Author Topic: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...  (Read 7185 times)

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Minmom3

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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!  :)
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

Shoo

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 04:10:35 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.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 10:28:14 PM by Shoo »

Judah

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 04:26:07 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.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 04:28:02 PM by Judah »
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camlan

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 04:33:09 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.
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SamiHami

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2012, 04:40:23 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.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

cattlekid

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2012, 05:33:21 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

Piratelvr1121

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2012, 06:02:24 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.
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Jones

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2012, 06:20:28 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).

jmarvellous

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2012, 06:55:31 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:
  • Some kind of meat, usually turkey, sometimes also ham or beef (brisket if it was with friends); brown gravy
  • Mashed potatoes, generally garlicky, sometimes 1 dairy and 1 vegan batch
  • Sweet potatoes, generally sliced and baked with brown sugar and cinnamon; marshmallows disappeared circa 1999
  • Scalloped potatoes (ick ick)
  • Awesome, fluffy rolls, homemade by mom
  • Whole-berry cranberry sauce from a can
  • APPLE PIE!
  • Pumpkin pie

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.

camlan

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2012, 07:15:54 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.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Zilla

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2012, 07:41:28 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. 

demarco

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2012, 09:23:33 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!"

Acadianna

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2012, 09:48:06 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.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 09:49:39 PM by Acadianna »

Kiara

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2012, 11:23:45 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. 

Specky

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Re: S/O T-giving planning - what do you eat, and where do you live, and...
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2012, 10:41:41 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.