stepdad doesn't care much about food either way. My MIL grew up in Europe and only moved here when she was in her 20's so there's no traditions that she will associate with T-Day. Unfortunately her idea of great mashed potatoes is the kind that come in the box. That's what the eye roll was for; I'm sorry.

As far as not serving pie: in the past when I've made pumpkin pie, I don't like the way it turns out and after reading about so many other yummy pumpkin desserts, I wanted to try a new one.

I will let my FIL bring the bread, since that is his tradition and I do like it. I was just afraid that it would carb-heavy...but I guess it's supposed to be on T-Day! :) Also I will replace the salad with something else, I guess it is pretty exotic for our families. Any suggestions for a replacement? Both of our families serve very carb-heavy and starch-heavy foods for Thanksgiving and I want something a little lighter, especially since DH is doing P90X and wants to avoid most of that anyway.


Personally I like traditional T-day foods, but I don't give a whit about having "traditional" foods on a certain day. I'm just not a traditional sort of person.

What bothers me about your menu plan is the sense I get from your OP and in the bolded above. It's seems like your main concern is what you like. Sure you're trying to see to it that some people also like the dishes, but you don't even want people to bring dishes for themselves that they like even though you think it's a concern. That attitude seems off to me.

Your plan may not be rude, but that doesn't mean that it's polite or gracious hosting either.

I'm not saying that you have to cater to your guests. But if you aren't going to serve traditional foods and you don't want people to bring anything and you're only cooking food that you will eat and that fits in with your husband's diet...well it just seems dictatorial to me. That puts me off even though your menu doesn't.

I think allowing the bread is a good idea.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sparksals on September 22, 2012, 08:03:40 AM
Your menu sounds awesome and i would love to be a guest at your dinner.   I am quite shocked by the answers here and now that I think of it, this topic has come up in the past and been quite divided.  I believe you can serve whatever you want.  You and dh are allowed to start your.own traditions.   I dont think you should change a thing.   

I'm not sure how you are shocked if in your next sentence you say this topic has come up before and been divided? Why not just say what you think instead of saying you are shocked that others believe otherwise? If the OP didn't want opinions she wouldn't have asked for them. 

No one is saying you aren't allowed to start your own tradition but if you know that people will be disappointed not to have their favorites either give them the option of having the dinner they want somewhere else or compromise and add some mashed potatoes to the menu.


Excuse me??  Why so confrontational? 


I am surprised so many people think the menu is not appropriate and then it popped into my mind that this topic has been discussed in the past and quite divided.    My thought IS I am surprised people think otherwise.  Etiquettely speaking, a host chooses the menu,, not the guests.   






 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sparksals on September 22, 2012, 08:08:25 AM
OP here! I just wanted to kind of respond to some of the things that people said.

I didn't realize that people loved mashed potatoes so much! DH can take them or leave them, and I detest them. I don't want to make something i don't like. I figured replacing with another potato dish wouldn't be such a stretch.

As far as not serving stuffing as a side dish, I thought it would be a little much to serve that in addition to the muffins. Same goes for not serving the bread.

The only people we will be hosting is each set of our parents and my SIL. I think my mom will really like everything on the menu....she's just excited that she doesn't have to cook! My stepdad doesn't care much about food either way. My MIL grew up in Europe and only moved here when she was in her 20's so there's no traditions that she will associate with T-Day. Unfortunately her idea of great mashed potatoes is the kind that come in the box. That's what the eye roll was for; I'm sorry.

As far as not serving pie: in the past when I've made pumpkin pie, I don't like the way it turns out and after reading about so many other yummy pumpkin desserts, I wanted to try a new one.

I will let my FIL bring the bread, since that is his tradition and I do like it. I was just afraid that it would carb-heavy...but I guess it's supposed to be on T-Day! :) Also I will replace the salad with something else, I guess it is pretty exotic for our families. Any suggestions for a replacement? Both of our families serve very carb-heavy and starch-heavy foods for Thanksgiving and I want something a little lighter, especially since DH is doing P90X and wants to avoid most of that anyway.


Personally I like traditional T-day foods, but I don't give a whit about having "traditional" foods on a certain day. I'm just not a traditional sort of person.

What bothers me about your menu plan is the sense I get from your OP and in the bolded above. It's seems like your main concern is what you like. Sure you're trying to see to it that some people also like the dishes, but you don't even want people to bring dishes for themselves that they like even though you think it's a concern. That attitude seems off to me.

Your plan may not be rude, but that doesn't mean that it's polite or gracious hosting either.

I'm not saying that you have to cater to your guests. But if you aren't going to serve traditional foods and you don't want people to bring anything and you're only cooking food that you will eat and that fits in with your husband's diet...well it just seems dictatorial to me. That puts me off even though your menu doesn't.

I think allowing the bread is a good idea.


I don't see anything wrong with the OP choosing the menu based on things she likes or doesn't.  I don't like seafood.  I'm not going to make a huge holiday meal and include things I cannot eat.  If I am going to go to the huge effort of making a nice meal, it most certainly will include things I like and exclude things I don't.  If I am neither here nor there, fine, but something I detest, no, I will not make and I shouldn't have to.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: Zilla on September 22, 2012, 08:17:56 AM
I think that when you host people in general, the point is not to serve yourself but to serve your guests.  I believe that this is especially true at a holiday meal.  To purposefully ambush people with a menu you have been told they won't like is not gracious or hospitable.  Even if they don't say a word or are so blindsided that they don't think to bring the foods they would want to eat on Thanksgiving, are you really going to feel good knowing that people are sitting at your table disappointed about their meal?  I find myself wondering why you want to do this menu on this day?  If you want a chance to try out new dishes, why not have a dinner party on another day that isn't associated with a particular type of menu rather than hijacking this one?  I particularly think that you may want to be careful since this is the first time you are hosting and can set the tone for what sort of hospitality people expect from you.  Do you want to be known as the hostess who just made whatever SHE wanted without a thought for others' wants just because she could?


I agree.  OP, what's the harm in serving FIL's homemade bread alongside with what you are serving?  And adding one or two side dishes that is "traditional" to help your guests feel more homey.

After all, it's easier for them to both come to you instead of going to two dinners.  If you serve something delicious as your menu suggests AND some traditional favorites, they might be inclined to come back next year.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on September 22, 2012, 08:29:28 AM
The one time DH and I hosted TGiving dinner, we made the turkey and I made a sweet potato casserole a friend gave me the recipe for.  It was Tipsy Sweet Potatoes, made the way your typical sweet potato casserole is with the brown sugar, marshmallows, etc, but with some whiskey mixed in, and the alcohol is of course burnt off in the cooking.

MIL brought the sweet potatoes too but it gave everyone a choice as DH's grandma is a teetotaler so even though there was no more alcohol left in the casserole when it was done she didn't want it and had MIL's potatoes instead.

Everyone else had them and enjoyed them. :)
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Vall on September 22, 2012, 08:35:05 AM
If you allow the potatoes and bread, it sounds better.  Personally, I'd still miss sweet potatoes (or yams), the dressing, green beans and pumpkin pie.  But I'd never let my host know I was disappointed.  Hopefully your guests will be polite enough not to show *if* they are disappointed.  In the past when it has happened, I simply eat light, thank the hosts and compliment the meal, leave early and stop by the grocery and buy the "missing" traditional foods on the way home.

I agree that it would be a good idea to let your guests know that it won't be a traditional meal so they can have the option to gracefully back out.  I would hate to expect a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and then be disappointed without warning.  I might still go to a meal that wasn't traditional---especially if it is a light lunch where I could still leave in time to eat traditionally at home with my hubby.

If the non-traditional meal were given on the weekend after Thanksgiving (not actually on Thanksgiving Day) I think it would be great!
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Luci on September 22, 2012, 08:41:30 AM
I would be fine with the menu if given warning. If people insist on bringing addons, make a rule that they have to take the leftovers home. I've been stuck with leftovers that I wouldn't/couldn't eat and didn't have the courage to throw them away until they became a science project. (The worst was the cranberry-apple pie my sister-in-law worked so hard on and only one slice was eaten among the 35 people here.)

Inviting someone over for Thanksgiving Dinner and changing the menu is almost (stress 'almost') like inviting someone over for BBQ and serving a roast beef dinner. Thanksgiving is so all about the food that it brings to mind the expectation of the traditional menu, not just any nice meal.

By the way, I do love the menu except I personally wouldn't eat the salad - I don't like fruit in other stuff and quinoa just adds to the carbs - healthful or not.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: SleepyKitty on September 22, 2012, 08:43:36 AM
My 2 cents...

First of all, both the turkey and the muffins sound incredible, and I may have to have a fake Thanksgiving next weekend just as an excuse to make them. Also Tipsy Sweet Potatoes. Between checking the champagne and the whiskey for poison, though, I may need a cook's helper!

I don't think there's a divide in the comments here: Everyone agrees that the OP has the right to set her own menu (which sounds delicious, btw), the right to make new traditions, and should not have to expend the time, effort, and money into making dishes she doesn't enjoy.

What some of us, myself included, feel is that while OP also has the right to ask her guests not to bring any additional food, it's not particularly gracious nor inclusive on Thanksgiving to refuse to allow her guests to bring food to add to the menu. This isn't a dinner OP is hosting for friends, in which case I would be put off by a guest showing up with an addition to the menu. It's a holiday in which sharing dishes is common, where there are traditional foods that people look forward to, and it's a holiday whose entire point is about being thankful for what we have - it just seems a bit against the spirit of things to refuse to allow mashed potatoes and whatnot to be on the same table as what the OP made.

And from the OP's update it sounds like she's happy to bend a little to make sure her guests have a great dinner, so all seems well.  ;)
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: hyzenthlay on September 22, 2012, 09:33:55 AM
OP, as an aside since you seem to be ok with potatoes, have you looked at more creative mashed recipies?

There are garlic mashed potatoes, pesto mashed, probably rosemary mashed, from all sorts of potatoes and you can even mash them with the skin and still be serving 'mashed' potatoes.

I don't think I'd have a problem with your menu, but I'd also be planning on doing my own T-Day at home anyway, I love the leftovers  ;D

If I were expecting the 'traditional' layout, I'd probably be dissapointed, but I don't think I'd be so bummed that it would be obvious. I have to agree that if your DH is certain his parents will be looking for one or two particular dishes that it would be gracious to have that available.

Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: greencat on September 22, 2012, 09:46:11 AM
As for replacement salads, try mixed spring greens, arugula, spinach, and endive for the greens - actually, you could include kale in that mix.  For toppings, stick with tomatoes and croutons.  With big meals like T-Day, the salad is kind of a palate cleanser rather than a main feature.  Go with a light dressing - maybe a balsamic vinaigrette.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: AdakAK on September 22, 2012, 10:26:11 AM
I didn't realize that people loved mashed potatoes so much! DH can take them or leave them, and I detest them. I don't want to make something i don't like. I figured replacing with another potato dish wouldn't be such a stretch.

Personally I like traditional T-day foods, but I don't give a whit about having "traditional" foods on a certain day. I'm just not a traditional sort of person.

What bothers me about your menu plan is the sense I get from your OP and in the bolded above. It's seems like your main concern is what you like. Sure you're trying to see to it that some people also like the dishes, but you don't even want people to bring dishes for themselves that they like even though you think it's a concern. That attitude seems off to me.

Your plan may not be rude, but that doesn't mean that it's polite or gracious hosting either.


That was my feeling as well.  I understand preferring not to cook with foods you don't like.  I don't cook with onions for that very reason.  I will put that aside on a holiday though, and either cook a dish twice, once with and once without or cook two different sides.  One for me and one for anyone who likes onion.  I think it's selfish to only be willing to cook foods that you will eat.  It's technically correct  but it's not very nice.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 22, 2012, 10:43:55 AM
I think your menu sounds great.  I think a lot of the mashed potato comments were because you said in your post that your DH thought the guests would miss the potatos which would imply the families had a strong alliance to them.  But your update indicates few of your guests have favorite traditional tday foods, so I think your fine.

We never had any type of "white" potatoes at thanksgiving because sweet potatos were always served in some form.  And that is what I would miss from your menu, but probably not in your family. 

Instead of the quinoa, I'd do green beans almodine, roasted asparagus, or sautéed spinach.  I always like some type of cleaner tasting green vegetable with the Tday to cut some of the richer flavors. 

Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: audrey1962 on September 22, 2012, 11:24:58 AM
I think your menu sounds fine, but then we don't have any required foods in my family. The general attitude is, "as long as i don't have to cook, I don't care what is served."
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: sourwolf on September 22, 2012, 12:17:05 PM
Sparksals, I'm sorry my post it was perhaps not worded as well as it should have been. As you pointed out to me a few weeks ago, I am new here, while (according to your profile) you have been a member here since 2006. Based on that I assumed you wouldn't be shocked by people not agreeing with you/threads taking a different direction. The fact that you have been here so long made your post seem like a rebuke to everyone who disagreed with you. It's was especially strange because the OP doesn't seem the least bit shocked or offended by any of the responses she has received.  I apologize for the confusion.

In order to not further derail the thread. I hope we can agree to disagree on whether or not hosts should consider what their guests like to eat when planning a menu.  While I don't agree with you, I respect that it is, as they say "your house your rules" and of course you can host however you see fit.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Amara on September 22, 2012, 12:25:10 PM
It's been interesting reading the responses and I feel like I have enlarged my thinking. So thanks to everyone for their input (even though I am not the OP).

To me, Thanksgiving is probably the one day of the year where one meal is the focus of the day. So I can see that traditional foods take on an importance that they wouldn't necessarily have at other times. I think if the OP wants to start her own food traditions for the day that is fine but like many others here I would suggest adding them to the menu rather than substituting them for the traditional dishes. Sure, it will make more food even if the dishes are made smaller but aren't the leftovers a tradition in themselves? I can't see more being worse.

And now let me just say that while I had thoughts of maybe skipping making a T-Day meal this year this thread has now derailed that. Plans--and drooling--have commenced.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Phoebe on September 22, 2012, 01:02:18 PM
This isn't just a "come for dinner" menu..it's for a major family holiday, for heaven's sake.   Even if it were just a "come for dinner" invitation, most people wouldn't keep the menu a secret.  I'd definitely give the guests a basic outline of what's for dinner.   Why not let them bring (or the host make) a dish or two that is very traditional to the parents?  As I said, it's a major family holiday, to give thanks for the good things in our lives.  One's guests are presumably some of those good things, why not show them they're appreciated by including a dish or two they might be looking forward to?
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: Fleur on September 22, 2012, 01:46:22 PM
Your menu sounds awesome and i would love to be a guest at your dinner.   I am quite shocked by the answers here and now that I think of it, this topic has come up in the past and been quite divided.  I believe you can serve whatever you want.  You and dh are allowed to start your.own traditions.   I dont think you should change a thing.   
[/quote

I totally agree. The other side of the parents being morose and not being happy about 'their' foods being served, would be the hosts deciding that they can't be bothered with guests who wish to dicate the menu . I wouldn't be happy with guests throwing a strop because they weren't allowed to have certain foods: frankly, I would consider that childish.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: greencat on September 22, 2012, 01:48:37 PM
I admit that I was a bit sad when my mom didn't make her wonderful peppermint cake for Christmas dinner last year - but, then again, Christmas has relocated from my parents' home to my mother's ex-mother-in-law's home, and MXMIL is diabetic and holiday meals are carb-heavy enough without cake.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: wolfie on September 22, 2012, 02:04:11 PM
My MIL grew up in Europe and only moved here when she was in her 20's so there's no traditions that she will associate with T-Day.

Presuming that your MIL had your husband after she arrived here and that you are at least 20 years old that is 20 years of T-Day meals - long enough that she could have developed a tradition that she associates with T-day.

Mine is stuffing - my mom makes an awesome stuffing that is to die for - if that was the only thing served I would be happy! Your menu sounds good (I might pass on the recipe for the Turkey) but I would be disappointed a bit about not having the stuffing. I wouldn't show it - I probably wouldn't say anything about it even afterwards to my spouse. But if next year I get two invitations I would probably not take yours again.

It's a moot point for me - it is always just my mom and me (other siblings are too far to travel, dad has gone deer hunting that week for ages (hasn't caught a deer in ages either) and I am getting divorced) so I know we will have our favorites there. The stuffing and the turkey are the only staples - everything else is what we feel like although I usually vote for corn.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: jaxsue on September 22, 2012, 02:23:07 PM
Honestly? Not really.  The menu sounds great, but not for Thanksgiving.  In my family it's not Thanksgiving if there is no stuffing,  mashed potatoes or pie (apple & pumpkin.)

Same for me.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: kckgirl on September 22, 2012, 02:44:04 PM
Menu:
Champagne roasted turkey (who, btw, is being lovingly cared for and fed organically by a friend of mine)
Rosemary roasted bite-sized potatoes
Roasted veggies (squash, carrots, pearl onions, asparagus, zucchini)
Kale, quinoa & apple salad
Cranberry jelly
Cornbread-stuffing muffins (I invented these recently and they. are. AMAZING.)
Pumpkin dump cake with cinnamon ice cream

I think the only thing that would really disappoint me is the salad, but I'd just skip it. We usually have a traditional tossed green salad (as someone else said above, for crunch). I would totally skip anything with cranberries, so that doesn't affect me at all. You might want another option available for dessert unless you're sure everybody who is coming likes pumpkin. I HATE HATE HATE it and would have to skip the cake, no matter how much I like cake.

I applaud you for rethinking allowing your FIL to bring his homemade bread. I also think you should mention the menu just so there aren't any surprises on a day when the meal is the star of the show.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: jpcher on September 22, 2012, 03:51:02 PM
Wow. Hot topic!

OP -- I think your menu sounds awesome! I agree with your update on changing out the salad and letting FIL bring the bread.

But the rest of it? It sounds pretty traditional to me.

You have the turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, veggies, salad, cranberry, and pumpkin desert. What's not traditional about that? The only thing that may be missing is sweet potatoes (but I, personally don't mind that omission ;).)


Just because the potatoes are "Rosemary roasted bite-sized potatoes" instead of mashed? I could understand if OP served something like Gnocchi or a different pasta dish instead of roasted potatoes . . . with the roasted, a person could always "mash" them with a fork, top with gravy and voila! Mashed potatoes.

"Cornbread-stuffing muffins" -- with the recipe OP provided, this is stuffing! Only served in a different/creative way.

Veggies? Instead of the stale and old bowl of corn (which I love!) or green bean casserole, OP is providing a yummy variety of veggies.


OP -- would you mind sharing the menus from your past TG dinners at both parents house?

Why, exactly, do you think your menu is non-traditional? Because you're serving real potatoes instead of potatoes from a box?



For the salad . . . I think just a simple garden salad is light, refreshing and unobtrusive to the meal. I don't think that you need to add extra flavors or make this a gourmet salad. What sort of salad is traditional for your families?

For the appetizers . . . since you mentioned apples for your ex-salad ;), why not serve some sliced fruit (apples, pears, melons, kiwi) with some crackers, cheese and a nut bowl.


I really don't think that you need to tell your guests that you're making changes to the traditional menu because you're not. You're just serving all the traditional foods in a different way. Nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: sparksals on September 22, 2012, 04:13:14 PM
My 2 cents...

First of all, both the turkey and the muffins sound incredible, and I may have to have a fake Thanksgiving next weekend just as an excuse to make them. Also Tipsy Sweet Potatoes. Between checking the champagne and the whiskey for poison, though, I may need a cook's helper!

I don't think there's a divide in the comments here: Everyone agrees that the OP has the right to set her own menu (which sounds delicious, btw), the right to make new traditions, and should not have to expend the time, effort, and money into making dishes she doesn't enjoy.

What some of us, myself included, feel is that while OP also has the right to ask her guests not to bring any additional food, it's not particularly gracious nor inclusive on Thanksgiving to refuse to allow her guests to bring food to add to the menu. This isn't a dinner OP is hosting for friends, in which case I would be put off by a guest showing up with an addition to the menu. It's a holiday in which sharing dishes is common, where there are traditional foods that people look forward to, and it's a holiday whose entire point is about being thankful for what we have - it just seems a bit against the spirit of things to refuse to allow mashed potatoes and whatnot to be on the same table as what the OP made.

And from the OP's update it sounds like she's happy to bend a little to make sure her guests have a great dinner, so all seems well.  ;)

I understand that there are traditions, but not everyone has the same traditional meal and not everyone celebrates the holiday by everyone bringing a dish.  I grew up with fully hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners.  We alternated our house/friend's house each year where it was fully hosted.  Friend would not think of bringing something to my mom's dinner and vice versa.  It just wasn't done.   When I do Thanksgiving (and I do mine in October for Canadian Thanksgiving which is a couple weeks away), I fully host.  Completely.  People ask if they can bring a dish, but I politely decline and they accept that.  They bring wine instead which is perfectly fine.

Someone upthread mentioned they would miss green beans at Thanksgiving.  I have never had them on TG or Christmas until a couple years ago when I found an amazing recipe for green bean bundles wrapped in bacon.   The casserole?? I don't think I have even tasted it.  It is just not on my radar for what I consider to be traditional Thanksgiving.  So, a hostess not including GBs may not have had it as part of her traditional meal either.

I do have to say, I agree with everyone about the quinioa salad... it doesn't really match the TG dinner.  Waldorf salad is a great salad for TG. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sparksals on September 22, 2012, 04:18:33 PM
I didn't realize that people loved mashed potatoes so much! DH can take them or leave them, and I detest them. I don't want to make something i don't like. I figured replacing with another potato dish wouldn't be such a stretch.

Personally I like traditional T-day foods, but I don't give a whit about having "traditional" foods on a certain day. I'm just not a traditional sort of person.

What bothers me about your menu plan is the sense I get from your OP and in the bolded above. It's seems like your main concern is what you like. Sure you're trying to see to it that some people also like the dishes, but you don't even want people to bring dishes for themselves that they like even though you think it's a concern. That attitude seems off to me.

Your plan may not be rude, but that doesn't mean that it's polite or gracious hosting either.


That was my feeling as well.  I understand preferring not to cook with foods you don't like.  I don't cook with onions for that very reason.  I will put that aside on a holiday though, and either cook a dish twice, once with and once without or cook two different sides.  One for me and one for anyone who likes onion.  I think it's selfish to only be willing to cook foods that you will eat.  It's technically correct  but it's not very nice.

I don't think it is fair to say it is selfish.  The hostess is going to a lot of time, effort and expense to make a meal.  If she is going to omit onions b/c she doesn't like them, then she has that right.  Honestly, how many people will miss them?  It is such a minor ingredient that if someone begrudges a hostess for omitting onions, then they aren't a very gracious guest.   

One doesn't criticize a hostess for being vegetarian while inviting those who like meat over.   There is no difference between a lifestyle dietary choice and a personal dislike.  Most times, a person chooses to be veg'n b/c they don't like meat.  They aren't selfish for not serving it to guests.  It is accepted they won't.   

Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: sparksals on September 22, 2012, 04:38:09 PM
Sparksals, I'm sorry my post it was perhaps not worded as well as it should have been. As you pointed out to me a few weeks ago, I am new here, while (according to your profile) you have been a member here since 2006. Based on that I assumed you wouldn't be shocked by people not agreeing with you/threads taking a different direction. The fact that you have been here so long made your post seem like a rebuke to everyone who disagreed with you. It's was especially strange because the OP doesn't seem the least bit shocked or offended by any of the responses she has received.  I apologize for the confusion.

In order to not further derail the thread. I hope we can agree to disagree on whether or not hosts should consider what their guests like to eat when planning a menu.  While I don't agree with you, I respect that it is, as they say "your house your rules" and of course you can host however you see fit.

Thank you, SW.  I appreciate that.  Your post did come across as a bit combative and accusatory.  There was no connection between being shocked and the history of divided topic that gets heated.   I didn't have that connection at all.  Wasn't even on my radar.  Could have been b/c I am jet lagged as I just flew overseas on Thursday and had a long delay making the trip much longer. 

Then, I remembered a similar topic from years ago that got quite heated.  It was nothing more than that.  No ulterior motives.   It is very common to mention in a thread if it has been discussed in the past or if it got heated.  I just mentioned both in passing with no connection between the two. 

I was not shocked people didn't agree with ME.  I was shocked people would be so disappointed in a menu that was not traditional when the hostess has obviously spent a lot of time and energy planning it.  I think about the time and research I spend in meal prep for Thanksgiving (Canadian is coming up) and it seems a bit ungracious to not think about it from the hostess' side too.   

If someone served me *Reindeer Jerky on Thanksgiving, I would be pleased thinking they used some imagination in the meal or be thankful for including me  in THEIR tradition.  I don't go to my friend's US Thanksgiving meal expecting what is traditionally at Canadian Thanksgiving.  I wouldn't criticize it and I wouldn't be disappointed.  I would chalk it up to a different tradition. 

Yes, I have been her a long time, dating back much longer than 2006 - that is when this board was created after a few problems with another provider.  I have been a member since nearly the beginning when the page was black with flames on either side.   

*Just had Reindeer Jerky for the first time ever in a Beer House in Helsinki, Finland yesterday.   
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: AustenFan on September 22, 2012, 04:59:09 PM
I think the menu sounds delicious and am going to make champagne turkey this year. May I ask how much chicken stock you use? 

I think allowing (or preparing, sound like you love to cook) a couple "bridge" dishes is your best bet. I also like to shake up a traditional menu, and am proud to say that a salad I introduced with pistachios, apple slices and watercress and my roasted garlic mashed potatoes are now family favorites. Among my failures are stuffing with sausage and pear (blech) and cornbread stuffing. I messed up the cornbread and should have just made traditional stuffing when I realized it.

I also suggest picking up some cheap Tupperware containers you won't expect back and packing up some of the leftovers for your guests. That way you & hubby won't be stuck with mashed potatoes, traditional stuffing or bread you don't want.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: rose red on September 22, 2012, 05:27:47 PM
Your menu sounds good to me…IF I know it ahead of time.  I would be disappointed if I was not prepared and was expecting a traditional meal, but would look forward to it knowing the menu about a week or so.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Zilla on September 22, 2012, 06:52:04 PM
....

This isn't a dinner OP is hosting for friends, in which case I would be put off by a guest showing up with an addition to the menu. It's a holiday in which sharing dishes is common,

...

I understand that there are traditions, but not everyone has the same traditional meal and not everyone celebrates the holiday by everyone bringing a dish.  I grew up with fully hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners.  We alternated our house/friend's house each year where it was fully hosted.  Friend would not think of bringing something to my mom's dinner and vice versa.  It just wasn't done.   When I do Thanksgiving (and I do mine in October for Canadian Thanksgiving which is a couple weeks away), I fully host.  Completely.  People ask if they can bring a dish, but I politely decline and they accept that.  They bring wine instead which is perfectly fine.
...


You mentioned that it might not be done in other households and explained that in yours it isn't.  But if it isn't done, then people wouldn't ask.   What Sleepykitty suggested was the same thing.  To ask that is.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: katycoo on September 22, 2012, 07:10:01 PM
What bothers me about your menu plan is the sense I get from your OP and in the bolded above. It's seems like your main concern is what you like. Sure you're trying to see to it that some people also like the dishes, but you don't even want people to bring dishes for themselves that they like even though you think it's a concern. That attitude seems off to me.

Your plan may not be rude, but that doesn't mean that it's polite or gracious hosting either.

How is T-Day different to a dinner party on any other day? 
So many posters on this forum like to cater entire menus when they have a dinner party, and get shirty when people bring dishes which the host doesn't want.  I find it confusing that there is some exception to this rule for T-Day.

The one time DH and I hosted TGiving dinner, we made the turkey and I made a sweet potato casserole a friend gave me the recipe for.  It was Tipsy Sweet Potatoes, made the way your typical sweet potato casserole is with the brown sugar, marshmallows, etc, but with some whiskey mixed in, and the alcohol is of course burnt off in the cooking.

MIL brought the sweet potatoes too but it gave everyone a choice as DH's grandma is a teetotaler so even though there was no more alcohol left in the casserole when it was done she didn't want it and had MIL's potatoes instead.

Everyone else had them and enjoyed them. :)

Actually its a myth that all the alcohol is burned off during the cooking period.  Some is, but some remains. Just something to bear in mind when catering for people who choose not to imbibe at all.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sourwolf on September 22, 2012, 07:25:57 PM


How is T-Day different to a dinner party on any other day? 
So many posters on this forum like to cater entire menus when they have a dinner party, and get shirty when people bring dishes which the host doesn't want.  I find it confusing that there is some exception to this rule for T-Day.


I think it's because for many families Thanksgiving is essentially a potluck.  Mom might make the turkey while Grandma brings the pies, Uncle Tony makes the sweet potatoes, Cousin Sue is in charge of drinks, etc.  If you are used to a potluck Thanksgiving you might assume that that is what everyone does.  Not to mention the fact that it cuts down on the "burden" of hosting.  (I don't think of it as a burden but I know many people aren't used to cooking a meal of that magnitude - ie multiple side dishes, multiple desserts etc)
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Deetee on September 22, 2012, 08:23:14 PM
I think the menu looks delicious but I also think it looks traditional. It has turkey and potatoes and cranberry sauce.

I think this totally depends on your family.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: Iris on September 22, 2012, 08:31:22 PM

The only people we will be hosting is each set of our parents and my SIL. I think my mom will really like everything on the menu....she's just excited that she doesn't have to cook! My stepdad doesn't care much about food either way. My MIL grew up in Europe and only moved here when she was in her 20's so there's no traditions that she will associate with T-Day. Unfortunately her idea of great mashed potatoes is the kind that come in the box. That's what the eye roll was for; I'm sorry.

(quote trimmed considerably)


I haven't contributed as we don't celebrate Thanksgiving so didn't feel qualified, but I had to pop in to say; where I come from mashed potatoes in a box are evil! Evil I say!
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: O'Dell on September 22, 2012, 09:55:32 PM
What bothers me about your menu plan is the sense I get from your OP and in the bolded above. It's seems like your main concern is what you like. Sure you're trying to see to it that some people also like the dishes, but you don't even want people to bring dishes for themselves that they like even though you think it's a concern. That attitude seems off to me.

Your plan may not be rude, but that doesn't mean that it's polite or gracious hosting either.

How is T-Day different to a dinner party on any other day? 
So many posters on this forum like to cater entire menus when they have a dinner party, and get shirty when people bring dishes which the host doesn't want.  I find it confusing that there is some exception to this rule for T-Day.


The one time DH and I hosted TGiving dinner, we made the turkey and I made a sweet potato casserole a friend gave me the recipe for.  It was Tipsy Sweet Potatoes, made the way your typical sweet potato casserole is with the brown sugar, marshmallows, etc, but with some whiskey mixed in, and the alcohol is of course burnt off in the cooking.

MIL brought the sweet potatoes too but it gave everyone a choice as DH's grandma is a teetotaler so even though there was no more alcohol left in the casserole when it was done she didn't want it and had MIL's potatoes instead.

Everyone else had them and enjoyed them. :)

Actually its a myth that all the alcohol is burned off during the cooking period.  Some is, but some remains. Just something to bear in mind when catering for people who choose not to imbibe at all.

The OP knows that at least one guest is expecting specific dishes because it's T-day. No one expects a specific or traditional dish at other dinner parties.

You're right that at the typical dinner party guests may be asked not to bring anything and it might not be served it they do. But at a typical dinner party the host doesn't deliberately keep the menu secret, so the guest can decide if there will be a problem for them and can decline if necessary.

Also, T-day and other holidays have added pressure for family members to attend a family dinner whether they like the food (and other aspects of the party) or not. IMO, I think that adds pressure and responsibility for the host/ess to serve a meal that is pleasing to others.

As I said I don't really care one way or the other about traditional foods on holidays. As long as it's tasty I'm happy! What doesn't sit right with me is to plan an entire menu based solely on what *I* like and want to cook and eat while knowing that some guests will be disappointed.

NyaChan said: I think that when you host people in general, the point is not to serve yourself but to serve your guests.  I believe that this is especially true at a holiday meal.  To purposefully ambush people with a menu you have been told they won't like is not gracious or hospitable.  Even if they don't say a word or are so blindsided that they don't think to bring the foods they would want to eat on Thanksgiving, are you really going to feel good knowing that people are sitting at your table disappointed about their meal?  I find myself wondering why you want to do this menu on this day?  If you want a chance to try out new dishes, why not have a dinner party on another day that isn't associated with a particular type of menu rather than hijacking this one?  I particularly think that you may want to be careful since this is the first time you are hosting and can set the tone for what sort of hospitality people expect from you.  Do you want to be known as the hostess who just made whatever SHE wanted without a thought for others' wants just because she could?

Just copy/pasting the above, because, as usual, NyaChan said it better than I could.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: sparksals on September 22, 2012, 10:20:05 PM
....

This isn't a dinner OP is hosting for friends, in which case I would be put off by a guest showing up with an addition to the menu. It's a holiday in which sharing dishes is common,

...

I understand that there are traditions, but not everyone has the same traditional meal and not everyone celebrates the holiday by everyone bringing a dish.  I grew up with fully hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners.  We alternated our house/friend's house each year where it was fully hosted.  Friend would not think of bringing something to my mom's dinner and vice versa.  It just wasn't done.   When I do Thanksgiving (and I do mine in October for Canadian Thanksgiving which is a couple weeks away), I fully host.  Completely.  People ask if they can bring a dish, but I politely decline and they accept that.  They bring wine instead which is perfectly fine.
...


You mentioned that it might not be done in other households and explained that in yours it isn't.  But if it isn't done, then people wouldn't ask.   What Sleepykitty suggested was the same thing.  To ask that is.

I was speaking about my mother and her friend who alternated hosting Xmas.    That is what I meant about not being done... in our circle.  Others, I'm sure it is.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sparksals on September 22, 2012, 10:22:21 PM
What bothers me about your menu plan is the sense I get from your OP and in the bolded above. It's seems like your main concern is what you like. Sure you're trying to see to it that some people also like the dishes, but you don't even want people to bring dishes for themselves that they like even though you think it's a concern. That attitude seems off to me.

Your plan may not be rude, but that doesn't mean that it's polite or gracious hosting either.

How is T-Day different to a dinner party on any other day?  So many posters on this forum like to cater entire menus when they have a dinner party, and get shirty when people bring dishes which the host doesn't want.  I find it confusing that there is some exception to this rule for T-Day.


I don't understand that either.
ETA:  I don't know why the bold won't change.  Didn't mean for my response to be bolded.   Can't change it back.   This happens occasionally and always wonder why.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sparksals on September 22, 2012, 10:29:45 PM


How is T-Day different to a dinner party on any other day? 
So many posters on this forum like to cater entire menus when they have a dinner party, and get shirty when people bring dishes which the host doesn't want.  I find it confusing that there is some exception to this rule for T-Day.


I think it's because for many families Thanksgiving is essentially a potluck.  Mom might make the turkey while Grandma brings the pies, Uncle Tony makes the sweet potatoes, Cousin Sue is in charge of drinks, etc.  If you are used to a potluck Thanksgiving you might assume that that is what everyone does.  Not to mention the fact that it cuts down on the "burden" of hosting.  (I don't think of it as a burden but I know many people aren't used to cooking a meal of that magnitude - ie multiple side dishes, multiple desserts etc)

People need to learn and not assume everyone does the same thing.   I don't do potluck Christmas or Thanksgiving at my house.  However, I will ask to bring something to another's home, but accept whatever answer they give.  Essentially, I follow the hostess' lead. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: sourwolf on September 22, 2012, 10:35:25 PM


How is T-Day different to a dinner party on any other day? 
So many posters on this forum like to cater entire menus when they have a dinner party, and get shirty when people bring dishes which the host doesn't want.  I find it confusing that there is some exception to this rule for T-Day.


I think it's because for many families Thanksgiving is essentially a potluck.  Mom might make the turkey while Grandma brings the pies, Uncle Tony makes the sweet potatoes, Cousin Sue is in charge of drinks, etc.  If you are used to a potluck Thanksgiving you might assume that that is what everyone does.  Not to mention the fact that it cuts down on the "burden" of hosting.  (I don't think of it as a burden but I know many people aren't used to cooking a meal of that magnitude - ie multiple side dishes, multiple desserts etc)

People need to learn and not assume everyone does the same thing.   I don't do potluck Christmas or Thanksgiving at my house.  However, I will ask to bring something to another's home, but accept whatever answer they give.  Essentially, I follow the hostess' lead.

Well no, they can assume whatever they want. It's not the assumption that's rude (because really if you've always done something one way it's natural to assume that's how everyone else does it too) it's what comes after that that is important. How else are they supposed to learn? (besides asking Ehell of course!)
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: kareng57 on September 22, 2012, 10:48:12 PM


How is T-Day different to a dinner party on any other day? 
So many posters on this forum like to cater entire menus when they have a dinner party, and get shirty when people bring dishes which the host doesn't want.  I find it confusing that there is some exception to this rule for T-Day.


I think it's because for many families Thanksgiving is essentially a potluck.  Mom might make the turkey while Grandma brings the pies, Uncle Tony makes the sweet potatoes, Cousin Sue is in charge of drinks, etc.  If you are used to a potluck Thanksgiving you might assume that that is what everyone does.  Not to mention the fact that it cuts down on the "burden" of hosting.  (I don't think of it as a burden but I know many people aren't used to cooking a meal of that magnitude - ie multiple side dishes, multiple desserts etc)


That's generally how it was done in both my and late Dh's families.  Usually, the "host" (not really when it's potluck, but the cook at the location) did the turkey and pie, and everyone else divided up the potatoes, vegetables, side-dishes, rolls etc.

I agree with the perception of some PPs that the OP knows that the guests are expecting a "traditional" Thanksgiving dinner, and seems to want to go to lengths to provide something quite different - and I too would wonder why.  Naturally they're within their rights to serve anything that they want to, and only the most boorish guest would complain.  Overall though - if you (general) know that your guests would be expecting certain food items - and you have other recipes that you're eager to serve - why not save those for another dinner party, especially if you enjoy entertaining so much?
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: greencat on September 22, 2012, 11:04:27 PM
Why bring the menu up in a confrontational way?

Just say:
"We're having turkey, potatoes, muffins, salad, cranberry sauce, and veggies, and a pumpkin cake for dessert - and of course, we'd love it if FIL will bring his homemade bread, but we've got everything else taken care of!"

That way, you've got the menu described, you've established what addition is welcome (bread) and what are not (everything else) and you don't have to have a big fuss over it.

It's a lot better to treat things you think might produce a negative reaction like they're completely normal than to present them defensively.

It isn't even accurate to say that you're not making the traditional dishes, because you are - I've seen many variations on turkey preparation (deep fried, cajun-flavored deep fried, smoked, roasted, etc.) a dozen variations on potatoes (one extended family T-day potluck produced EIGHT different potato dishes that I saw!), numerous ways to make stuffing, all sorts of vegetables made all sorts of ways, all kinds of bread, and many assorted cakes and pies.  Ham frequently shows up on my family's Thanksgiving table as well.  Some years, my mother decides that she's bored with turkey and ham and gets a goose.  There isn't just one tradition - there are many.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: kareng57 on September 22, 2012, 11:15:54 PM
Why bring the menu up in a confrontational way?

Just say:
"We're having turkey, potatoes, muffins, salad, cranberry sauce, and veggies, and a pumpkin cake for dessert - and of course, we'd love it if FIL will bring his homemade bread, but we've got everything else taken care of!"

That way, you've got the menu described, you've established what addition is welcome (bread) and what are not (everything else) and you don't have to have a big fuss over it.

It's a lot better to treat things you think might produce a negative reaction like they're completely normal than to present them defensively.

It isn't even accurate to say that you're not making the traditional dishes, because you are - I've seen many variations on turkey preparation (deep fried, cajun-flavored deep fried, smoked, roasted, etc.) a dozen variations on potatoes (one extended family T-day potluck produced EIGHT different potato dishes that I saw!), numerous ways to make stuffing, all sorts of vegetables made all sorts of ways, all kinds of bread, and many assorted cakes and pies.  Ham frequently shows up on my family's Thanksgiving table as well.  Some years, my mother decides that she's bored with turkey and ham and gets a goose.  There isn't just one tradition - there are many.


What you say is true, of course.  However, the impression that I (and some others, I think) get from the OP is that all the guests are expecting pretty much the same traditional items - ordinary roast turkey (which I love personally), bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, green vegetables, and pumpkin or apple pie.  There truly are families who have been eating pretty much the same Thanksgiving or Christmas menu for decades with little variation, and everyone really does love it.  Of course that doesn't mean that no one can ever do anything new, but sometimes small changes can be best, at least in the beginning.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: blarg314 on September 23, 2012, 02:56:10 AM
Honestly? Not really.  The menu sounds great, but not for Thanksgiving.  In my family it's not Thanksgiving if there is no stuffing,  mashed potatoes or pie (apple & pumpkin.)

Same for me.

I think that's where I'd fit.  I'd be too polite to *say* anything, but for me, a turkey is an vessel for producing stuffy, gravy for the mashed potatoes (and later home-made turkey stock).  The pumpkin cake or way of roasting the turkey wouldn't bother me, and the salad sounds wonderful.  The muffins would seem odd to me, because I don't associate muffins with dinner - for me they're a breakfast food or snack.

On the other hand, I've heard people describe 'traditional Thanksgiving dinners their family won't do without' that made me want to gag. Boxed stuffing, gravy from a mix, that noxious green-bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cranberry jelly from a jar.

If I were going to a Thanksgiving dinner that I knew wouldn't be what I would consider a Thanksgiving dinner, I might want enough warning so I could by a turkey quarter or breast to make my own meal later.

A more middle ground might be to provide at least one of traditional stuffing or potatoes (to pour gravy on), and adding a new favourite side dish, like the salad and/or the  muffins.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Seraphine1 on September 23, 2012, 04:58:07 AM
I am curious... what is a pumpkin dump cake?

I've never heard of that before.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: marcel on September 23, 2012, 05:05:20 AM
What always surprises me about thanksgiving is that Americans are fixed in some kind of rut, where not just the menu is "traditional" but the entire preparation method is "traditional"

Traditionally, the focus off a thanksgiving meal is having a sumptuous, homecooked dinner, focused on the seasonal foods. The focus on very specific dishes and preparation methods, as you can see nowadays is not traditional, it is modern.

The OP is making a complete traditional thanksgiving menu, yet some people are saying that it is not "traditional", because her preparation methods are not "traditional".
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: MariaE on September 23, 2012, 06:26:19 AM
What always surprises me about thanksgiving is that Americans are fixed in some kind of rut, where not just the menu is "traditional" but the entire preparation method is "traditional"

I think all countries have meals like that. Go into practically any house in Denmark for dinner on Christmas Eve and you'll see pretty much the same main and the same sides, prepared in pretty much the same way. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: iridaceae on September 23, 2012, 06:56:03 AM
What always surprises me about thanksgiving is that Americans are fixed in some kind of rut, where not just the menu is "traditional" but the entire preparation method is "traditional"

Traditionally, the focus off a thanksgiving meal is having a sumptuous, homecooked dinner, focused on the seasonal foods. The focus on very specific dishes and preparation methods, as you can see nowadays is not traditional, it is modern.

The OP is making a complete traditional thanksgiving menu, yet some people are saying that it is not "traditional", because her preparation methods are not "traditional".
There are some things that people tend to expect on specific occasions. Christmas trees at Christmas. Turkey at Thanksgiving. Candy on Halloween.  Does it matter if the tradition is 50 years old instead of 200 or 1000? Some people also have set ideas of what to eat on specific occasions-just ask any bride or groom who got grief for not having a wedding cake but chose pie or cookies or what have you.


Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: marcel on September 23, 2012, 07:42:21 AM
What always surprises me about thanksgiving is that Americans are fixed in some kind of rut, where not just the menu is "traditional" but the entire preparation method is "traditional"

Traditionally, the focus off a thanksgiving meal is having a sumptuous, homecooked dinner, focused on the seasonal foods. The focus on very specific dishes and preparation methods, as you can see nowadays is not traditional, it is modern.

The OP is making a complete traditional thanksgiving menu, yet some people are saying that it is not "traditional", because her preparation methods are not "traditional".
There are some things that people tend to expect on specific occasions. Christmas trees at Christmas. Turkey at Thanksgiving. Candy on Halloween.  Does it matter if the tradition is 50 years old instead of 200 or 1000? Some people also have set ideas of what to eat on specific occasions-just ask any bride or groom who got grief for not having a wedding cake but chose pie or cookies or what have you.
No, but the thing is that the OP is making a traditional thanksgiving meal, the only thing is that her preparation methods are not traditional enough for some people here.

THe traditional thanksgiving meal does not really exist. It has been changing over the years anyway, the only thing tht exists is the currently most popular thanksgiving meal, and it is people who do things a little bit different, like the OP, who create these continuously happening changes, in so-called traditional meals.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
Post by: Sharnita on September 23, 2012, 08:02:52 AM


How is T-Day different to a dinner party on any other day? 
So many posters on this forum like to cater entire menus when they have a dinner party, and get shirty when people bring dishes which the host doesn't want.  I find it confusing that there is some exception to this rule for T-Day.


I think it's because for many families Thanksgiving is essentially a potluck.  Mom might make the turkey while Grandma brings the pies, Uncle Tony makes the sweet potatoes, Cousin Sue is in charge of drinks, etc.  If you are used to a potluck Thanksgiving you might assume that that is what everyone does.  Not to mention the fact that it cuts down on the "burden" of hosting.  (I don't think of it as a burden but I know many people aren't used to cooking a meal of that magnitude - ie multiple side dishes, multiple desserts etc)

People need to learn and not assume everyone does the same thing.   I don't do potluck Christmas or Thanksgiving at my house.  However, I will ask to bring something to another's home, but accept whatever answer they give.  Essentially, I follow the hostess' lead.

I agree with this but I think that when somebody in the family says they want to host the family Thanksgiving dinner then it is reasonable to expect that things will be done "the same way" to at least some extent.  If a friend invites me to Thanksgiving dinner I am not going to have the same expectations I would have of a sister or brother or even an in-law.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sophia on September 23, 2012, 09:09:16 AM
What always surprises me about thanksgiving is that Americans are fixed in some kind of rut, where not just the menu is "traditional" but the entire preparation method is "traditional"

Traditionally, the focus off a thanksgiving meal is having a sumptuous, homecooked dinner, focused on the seasonal foods. The focus on very specific dishes and preparation methods, as you can see nowadays is not traditional, it is modern.

The OP is making a complete traditional thanksgiving menu, yet some people are saying that it is not "traditional", because her preparation methods are not "traditional".

Well, lots of traditions are fairly recent.  Take wedding traditions for example.  Thanksgiving dinner has been around as long as or longer than wedding dresses being white, attendants all wearing the same dress and engagement rings being diamonds.  Plus, as Americans our history doesn't go as far back so "distant history" isn't so far back. 

But, I really think it isn't so much a matter of certain preparation methods being "traditional".  It is a matter of each family having it's own iron-clad version of the tradition.  The dinner will vary from the neighbors BUT it does not vary much year to year. 

I remember when I was 8 we moved away from family.  T-day is a day to spend with extended family.  At work, Dad knew two other family who had also moved away from their families, and the three families got together.  We had Turkey and every family brought the side dish that the dinner must have.  In our family it is a corn casserole.  Another family had noodles in a cheesy white sauce.  Neither of which is on most people's traditional meal. 

If I were invited and attended a T-day dinner outside my family, I wouldn't expect many particular dishes and certainly wouldn't expect a particular preparation method.  But, at my parents house I would be scandalized if someone added an egg to the corn casserole. 

For the OP, she has some wiggle room from what their parents did, since the dinner is moving to her house.  But, it is a dinner for immediate family, which is why I suggested drifting the tradition to what she wants, rather than abruptly.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: siamesecat2965 on September 23, 2012, 02:07:35 PM
I think it sounds delicious, and would like to know what I can bring, and what time I should be there!!!  that being said, I am very non-traditional, and the only thing I might think if I were invited to someone's house, but wouldn't say out loud, is that I would have loved some mashed potatoes.  But they're easy enough to make so I can make them at home!

Funny story: growing up, and into my 30's, my parents and i SPENT Thanksgtiving with friends, at their house.  We usually didn't have mashed potatoes, which I was ok wiht, but one year, lo and behold, they were on the menu!!  I was so excited, as I love them.  we sit down, and there's this dish with white "stuff" in it.  Turns out the mashed pot. were instant, which I can deal with, but mixed with cheese and baked like a casserole!  which rendered them almost inedible, and like paste.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: rigs32 on September 23, 2012, 02:58:22 PM

The OP is making a complete traditional thanksgiving menu, yet some people are saying that it is not "traditional", because her preparation methods are not "traditional".

This is what I've been thinking as I read this thread.  While I may prefer canned cranberry sauce to homemade, I wouldn't call homemade nontraditional.

I dislike holiday meals because I end up eating meat and maybe one or two of the side dishes.  I am trying to eat paleo and I hate that there are so few green vegetables at most holiday meals.  I brought 2 pounds of brussel sprouts to my SO's holiday meal last year and they were gone in a flash.  Clearly, there's a hole that needs to be filled since there were pounds of potatoes and other starchy dishes leftover but everything green disappeared.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: kckgirl on September 23, 2012, 03:06:55 PM
I dislike holiday meals because I end up eating meat and maybe one or two of the side dishes.  I am trying to eat paleo and I hate that there are so few green vegetables at most holiday meals.  I brought 2 pounds of brussel sprouts to my SO's holiday meal last year and they were gone in a flash.  Clearly, there's a hole that needs to be filled since there were pounds of potatoes and other starchy dishes leftover but everything green disappeared.

That's why my family always has a green tossed salad on Thanksgiving. We love all of our traditional favorites, but we want something green, too.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Saki_Fiz on September 23, 2012, 03:46:22 PM
I thought the OP's menu sounded pretty traditional in a general sense.  To me, getting more specific, you are getting into family traditions rather than general ones.  Going through her menu and comparing it to what I had growing up versus what I do now, most of the components are the same.  Just different recipes and prep:

-Turkey - My family did fairly basic roasting.  But people now fry turkeys, smoke turkeys, grill turkeys, etc.  I usually cook mine in a crock pot to leave my oven available for everything else.  I'm actually going to trying converting the OP's recipe to crockpot

-Potatoes - My family did twice baked potatoes, my husband's family did celery root mashed potatoes.

-Veggie Side Dish - A lot of families do a version of a green bean casserole, but neither my family nor my husband's did.  My family did fresh green beans.  Now I do oven roasted green beans and brussels sprouts. 

Salad - My family did a crudite plate and a relish dish.  (Btw, OP could you post this kale, quinoa, apple salad recipe as well?)

Cranberry Jelly - My family did canned and a raw relish kind.  Now I do it cooked from scratch with pomegranate juice.  And pretty much the only reason I bother is because the leftovers make and excellent Black Friday cocktail when blended with ice and rum.

Stuffing - I grew up with boxed.  My husband grew up with from scratch with sausage.  I think muffins sound like a viable option.

Pumpkin Dessert - Yes, pie is most traditional.  But I also know several people that dislike pumpkin pie, but like other pumpkin baked goods.  And Every year there are more and more pumpkin dessert recipes to try, I don't fault anyone for that.  I do pumpkin cheesecake with ginger snap crust.



OP - I loved the sound of your menu.  But as you can see from the responses here, family food traditions can be very important.  While I would not let your guests change your menu, or bring an entirely different menu with them, I do think letting each branch of family bring a favorite dish (if they want to) would be a great way to keep the peace.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Fleur on September 23, 2012, 04:33:39 PM


I really have to agree with Marcel, up to an extent. I don't agree that the situation is especially American, but I find it odd, in any country, for 'tradition' in a meal to override the courtesy of guest to host, which entails not criticisng the menu.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: BabyMama on September 23, 2012, 05:00:08 PM
I love your menu. What I would do in a situation like this is ask your guests if there's anything they feel is "Thanksgiving," and either make it for them or ask them to bring it. Even a single familiar dish can do wonders, I think. Honestly I hate every Thanksgiving at my in-laws', because in my family, T-day is all about the food, and in DH's family, they really couldn't care less because to them food is food. The first Thanksgiving I spent with them I was soo incredibly disappointed to find that they cook their turkey in a bag, so there would be no delicious crispy skin or homemade gravy (and let's not forget the fact that they always overcook meat.) Last Thanksgiving, my MIL casually mentioned that she wasn't making stuffing, because "nobody really likes it." I like it!! Even if it is the nasty generic Stove Top stuffing topped with gravy in a pouch (which is what it is when she DOES make it) it's what's Thanksgiving to me. They won't allow the "kids" to bring anything except dessert, so I end up making several desserts and filling up on them so it still feels like a holiday to me. Then I go home and make my own Thanksgiving meal, with all the foods I like that are too "hard" for the in-laws to prepare.

Yes. People get all up in arms about holiday food.  ;D
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Venus193 on September 23, 2012, 05:16:48 PM
If this is the first time the OP and her DH are hosting the family for Thanksgiving I don't blame her for not wanting her food to be crowded out by everyone else's.  I applaud her efforts and hope she gives up an update after the holiday.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: jpcher on September 23, 2012, 05:22:25 PM
If this is the first time the OP and her DH are hosting the family for Thanksgiving I don't blame her for not wanting her food to be crowded out by everyone else's.  I applaud her efforts and hope she gives up an update after the holiday.

 ;D


New hosts, new traditions. Ain't nuthin' wrong with that.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: wolfie on September 23, 2012, 05:32:50 PM


I really have to agree with Marcel, up to an extent. I don't agree that the situation is especially American, but I find it odd, in any country, for 'tradition' in a meal to override the courtesy of guest to host, which entails not criticisng the menu.

Noone is saying that the guests are going to take one look at the meal, curse the OP out and leave. But all actions have consequences. The OP could have a very nice meal, everyone eats and seems to enjoy themselves but any time after that that she tries to host a holiday she is turned down because they decided that her way of doing things just don't suit them. If the OP would like to host holidays then she should make sure that her guest won't just be satisfied with the meal, but that it makes them feel like the holiday truly has been celebrated.

It would be no different then if I hosted a dinner party and served foods that my guests didn't like. They could be polite and eat some of it and then fill up on the way home, but i can't complain if they never accept another invitation to my home again.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Vall on September 23, 2012, 05:44:59 PM


I really have to agree with Marcel, up to an extent. I don't agree that the situation is especially American, but I find it odd, in any country, for 'tradition' in a meal to override the courtesy of guest to host, which entails not criticisng the menu.

I agree that guests should not criticize the menu to the host.  That would indeed be rude.  They may be disappointed but they should keep it to themselves (or a private conversation with their spouses).  They can always prepare their personal traditional Thanksgiving foods after they get home to enjoy or they can make and eat them before they leave for the party.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: SamiHami on September 23, 2012, 06:06:50 PM
Chiming in late here, and I haven't read the entire thread, but I personally think the OPs original menu is absolutely wonderful! She's got turkey, potatoes, vegetables, the muffins and other items...it sounds like a lovely Thanksgiving meal to me.

I think trying to accomodate everyone's idea of the perfect traditional Thanksgiving meal is an exercise in futility. Everyone has different ideas about what is traditional. My former SIL never, ever had potatoes for Tday; she grew up having rice. She also never had regular stuffing, but always had an oyster pie. You get enough people insisting that things must be their way and you wind up with wayyyyyyy too many dishes and an exhausted, frustrated and broke hostess. As long as you aren't swapping out the turkey for pizza, I think it's fine for the hosts to offer their version of Thanksgiving.

Oh, and OP, if you still need an idea for a munchie/appetizer, I just tried something the other day that was fantastic and simple! Get some seedless grapes, coat them with soft goat cheese, and roll them in broken up pistachio nuts. They are simple and amazing!
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Shakira on September 23, 2012, 06:44:54 PM
The OP could have a very nice meal, everyone eats and seems to enjoy themselves but any time after that that she tries to host a holiday she is turned down because they decided that her way of doing things just don't suit them.

To be honest, if, after eating my dinner, my parents and in-laws decided not to come to my house for a holiday meal again, that would be ok with me. If having the traditional foods is THAT important to them, I wouldn't want to go to the trouble of cooking for them again anyway. I don't mean to sound snarky about it, but if my guests gave me the choice between dictating my menu or doing it themselves, then I'd rather they do it themselves. That being said, my parents and in-laws are all very gracious and I don't think any of them would do that.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: AstiTheWestie on September 23, 2012, 06:53:03 PM
Personally, I love the menu. I love doing a twist on the so-called "traditional" menu.

But maybe I am missing something ... isn't Thanksgiving about being with the people you love and being, well, thankful? If I was with my loved ones, I wouldn't care if we ate hot dogs. Just as long as we are all together.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: SamiHami on September 23, 2012, 06:54:37 PM
The OP could have a very nice meal, everyone eats and seems to enjoy themselves but any time after that that she tries to host a holiday she is turned down because they decided that her way of doing things just don't suit them.

To be honest, if, after eating my dinner, my parents and in-laws decided not to come to my house for a holiday meal again, that would be ok with me. If having the traditional foods is THAT important to them, I wouldn't want to go to the trouble of cooking for them again anyway. I don't mean to sound snarky about it, but if my guests gave me the choice between dictating my menu or doing it themselves, then I'd rather they do it themselves. That being said, my parents and in-laws are all very gracious and I don't think any of them would do that.

POD. Excellent points in this post.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sharnita on September 23, 2012, 07:43:15 PM
Personally, I love the menu. I love doing a twist on the so-called "traditional" menu.

But maybe I am missing something ... isn't Thanksgiving about being with the people you love and being, well, thankful? If I was with my loved ones, I wouldn't care if we ate hot dogs. Just as long as we are all together.

I think it can be about memories and connections to people who are there as well as people who aren't.  Food  can be a big element of that, particularly when there are familiar/traditional foods.  There are certain foods, made certain ways that will always remind me of people I love - some who I plan to share this Thanksgiving with, some who will not share another Thanksgiving with me.  If I eat those familiar foods it brings the memories back and in some ways the people.  If I celebrated the holiday and was surprised by not having the foods or traditions I could survive but it might feel like more than the food was missing.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: rigs32 on September 23, 2012, 08:14:59 PM
My go to app for non-picky eaters are Greek Salad Bites. 

If you google it, you can easily find the exact recipe, but it's feta, sour cream, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes, and parsley on top of a slice of cucumber.  Some include olives, but I leave them out as I don't care for them.

Usually these are eaten in a flash and I get lots of compliments.  Only once did they not get eaten, but that was at a gathering filled with really picky eaters for whom feta was way too exotic. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: kareng57 on September 23, 2012, 08:17:57 PM
What always surprises me about thanksgiving is that Americans are fixed in some kind of rut, where not just the menu is "traditional" but the entire preparation method is "traditional"

Traditionally, the focus off a thanksgiving meal is having a sumptuous, homecooked dinner, focused on the seasonal foods. The focus on very specific dishes and preparation methods, as you can see nowadays is not traditional, it is modern.

The OP is making a complete traditional thanksgiving menu, yet some people are saying that it is not "traditional", because her preparation methods are not "traditional".
There are some things that people tend to expect on specific occasions. Christmas trees at Christmas. Turkey at Thanksgiving. Candy on Halloween.  Does it matter if the tradition is 50 years old instead of 200 or 1000? Some people also have set ideas of what to eat on specific occasions-just ask any bride or groom who got grief for not having a wedding cake but chose pie or cookies or what have you.
No, but the thing is that the OP is making a traditional thanksgiving meal, the only thing is that her preparation methods are not traditional enough for some people here.

THe traditional thanksgiving meal does not really exist. It has been changing over the years anyway, the only thing tht exists is the currently most popular thanksgiving meal, and it is people who do things a little bit different, like the OP, who create these continuously happening changes, in so-called traditional meals.


It doesn't matter at all whether or not it's traditional enough for "some people here".  The concern was whether or not it would fit in with OP's families' expectations.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sharnita on September 23, 2012, 09:58:33 PM
I think "some people here" are trying to explain their reaction to changes in traditions so that OP might see how family members could possibly react to changes she proposes.  (I think changes in preparation do qualify as significant changes.  You can grind up beef in a burger or serve it in a nice medium rare steak and tell me that it is the same thing except for preparation and I'll tell you to eat the burger)
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Iris on September 23, 2012, 10:53:22 PM
As I mentioned earlier I have no connection to Thanksgiving at all, so no emotional connection to the foods as such. However, from the OP;

"DH is concerned that our menu isn't traditional enough, and that our parents won't like it. I'm of the opinion that it's our house, our grocery bill, and therefore our menu."

This doesn't sound very hospitable to me. The OP's DH is also hosting this and is concerned that the guests won't enjoy the food. If I had DH's parents over and he expressed doubts that they would enjoy the menu I think it would be churlish to come back with "Tough. We're paying so they'll eat what they're given." I would be absolutely within my rights to say that but I would feel that it was disrespectful to both DH as my co-host and an unwelcoming attitude to guests in my house.

It would indeed be very rude indeed for people to complain about the menu and mean spirited to not come back based on a non-traditional menu. But that particular part of the OP just doesn't sit right with me.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: sourwolf on September 23, 2012, 11:01:38 PM
What always surprises me about thanksgiving is that Americans are fixed in some kind of rut, where not just the menu is "traditional" but the entire preparation method is "traditional"

Traditionally, the focus off a thanksgiving meal is having a sumptuous, homecooked dinner, focused on the seasonal foods. The focus on very specific dishes and preparation methods, as you can see nowadays is not traditional, it is modern.

The OP is making a complete traditional thanksgiving menu, yet some people are saying that it is not "traditional", because her preparation methods are not "traditional".
There are some things that people tend to expect on specific occasions. Christmas trees at Christmas. Turkey at Thanksgiving. Candy on Halloween.  Does it matter if the tradition is 50 years old instead of 200 or 1000? Some people also have set ideas of what to eat on specific occasions-just ask any bride or groom who got grief for not having a wedding cake but chose pie or cookies or what have you.
No, but the thing is that the OP is making a traditional thanksgiving meal, the only thing is that her preparation methods are not traditional enough for some people here.

THe traditional thanksgiving meal does not really exist. It has been changing over the years anyway, the only thing tht exists is the currently most popular thanksgiving meal, and it is people who do things a little bit different, like the OP, who create these continuously happening changes, in so-called traditional meals.

I disagree entirely. While there is not a national "traditional meal" I would dare say the majority if families do indeed serve the same Thanksgiving dinner year to year with little variation.  This is what people are referring to when they are talking about a "traditional" Thanksgiving - the meal they are accustomed to having each year.  In my experience dishes may be added to this meal but rarely are they subtracted once they have become part of the tradition.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: NyaChan on September 23, 2012, 11:10:26 PM
As I mentioned earlier I have no connection to Thanksgiving at all, so no emotional connection to the foods as such. However, from the OP;

"DH is concerned that our menu isn't traditional enough, and that our parents won't like it. I'm of the opinion that it's our house, our grocery bill, and therefore our menu."

This doesn't sound very hospitable to me. The OP's DH is also hosting this and is concerned that the guests won't enjoy the food. If I had DH's parents over and he expressed doubts that they would enjoy the menu I think it would be churlish to come back with "Tough. We're paying so they'll eat what they're given." I would be absolutely within my rights to say that but I would feel that it was disrespectful to both DH as my co-host and an unwelcoming attitude to guests in my house.

It would indeed be very rude indeed for people to complain about the menu and mean spirited to not come back based on a non-traditional menu. But that particular part of the OP just doesn't sit right with me.

This is what gave me a negative reaction as well - it isn't the menu itself, as who knows, maybe the parents could sit down at that table and be really excited (I would be even though I'd miss some dishes I'm used too & really I don't think it is all that untraditional).  But the attitude of my money, my house, my preferences trumping the enjoyment of the guests is not what I consider to be hospitable. 

I think I feel strongly about it, because there is such an emphasis in my culture (and others I am sure) to treat the comfort of your guests as the most important thing.  Having people over is considered an honor for us and we were always taught to do whatever you could to properly see to a guest's comfort and enjoyment of the food even if it meant that you as a host had to go without.  Granted that goes both ways though as it is expected that guests will be gracious in return :)  So yeah, you can serve anything you like, and they absolutely shouldn't say anything.  But personally, I would give people a heads up if I were in this position and change things  on the list if I got the sense that they weren't looking forward to the different menu.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: kareng57 on September 23, 2012, 11:24:47 PM
I think "some people here" are trying to explain their reaction to changes in traditions so that OP might see how family members could possibly react to changes she proposes.  (I think changes in preparation do qualify as significant changes.  You can grind up beef in a burger or serve it in a nice medium rare steak and tell me that it is the same thing except for preparation and I'll tell you to eat the burger)


Yes, and I agree with that, completely.  My point was that it really doesn't matter whether or not people here would like the menu.  OP's partner was concerned that the guests might not find it traditional enough - and that's what matters.

I realise that some folks here would never prepare a dish that they didn't like, simply to satisfy guests.  Of course that's their decision, but it does happen.  I used to prepare a jellied-salad dish for Thanksgiving that many guests liked (actually, I'd have gagged if I had to eat it - and the guests who liked it have since departed...).  My sister still prepares a baked sweet-potato-and-marshmallow bake for either Thanksgiving or Christmas because the ILs like it.  Same thing.  Naturally it's not rude to refuse to prepare a dish that you (general) don't like, but sometimes you just do it because you know others will enjoy it.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sharnita on September 23, 2012, 11:28:39 PM
I think "some people here" are trying to explain their reaction to changes in traditions so that OP might see how family members could possibly react to changes she proposes.  (I think changes in preparation do qualify as significant changes.  You can grind up beef in a burger or serve it in a nice medium rare steak and tell me that it is the same thing except for preparation and I'll tell you to eat the burger)


Yes, and I agree with that, completely.  My point was that it really doesn't matter whether or not people here would like the menu.  OP's partner was concerned that the guests might not find it traditional enough - and that's what matters.

I realise that some folks here would never prepare a dish that they didn't like, simply to satisfy guests.  Of course that's their decision, but it does happen.  I used to prepare a jellied-salad dish for Thanksgiving that many guests liked (actually, I'd have gagged if I had to eat it - and the guests who liked it have since departed...).  My sister still prepares a baked sweet-potato-and-marshmallow bake for either Thanksgiving or Christmas because the ILs like it.  Same thing.  Naturally it's not rude to refuse to prepare a dish that you (general) don't like, but sometimes you just do it because you know others will enjoy it.

I agree - now if they insisted you eat it then their expectations would beyond the pale. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: snowdragon on September 24, 2012, 01:02:01 AM
I think it sounds great, but I could not eat some of it with out knowing what's in it and if I could not eat it, what do I do then? Not eat on Thanksgiving? I would like advance notice and the option to bring things I could eat to supplement what I can't. Sorry to be a party pooper.
   
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: AustenFan on September 24, 2012, 01:25:00 AM
I think it sounds great, but I could not eat some of it with out knowing what's in it and if I could not eat it, what do I do then? Not eat on Thanksgiving? I would like advance notice and the option to bring things I could eat to supplement what I can't. Sorry to be a party pooper. 

What would you do at a normal dinner party? In your case I don't think this is a problem limited to Thanksgiving.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: AstiTheWestie on September 24, 2012, 07:18:02 AM
"I think it can be about memories and connections to people who are there as well as people who aren't.  Food  can be a big element of that, particularly when there are familiar/traditional foods.  There are certain foods, made certain ways that will always remind me of people I love - some who I plan to share this Thanksgiving with, some who will not share another Thanksgiving with me.  If I eat those familiar foods it brings the memories back and in some ways the people.  If I celebrated the holiday and was surprised by not having the foods or traditions I could survive but it might feel like more than the food was missing."

Excellent point. Food is very powerful that way!
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 24, 2012, 07:41:14 AM
As I mentioned earlier I have no connection to Thanksgiving at all, so no emotional connection to the foods as such. However, from the OP;

"DH is concerned that our menu isn't traditional enough, and that our parents won't like it. I'm of the opinion that it's our house, our grocery bill, and therefore our menu."

This doesn't sound very hospitable to me. The OP's DH is also hosting this and is concerned that the guests won't enjoy the food. If I had DH's parents over and he expressed doubts that they would enjoy the menu I think it would be churlish to come back with "Tough. We're paying so they'll eat what they're given." I would be absolutely within my rights to say that but I would feel that it was disrespectful to both DH as my co-host and an unwelcoming attitude to guests in my house.

It would indeed be very rude indeed for people to complain about the menu and mean spirited to not come back based on a non-traditional menu. But that particular part of the OP just doesn't sit right with me.

Thank you Iris.  You stated my exact feelings about the original post.  While I think the menu covers the flavors of a traditional thanksgiving and most guests would be happy with it, it was the dismissal of her DH's concerns that sounded ungracious to me. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: snowdragon on September 24, 2012, 01:10:06 PM
I think it sounds great, but I could not eat some of it with out knowing what's in it and if I could not eat it, what do I do then? Not eat on Thanksgiving? I would like advance notice and the option to bring things I could eat to supplement what I can't. Sorry to be a party pooper. 

What would you do at a normal dinner party? In your case I don't think this is a problem limited to Thanksgiving.

  I don't normally eat at places where they won't tell me if the foods will set off an allergy or two.  Holidays are really different than normal days in that they are usually with family who should understand allergies. And they are more tricky to decline than normal dinner parties.
That whole "it's a holiday and its family" adds a whole other dimension to the mess. But, if I don't find out what's in stuff before hand or be allowed to bring my own - I would not go, no matter what day it is. I'd rather spend a holiday alone than spend it in the hospital or worse. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Roe on September 24, 2012, 02:13:27 PM
As I mentioned earlier I have no connection to Thanksgiving at all, so no emotional connection to the foods as such. However, from the OP;

"DH is concerned that our menu isn't traditional enough, and that our parents won't like it. I'm of the opinion that it's our house, our grocery bill, and therefore our menu."

This doesn't sound very hospitable to me. The OP's DH is also hosting this and is concerned that the guests won't enjoy the food. If I had DH's parents over and he expressed doubts that they would enjoy the menu I think it would be churlish to come back with "Tough. We're paying so they'll eat what they're given." I would be absolutely within my rights to say that but I would feel that it was disrespectful to both DH as my co-host and an unwelcoming attitude to guests in my house.

It would indeed be very rude indeed for people to complain about the menu and mean spirited to not come back based on a non-traditional menu. But that particular part of the OP just doesn't sit right with me.


Pod, pod, pod!  I've been reading the thread and couldn't really explain why I felt negatively about what the OP wrote.  It wasn't the lack of traditional food on the menu.  But then Iris stated it perfectly!  And I do think that's what others might be reacting to as well. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Fleur on September 24, 2012, 04:31:09 PM
The OP could have a very nice meal, everyone eats and seems to enjoy themselves but any time after that that she tries to host a holiday she is turned down because they decided that her way of doing things just don't suit them.

To be honest, if, after eating my dinner, my parents and in-laws decided not to come to my house for a holiday meal again, that would be ok with me. If having the traditional foods is THAT important to them, I wouldn't want to go to the trouble of cooking for them again anyway. I don't mean to sound snarky about it, but if my guests gave me the choice between dictating my menu or doing it themselves, then I'd rather they do it themselves. That being said, my parents and in-laws are all very gracious and I don't think any of them would do that.

That would be my feeling as well. I also POD SamiHami and Vall.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Giggity on September 24, 2012, 04:40:19 PM
I just can't get my mind around the concept of being outright disappointed in good food. But then, I don't think turkey and gravy and stuffing are just for Thanksgiving.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sharnita on September 24, 2012, 04:54:54 PM
I just can't get my mind around the concept of being outright disappointed in good food. But then, I don't think turkey and gravy and stuffing are just for Thanksgiving.

When my dad was young turkey wasn't easily available at other times of the year - it was a luxury that you had at Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Vall on September 24, 2012, 05:18:59 PM
I just can't get my mind around the concept of being outright disappointed in good food. But then, I don't think turkey and gravy and stuffing are just for Thanksgiving.

It isn't only about the taste of the food.  It's about the memories that are attached to eating specific dishes every year on a specific day.  It is about memories of loved ones who may no longer be with us.  When I make baked corn for Christmas using my grandmother's Mennonite cookbook, it is special because not only does it taste great but it is a connection to my grandmother, my mom, their Mennonite lifestyle and all of those happy childhood memories of Christmases past.

With a world that is always changing around me, I find comfort in traditional foods on holidays.  It isn't just about the taste of the particular item.  Any meal can taste good but that doesn't mean that it will have the deep connection to the past that a traditional holiday meal has for me.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: MrsJWine on September 24, 2012, 05:25:39 PM
I think the OP's solution sounds good.

I just can't get my mind around the concept of being outright disappointed in good food. But then, I don't think turkey and gravy and stuffing are just for Thanksgiving.

But most traditions are kind of stupid all by themselves. If you think about it, it's pretty weird to get excited over plastering a dead/plastic tree with multicolored, often clashing globes that leave foot-shredding shards everywhere if you step on them by accident. It's pretty weird to leave cookies and milk out for an imaginary elf who sneaks down your chimney. It's pretty weird to send children out in costume to knock on strangers' doors and beg for candy. But to many, many people, these are a central part of certain holidays. We don't look down our noses on that, so why is it different for particular foods on a food-centric holiday?

Very few traditions make any sense at all if they're taken out of context. But long-held family traditions are still very near and dear to most people. I just think it's uncool to say, "I'll host Thanksgiving for the family!" and then intentionally cut out several of the things that have always been a part of family Thanksgiving. The OP's menu sounds fantastic. But her family's traditions should be respected if she's hosting a family holiday.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sapphire on September 25, 2012, 03:59:41 AM
I am in the UK, so we don't have Thanksgiving, however, I would equate this to Christmas - you are not just hosting any old dinner, but a traditional one. I remember being bitterly disappointed one Christmas with my ex-MIL when she stated that as there was so much in the meal, she didn't think we needed any gravy - I love my gravy, and it meant the meal for me was not as nice - of course, I didn't say anything.

Since then, whenever I have hosted Christmas for someone new, I have always asked them if there is anything traditional to them that means Christmas is not Christmas without it. My current MIL likes Branston Pickle with her turkey - I would never have thought of that but am apply to serve it. My parents and sister adore bread sauce - which I hate the look of, but I make it for them.

OP, I think your menu looks lovely, but perhaps you could go to both sets of parents and ask them if there is anything traditional that make a Thanksgiving meal for them, and you could include it as well? I know, for example, that your DH said that his parents may be disappointed with no mashed potato - maybe he is saying that is one of their traditions, but doesn't want to push you too much. I am a cook from scratch person and hate boxed mash with a passion, but for a meal such as this, if someone said they felt it was traditional for them, I would make some up and add it to the table.

I hope you have a lovely time and enjoy hosting your first Thanksgiving and many more to come - I know I love hosting Christmas  :)
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Margo on September 25, 2012, 05:18:23 AM
I am in the UK, so we don't have Thanksgiving, however, I would equate this to Christmas - you are not just hosting any old dinner, but a traditional one. I remember being bitterly disappointed one Christmas with my ex-MIL when she stated that as there was so much in the meal, she didn't think we needed any gravy - I love my gravy, and it meant the meal for me was not as nice - of course, I didn't say anything.

Since then, whenever I have hosted Christmas for someone new, I have always asked them if there is anything traditional to them that means Christmas is not Christmas without it. My current MIL likes Branston Pickle with her turkey - I would never have thought of that but am apply to serve it. My parents and sister adore bread sauce - which I hate the look of, but I make it for them.

OP, I think your menu looks lovely, but perhaps you could go to both sets of parents and ask them if there is anything traditional that make a Thanksgiving meal for them, and you could include it as well? I know, for example, that your DH said that his parents may be disappointed with no mashed potato - maybe he is saying that is one of their traditions, but doesn't want to push you too much. I am a cook from scratch person and hate boxed mash with a passion, but for a meal such as this, if someone said they felt it was traditional for them, I would make some up and add it to the table.

I hope you have a lovely time and enjoy hosting your first Thanksgiving and many more to come - I know I love hosting Christmas  :)

POD. I think your menu sounds fantastic, and of course you can serve whatever you like, but you're aiming for a fun  family get-together, as well as a delicious and balanced meal, aren't you. I personally would go down the route of asking whether there is anything which absolutely *must* be on the table for it to be a *proper* Thanksgiving, rather than telling eveyone the entire menu (which I think runs the risk of being seenas you asking for suggestions, negotiation etc!), then see if you can add that item to your men.

I wouldn't substitute anything but consider whetehr it would be practical to do some of the potatoes roasted and some as mash, for instance, if mash is an important part of thanksgiving dinner for DH's family. 

Re: Starter - would itbe possible to ask your guests to bring something, so they feel included? Maybe FiL could make olive bread, or something like that, which could be eaten as a starter rather than as part of  the main meal?
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: KenveeB on September 25, 2012, 07:24:42 AM
I also don't see the point in saying "oh, there's too much of X" or "we don't need X and Y" for Thanksgiving meal. For a regular meal, sure, but the whole point of Thanksgiving is that it's a feast! Who cares if there's stuffing muffins and bread, or rosemary potatoes and mashed? Everyone will take what they like, and leftovers are practically mandatory for Thanksgiving. :)  OP's menu sounds lovely, but I would let the other people attending know about the menu and see if there are any traditional foods that they really want included. Thanksgiving is the one meal above all that I would say the more the merrier, and who cares if there's extra?
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: jpcher on September 25, 2012, 07:34:48 PM
Personally, I love the menu. I love doing a twist on the so-called "traditional" menu.

But maybe I am missing something ... isn't Thanksgiving about being with the people you love and being, well, thankful? If I was with my loved ones, I wouldn't care if we ate hot dogs. Just as long as we are all together.

POD! ditty-pod-pod-pod!!!

Anybody could cook up their own "traditional" Thanksgiving meal at any time during the year.

Why is eating a certain thing on a certain date all so important?



I served cornish hens, glazed in orange sauce with white-castle stuffing in July, then made wild rice soup with the leftovers. The DDs looked at me and said "It's not Christmas." I said "I know. But why do we only have to have this only on Christmas?"



If it comes down to a certain meal (do.not.miss.the.boxed.mashed.potatoes!) served on a certain date being more important than spending the time with my loved ones, then, I'm sorry. I strongly disagree with the dissenters.

I'd rather eat hot-dogs with my relatives on Thanksgiving before I'd complain about what a caring/thoughtful/generous hostess is serving at a loving family get-together.



Yes. I've read the entire thread. I just don't get it.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: magician5 on September 25, 2012, 08:35:42 PM
There's more than enough about your menu that fits into the definition of "traditional." It's not the exact, unchangeable dishes, IMO, but the array of flavors and the way they fit their traditional places in the meal (wouldn't want cranberry dring and cornbread dessert, for instance).

You have turkey, potatoes, winter root vegetables, cornbread stuffing (actually dressing if you want to be technical), familiar cranberry jelly, and pumpkin dessert, plus an intriguing salad (possibly too intriguing for tradition-lovers, go back to a few leaves of mixed greens with just a bare touch of dressing). What else could you need to hit all the usual flavor notes? Let your FIL bring his bread, it'll get eaten.

Also, please send me directions to your house, it sounds more interesting than the tiny spread we're down to in our diminishing household!
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Dindrane on September 25, 2012, 09:09:50 PM
The OP could have a very nice meal, everyone eats and seems to enjoy themselves but any time after that that she tries to host a holiday she is turned down because they decided that her way of doing things just don't suit them.

To be honest, if, after eating my dinner, my parents and in-laws decided not to come to my house for a holiday meal again, that would be ok with me. If having the traditional foods is THAT important to them, I wouldn't want to go to the trouble of cooking for them again anyway. I don't mean to sound snarky about it, but if my guests gave me the choice between dictating my menu or doing it themselves, then I'd rather they do it themselves. That being said, my parents and in-laws are all very gracious and I don't think any of them would do that.

How is it dictating your menu if a guest politely eats your food, thanks you, and leaves? Not accepting future invitations is not dictating your menu -- it's the way polite people respond to experiences they did not enjoy. It's only dictating your menu if they tell you what to make as a condition of their acceptance. It's only rude to decline future invitations if they tell you it's because you made the worst Thanksgiving dinner they've ever had.

In addition to that, it is entirely possible for the food you prepare to be excellent and delicious, but the overall experience to still be lacking. That is the point I have seen in many other posts up to now -- for a holiday with very food-centered traditions, it doesn't always matter how delicious the food is if it's too far off from tradition.

Ultimately, everyone is confronted at least occasionally with a choice between the traditions they want to have and the people they want to see at the holidays, because sometimes the two are mutually exclusive. Everyone makes that choice differently, depending upon the circumstances, and sometimes having to make that choice is unavoidable.

But it seems rather impolitic to me to actually create a situation where a person will have to choose between seeing you or maintaining their family traditions. If you know that their traditions are in line with your own (and in this case, that their tastes coincide with yours), then you likely won't create such a situation in the first place. But if, as your husband seems to be saying, their traditions and/or tastes might be different from and possibly incompatible with yours, rigidity will not encourage them to choose you over their traditions, nor will it endear you to them in general. A little flexibility can go a long way towards family harmony.

As an aside, my husband grew up in a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving. He has lived in the US (and celebrated the holiday) for 6 years now, 5 of them with me. The holiday we celebrate will probably always look very similar to the way I have always celebrated it, because he didn't come into this relationship with existing traditions. But that doesn't mean he hasn't formed them since then.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: kareng57 on September 25, 2012, 09:45:16 PM
The OP could have a very nice meal, everyone eats and seems to enjoy themselves but any time after that that she tries to host a holiday she is turned down because they decided that her way of doing things just don't suit them.

To be honest, if, after eating my dinner, my parents and in-laws decided not to come to my house for a holiday meal again, that would be ok with me. If having the traditional foods is THAT important to them, I wouldn't want to go to the trouble of cooking for them again anyway. I don't mean to sound snarky about it, but if my guests gave me the choice between dictating my menu or doing it themselves, then I'd rather they do it themselves. That being said, my parents and in-laws are all very gracious and I don't think any of them would do that.

How is it dictating your menu if a guest politely eats your food, thanks you, and leaves? Not accepting future invitations is not dictating your menu -- it's the way polite people respond to experiences they did not enjoy. It's only dictating your menu if they tell you what to make as a condition of their acceptance. It's only rude to decline future invitations if they tell you it's because you made the worst Thanksgiving dinner they've ever had.

In addition to that, it is entirely possible for the food you prepare to be excellent and delicious, but the overall experience to still be lacking. That is the point I have seen in many other posts up to now -- for a holiday with very food-centered traditions, it doesn't always matter how delicious the food is if it's too far off from tradition.

Ultimately, everyone is confronted at least occasionally with a choice between the traditions they want to have and the people they want to see at the holidays, because sometimes the two are mutually exclusive. Everyone makes that choice differently, depending upon the circumstances, and sometimes having to make that choice is unavoidable.

But it seems rather impolitic to me to actually create a situation where a person will have to choose between seeing you or maintaining their family traditions. If you know that their traditions are in line with your own (and in this case, that their tastes coincide with yours), then you likely won't create such a situation in the first place. But if, as your husband seems to be saying, their traditions and/or tastes might be different from and possibly incompatible with yours, rigidity will not encourage them to choose you over their traditions, nor will it endear you to them in general. A little flexibility can go a long way towards family harmony.

As an aside, my husband grew up in a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving. He has lived in the US (and celebrated the holiday) for 6 years now, 5 of them with me. The holiday we celebrate will probably always look very similar to the way I have always celebrated it, because he didn't come into this relationship with existing traditions. But that doesn't mean he hasn't formed them since then.


Agree.  Not liking some things that were included is hardly "dictating the menu".  And I think attitude/presentation is a major component.  If the idea is "don't you think this is much nicer than the ordinary Thanksgiving dinners that you've been consuming up until now?" it might not get a great reaction as opposed to "we thought we'd try something a bit different this year".

Of course the OP and her husband are free to do what they like - for this and all future dinners.  I do think it was borderline-rude to tell FIL to leave his favourite bread at home - but I believe that they've reconsidered that (not sure, this thread has gotten so long).
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: wolfie on September 25, 2012, 10:30:10 PM

If it comes down to a certain meal (do.not.miss.the.boxed.mashed.potatoes!) served on a certain date being more important than spending the time with my loved ones, then, I'm sorry. I strongly disagree with the dissenters.


I don't need a certain meal on a certain date to spend time with my loved ones. I spend time with my loved ones throughout the entire year and to me Thanksgiving is a day off of work and a day to eat turkey, stuffing, gravy and sides and not feel bad for eating more then I should. If it came down to it I would be fine with spending Thanksgiving on my own and seeing my family the weekend before or after to sometime later in the month. If the only way someone will celebrate a holiday with me is their way and my comfort be damned then I would rather stay home and visit on a day that is not full of expectations.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Venus193 on September 26, 2012, 07:20:35 AM
My family's Thanksgiving celebrations were not so fixed that the OP's menu would bother me.  My aunt varied the vegetables from year to year, always had both standard types of cranberry, and occasionally varied the stuffing.  My uncle -- the baker -- always had apple pie and pumpkin pie (nobody liked mince, so he stopped that one after the first time).

Brunhilde experiments with stuffing and yam recipes, so things are not always exactly the same year to year. I make the sugar-free cranberry sauces and the pumpkin pie.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on September 26, 2012, 07:26:56 AM
It still sounds like a Thanksgiving menu so I think you're in the clear. I don't think you have to serve specific dishes. I think it should at least generally look like a Thanksgiving dinner, but it does. If you were serving lasagne, I think it would be worth reconsidering because that is not a Thanksgiving dinner. But turkey, potatoes, and cranberries make a Thanksgiving dinner, and you aren't expected to recreate what they would have cooked.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Venus193 on September 26, 2012, 10:42:55 AM
It still sounds like a Thanksgiving menu so I think you're in the clear. I don't think you have to serve specific dishes. I think it should at least generally look like a Thanksgiving dinner, but it does. If you were serving lasagne, I think it would be worth reconsidering because that is not a Thanksgiving dinner. But turkey, potatoes, and cranberries make a Thanksgiving dinner, and you aren't expected to recreate what they would have cooked.

You've never been to an Italian family's Thanksgiving.  They pull out all the stops on everything and it's like three feasts in one.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Thipu1 on September 26, 2012, 10:44:34 AM
Tradition is relative. 

Among some Italian families in the US, lasagna IS a traditional part of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  The dish is served in the early part of the meal and the turkey shows up later.  An outsider needs the stamina of a marathoner to get through one of these amazing, four-hour feasts.  In fact, where I lived as a child, lasagna was only made for festive occasions because the cheeses were more expensive than a turkey. 

SIL is of Chinese heritage and lives in Wisconsin.  At her house, Thanksgiving includes white rice, wild rice, mashed potatoes AND stuffing.  she also likes to put hot peppers in everything including the mashed potatoes although she's toned that down over the years. 

The OP's menu sounds lovely but a day after Thanksgiving turkey sandwich is NOT a proper meal without stuffing and cranberry sauce in it. 


Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: KenveeB on September 26, 2012, 01:20:07 PM
But it seems rather impolitic to me to actually create a situation where a person will have to choose between seeing you or maintaining their family traditions. If you know that their traditions are in line with your own (and in this case, that their tastes coincide with yours), then you likely won't create such a situation in the first place. But if, as your husband seems to be saying, their traditions and/or tastes might be different from and possibly incompatible with yours, rigidity will not encourage them to choose you over their traditions, nor will it endear you to them in general. A little flexibility can go a long way towards family harmony.

Agreed. It wasn't the OP's menu that bothered me, it was the attitude (thankfully changed in later posts) that she was doing it only the way that SHE wanted to without regard for anyone else's traditions and preferences. Serving your awesome menu but also allowing MIL's mashed potatoes and FIL's bread -- no matter how much you personally dislike them or think they're unnecessary -- makes everyone happy. Family's about combining many different perspectives, not just doing what one person wants.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Maude on September 26, 2012, 04:59:18 PM
Dump the pumpkin dump cake and make a tiramasu.

Mashed potato with turkey??? Yuk!
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on September 26, 2012, 06:23:26 PM
LOL. Good point about Italian-American families including a lasagne :)

I meant a lasagne in lieu of a regular Thanksgiving dinner, but that hadn't occurred to me. I did go to Thanksgiving with a Turkish-American family and have baklava join the dessert table, though.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Venus193 on September 26, 2012, 07:40:42 PM
There was a story on the local cable news two years ago about a Sikh family establishing Thanksgiving traditions:

http://www.ny1.com/content/129552/queens-immigrants-spice-up-thanksgiving-traditions

I'd love to try their turkey recipe!
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Allyson on September 27, 2012, 02:36:49 AM
I think it's one thing if you absolutely know that there is one dish that, to your whole family, absolutely makes the holiday. But once it starts getting more complex than that..well, look at the wide variety of particular items people even here in this thread absolutely desire for their 'ideal' Thanksgiving or Christmas. Are you supposed to ask every person what it is that 'makes' the holiday and make sure they get it? That would be awesome, but not really practical once you get past two or three people.

If you have a gathering with people from different families, probably at least one of them would go home disappointed by that standard. Even if you serve the requisite mashed potatoes, some won't like it because it's not the way they remember it. I do get that food traditions are about memories and feeling connected, not just 'I want my mashed potatoes'. But it seems that traditions are becoming far less universal, so *someone* is likely to be unhappy with *some* aspect of what you've done.

To my mind, the OP *has* incorporated pretty much all the Thanksgiving staples. And doing them 'traditionally' by one standard might not be traditional by another anyway. It wouldn't have occurred to me til this thread that the way things were prepared was considered that universal that it 'wouldn't be Thanksigiving'. Like others have said..I do think if she invited her family over and sprung on them a traditional Italian or Chinese meal, that would be a bit of a shock. But this just doesn't seem that different to me.   
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: KenveeB on September 27, 2012, 07:32:26 AM
I think it's one thing if you absolutely know that there is one dish that, to your whole family, absolutely makes the holiday. But once it starts getting more complex than that..well, look at the wide variety of particular items people even here in this thread absolutely desire for their 'ideal' Thanksgiving or Christmas. Are you supposed to ask every person what it is that 'makes' the holiday and make sure they get it? That would be awesome, but not really practical once you get past two or three people.

It varies a lot in this thread, yes, but not really that much between families. My brother and I would probably answer about the same, even if we wouldn't have the same answer to some random person in this thread. And honestly, the only guests are her parents, his parents, and SIL. Even if each one of them brings the one item that "makes" it for them, that's not much additional. That's assuming no overlap at all, which would be unusual with only two families. Besides, OP doesn't have to take a poll -- she knows from the very beginning that her ILs will want mashed potatoes and FIL's bread. She's not even being asked to make it, just to allow them to bring it or at least give them the heads up that it won't be there. That doesn't seem like a burden.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: katycoo on September 27, 2012, 06:52:06 PM
I am finding the attitudes in this thread highly amusing.

There seems to be quite a bit of: "OP - Thanksgiving is a traditional meal.  Its not all about what YOU want. You have to consider what your GUESTS want.  After all, I wouldn't go to any Thanksgiving dinner if the host didn't give a crap about what MY preferences."

Take the selfishness from one person and transfer it to another.  Why not just try something different?

Personally, I think the OP's menu sounded fantastic.  And from what I hear, pretty 'traditional'.  IMO, potatoes are potatoes. How does serving them differently ruin anything?
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Betelnut on September 27, 2012, 07:13:07 PM


Personally, I think the OP's menu sounded fantastic.  And from what I hear, pretty 'traditional'.  IMO, potatoes are potatoes. How does serving them differently ruin anything?

Mashed potatoes are very different from roasted potatoes.  Both are delicious, of course, but they are as different as hamburger is from brisket.

The OP's menu DOES sound good.  I would still sort of look around for the stuffing and potatoes though. Those two things are what I consider Thanksgiving standards.  Thanksgiving wouldn't be "ruined" because the potatoes aren't mashed but I would feel a bit of selfish, "Waaah!!  Where's the mashed potatoes!  I want, I want, I want!"  Never to be spoken aloud, of course.

I often go to my Aunt and Uncle's house for Thanksgiving.  I really, really don't like their "stuffing" (which is dressing I guess since it was never in the turkey.)  But just because I find big hunks of bread and bigger pieces of celery gross doesn't mean that I won't go back since I love the company.  But I still wish they had "real" stuffing!
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sharnita on September 27, 2012, 07:31:42 PM
Katycoo, nobody is suggesting that OP not have what she wants also. I think the point it doesn't have to be a situation where you get the food you or or get the food I want.but we both.get the food we want.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: KenveeB on September 27, 2012, 07:34:39 PM
Katycoo, nobody is suggesting that OP not have what she wants also. I think the point it doesn't have to be a situation where you get the food you or or get the food I want.but we both.get the food we want.

Pod! How will letting FIL bring some bread and MIL have her mashed potatoes affect things for OP? She still serves her menu and doesn't have to have any of the extra stuff if she doesn't want it.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: rose red on September 27, 2012, 07:58:02 PM
I am reminded of the Friends Thanksgiving episode where Monica made a different potato dish for each friend, and a whole different meal for Chandler who doesn't eat Thanksgiving food.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: katycoo on September 27, 2012, 09:23:26 PM
Katycoo, nobody is suggesting that OP not have what she wants also. I think the point it doesn't have to be a situation where you get the food you or or get the food I want.but we both.get the food we want.

Pod! How will letting FIL bring some bread and MIL have her mashed potatoes affect things for OP? She still serves her menu and doesn't have to have any of the extra stuff if she doesn't want it.

I suppose because there's a point at where the situation become ludicrous.

OP wants to try champagne turkey, but XX loves and always has Other Turkey Recipe. And YY the in-law only likes Turkey Roll cause that's what he grew up with in his household.

OP wants to try roast potatos but WW thinks its just not the same without Mash.

Fresh beans v bean casserole.  Sweet potato pie with brown sugar and marshmallows cause we always have it with a single serving of a different one for grandma the diabetic. Apple pie and pumpkin pie and cake.

You've have multiple versions of everything, the cost would triple, and so would the wastage.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sharnita on September 27, 2012, 09:28:27 PM
but OP is talking about not letting them bring it so it would be their cost and their waste to worry about.  nobody would be asking her to buy anything more than she was initially willing to buy
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: katycoo on September 27, 2012, 10:06:19 PM
Only partially.  The OP must cater as though everyone will wish to taste each of her dishes, so that in the event that turns out to be the case, there is enough for everyone.  This despite being the likely reality that everyone won't try all of her dishes, she has no idea which ones will be popular.

This goes for the other guests.  Its still supplying food when you can assume 50% of it will be wasted.  You just can't predict what 50% to know where to downsize.  I don't mind spending money on people, but it hurts more when I know its somewhat being wasted.

Not to mention double the number of dishes to fit on the table, or in the oven etc...
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Venus193 on September 28, 2012, 06:17:00 AM
There would also be the risk that the other guests might go for the familiar rather than eat the OP's meal.  I have never prepared a full Thanksgiving meal for a family situation but I would be insulted if all the guests decided they would bring something to compete with what I prepared.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 28, 2012, 08:40:51 AM
Off topic
After reading posts in this thread yesterday, I dreamed of Thanksgiving dinner last night.  In my dream, on Thanksgiving morning I realized the turkey was only 10 pounds, not the 15 pounder I thought I'd bought.  So DD and I decide to run to the store for a second turkey but when we get there, the only non-frozen ones are like 30 pounds... they are literally like 4ft x 3ft big and the butcher department guy is trying to convince me that I can cook it in under 4 hours.  Luckily they find another 8 pounder and I take it but then get behing idiot shoppers in the self checkout lanes that don't know how to use the machines.  My alarm went off around then... and I woke up really hungry this morning and am craving cornbread dressing. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Shoo on September 28, 2012, 10:14:22 AM
Only partially.  The OP must cater as though everyone will wish to taste each of her dishes, so that in the event that turns out to be the case, there is enough for everyone.  This despite being the likely reality that everyone won't try all of her dishes, she has no idea which ones will be popular.

This goes for the other guests.  Its still supplying food when you can assume 50% of it will be wasted.  You just can't predict what 50% to know where to downsize.  I don't mind spending money on people, but it hurts more when I know its somewhat being wasted.

Not to mention double the number of dishes to fit on the table, or in the oven etc...

It's Thanksgiving!  It's *supposed* to be a feast, with lots of leftovers and a table crammed with many dishes.  At least, that's how it is in my family.  :) 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: sourwolf on September 28, 2012, 10:23:34 AM
Only partially.  The OP must cater as though everyone will wish to taste each of her dishes, so that in the event that turns out to be the case, there is enough for everyone.  This despite being the likely reality that everyone won't try all of her dishes, she has no idea which ones will be popular.

This goes for the other guests.  Its still supplying food when you can assume 50% of it will be wasted.  You just can't predict what 50% to know where to downsize.  I don't mind spending money on people, but it hurts more when I know its somewhat being wasted.

Not to mention double the number of dishes to fit on the table, or in the oven etc...

It's Thanksgiving!  It's *supposed* to be a feast, with lots of leftovers and a table crammed with many dishes.  At least, that's how it is in my family.  :)

Not only that but if the In Laws are bringing the potatoes and bread and nothing else, I don't understand how that is doubling the number of dishes to fit on the table/in the oven? Presumably the bread will already be baked so really all it is is one pot of potatoes on the stove.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Dorrie78 on September 28, 2012, 02:03:48 PM
The OPs menu sounds like there are parts of it I would like, but I would go home after and cook myself an entire Thanksgiving dinner on Friday or Saturday and enjoy leftovers all week. Thanksgiving *must* have mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy for me. I wouldn't say anything to the host for changing this traditional meal so much, but I would not accept another invitation to Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I am so grateful that the dinner I go to each year follows our family's traditions. It is comforting and a relaxing day. I do make the mashed potatoes and gravy, but that is because the host thinks I do it better than she does.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: mbbored on September 28, 2012, 08:43:25 PM
OP, I think it comes down to knowing your audience, in this case, your families. Clearly there are posters who would eat your dinner with no problem while there are others who would be disappointed by not having their favorite dishes. If you'd like, run the menu by your families, at the very least asking "How would you feel if there weren't mashed potatoes at dinner?"
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: camlan on September 29, 2012, 09:28:44 AM
First of all, I have to admit that since reading the OP, I have made rosemary roasted potatoes and a huge batch of roasted vegetables, because they sounded so good, I couldn't wait until a holiday to eat them. So I think the OP's planned menu is quite delicious.

However, I'm wondering if the real point of contention is that the menu, while it has most of the traditional foods, has almost none of the traditional preparation methods. I think it's the amount of difference between the standard, traditional fare and the OP's menu that would cause issues.

We've changed holiday traditions in my family, but we've changed them slowly, a little bit at a time. Eliminating so many traditional dishes at once would cause an uproar with some of my family. Changing them one dish a year, giving people a chance to have input, would work more smoothly. We usually have one "experimental" dish each year at Thanksgiving (last year, it was the green bean casserole, because we'd never, ever had it). We all try it. At some point before the next holiday, we decide if we want to have the experiment again. In the case of the green bean casserole, we decided before leaving the dinner table that none of us liked it and it would not be a repeat.

My brother usually puts some surprise ingredient in the stuffing and we spend half the meal trying to figure out what the heck it is. We've vetoed some of them, like pretzels, but have allowed him to continue with others.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Fleur on October 02, 2012, 02:04:01 PM


I'm sorry, but I still think that bringing outside food to a dinner, even a family one, is rude. It smacks of 'your dinner isn't good enough, let me bring some REAL food.' I would be seething if someone did that to me, and I would not want them back again.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: violinp on October 02, 2012, 02:30:45 PM


I'm sorry, but I still think that bringing outside food to a dinner, even a family one, is rude. It smacks of 'your dinner isn't good enough, let me bring some REAL food.' I would be seething if someone did that to me, and I would not want them back again.

If a family (or any other group) has decided on a semi - potluck meal, it's not rude. Now, if a guest brought a dish when not asked and/or given the okay to do so by the host, that would be rude. My mom cannot make a pie to save her life, so my grandma brings over her pecan pie and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Fleur on October 02, 2012, 02:36:45 PM


I'm sorry, but I still think that bringing outside food to a dinner, even a family one, is rude. It smacks of 'your dinner isn't good enough, let me bring some REAL food.' I would be seething if someone did that to me, and I would not want them back again.

If a family (or any other group) has decided on a semi - potluck meal, it's not rude. Now, if a guest brought a dish when not asked and/or given the okay to do so by the host, that would be rude. My mom cannot make a pie to save her life, so my grandma brings over her pecan pie and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.
Oh, if it's prearranged, that's fine. I do see what you mean. I'm talking about a situation like the OP (unless I've misunderstood it) where someone sets a menu, and a lot of people start briniging subtle or not-so subtle pressure to bear. 'Oh, what about the mashed potatoes?'.'I think champagne Turkey sounds odd, let me bring a ham as well'. That kind of thing. I realise that the situation in the OP was not as bad as that, but I still come down on 'my house, my menu' overall.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: sourwolf on October 02, 2012, 03:05:28 PM


I'm sorry, but I still think that bringing outside food to a dinner, even a family one, is rude. It smacks of 'your dinner isn't good enough, let me bring some REAL food.' I would be seething if someone did that to me, and I would not want them back again.

If a family (or any other group) has decided on a semi - potluck meal, it's not rude. Now, if a guest brought a dish when not asked and/or given the okay to do so by the host, that would be rude. My mom cannot make a pie to save her life, so my grandma brings over her pecan pie and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.
Oh, if it's prearranged, that's fine. I do see what you mean. I'm talking about a situation like the OP (unless I've misunderstood it) where someone sets a menu, and a lot of people start briniging subtle or not-so subtle pressure to bear. 'Oh, what about the mashed potatoes?'.'I think champagne Turkey sounds odd, let me bring a ham as well'. That kind of thing. I realise that the situation in the OP was not as bad as that, but I still come down on 'my house, my menu' overall.

I think you misunderstood it.  It was the OP's husband who said that the parents would miss the potatoes and Ehellions who suggested that she offer that they could bring mashed potatoes if they want to.  She hasn't discussed it with them at all, although she has decided
I will let my FIL bring the bread, since that is his tradition and I do like it.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Fleur on October 02, 2012, 03:10:56 PM


I'm sorry, but I still think that bringing outside food to a dinner, even a family one, is rude. It smacks of 'your dinner isn't good enough, let me bring some REAL food.' I would be seething if someone did that to me, and I would not want them back again.

If a family (or any other group) has decided on a semi - potluck meal, it's not rude. Now, if a guest brought a dish when not asked and/or given the okay to do so by the host, that would be rude. My mom cannot make a pie to save her life, so my grandma brings over her pecan pie and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.
Oh, if it's prearranged, that's fine. I do see what you mean. I'm talking about a situation like the OP (unless I've misunderstood it) where someone sets a menu, and a lot of people start briniging subtle or not-so subtle pressure to bear. 'Oh, what about the mashed potatoes?'.'I think champagne Turkey sounds odd, let me bring a ham as well'. That kind of thing. I realise that the situation in the OP was not as bad as that, but I still come down on 'my house, my menu' overall.

I think you misunderstood it.  It was the OP's husband who said that the parents would miss the potatoes and Ehellions who suggested that she offer that they could bring mashed potatoes if they want to.  She hasn't discussed it with them at all, although she has decided
I will let my FIL bring the bread, since that is his tradition and I do like it.

Ah, that makes sense. I still wouldn't be thrilled, but at least that isn't rude.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sharnita on October 02, 2012, 10:09:39 PM
Actually, he is the host as well - why should her wishes trump his?
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: katycoo on October 02, 2012, 10:43:09 PM
Actually, he is the host as well - why should her wishes trump his?

Because she's performing the labour.  If her DH wants some sway, he can help.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: KenveeB on October 02, 2012, 11:15:51 PM
Actually, he is the host as well - why should her wishes trump his?

Because she's performing the labour.  If her DH wants some sway, he can help.

It's a little sexist to assume he isn't. The OP says "we are hosting" and refers to "our menu", not "I'm doing everything and DH is sniping from the sides." He's co-hosting, and he's at least involved enough in the planning that he knows the planned dishes two months out and is voicing opinions on it. He's as entitled to his opinions about the menu as she is.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: katycoo on October 02, 2012, 11:38:22 PM
Actually, he is the host as well - why should her wishes trump his?

Because she's performing the labour.  If her DH wants some sway, he can help.

It's a little sexist to assume he isn't. The OP says "we are hosting" and refers to "our menu", not "I'm doing everything and DH is sniping from the sides." He's co-hosting, and he's at least involved enough in the planning that he knows the planned dishes two months out and is voicing opinions on it. He's as entitled to his opinions about the menu as she is.

Nothing sexist about it.  My assumption is based on the fact that no mention of anyone other than herself doing the cooking/prep was made in the OP.  I remain of the general opinon that the person undertaking the labour gets final say on the menu.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: KenveeB on October 03, 2012, 07:27:46 AM
Actually, he is the host as well - why should her wishes trump his?

Because she's performing the labour.  If her DH wants some sway, he can help.

It's a little sexist to assume he isn't. The OP says "we are hosting" and refers to "our menu", not "I'm doing everything and DH is sniping from the sides." He's co-hosting, and he's at least involved enough in the planning that he knows the planned dishes two months out and is voicing opinions on it. He's as entitled to his opinions about the menu as she is.

Nothing sexist about it.  My assumption is based on the fact that no mention of anyone other than herself doing the cooking/prep was made in the OP.  I remain of the general opinon that the person undertaking the labour gets final say on the menu.

There's no mention of cooking or prep in the OP, so by that token we're just as free to assume that the maid is doing it all and should get final say. OP says "we're hosting" and "here is our menu." All of the wording is inclusive of herself and DH. It's two months until Thanksgiving -- exactly what cooking or prep should DH be doing right now to deserve a say?
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Sharnita on October 03, 2012, 09:27:11 AM
Actually, I believe there was mention of others bringing items, at lezt the bread and her initial opposition to that.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 03, 2012, 09:28:10 AM
Actually, he is the host as well - why should her wishes trump his?

Because she's performing the labour.  If her DH wants some sway, he can help.

It's a little sexist to assume he isn't. The OP says "we are hosting" and refers to "our menu", not "I'm doing everything and DH is sniping from the sides." He's co-hosting, and he's at least involved enough in the planning that he knows the planned dishes two months out and is voicing opinions on it. He's as entitled to his opinions about the menu as she is.

Nothing sexist about it.  My assumption is based on the fact that no mention of anyone other than herself doing the cooking/prep was made in the OP.  I remain of the general opinon that the person undertaking the labour gets final say on the menu.

I disagree that hosting duties only include cooking and prep.  I do 90% of the food preparation for our gatherings.  But DH helps with getting the house clean, all the yard work in preparation, helping set up the tables, making sure garage stored extra chairs are clean and ready, handles letting and purchasing the wine and then does the fast majority of the clean up.  Just because I'm cooking doesn't make him less of a host or diminish his input into the menu. 
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Dindrane on October 03, 2012, 09:50:59 AM
Plus, even if one spouse is doing the bulk of the cooking and food preparation, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to ignore reservations expressed by the other spouse about how it will go over with his family.

There definitely comes a time when the person preparing the food gets to make the decisions, but two months before a holiday when the menu is still in the planning stages is not that time.

If it were me, the only reason I'd ignore my husband's thoughts about what his family would think that far in advance is if I fundamentally didn't care what his family thought. His opinions might not ultimately have any affect on what I end up planning to cook, but that far in advance, I would at least give them due consideration.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: bopper on October 03, 2012, 09:54:39 AM
Chiming in...I think it best to do a mix of traditional and new.  Have DH let you know a couple of "must haves"for thanksgiving and then make interesting versions of the rest.
Title: Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
Post by: Giggity on October 03, 2012, 08:22:27 PM


I'm sorry, but I still think that bringing outside food to a dinner, even a family one, is rude. It smacks of 'your dinner isn't good enough, let me bring some REAL food.' I would be seething if someone did that to me, and I would not want them back again.

If a family (or any other group) has decided on a semi - potluck meal, it's not rude. Now, if a guest brought a dish when not asked and/or given the okay to do so by the host, that would be rude. My mom cannot make a pie to save her life, so my grandma brings over her pecan pie and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

But that is not the situation in this post.