Author Topic: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23  (Read 23400 times)

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Sharnita

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #105 on: September 24, 2012, 05:54:54 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

Vall

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #106 on: September 24, 2012, 06:18:59 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.

MrsJWine

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #107 on: September 24, 2012, 06:25:39 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.


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Utah

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #108 on: September 25, 2012, 04:59:41 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  :)

Margo

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #109 on: September 25, 2012, 06:18:23 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?

KenveeB

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #110 on: September 25, 2012, 08:24:42 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?

jpcher

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #111 on: September 25, 2012, 08:34:48 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.

magician5

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #112 on: September 25, 2012, 09:35:42 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!
« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 09:38:14 PM by magician5 »
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Dindrane

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #113 on: September 25, 2012, 10:09:50 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.


kareng57

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #114 on: September 25, 2012, 10:45:16 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).

wolfie

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #115 on: September 25, 2012, 11:30:10 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.

Venus193

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #116 on: September 26, 2012, 08:20:35 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.

SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #117 on: September 26, 2012, 08:26:56 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.

Venus193

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #118 on: September 26, 2012, 11:42:55 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.

Thipu1

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Re: Rude to change Thanksgiving menu? Add'l info #23
« Reply #119 on: September 26, 2012, 11:44:34 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.