Author Topic: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23  (Read 21572 times)

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MrsCrazyPete

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Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« on: September 21, 2012, 09:24:53 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.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 06:18:33 AM by MrsCrazyPete »
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SiotehCat

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 09:29:21 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.

POF

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 09:36:39 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 ?

sourwolf

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 09:41:27 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.)

camlan

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 09:47:13 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.
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Acadianna

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2012, 09:54:41 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!

Kaypeep

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2012, 10:13:39 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.

CluelessBride

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2012, 10:14:26 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.

something.new.every.day

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2012, 10:20:06 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). 

norrina

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2012, 10:24:02 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.



violinp

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 10:29:53 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)
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MrsJWine

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2012, 10:54:04 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.


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EmmaJ.

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2012, 11:26:44 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!

NyaChan

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2012, 11:32:36 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? 

Sophia

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2012, 11:45:10 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.