Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: Minmom3 on September 26, 2012, 02:57:10 PM

Title: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Minmom3 on September 26, 2012, 02:57:10 PM
Reading a few threads about food, and holiday planning, and realizing that many of us have strongly held convictions about what is a Proper Thanksgiving Meal - which can vary by region and family...  1-Where are you from?  2-What does your family eat?  3-Do they solicit contributions to the meal in some way (come and help cook or bring it from your house and add to the groaning board) or do they forbid them?  4-How does your family handle new additions in both people and the food we/they expect???? 

The ongoing threads about the meal made me think, and made me nosy!  So, I'll start.

1 - Born and bred in California (my side).  Born and partially raised in Nebraska (DH's side) with very different food sensibilities! Moved to California as a child.

2 - My family ate: Chicken and clam consomme,  crab cocktail in a red sauce, brussels sprouts steamed and sauteed in butter in the pan, (some starch I just cannot recall, may have been potatoes), a green salad, roasted and stuffed turkey, canned cranberry jelly, and a pumpkin pie from Gourmet magazine that is to die for...  With whipped cream on top.  Didn't change much over the years, Mom always cooked it.  Stuffings did vary by the year, some were great, some were ghastly.

     DH's family - Green leafy salad, green jello/sherbet 'salad', long grain & wild rice, scratch mashed potatoes [use a ricer], many different bread stuffings, roasted turkey (canned cranberry jelly) OR prime rib (horse radish sauce), pies - pumpkin (store bought), apple (store or homemade), many other kinds (home made).

  After our marriage, we generally ate at the IL's, and invited my mother.

3 - Mom's family NEVER allowed any food to be brought by attendees, Mom always did it all herself.  Help not wanted except later with dishes. Small family, max at table was maybe 5 people.

     DH's family - all food appreciated, even if not eaten by most.  Also, MIL (much bigger family all around, so organization was a must) got up at dawn with youngest BIL and stuffed the turkey (made the night before) and got the bird in the oven.  DH made the mashed potatoes.  Somebody else did the veg.  MIL did the gravy, from scratch, with pan juices.  Pies were bought by IL's, or made and brought by various folks - I always made my pumpkin, and apple, other people made other stuff.  (one year we had 8 pies for 26 people!)  All pies a la mode, or with whipped cream.  DH's sister made the green jello thing.  Family friend always brought the green leafy salad.  All people coming to eat contributed in some fashion - either rearranging furniture to allow multiple tables to be butted together, or a food dish, or if all else failed, they were part of the KP crew after the meal, and the kitchen was clean when we all went to bed.  No dirty dishes left for the next morning.

4 - Mom's family - attendees were always and ONLY family.  Friends never invited.  No new food allowed.  (Mom's kinda rigid...)

     DH's family - family, any stray co-workers and friends who had no place else to go - very open table at that house. Head count varied from high teens to high twenties before we all married and had children.  I think the highest count was 32 one year.  Everybody brought either food, labor or wine in the door with them.  New foods always at least superficially welcome, even if given dubious glances ON the table and only grudgingly tasted.

What does/did your family do?  And if I put this in the wrong folder, MODS please feel free to relocate it!  :)
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Shoo on September 26, 2012, 03:10:35 PM
I make Thanksgiving dinner for my little family in almost exactly the same way my mother made it.  We have roasted turkey stuffed with sage dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, home made cranberry sauce, home made creamed corn, marshmallow sweet potatoes, black olives, dinner rolls, and pumpkin pie for dessert.  Those are the core dishes.  If we are hosting others, they are free to bring anything else that they like.

And I really like some of the dishes other people have brought.  But it wouldn't be Thanksgiving dinner to me without the foods I grew up with.

ETA:  Born and raised in the PNW and still living here.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Judah on September 26, 2012, 03:26:07 PM
1.   Born and bred in California, both of us.
2.   Dinner* consists of



3.   I almost always host Thanksgiving dinner and the only food I allow others to bring is the green bean casserole, because I refuse to make it; any pie, except lemon meringue; and wine. When I host, I host.
4.   Everyone is welcome with advanced notice.  We usually count on a crowd of at least 25, but any family member with a friend with nowhere to go is welcome, as long as I know about it in advance.  No one brings extra food except as noted above. 
*Everything except the green bean casserole and cranberry jelly is made from scratch. And, yes, our dinner is dessert heavy.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: camlan on September 26, 2012, 03:33:09 PM
My family's from Boston, but because of the military, we lived all over the place.

For Thanksgiving, Dad was in charge of the turkey and stuffing. He'd put bread out to get stale a few days ahead of time, and the night before, we'd all help breaking it into little pieces for the stuffing. Dad would mix the stuffing according to his secret recipe the night before. He'd get up very, very early to stuff the turkey and put it in the oven--we usually had a 20-25 pound turkey if it was just the nine of us. If there were a lot of guests (like the year half my brother's college fraternity came) there'd be two turkeys.

We always had a cheese ball and crackers as an appetizer. We still do, we just add Doritos to the mix these days (after everyone decided that hey, if Thanksgiving is about eating, and eating your favorite foods, why are we not eating Doritos?).

Then we always had mashed potatoes, green beans (not the green bean casserole), carrots, corn, and sweet potatoes with marshmallow, which no one ate but Mom. Cranberry sauce and gravy, of course. Rolls and butter. The relish tray with olives, sweet gherkins, celery with cream cheese stuffing and paprika sprinkled on top. Dessert was always pecan pie, with either an apple pie or a pumpkin pie in addition. Plus tons of different homemade cookies. Plus vanilla ice cream for the pie.

Dinner was always at noon. Supper would be make-your-own turkey sandwiches sometime around 8 pm.

Dad would spend the day after Thanksgiving taking all the meat off the bird, and then making soup with the carcass.

After Mom died, one SIL sort of took over all the holidays. She experimented with pumpkin soups and stuffed mushrooms and pineapple in odd dishes, that sort of thing. They were nice, but as an addition to the usual feast, not instead of it. Now that she is an ex-SIL, we're back to pretty much the standard menu. We experiment a little bit--garlic mashed potatoes, for example. Last year, just for the heck of it, we tried the green bean casserole. We didn't like it enough to repeat it.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: SamiHami on September 26, 2012, 03:40:23 PM
Raised all over the place; military brat. Parents from upstate NY though. It's mostly been family only, but there have been times that we've invited others to join us (boyfriends/girlfriends of mine and my brothers, a random friend, etc). When my DB and I grew up and established our own households we would all contribute to the meal. A typical meal for us was:

Turkey (of course!)
Mashed potatoes
Sometimes wild rice casserole
Corn
Green beans (sometimes made into a casserole)
Mom's really, really awful dressing (I'm gluten free now, so I don't have to eat it!)
Deviled eggs
cheese/olive tray
Canned cranberry sauce
Banana bread
Nut bread
Pumpkin Pie/pecan pie/apple pie with ice cream

When my EXSIL would cook we always had white rice and she would make an oyster pie. When I've cooked I try to mix it up a little; one year I had a turducken, another I had a deep fried turkey. I also will experiment with different sides and/or desserts.

At my ILs, we always had the turkey, we also had mashed potatoes, dressing, a green salad, wine, sweet potatoes and carrots cooked together and cranberries.

Don't know what it'll be like this year. IL's are gone now, brother is divorced, mom had a stroke last year (and was a horrible cook before the stroke, worse now!) and I'm unemployed so can't afford to host myself. No one's mentioned it yet so I'm not sure what the plan will be, but we'll work it out and I'm sure it will be nice.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: cattlekid on September 26, 2012, 04:33:21 PM
I was born in Illinois, raised in both Illinois and Pennsylvania and now live in Illinois again.

When we were in PA, it was just my immediate family as we were a thousand miles away from our closest relatives.  So we would always have the same menu....turkey with bread stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for dessert with homemade whipped cream.

Now that I'm back in IL, before my grandfather passed on Thanksgiving in 2007, we used to have a big get together with all of my relatives on my mom's side.  Grandma would make the turkey and stuffing and everyone else was assigned side dishes or dessert.  Someone would always bring mashed potatoes, pies and deviled eggs, but other than that, we were all over the place.  I usually tried to bring some sort of green salad so it wasn't carbs only LOL

Now that Grandpa has passed, Thanksgiving is low key.  We now go out for Thanksgiving, and whomever wants to do so comes back to Grandma's house afterwards and helps set up the Christmas tree and whatever other little chores she needs assistance with.  We then usually have Grandma's famous chicken and noodles for dinner....my cousin (who normally eats NOTHING) and I fight over the last bowlful.   ;D
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on September 26, 2012, 05:02:24 PM
Let's see.

Me- Born in VA, raised in Maryland, we  always celebrated Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family, which is rather large since my dad is one of seven and his cousins usually came around too.  Grandpa would make the turkey which my mother said was dry but I never really noticed. Isn't that what gravy is for?  We had the usual dinner with sides. Sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce (which honestly I haven't cared for too much) with rolls and butter.  Umm, what else? I feel like I'm forgetting something. Oh yes! Stuffing! :):)  For dessert there were usually pies and ice cream. 

The day after we'd usually have turkey sandwiches. :)

DH- Born and raised in Maryland, his family get together means most of the same dishes, only the green beans are boiled with bits of bacon rather than cooked in a casserole and the sweet potatoes were cooked with brown sugar but not made into a casserole.  Other than that the side dishes are about the same.  Each year we take turns with the turkey.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Jones on September 26, 2012, 05:20:28 PM
Utah.
Growing up we had the basics: turkey stuffed with veggies, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, cheesy potatoes, corn, green beans (NOT the casserole, just the beans), squash, green salad, three types of rolls, deviled eggs, jello. The big feature was always desert; I think the record on my paternal grandparents' side was 33 pies one year. That number has dropped as we all started finding out we share an intolerance to gluten (thanks, grandpa) and the fact that GF flour is pricier than regular.

As people married into the family things got added. Some stuck, some did not. Stuffing, sweet potatoes, cheese balls all were hits that stuck around. Cranberry sauce came along after I hit adulthood, but I don't think I've ever seen more than a couple people partake of that after we all tried it the first time. My DH and SIL (who both married into the family) shake their heads over the fact none of us like cranberry sauce.

DH's family is similar in menu but much, much smaller in quantity and variety. When DH and I lived in New Mexico we'd do our own Thanksgiving with Jean. We focused on having a small turkey, mashed taters, stuffing, variety of veggies, sweet potatoes, and one or two pies. We'd eat leftovers all weekend. I hate to admit it but...those Thanksgivings were perfect. I might ask him if we can do our own this year too and avoid the drama of picking a family to eat with (My paternal grandparents, my parents, his grandmother or his mother....that's 4 dinners to pick from, and hurt feelings from whoever we don't visit).
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: #borecore on September 26, 2012, 05:55:31 PM
My family is from Michigan, but we lived in Texas most of my life. Michigan Thanksgivings were huge affairs with card tables, dining tables, picnic tables set up in every room for my mom's huge family. Texas Thanksgivings alternated between family plus 2-3 guests and huge gatherings with family friends that wrapped around the house.

Since moving out, I've gone back home for the big gathering years a few times, had a vegan-pescetarian feast one year, a pizza party one year, a small traditional meal with ex and his mom, a make-your-own gourmet pizza thing with ex and my family, a huge vegan (plus a turkey!) potluck, and more work "Thanksgivings" than I care to count, potluck style (plus catered meat and rolls, usually).

Our family always, always had:

Stuffing, green bean casserole, green salad and a vegetarian entree were pretty standard. Family friends always had this really saucy green salad with pecans and bacon, a cornbread stuffing, and pecan and chocolate pies. Cheese, veggie, fruit, cracker, chip, sausage and sweets trays were around the house before the meal,  along with lots of dips.

When I'm making food for a potluck Thanksgiving, I always make fresh, gingery cranberry sauce and garlic mashed potatoes. Usually a spicy black bean and corn vegan casserole, too, so there's hearty fare for the people avoiding meat.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: camlan on September 26, 2012, 06:15:54 PM
1.   Born and bred in California, both of us.
2.   Dinner* consists of

  • a.   various appetizers,
    b.   roasted turkey,
    c.   stuffing and dressing,
    d.    canned cranberry jelly as well as homemade cranberry sauce,
    e.   Homemade rolls,
    f.   Green bean casserole,
    g.   Garden salad,
    h.   Gravy,
    i.   Mashed potatoes
    j.   wine
    k.   Pumpkin tiramisu
    l.   Pumpkin pie
    m.   Lemon meringue pie
    n.   Apple pie
    o.   What we lovingly refer to as cookie pie, but it’s actually the old Ritz cracker recipe Mock Apple pie


3.   I almost always host Thanksgiving dinner and the only food I allow others to bring is the green bean casserole, because I refuse to make it; any pie, except lemon meringue; and wine. When I host, I host.
4.   Everyone is welcome with advanced notice.  We usually count on a crowd of at least 25, but any family member with a friend with nowhere to go is welcome, as long as I know about it in advance.  No one brings extra food except as noted above. 
*Everything except the green bean casserole and cranberry jelly is made from scratch. And, yes, our dinner is dessert heavy.

I am glad to see there is a family that takes the dessert side of Thanksgiving even more seriously then my family does.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Zilla on September 26, 2012, 06:41:28 PM
My parents divorced when I was a baby.  So I had to shuffle to two houses for Thanksgiving.  And both were very different.   I lived in Miami primarily.


My mom is American and had the typical plain roasted turkey with gravy and stuffing.  Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, roasted asparagus, pea salad and rolls.  Pumpkin pies for dessert.


My dad is Spanish and we always had a mojo roasted pork shoulder and a mojo roasted turkey.  Yuca in garlic sauce, rice and black beans and red beans, plaintains, tostones, loads of fresh cuban breads with tons of cuban pastelitos.  And for dessert, flan.


I hated the american fare and much preferred the flavorful spanish foods. :D  Now my family prefers Spanish (dh is also Spanish) so we do the Spanish foods minus the turkey since we don't like turkey. 
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: demarco on September 26, 2012, 08:23:33 PM
To answer part of your question, I am originally from Massachusetts and am a hard core traditionalist when it comes to the Thanksgiving menu. (I posted it in Coffee Break so I won't repeat it here.) The rule in my house is you can add stuff but cannot leave out anything from the basic menu nor can you materially change a recipe. The latter point  is routinely summarized in my home with the phrase "don't [mess] with the cranberries!"
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Acadianna on September 26, 2012, 08:48:06 PM
We're originally from New Orleans, but have lived in Austin, TX., for the last twenty-five years.  Our traditional T-day dinner is mainly the usual stuff ...

Appetizers (cheese, pate, champagne)
Roast turkey
Stuffing (made fairly traditionally)
Rice dressing (a Louisiana tradition in my family) -- some people call this "dirty rice."
Homemade cranberry sauce
Green bean casserole
Sweet potato casserole (my husband loves it)
Caesar salad (my sister's recipe for the dressing)
Gravy
Bread (usually French bread, not homemade -- I'm not a good bread baker)
Wine
Pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream

Our wonderful PTA gives each teacher a pie, so we usually have a second kind of pie available -- blackberry, if I can snag one for my DH.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Kiara on September 27, 2012, 10:23:45 AM
1. Born, raised, and live in Maryland.  When I was little we went to the grandparents' house and my mom's mother cooked.  (And she was SUCH a good cook.  Everything from scratch.  Including the pies.)  In college and after I travelled to my parent's house.  Now, after having 4 grandparents get sick and pass away in November, we started eating out and we love it.  My mom always hated cooking....was "6 hours of work for 30 minutes of eating."

2. Always traditional stuff.  Highlights from my grandmas were the pies and the sausage dressing.  Now we go to Mimi's Cafe and get turkey, mashed potatoes, mashed maple sweet potatoes (which I replace with a second helping of regular), steamed veggies, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.  My mom always bakes a pumpkin pie, and they buy me a sugar free one.

Then the weekend after, they come to my house for pizza and we set up my 20 gazillion Christmas decorations.   ;D

3.  My grandmother would have had a fit if we brought anything.  Or if we helped.  Lord knows we tried, and eventually we managed to shoo her out of the kitchen long enough to wash the dishes.  Same with my mom, although it was always my job to set the table.  Still is.  :) 

4.  Hasn't been an issue, since I'm an only child and single.  My parents are pretty easygoing, so I don't think changing things would be a problem. 
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Specky on September 29, 2012, 09:41:41 AM
North Carolinian married to a Kansan, living in the Southeast.  Both of us grew up on traditional Thanksgiving fare:  roasted turkey, cranberries (from scratch), stuffing, potatoes, pumpkin pie, something green (never green bean casserole).  We just have our family (us and our two kids) for Thanksgiving.  We talk and decide what we want to have.  Sometimes, we do traditional foods, but no set menu--it is whatever each of us says we want.  Sometimes, we do something totally different like grilled salmon and a mess of different vegetable dishes.  We try to stay ritual free.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: mbbored on September 29, 2012, 11:05:12 AM
North Carolinian here. Growing up we did turkey, wild rice, Stove Top, rolls, green bean casserole,  cranberry sauce from a can, and pumpkin pie from Libby's can in a Pillsbury crust. But I became vegetarian in middle school, so no turkey for me, just lots of carbs.

During college and a few years after, I spent Thanksgiving with a boyfriend's Louisiana family who ate a catered meal with lots of Cajun dishes, including oyster dressing, stuffed mirliton, and caponata.

Since then I've moved out to California. I spent the first two years at cocktail parties in San Francisco, a year at an orphan Thanksgiving where we had corned beef and cabbage (a separate pot of boiled veggies for me!), and one when my family came to visit, where our center piece was a mushroom tart.

This year, I'll be hosting potluck orphan Thanksgiving with an international guest list. Most of us are vegetarian, and the rest are from non-meat centric cultures, so it's going to be all vegetarian. Among other things, I will be contributing green bean casserole (entirely from canned foods) and pumpkin pie (from scratch, with a homegrown pumpkin.)
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Valentines Mommy on September 29, 2012, 11:25:33 AM
While the traditional elements are on my table, since papa died 15 years ago, my family makes different things. Sometimes it's just a turkey, others we have ham or prime rib too. The green bean casserole never made it to my table until I married DH. But I make everything in it from scratch; Cook's Illustrated has a great recipe.

Our tradition is thanksgiving will be dessert centric. And some type of mashed potato is a must. We've done skin on, garlic, milk and mustard cooked, bacon and chive, the list could go on.

ETA: born in Louisville, raised in Arizona, living in Houston. So if a Deep South- Mexican-Cajun holiday meal works for you, there's always room for more at my house.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: dietcokeofevil on September 30, 2012, 10:51:22 AM
I always have at least 2 Thanksgiving meals a year, sometimes 3.

My immediate family gets together on Thanksgiving - around 10-12 people.  Sometimes we'll have a few extras join us.  Hosting varies each year.   We used to rotate, but things pop up and stuff, so I've hosted the last 3 years or so.  Not a big deal, I find Thanksgiving dinner one of the easiest to fix.  Everyone brings something to contribute, but the host does the majority of the cooking.  The food is always similar, but the preparation might be different.  For example, last year I made bourbon mashed sweet potatoes instead of with brown sugar and marshmallows.  We usually have both turkey and ham.  My family isn't that big on turkey, so I wouldn't be surprised if steaks became our meat of choice in the future.   We always have a big variety of side dishes and desserts, although pumpkin pie is always included.  Almost all the food is homemade.

Then we always have Thanksgiving dinner with my husbands immediate family, 10 of us now, but 3 are 5 and under.   We rotate between our house and Dh's brothers house.  MIL used to be part of the rotation, but she's just not that good of cook and she doesn't have dishes and stuff for everything.  Again everyone contributes no matter whose house it's at.  The menu is pretty set: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, tolls, pumpkin pie.  We'll make another dessert and a couple other sides that vary.

Then some years we'll also do Thanksgiving with my mother's extended family.  There'll be 20-25 people then.  Everyone brings food and there's just tons of things to choose from.

Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: baba on September 30, 2012, 01:52:11 PM
Born and raised in Chicago.  Now live in Dallas.  We have the same menu every year - roast turkey with the "family" stuffing (P. Farm bread stuffing), mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, asparagus, pumpkin pie, apple pie, something chocolate, deviled eggs and other assorted appetizers.  Once we ordered a  deep fried turkey and we all liked it, but agreed that we loved the smell of the turkey roasting in the oven and permeating the house more.  This is the same menu my mother and grandmother used.  Sometimess I will make green bean casserole for my son-in-law, who grew up with it.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: violinp on September 30, 2012, 02:21:50 PM
Born and raised in the South. We always have a huge turkey (12+ pounds for 6 people), mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread dressing, deviled eggs, creamed corn, oyster chowder, cranberry jelly/jam, and a choice of pumpkin or pecan pie for dessert. Man, I'm getting hungry thinking about it!
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: readingchick on September 30, 2012, 02:52:41 PM
Born, raised, and live in Indiana. In my mother's family (14-17 people depending on which year it is), we do Thanksgiving semi-potluck: my aunt (who has hosted for as long as I can remember) is in charge of the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, cheeseball and desserts, with everyone else bringing a side dish (dressing, noodles, red cabbage, the infamous green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, layered salad, corn, cranberry fluff, deviled eggs and whatever else strikes someone's fancy) and my SO bringing the alcohol. We've started using disposable plates though which is good (in years past it's been ceramic plates).
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Dindrane on October 01, 2012, 12:42:26 AM
I was born and raised in Texas, but live in the PNW now. My husband was born overseas, and so didn't celebrate Thanksgiving until about 6 years ago. :)

My family always had a big, traditional, pot-luck style gathering. There were some constants in the meal, but it was mostly a product of specific people taking on the dishes they liked best and then more or less making them the same way. My grandparents mostly hosted until my grandfather died, and then my aunts and uncles started taking turns. Whoever hosted did the turkey, and whatever sides they would have made anyway.

Now that I live rather far from home, DH and I have our own Thanksgiving. It's basically the same as the one I grew up with (albeit much smaller), although we have tailored all my favorite dishes to suit both our tastes and DH has had some influence on what we eat. I never actually had cranberry sauce with my turkey until he started buying the canned stuff for his. Now I've decided I like it, and will probably see about making our own from scratch this year. I also brine my turkey, which I'm pretty certain nobody else in my family does (and which is why I never cared particularly for turkey until I started making it myself...).

There would usually be anywhere from 15-30 people at my family's Thanksgiving. Guests were sometimes invited, particularly when people were in college in the general area and had friends who didn't go home for the holiday. They were certainly always welcome, in any case. As I mentioned, food was always and is still pot luck within the family. Now that my generation is all grown up, the grandkids will often bring a dish or a bottle of wine, although it's still not really expected. Because it's always been pot luck, food is always subject to change, although it never changes all that much. People preserve their favorite dishes by taking them over a lot of the time, so that way everybody gets to just bring what they like the most.

The biggest changes to the holiday, I think, are all of us growing up and a number of us moving away. The out of town cousins (myself included) do not often travel back for Thanksgiving. I've never been back myself, largely because I think it's the worst holiday to travel for. If I'm going to go home for a holiday, I'd much rather go home for Christmas -- I get more time off, the travel itself seems easier, and I miss being with family more at that time of year. Plus, I rather like celebrating Thanksgiving with just my husband. We get to make all the food we like, avoid all the food we don't, and eat the leftovers all weekend.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: learningtofly on October 01, 2012, 08:51:43 AM
DH's family is very traditional.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce.  He almost fell over the first time he joined my family.  There was a turkey...and a ham.  We didn't do stuffing although by college I had tried Stove Top stuffing and that was added to DH's horror.  We also did sweet potatoes not mashed potatoes.  Mom's family never ate rice, mashed potatoes, or stuffing.

Now my favorite stuffing is DH's andouile and cornbread stuffing.  He does an awesome acorn squash.  MIL's Thanksgiving....I've either blocked it out or we've successfully managed to avoid her house (going to BIL's or we host).  This year I've kidnapped Thanksgiving and invited both sides of the family.  Everyone can bring what they want, but there will be a ham and a turkey as well as my Dad's favorite dessert.  If the cornbread stuffing appears I won't complain  ;D
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Amara on October 01, 2012, 12:56:42 PM
Now I've decided I like it, and will probably see about making our own from scratch this year.

Ooh, Dindrane, you are going to love the homemade version. I think so anyway. It's very different from the canned, but so good especially if you don't use as much sugar as most recipes call for. Don't forget the fresh zest.

My family always had roast turkey, gravy, bread stuffing, canned cranberry sauce, frozen fruit salad (canned fruit cocktail in whipped cream and frozen, courtesy of my maternal grandmother), mashed potatoes, boiled-to-death green beans, also boiled-to-death carrots, and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream and later the canned stuff. Oh, and olives and pickles for an appetizer.

Now me, I like it a bit simpler: roast herbed turkey, dressing with bread and vegetables, fresh green beans that have been lightly steamed with perhaps a bit of sage butter, herb gravy, carmelized shallots, homemade cranberry sauce, an extravagant green salad, tiny individual raspberry-and Brie salads, homemade pumpkin pie, and a couple of bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau or Cabernet. No appetizers and no potatoes.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: mj on October 01, 2012, 05:39:34 PM
I am from the south, DH is from the midwest.

My family did a roast turkey, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, canned cranberry jelly, 7up salad, rolls, green bean casserole for the main course.  Appetizers were meatballs, celery with cream cheese, cheese ball and crackers, shrimp cocktail and eggrolls.  Over the years things would be added or taken away, but nothing major.  The eggrolls were added because a friend of the family always gave them as gifts (she made them homemade and they were delicious.)  The celebration itself was just family generally, although sometimes a person outside of the family would come (grandmothers roommate in the nursing home that was without family.)

It is too hard to keep track of all the food at DHs.  It always has the roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and corn.  So many people are invited that menu is vast and generally not the same year to year.  DHs parents always provide the turkey and do a really good job of it.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Firecat on October 02, 2012, 08:43:30 PM
Native Minnesotan here. My maternal grandmother hosted Thanksgiving when I was very young, then my aunt took over for some years, more recently it's been at my mom's house. But the menu has always been more or less the same, with some variations over the years.

Roast turkey with sage stuffing (made by my aunt and always delicious, even cold. We all fight over the crunchy bits from top  of the baking dish since we don't usually actually stuff the turkey.)
Mashed potatoes and homemade gravy.
Cranberry sauce (usually both canned and homemade).
Corn
Squash
Brussels Sprouts
Relish tray (black and green olives, sweet and dill pickles, raw carrots and sometimes celery)
Waldorf salad

Mom, my aunt, and my sister do most of the cooking, since my aunt and my sister live closer to Mom - DH and I are a couple of hours away by car.

Dessert is usually homemade apple pie, which I provide. Since my sister got married, we've added pumpkin pie, since BIL is the only one who really likes it. Although some of us will take a sliver, which we promptly bury in a mound of whipped cream, because it's a really good excuse to eat whipped cream. Sis usually makes the pumpkin pie on the day, and it bakes while we eat the main meal, so it's still just a bit warm from the oven when we're ready for dessert.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: MizA on October 03, 2012, 01:06:51 AM
We're Canadian, living in vancouver.  If it's just the two of us, we usually have duck stuffed with apricots, nokedli, butter greens, roast potato cakes, and sour cherry soup.  It's a mostly traditional Hungarian meal, but one of my favourites for special occasions.

If, like last year, we're cooking for a crowd (of about 40 people, sitting around tables around a bonfire.  Superfun!) we'll do a deep-fried turkey, a roast turkey, a ham, and a veggie pasta dish like spinach and mushroom lasagna.  We mash sweet potatoes with roasted garlic, have maple syrup grilled squash, and roast beets with sour cream and dill.  We always have a qunioa salad and a green salad, and often have rice, bread and cornbread stuffing.  There's usually a kale or chard dish, roasted corn, and roasted fingerling potatoes.  Five of us usually handle all the cooking, and five to eight of us deal with getting everything on the table and crowd control.  Everyone but the cooks clean.

And for dessert, we have as many cakes and pies as we can handle.  It's never too much :)
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Amara on October 03, 2012, 11:47:41 AM
sour cherry soup

Ooh, do you have a recipe for that?
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 03, 2012, 11:52:35 AM
sour cherry soup

Ooh, do you have a recipe for that?

I'd like a recipe too if you don't mind.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: BatCity on October 03, 2012, 12:55:08 PM
Born and raised in California (there are a lot of us here)!

My mom is the poster child for eHell approved Thanksgiving.  While my parents warmly welcome one and all to their table, they have a hard line about some things:

1. Thanksgiving is non-negotiable.  In our interfaith family, it's far more important than Christmas.

2. Sides are pot luck, but Mom and Dad do the turkey.

3. Some core foods are essential (cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie), but new foods can be added to the mix.

My DH has been wanting to do a fried turkey for years and has been told that he is out of luck.  When he complains, I explain to him that consistency keeps things together.  Then I start singing "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof, which shuts him right up.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Amara on October 03, 2012, 01:21:47 PM
That fried turkey thing is something I just don't get. I understand it's delicious, but a big part of Thanksgiving Day for me (and probably many others) are the delicious smells coming from the kitchen for hours. The anticipation of that roasting turkey is so good; why cut that off with a turkey can will be cooked in 20 minutes?
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: ilrag on October 03, 2012, 01:51:45 PM
Born and raised in California, but I went to college in Maine.

I do the thanksgiving dinners because it's just easier for me.  I cook waaaaaay more then most of my relatives so either I do it all myself or go over to their house and "help" or "fix" what ever.

I do most sides vegetarian - even though I am not a vegetarian. It just makes it easier for people to avoid what they don't want to eat.  I also make everyone's favorite pie. One year it was 18 different pies.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: violinp on October 03, 2012, 02:27:26 PM
That fried turkey thing is something I just don't get. I understand it's delicious, but a big part of Thanksgiving Day for me (and probably many others) are the delicious smells coming from the kitchen for hours. The anticipation of that roasting turkey is so good; why cut that off with a turkey can will be cooked in 20 minutes?

Because it gives people an opportunity to use a deep fryer, plus a lot of people probably prefer the taste.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: camlan on October 03, 2012, 03:52:26 PM
That fried turkey thing is something I just don't get. I understand it's delicious, but a big part of Thanksgiving Day for me (and probably many others) are the delicious smells coming from the kitchen for hours. The anticipation of that roasting turkey is so good; why cut that off with a turkey can will be cooked in 20 minutes?

Because a lot of turkey fryers use propane. Propane equals fire. Many guys I know like to use fire. They grill all the time, just so they can play with fire. A turkey fryer, with the added danger of oil possibly spilling out onto the fire, creating an even bigger fire, is some sort of peak fire-using experience.

My brother bought a turkey fryer. My SIL and her mother carefully calculated the correct amount of oil to use--they put the turkey in the fryer, added water to the correct level, took the turkey out, and marked the water level. All the guys had to do was add oil to that level on the big day.

Well, they did. And decided that couldn't possibly be enough oil, so they added a lot more. These are five men in their 40s and 50s, all with at least one college degree, most with one or more advanced degrees.

Things out on the driveway got pretty exciting for a few minutes.

Fortunately, no one was injured, although someone's hair was singed. And everyone learned a lesson.

The turkey was very good.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 03, 2012, 04:09:12 PM
That fried turkey thing is something I just don't get. I understand it's delicious, but a big part of Thanksgiving Day for me (and probably many others) are the delicious smells coming from the kitchen for hours. The anticipation of that roasting turkey is so good; why cut that off with a turkey can will be cooked in 20 minutes?

I grew up eating turkeys our dad smoked, so the smell of a roasting turkey doesn't mean T-Day to me.  Instead it was the smell of the corn bread dressing, pecan pie, homemade yeast rolls, and the occasional whiff of pecan wood smoke from an open door that got my mouth watering.  I only started to enjoy a roasted turkey after I learned to brine them.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Missy2U on October 03, 2012, 05:14:09 PM
Born and raised in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago.  Married a Northwest Suburbs of Chicago guy. :)

While his mom was still alive, Thanksgiving was a big turkey, stuffing, giblet dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green been casserole, candied carrots, rolls, candied sweet potatoes (we never put marshmallows on it though) and of course, appetizers for a couple hours before actual dinner, and desserts (I can't put my finger on what they were at the moment).

Since his mom died, however, we haven't (his siblings and us) gotten together for ANY holiday whatsoever.  Last Thanksgiving (our anniversary is November 27) we went out to eat by ourselves.  My son is in the military so he wasn't able to come home, my step son lives in Minnesota and couldn't get here, and my brother and his wife went to her family. My mom is 3,000 miles away and we'll see her in the spring.

This year, it will be our tenth wedding anniversary at Thanksgiving, so we'll go to our favorite steak place and make it a night just to be thankful for what we have and for each other.  It works for us. :)
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Paper Roses on October 03, 2012, 06:02:25 PM
Born and raised in southeastern Massachusetts, now living closer to Boston.  My husband was born and raised just west of Boston. 

Thanksgiving now is, for the most part, just us and our 4 kids, and for the past few years my brother has joined us.  One year my nephew came, but he's now married (at the time, he was single and his immediate family live in Florida) and spends it with his wife's family. 

Anyway, our holiday is mostly traditional.  Every year we have roasted turkey, gravy mashed potatoes, stuffing (made with Bell's seasoning), canned cranberry sauce (just like the Pilgrims ate - complete with the lines all around). 

My own additions, which have become traditional, are sauteed pearl onions with brown sugar and dijon mustard, butternut squash with onions and pecans, corn pudding, crescent rolls.

Boston Market makes a cranberry sauce that is to die for.  It has walnuts in it, and I love it, but it can be a hassle to go there just for that (the day or two before tend to be extra busy).  But it is soooo good - I like it heated up and put over vanilla ice cream.

Dessert is usually my peanut butter pie.  I would prefer something more traditional, like pumpkin, but no one else in the family likes it so I don't usually bother.  And my kids all say it's not a holiday without the peanut butter pie.  Although, this year my husband's birthday falls on Thanksgiving, so we may be having birthday cake.  There's a bakery nearby that makes cakes in the shape of a roasted turkey, with little cubes of cake that look like stuffing.  Really cool - maybe I'll get him one of those this year.

Oh, and I have to make cranberry orange bread every year.  My mother's recipe.  And if I have time, I'll also make chocolate chip pumpkin bread.  So that will be breakfast for a few days.

When Thanksgiving was a big extended family thing, I used to love to go all out and make a bunch of different pies - there was a mince cranberry pie with eggnog whipped cream, a pina collada pie, custard pie - but it's too much work all at once, especially when I'm doing the whole dinner - when the pies were all I had to make, it was easy!

One year I tried a pumpkin soup recipe - I have special holiday dishes and there were soup bowls, so I wanted to use them.  I found the recipe - it was really easy, and there was a cranberry sauce-like stuff made separately that you topped it with.  I thought it was really good, but it wasn't that populare with everyone else so I haven't bothered again.

Oh, and to drink, everyone has a Mickey Mouse - cranberry juice and ginger ale. 
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Roe on October 04, 2012, 04:40:02 PM
Raised in Texas and now living in NE.

We have traditional Thanksgiving.

Smoked and roasted turkey. (now I really want to try champagne turkey)
Mashed potatoes
Yams with marshmallows
Green bean casserole (really?  I am so getting rid of that one this year!)
2 kinds of cornbread stuffing.  One sweet and one not.
broccoli, cheese and rice (DH wants that one gone this year)
cranberry sauce (and now I want to make a homemade one this year)

Desserts:
Banana Split Cake (not really a cake, more pudding with fruit and cool whip, real tasty and kids *have* to have it)
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Pie

Ah, I'm so hungry!  :D   
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: MizA on October 04, 2012, 06:34:31 PM
Will post sour cherry soup recipe in recipes tonight! Luckily, I'm at my parent's place for Canadian TG, and they have the source book for my rather modified recipe :)
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Paper Roses on October 04, 2012, 08:47:53 PM
Will post sour cherry soup recipe in recipes tonight! Luckily, I'm at my parent's place for Canadian TG, and they have the source book for my rather modified recipe :)

Thank you!  I was going to ask as well, but googled instead - there are a lot of recipes online, but I'd love to try yours!
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: StoutGirl on October 06, 2012, 05:25:21 PM
I will share my traditions:

I am from Wisconsin.

Rather than getting together with extended family (the last time I remember an extended family Thanksgiving was the late 90's when my military cousin came home to visit), my immediate family get together with J & S, who are some close friends of ours.

I have missed this tradition once so far because I was studying overseas a couple of years ago, but I will be missing it this year again because I am going to school far from home.  I have no idea what I will be doing this year.

We always have turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, baked corn casserole (the most amazing thing ever!), rolls, cranberries, cranberry fluff salad, relish, brandy slush, and pumpkin, apple, and blueberry pies.

My family always brings the pies.

My sister, Mom, J, J's mother, and I help with dishes afterwards.  Dad and S will go out to the barn to milk cows.  After we are finished in the kitchen, we watch Christmas movies and look through the store flyers for the Black Friday sales.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: mathcat on October 06, 2012, 09:38:00 PM
I grew up and still live in Texas.  The Thanksgiving meal that I make is very similar to my mom's menu.  Everything is homemade unless noted.

Roasted turkey (big enough for a ton of leftovers - including some to freeze)
Gravy
Mashed potatoes
Cornbread dressing
Green bean supreme (yes, the can of green beans, can of mushroom soup, french fried onions)
Corn casserole (I did not grow up with this but my mom began making it when I was in college)
Sweet potatoes with the marshmallows
Deviled eggs
Cranberry sauce
Can of Black olives
Can of Graber olives (carry over from my mom growing up in California)
Rolls (usually something like Mrs. Baird's brown and Serve)

Sometimes my mom would include Waldorf salad or jello with fruit in it

Desserts may vary a bit but usually include at least two from
Homemade pumpkin pie with Cool Whip
Cherry-O cream cheese pie
fudge
Sometimes my mom would make banana pudding (my dad's favorite)



When my in law's join us, my mother in law might bring creamed onions and an oyster roll.

When we eat at my mom's, I usually do not bring anything different since my menu is from her.  I do bring some ingredients though.  We stay overnight so I make the deviled eggs at her house the night before and simply help wherever needed.

When we visit my in laws, I bring deviled eggs and cranberry sauce (both at my mother in law's request).  I have offered dessert or any other item before but she declines.  Just as I have my preferred methods of prep, she has hers.  Our results are very different.  I help wherever needed according to her direction.

I don't tend to have new people over for Thanksgiving.  I would though, welcome any additions to my existing menu from any guest.  I do not want to replace my items though.



 

Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: MOM21SON on October 07, 2012, 04:36:41 PM
I am from Ohio, Dh from Michigan.  We have lived in Florida for 25 years or so. 

I miss the traditional Thanksgiving meals I grew up with and so does he.  We both work retail and have to be at work very early the next day and stay almost all day.

When DS was younger we did have the turkey, stuffing, cranberries, cheese onions, green bean casserole, rolls, scalloped oysters, and sweet potatoes.

DS is very picky, very picky and so on.  So we have a very boring menu now.  Mashed potatoes, cranberries, rolls, steamed green beans.  It is just not worth the effort anymore because of our work schedules.
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: Shea on October 08, 2012, 08:07:42 AM
Born and raised in southern Oregon, I now live in eastern Canada. Thanksgiving is of course in October here, but being an American living in Canada basically just means I get two Thanksgivings, one in early October and one in late November ;D.

Growing up, we ALWAYS had:
 Roast turkey
 Stuffing (the kind from a box, with nuts and onions and celery and at least a stick of butter)
 Cranberry sauce (Dad would always make it with great ceremony and then try to get out of doing dishes "because I made the cranberry sauce!". Mom and I, who'd done the rest, would glare at him and he'd sheepishly go clean the kitchen)
 Mashed potatoes
 Brussels sprouts, sauteed in butter with shallots and pecans
 Pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream

 Now, I make basically the same things, although I usually make tarte au sucre in addition to pumpkin pie, a nod to my current French-Canadian milieu. Also, tarte au sucre is delicious ;).
Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: siamesecat2965 on October 17, 2012, 02:53:10 PM
Born in PA, lived in NJ most of my life.  Parents moved to VA about 7 years ago,and now its just Mom and me. While they still lived here, we went to friend's every year, and had turkey etc etc etc. Neither mom or I is a huge fan of turkey.

After my parents moved, we still did turkey, etc. ourselves, and the last Thanksgiving with my dad, who was the cook in teh family, watching as mom, my cousin and I cooked (he was recovering from radiation and wasn't up to it)

After that, mom and I still made turkey etc. as we had family and friends come, but never a huge group. a couple years ago, we decided no more and went out.  She had duck and I had steak.  Last year I didn't go as I didn't have much vacation time left, and I preferred to save it for Christmas.  I also had to work at my PT job on black friday, so I made my own, non-traditional, non-turkey dinner of beef rouladen, spatzle and some veggies.

This year I'm staying home again, having at least one, if not 2, friends who don't have any family.  I'm doing a chicken rather than turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and veggies etc.  and something yummy for dessert. I'm going to have fun planing out the menu!

Title: Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
Post by: White Lotus on November 07, 2012, 02:34:31 PM
DH's family does a pretty traditional US TG, and that us where we go as we live in the same city.  My family doesn't do American food at home.  DH's family's traditional sides, thank goodness, are traditionally vegetarian, so we don't have to worry about this.

They always do a turkey with stuffing and turkey gravy.
We bring a vegetarian (vegan if you use oil, not butter) dressing casserole, and have two flavors -- one cornbread and one wheat bread, with chestnuts, mushrooms, nuts and dried fruit in each varying by whim -- to choose from.  We might bring either or any variation.  We include some heavily seasoned veg sausage links, chopped.  Not too many; they aren't very good alone, but fine as an ingredient, make the dish feel like an entree, and add protein. We add homemade and very tasty veg gravy, and lots of it because it goes fast.
Fresh cranberry/orange relish (set in stone)
Mashed, not whipped, white potatoes (flavors can vary)
Maple sweet potatoes (marshmallows are not veg, but if you have to have them, substitute marshmallow fluff, which is.  We're maple all the way, no marshmallows, ever.  Set in stone.)
Pearl onions in cheese sauce (ditto)
Green beans almandine (ditto)
Pumpkin or butternut squash soup
Succotash
My husband's famous pickles (his hobby, and they are good) as relishes/snacks/additional vegetable  (ditto)
Nuts
My Special Pumpkin Pie (nobody knows it is the vegan version made with silken tofu unless you tell them; they just like it a lot) with a pecan praline topping
Mince (not mincemeat) and/or apple pie, or maybe pecan, or pear tart, depending on what people feel like, often with whipped or ice cream
Tangerines and popcorn in case more snacks are wanted

We do a rerun for Solstice, except the dressing casserole, stuffed into a pumpkin for carving and presentation purposes, is the centerpiece, and is usually the kind we didn't do for TG. We can make all of the above vegan, too, though figuring the onions out gave us some tense moments.  Sometimes we go hog wild and do roasted winter vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, broccoli, but heavy on the potatoes) instead of mashed, and we have even been known to serve maple grilled winter squash and sweet potatoes rather than the soup and casserole versions.  Since it is a rerun, as we don't do Christmas and do New Year's with my family, nobody minds the variations.  Maybe I will try those sautéed onions this year -- sounds delightful.

Yum!