Rules for Thanksgiving

Timothy R. Smith, a 26-year-old single guy, says that he is in the position this year of having to prepare a Thanksgiving Dinner for himself and a bunch of his friends.  He reports his relief at coming across Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well by food critic Sam Sifton, which gives step-by-step instructions on how to do everything.  From Smith’s review of the book:

Sifton sets down rules that must be followed to guarantee success. Some of those bylaws seem to turn the tastemaker into a taskmaster, but that lends the book a certain charm.

For instance, one should always carve the turkey in the kitchen, not at the table; a first course should never precede the turkey — serve the whole meal at once; do not cook anything out of season; begin serving libations once guests arrive; and salad is always an unwelcome guest. He eschews marshmallows in any form at the Thanksgiving table, whether on sweet potatoes or dessert.

The glue of the meal is cranberry sauce and gravy. “Debate that all you like,” Sifton declares. “But they tie every element on the plate together.” And dessert should be the meal’s blissful, final amphetamine. “A proper Thanksgiving should close out with a blast of warm, gooey flavor — a burst of sugar that can give a guest just enough energy to make it from table to couch, the holiday’s final resting place.” Dessert must be a simple American classic, preferably apple or pumpkin pie with a breast of whipped cream. He disapproves of tartlets or parfaits and any form of innovative pastry.

Above all, Thanksgiving must be traditional, Sifton argues.

via Sam Sifton helps novice holiday chefs in ‘Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well’ – The Washington Post.

I would add that the final point about tradition has to trump all other rules, including that idiosyncratic rejection of marshmallows.  He has a point about salads in the sense of green leafy healthy salads–unless one comes in under the tradition rule–though salads containing Jello and/or Cool Whip are permitted, especially if it’s never eaten except at Thanksgiving.

This made me think of other Thanksgiving rules:

(1)  To determine how big of a turkey you need to buy, count the number of guests and estimate how many portions each is likely to eat.  Then buy the biggest turkey you can find.

You need a gigantic turkey in order to create the impression of abundance, which, in turn, makes people feel a jolt of thankfulness.  Also, you want lots and lots of leftovers, enough to replay the feast until the Jello and Cool Whip salads run out, and, above all, to have turkey sandwiches throughout the holiday weekend and as long after that as possible.

Recipe for turkey sandwiches:  Get two pieces of soft, airy, pillowy white bread of the kind people who are serious about food scorn.  (You may have to get on E-bay to get some Wonderbread [current bid for a loaf:  $25]).  Lubricate one side of both slices with a thick layer of mayonnaise.  Pile high with turkey.  Than add a thick layer of salt, not as seasoning but as an ingredient.  Top with the other piece of bread.  Eat with potato chips.  The culinary principle is that it’s all white.  You may, however, eat it with a sweet pickle on the side.

(2)  Whether or not people like a dish has nothing to do with whether it should be served at Thanksgiving.  Foods sanctioned by ancient use must still be served, even if no one currently likes them.  New foods may be introduced, as long as the old foods are included.  If, however, a dish has been served for two successive Thanksgivings, it has become traditional and must be served from then on.

(3)  Tradition resets with the beginning of a new family.  Thus, newly married couples having their own Thanksgiving Dinner for the first time are entitled to start their own traditions, as long as they maintain some thread of continuity with the traditions of each person’s childhood.  The husband and the wife should each choose one or more dish they always had when they were growing up.  The criteria is, “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.”  In this way, two families come together into a new family.  Newly-married couples are free to add any foods they choose.  But if it is served for two successive years, rule #2 applies.

(4)  Thanksgiving is about gratitude, so no fighting or sniping is allowed on Thanksgiving.  That can wait until the rest of the weekend.  Thanksgiving customs and observances should all provoke a response of thankfulness.  That applies to these rules themselves.  We are thankful not just for the food and the abundance and the material blessings they represent.  We are also thankful for our families, here and stretching back through time, for the memories, for what it was like to be a child and to grow up, for our history–personal and corporate and national–and for our culture, from the little community of our family to the local and regional and national cultures that we are part of.   We are thankful for the continuities, the social order and our place in it, as well as the uniqueness of everyone at the table.  And we are thankful for our senses and for so many sensory pleasures and so many good gifts, all of which we receive from the hand of God.

That’s how we do it in the Veith household, since time immemorial.  I hasten to add that since tradition trumps EVERYTHING, you and your family may do things differently.  So what are some of your rules for Thanksgiving?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Sharon Philp

    I completely agree on the leftover turkey sandwich rule, but a leaf of iceberg is a tasty addition. I believe that marshmallows should not be put on sweet potatoes. Ever. Then again, although I love dessert, I prefer to save the excess sugar for pie, not side dishes. I disagree with the salad rule. This year we are having a Caesar. Last year we had a delicious salad with romaine, apples, nuts, a tasty cheese I found (the type of which I forgot), and a salad dressing from a local business.
    Our main rule is real. Real butter, no low cal, limit off-brands. I bend that rule by slipping in the fat-free evaporated milk in the pumpkin pie. Our other rule is tradition. We must have the usual menu; only the salads are changeable. I added a new pie this year, but we have our usual too. Tradition also dictates my husband makes the cranberries, whipped cream, and certain of the pies.

  • Sharon Philp

    I completely agree on the leftover turkey sandwich rule, but a leaf of iceberg is a tasty addition. I believe that marshmallows should not be put on sweet potatoes. Ever. Then again, although I love dessert, I prefer to save the excess sugar for pie, not side dishes. I disagree with the salad rule. This year we are having a Caesar. Last year we had a delicious salad with romaine, apples, nuts, a tasty cheese I found (the type of which I forgot), and a salad dressing from a local business.
    Our main rule is real. Real butter, no low cal, limit off-brands. I bend that rule by slipping in the fat-free evaporated milk in the pumpkin pie. Our other rule is tradition. We must have the usual menu; only the salads are changeable. I added a new pie this year, but we have our usual too. Tradition also dictates my husband makes the cranberries, whipped cream, and certain of the pies.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Food rules are great. A civilized society needs them. But in our home the main rule is to be civil, at least, to those family members with whom you’d really rather not see, except for obligatory purposes a few times a year.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Food rules are great. A civilized society needs them. But in our home the main rule is to be civil, at least, to those family members with whom you’d really rather not see, except for obligatory purposes a few times a year.

  • Booklover

    I broke my mother’s tradition–I never put marshmallows on anything, and I never make cool whip jello sugary swimmy desserts I mean salads. I also do not put raisins in my stuffing, but mushrooms. And the stuffing, not the cranberry sauce, ties the meal together in our household, along with the gravy. But really, with four sons and a husband, it’s all about the meat.

    Our added tradition is, we serve a smoked turkey or a deep-fat-fried turkey along with the traditional baked.

    Many blessings to you and yours on this thankful season. Please pray for those who are going through trials at this time, including the child of my cousin, who just became paralyzed due to a fall during a routine gymnastics exercise.

  • Booklover

    I broke my mother’s tradition–I never put marshmallows on anything, and I never make cool whip jello sugary swimmy desserts I mean salads. I also do not put raisins in my stuffing, but mushrooms. And the stuffing, not the cranberry sauce, ties the meal together in our household, along with the gravy. But really, with four sons and a husband, it’s all about the meat.

    Our added tradition is, we serve a smoked turkey or a deep-fat-fried turkey along with the traditional baked.

    Many blessings to you and yours on this thankful season. Please pray for those who are going through trials at this time, including the child of my cousin, who just became paralyzed due to a fall during a routine gymnastics exercise.

  • helen

    Mayonnaise on a sandwich is South/Southwestern, it would seem. I’ll take mine with butter.

    But truthfully, in our family, the leftover turkey is optional, what they want is dressing and gravy. With a dollop of cranberry sauce, for me. I’ll put it on the pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, too.
    (Undiluted Guernsey cream…. in my dreams!)

  • helen

    Mayonnaise on a sandwich is South/Southwestern, it would seem. I’ll take mine with butter.

    But truthfully, in our family, the leftover turkey is optional, what they want is dressing and gravy. With a dollop of cranberry sauce, for me. I’ll put it on the pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, too.
    (Undiluted Guernsey cream…. in my dreams!)

  • Pete

    We always used to have a post-dinner touch football game – losers did the dishes. But we’ve sorta aged out.

  • Pete

    We always used to have a post-dinner touch football game – losers did the dishes. But we’ve sorta aged out.

  • Andrew

    I’ve only recently (in the past month) heard of the recent american trend towards deep frying turkeys. at first i thought it had to be a joke, but apparently it’s real. after a few years of those, a major reason for thanksgiving has got to be being alive and not in the care of a coronary surgeon.

    i can only hope it isn’t as fatty or greasy as the mental picture conjured up.

  • Andrew

    I’ve only recently (in the past month) heard of the recent american trend towards deep frying turkeys. at first i thought it had to be a joke, but apparently it’s real. after a few years of those, a major reason for thanksgiving has got to be being alive and not in the care of a coronary surgeon.

    i can only hope it isn’t as fatty or greasy as the mental picture conjured up.

  • helen

    Some things have not changed yet! Daughter is still on the phone now and then, through the preparations, to double check on how this dish or that was done “at home”. [She's four states away, and I'm home with a cold anyway, so I can only advise.]

    Son has learned to make his own sage&onion bread dressing when he wants it; he married into a cornbread tradition. But this year he’s working; Thanksgiving was a chicken sandwich in Paris. ;

  • helen

    Some things have not changed yet! Daughter is still on the phone now and then, through the preparations, to double check on how this dish or that was done “at home”. [She's four states away, and I'm home with a cold anyway, so I can only advise.]

    Son has learned to make his own sage&onion bread dressing when he wants it; he married into a cornbread tradition. But this year he’s working; Thanksgiving was a chicken sandwich in Paris. ;

  • helen

    Andrew,
    The whole turkey is deep fried and I think it goes too fast to take on much of the oil. The meat is moist and delicious.

  • helen

    Andrew,
    The whole turkey is deep fried and I think it goes too fast to take on much of the oil. The meat is moist and delicious.

  • Andrew

    Hi helen, i gathered the whole hting was deep fried in one piece, but it still sounds pretty horrendous.

  • Andrew

    Hi helen, i gathered the whole hting was deep fried in one piece, but it still sounds pretty horrendous.

  • mikeb

    Andrew,

    I’ve deep fried lots of turkeys over the last 15 years. You start with hot oil (375 degrees) and it seals the turkey so that oil doesn’t get in and turkey juice doesn’t get out so the result is a moist bird, tender meat and crispy skin. I suppose if you don’t eat the skin its no different calorie-wise than baking. One benefit is that you can fully cook a turkey in about an hour, at 3.5 min. per pound, instead of hours in the oven. But to allay your fear, the turkey is not ‘greasy’.

  • mikeb

    Andrew,

    I’ve deep fried lots of turkeys over the last 15 years. You start with hot oil (375 degrees) and it seals the turkey so that oil doesn’t get in and turkey juice doesn’t get out so the result is a moist bird, tender meat and crispy skin. I suppose if you don’t eat the skin its no different calorie-wise than baking. One benefit is that you can fully cook a turkey in about an hour, at 3.5 min. per pound, instead of hours in the oven. But to allay your fear, the turkey is not ‘greasy’.

  • Andrew

    thanks Mike.
    may well have to give it a go. could be a cultural nuance that makes more sense than first glance might suggest.

    (deep fried mars bar are just as weird as they sound). The idea of intense heat for a short time and sealing the moisture in makes me believe that deep fried (not crumbed or battered) steak may well be worth investigating.

  • Andrew

    thanks Mike.
    may well have to give it a go. could be a cultural nuance that makes more sense than first glance might suggest.

    (deep fried mars bar are just as weird as they sound). The idea of intense heat for a short time and sealing the moisture in makes me believe that deep fried (not crumbed or battered) steak may well be worth investigating.

  • Joanne

    Cornbread dressing with chopped chicken gizzards and hearts in it. And, a smaller dressing bowl of half cornbread, half french bread baguette, with oysters as the meat. You make less of it because oysters go bad pretty fast. The baguette bread will lighten it so you can eat more. I won’t eat any oyster dressing by the second day.

    We used to stuff the turkey with the dressing, but I put in at least 4 apples into the roasting pan to keep it juicy and tangy. (Deep frying turkeys is an innovation that slowly crept in our direction from the Cajun Parishes to the west. My brother loves them, but I can take it or leave it, so if he want it, he’ll have to bring his own fried turkey. It’s an innovation there too in the Cajun Parishes, just like too much cayenne in everything, and I strongly suspect Paul Prudhomme had something to do with it.

    When daddy was alive he always wanted ambrosia, a fruit salad, so we still make that about every other year. If I make it there will be Coinreau and super vanilla flavoring added and freshly whipped HWC (heavy whipping cream). (Never tell the children what ingredients are in a dish, they’ll eat it if they don’t know.)

    I prefer to serve in cources, with the salad already in each plate in it’s own dish. That way the salad gets eaten even with marinated artichoke hearts, anchovie paste, and tangerine slices in it.

    Nuts. Now the thing is that late every October we order 20 pounds of shelled pecans from orchards in Oklahoma. They must be this year’s crop and Mama is a pecan expert and would sue if stale pecans ruined a dish. There are chopped pecans in every thing (I exaggerate only slightly). The salad will have small chopped pecan pieces in it. The dressing will have same. There there will be two pecan pies. I don’t know why it’s always two.

    Then we do something cheesy with califlower, a favorite with Mama. My sister will bring a canned dish of green beans with fried onions on top. I won’t touch it, but many will and she won’t even notice if I don’t eat any unless I want her to know for some kind of spite going on between us.

    Now start serving the wine and liquids as soon as the first guest arrives, but be very careful that the cooks don’t get too giddy before the food is throughly cooked. We’ve had a couple of horror dishes when that has happened.

    We will not have white potatoes at all for anything, unless someone has married into a non-cornbread tradition. If we feel the need for potatos at Thanksgiving, we will foil and bake several whole and each just like a baked potato, with larded butter, salt and pepper to taste.

    The only way that we eat sweet potatos as a sweet is as Sweet Potato Pie, using the fluffly recipe that former senator Russell Long has in his cookbook. You fold in more whipped HWC. And then a cherry pie and an apply pie, cause Mama loves cooking pies and she send them home with various people.

    You must understand that my brother knows which wine goes with with course and type of meat. We drink throught the meal changing from wine to wine to clear the pallettes. He brings all the wines and liquers (Kalua for the after dinner coffee and pie course). No one is in any condition to leave our house after Thanksgiving till the football games are over.

    Then the leftover plates are handed out and most all the food is gone with the last guest. Mama and I really don’t care for turkey meat, and then only the dark meat. So we may save back a thigh and a leg.

  • Joanne

    Cornbread dressing with chopped chicken gizzards and hearts in it. And, a smaller dressing bowl of half cornbread, half french bread baguette, with oysters as the meat. You make less of it because oysters go bad pretty fast. The baguette bread will lighten it so you can eat more. I won’t eat any oyster dressing by the second day.

    We used to stuff the turkey with the dressing, but I put in at least 4 apples into the roasting pan to keep it juicy and tangy. (Deep frying turkeys is an innovation that slowly crept in our direction from the Cajun Parishes to the west. My brother loves them, but I can take it or leave it, so if he want it, he’ll have to bring his own fried turkey. It’s an innovation there too in the Cajun Parishes, just like too much cayenne in everything, and I strongly suspect Paul Prudhomme had something to do with it.

    When daddy was alive he always wanted ambrosia, a fruit salad, so we still make that about every other year. If I make it there will be Coinreau and super vanilla flavoring added and freshly whipped HWC (heavy whipping cream). (Never tell the children what ingredients are in a dish, they’ll eat it if they don’t know.)

    I prefer to serve in cources, with the salad already in each plate in it’s own dish. That way the salad gets eaten even with marinated artichoke hearts, anchovie paste, and tangerine slices in it.

    Nuts. Now the thing is that late every October we order 20 pounds of shelled pecans from orchards in Oklahoma. They must be this year’s crop and Mama is a pecan expert and would sue if stale pecans ruined a dish. There are chopped pecans in every thing (I exaggerate only slightly). The salad will have small chopped pecan pieces in it. The dressing will have same. There there will be two pecan pies. I don’t know why it’s always two.

    Then we do something cheesy with califlower, a favorite with Mama. My sister will bring a canned dish of green beans with fried onions on top. I won’t touch it, but many will and she won’t even notice if I don’t eat any unless I want her to know for some kind of spite going on between us.

    Now start serving the wine and liquids as soon as the first guest arrives, but be very careful that the cooks don’t get too giddy before the food is throughly cooked. We’ve had a couple of horror dishes when that has happened.

    We will not have white potatoes at all for anything, unless someone has married into a non-cornbread tradition. If we feel the need for potatos at Thanksgiving, we will foil and bake several whole and each just like a baked potato, with larded butter, salt and pepper to taste.

    The only way that we eat sweet potatos as a sweet is as Sweet Potato Pie, using the fluffly recipe that former senator Russell Long has in his cookbook. You fold in more whipped HWC. And then a cherry pie and an apply pie, cause Mama loves cooking pies and she send them home with various people.

    You must understand that my brother knows which wine goes with with course and type of meat. We drink throught the meal changing from wine to wine to clear the pallettes. He brings all the wines and liquers (Kalua for the after dinner coffee and pie course). No one is in any condition to leave our house after Thanksgiving till the football games are over.

    Then the leftover plates are handed out and most all the food is gone with the last guest. Mama and I really don’t care for turkey meat, and then only the dark meat. So we may save back a thigh and a leg.

  • Booklover

    I forgot to add that I am overjoyed to thoroughly forego another tradition–I never stuff my turkey now. I put the stuffing in a separate dish. The texture is far better, the turkey gets done sooner, but best of all, you’re not battling a hot, greasy, 25-pound bird to get the stuffing out of it when it’s time to eat. Grease used to slip around on the floor, someone would get burned, and the stuffing would be kind of wet. It’s much easier and better tasting now. And I don’t jab myself with those horrible turkey lacer stabbers.

  • Booklover

    I forgot to add that I am overjoyed to thoroughly forego another tradition–I never stuff my turkey now. I put the stuffing in a separate dish. The texture is far better, the turkey gets done sooner, but best of all, you’re not battling a hot, greasy, 25-pound bird to get the stuffing out of it when it’s time to eat. Grease used to slip around on the floor, someone would get burned, and the stuffing would be kind of wet. It’s much easier and better tasting now. And I don’t jab myself with those horrible turkey lacer stabbers.

  • Julian

    True post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches are served with cranberry sauce/relish and stuffing on top. White bread can’t handle that, so better go with something heartier. The only other tradition we have is that my dad bakes something. Most years it’s skillet cornbread with molasses, this year it was cinnamon raisin rolls.

  • Julian

    True post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches are served with cranberry sauce/relish and stuffing on top. White bread can’t handle that, so better go with something heartier. The only other tradition we have is that my dad bakes something. Most years it’s skillet cornbread with molasses, this year it was cinnamon raisin rolls.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    White bread and marshmallows? Some traditions are meant to be broken. Ugh. :^)

    My family likes to honor the first words Squanto is said to have said to the Pilgrims (“Do you have any beer?”) with that beverage, and keep it simple. This year, a small bird with garlic slivers and herbes de provence (not as snooty as the name would indicate; every bit as wonderful), cornbread, and cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    White bread and marshmallows? Some traditions are meant to be broken. Ugh. :^)

    My family likes to honor the first words Squanto is said to have said to the Pilgrims (“Do you have any beer?”) with that beverage, and keep it simple. This year, a small bird with garlic slivers and herbes de provence (not as snooty as the name would indicate; every bit as wonderful), cornbread, and cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

  • Joanne

    Company came by and I didn’t have time to edit:

    Add slices of avocado to the salad.

    Instead of baking white potatos, we bake sweet potatos and eat them just like a baked potato with butter, salt, and pepper. It’s not considered a sweet when cooked like that.

    I abhor marshmallows, in any way. Others might like to have some, but they won’t get them here.

    That’s cointreau in the fruit salad and we stir the HWC as whipped cream throughout the fruit and nuts. This is eaten like a side dish, not as a salad.

    We give thanks on this day, more or less well, depending on the pandemonium or not. We do not think of the Yankee Calvinists who did something similar way back when. It was just an accident of history, and I’m sure they were just as good at giving thanks down in Jamestown too.

  • Joanne

    Company came by and I didn’t have time to edit:

    Add slices of avocado to the salad.

    Instead of baking white potatos, we bake sweet potatos and eat them just like a baked potato with butter, salt, and pepper. It’s not considered a sweet when cooked like that.

    I abhor marshmallows, in any way. Others might like to have some, but they won’t get them here.

    That’s cointreau in the fruit salad and we stir the HWC as whipped cream throughout the fruit and nuts. This is eaten like a side dish, not as a salad.

    We give thanks on this day, more or less well, depending on the pandemonium or not. We do not think of the Yankee Calvinists who did something similar way back when. It was just an accident of history, and I’m sure they were just as good at giving thanks down in Jamestown too.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Several years ago, the November issue of Cook’s Illustrated had a recipe for a Linzertorte. I didn’t know what to bring to the Thanksgiving potluck, and not knowing why I shouldn’t try it (answer: it’s more involved than the average dessert, but not being a dessert-maker, I didn’t know that), I decided to make it.

    And that was many years ago now. My wife is the established baker in our family, but claims not to be able to make a Linzertorte, just as she is magically unable to make any of the few dishes I specialize in. I think she’s scared of the required lattice-work, even though the Cook’s Illustrated version uses a simpler, cheating approach.

    Another tradition of our family’s is that we always eat Thanksgiving dinner with another family that is friends of ours. This started long ago, when none of us had kids (and most of us weren’t even married yet), as a sort of potluck for those who hadn’t traveled back home for the holiday (like many Portlanders our age, most of my friends aren’t from here). So now our family of four gets together with their family of four, along with any parents (that is to say, grandparents) that happen to be in town. It’s a lot of fun, and everyone has their by-now traditional dishes to bring. The only problem is that my friends always make the turkey (or, for several years running, the turducken). Meaning that I’ve never cooked one myself. I have no clue how.

    Oh well. I’ve almost got the Linzertorte recipe memorized.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Several years ago, the November issue of Cook’s Illustrated had a recipe for a Linzertorte. I didn’t know what to bring to the Thanksgiving potluck, and not knowing why I shouldn’t try it (answer: it’s more involved than the average dessert, but not being a dessert-maker, I didn’t know that), I decided to make it.

    And that was many years ago now. My wife is the established baker in our family, but claims not to be able to make a Linzertorte, just as she is magically unable to make any of the few dishes I specialize in. I think she’s scared of the required lattice-work, even though the Cook’s Illustrated version uses a simpler, cheating approach.

    Another tradition of our family’s is that we always eat Thanksgiving dinner with another family that is friends of ours. This started long ago, when none of us had kids (and most of us weren’t even married yet), as a sort of potluck for those who hadn’t traveled back home for the holiday (like many Portlanders our age, most of my friends aren’t from here). So now our family of four gets together with their family of four, along with any parents (that is to say, grandparents) that happen to be in town. It’s a lot of fun, and everyone has their by-now traditional dishes to bring. The only problem is that my friends always make the turkey (or, for several years running, the turducken). Meaning that I’ve never cooked one myself. I have no clue how.

    Oh well. I’ve almost got the Linzertorte recipe memorized.

  • http://pekoponian.blogspot.com Stephanie

    Well, I read here quite often but don’t usually have any comments to contribute. So here goes. I have never understood why people put meat in stuffing. I mean, it’s going inside of meat, right? Anyway, I boil the giblets in chicken broth with onions and celery, then fish out the giblets and the whole mess goes onto stuffing bread cubes along with more broth as needed. I line the cavity with cheesecloth which prevents bones creeping into the stuffing and provides for a handy removal. We have in-bird and out-of-bird stuffing eaters so I make a big batch and bake the extra separately. This year I made mashed potatoes but normally I don’t because we feel sweet potatoes and stuffing and buns are enough starches. Along with that goes scalloped corn, canned peas (LeSeuer only, please), cranberries, both jellied and whole berry *in the shape of the can*, and usually candied yams but we made them into oven fries this year. We served an unheard of Gewurtztraminer and a Nouveau Beaujolais. Both were surprisingly good. And our lone guest brought the buns. A good meal was had by all.

  • http://pekoponian.blogspot.com Stephanie

    Well, I read here quite often but don’t usually have any comments to contribute. So here goes. I have never understood why people put meat in stuffing. I mean, it’s going inside of meat, right? Anyway, I boil the giblets in chicken broth with onions and celery, then fish out the giblets and the whole mess goes onto stuffing bread cubes along with more broth as needed. I line the cavity with cheesecloth which prevents bones creeping into the stuffing and provides for a handy removal. We have in-bird and out-of-bird stuffing eaters so I make a big batch and bake the extra separately. This year I made mashed potatoes but normally I don’t because we feel sweet potatoes and stuffing and buns are enough starches. Along with that goes scalloped corn, canned peas (LeSeuer only, please), cranberries, both jellied and whole berry *in the shape of the can*, and usually candied yams but we made them into oven fries this year. We served an unheard of Gewurtztraminer and a Nouveau Beaujolais. Both were surprisingly good. And our lone guest brought the buns. A good meal was had by all.

  • Abby

    “So what are some of your rules for Thanksgiving?” — Pretty much the same as yours :) — it sounds like you came to my house with my mom and grandma doing the cooking! So, I carried on and now my girls are doing the same. (I don’t do much of the cooking now! I’m like a “guest.”) Basically though, you need to gather as many people as you can find, add the good food, and watch the Detroit Lions keep up their tradition of losing on Thanksgiving Day! And then have dessert. Now, one new rule my girls have accomplished, which I never could, is that the dads do the cleanup! I can’t figure out how in the world they got that to happen!

  • Abby

    “So what are some of your rules for Thanksgiving?” — Pretty much the same as yours :) — it sounds like you came to my house with my mom and grandma doing the cooking! So, I carried on and now my girls are doing the same. (I don’t do much of the cooking now! I’m like a “guest.”) Basically though, you need to gather as many people as you can find, add the good food, and watch the Detroit Lions keep up their tradition of losing on Thanksgiving Day! And then have dessert. Now, one new rule my girls have accomplished, which I never could, is that the dads do the cleanup! I can’t figure out how in the world they got that to happen!


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