Special dishes your family has for Thanksgiving
in my family thanksgiving just isnt thanksgiving without
baked and raw kibee,
pumkin soup with chives,
and my mothers baked stuffed shrimp,
hushwee(rice with hamburg,turkey,pine nuts and other great spices)
and pumpkin ricotta pie:)
my mother is italian and my father comes from north Lebanon so we always have a great mix of food from both sides on the holidays, my moms a great cook and learned all the lebanese stuff from my grandma and in my opinion she can make them better than any other lebanese woman in my family
I love going to S. Jersey to my sister's house for TG. It's a huge Italian family and the dinner goes on for hours..like in Big Night.
Appetizers (rest, talk, sing)
Raviloli and Meatballs (then rest, talk, sing) sister's homemade "gravy".
Turkey, dressing, etc. (tv,rest)
My cousin married a man from a huge Italian family. The first year he joined our family for Thanksgiving, my aunt who is a wonderful person but not much of a cook was eager to make him feel welcome (even though we all grew up together) and decided to have a pasta dish like his family traditionally has. She of course used sauce out of the jar--Ragu, I believe--and then eagerly watched while he ate it. He made sure he took a huge helping, but the look of martyrdom on his face was rather priceless. I tease him about it every holiday:-)
Otherwise our holiday is pretty traditional, even boring. That same aunt makes the usual green bean casserole, and I just love it, for some reason.
I HAVE to have my grandma's pea salad at Thanksgiving. Mostly for the leftovers. My mom usually makes it for her and I to eat but since I'll be spending the holiday with my SO's family, pea salad is not on the menu.
It sounds awful (and looks even worse) but it is just NOT Thanksgiving without it:
2 cans of peas, drained
1 can of kidney beans, drained
handful chopped celery
small amount of mayo (just enough to bring the salad together)
salt and pepper to taste.
Mix lightly and chill.
Voila! It's my favorite the next day with turkey on wheat with Miracle Whip and salt.
Turkey, my grandmother's dressing (which is very plain but everyone who eats it loves it and I've never ever had even a close approximation anywhere else)one with oysters for granddad and one without for everyone else, giblet gravy, strawberry salad (a jell-o salad with crushed strawberries,pineapple mixed in and topped with sour cream, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes simply cut up in halves and cooked with a little sugar, water and nutmeg, and pumpkin pie. Since I started cooking Thanksgiving, I tossed out the sweet potatoes and the strawberry salad because my husband's family didn't eat them, but have adopted his mother's spinach casserole, her rolls, and she loves, loves, loves my dressing. And I still make one with oysters for my husband. Granddad would be proud.
Rutabaga, steamed then riced and slowly baked until the sugars are teased out. You can add potato and apple, too (for Himmel und Erde, Heaven and Earth). But the nuttiness of rutabaga (without the pepperiness of turnip) is a wonderful contrast to the standard fare.
My own tradition is Karlslaw, posted many times on these boards. Need to balance warm and gooey with cool and crunchy.
re: Karl S
re: Dio di Romanese
Oysters were once widely popular in the US, and a traditional part of regional holiday stuffings/dressings and soups/stews as well as raw. Why? Because the American coastlines, east, south and west, teemed with myriad delightful oysters and oysters became easy to transport on ice (or, less commonly, canned) with the coming of intercontinental railroads, though oyster shells were commonly found among many Native American tribes before that too. Oysters are more of a special rather than everyday treat for most Americans today, but they are a strong part of our culinary legacies. Crabs and myriad other shellfish too; about the only shellfish I believe was more common historically in Europe than America would be mussels.
Weez, my LA is Louisiana, where I'll be this year and our meal won't be a lot different from yours! I'm looking forward to those raw oysters! And rice and gravy! But we've had to add mashed potatoes for my Mid-Western son-in-law.
I remember reading an article by a cultural anthropologist who claimed you could tell someone's heritage and where they were from by what they eat for Thanksgiving.
It almost breaks my heart to see the postings on CH as people try to introduce new and different things, throwing out all the old traditions. Why?
For one day of the year, maybe we should honor who we are, where we came from, how our families and backgrounds have blended into this wonderful melting pot.
We always have things on our table to honor those who have married into the family and we laugh about the things that someone long dead loved better than anything else - but we haven't had a mince meat pie since Nannie died.
We did one T'giving like hers the year after she passed away, but since then the tradition died with her. The last few years we've even gotten a few side items from Po Folks! An easy answer to the small apartment kitchen of my handicapped uncle. This year, the immediate family is headed to Baltimore to see the new grandaughter/niece. Who knows, we could be adding crabcakes to our Thanksgiving tradition!
When my grandmother was alive we had a 3 day tradition:
Raw oysters & beer on Wednesday night when we all arrived.
The huge meal on Thursday, which included Oyster Casserole, dressing, rice & giblet gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, yeast rolls, turkey and a 7-layer chocolate cake.
On Friday my grandfather made scrambled eggs for breakfast - probably the only time all year that he cooked - and then we'd have turnip greens & cracklin cornbread for lunch.
Same routine...every year.
Oh, and this was in L.A. aka; Lower Alabama
The thing I miss most when having TG with DH's family is rice dressing. My maternal grandmother always makes it. Granny is from Sicily, but the recipe is from t'Tee, her longtime maid/my mama's mammy. I could never forget t'Tee (gone 20+ years now), but having her rice dressing at TG certainly helps keep the memory fresh.
Cornbread dressing just isn't the same.
Other than that, it's pretty simple... turkey, gravy, rice dressing, peas. OH! And the turkey gumbo for dinner, made from the carcass and leftover meat!