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!