Hey what's for Thanksgiving?
Looking ahead to Thanksgiving menu planning, which I am already, will you make the same family favorites, or try something new? How do new dishes fare at your holiday table -- welcomed or booed?
There's always a mix of favorites and new dishes...the caramelized onion/blue cheese tarts are now institutionalilzed; putting the soup into mini-sized pumpkins will never happen again, for instance. Deep fried turkey - maybe again....someday. Grilled - probably. Roasted - always. (yes, you intuited correctly: that means two turkeys, not one) Side dishes definitely up for grabs in new treatments. Not so much on desserts that revert to the bridal approach ("something old, something new..")
I think whether or not new dishes are accepted depends on the people you're serving. This year we're trying out Turducken...last year was a heritage turkey... never tried sweet potatoes with marshmallows but I'm sure if I did the kids would be all over it.
There are some classics, of course (have a look at last year's Thanksgiving threads) but I think the main point is to gather family & friends together, remember what the holiday is about and share a good meal even if your definition is different than mine it's all about good company - sprinkled with family drama ;) & good food.
New dishes are soundly booed at my house and God forbid you omit any of the usual suspects. I did manage over the course of 10 years to replace the green bean casserole complete with french's dried onions with fresh green beans and pearl onions sauteed in garlic olive oil. For 2 years, I had to serve both! Don't make the mistake of switching fresh cranberry sauce with the canned variety. The holiday may have to be cancelled!
While the rest of the year is open to experimentation, Thanksgiving is untouchable. So it will be a roasted turkey, baked yams, stuffing recipe presumably from my late grandmother, and like baseballfan, I'm required to serve fresh cranberry sauce--2 ways. One is straight cranberry, the other has tart apple, orange juice, orange zest, whole clove, and a cinnamon stick. Homemade pumpkin pie.
We always have pretty much the same menu but I try to vary the dishes from year to year, cooking the turkey in a different way, working in a new recipe for stuffing, etc.
One of our staples is macaroni and cheese, which I think may be a southern thing. My husband's family in New England thought it odd that I would serve mac and cheese at a holiday dinner. I think they were thinking I was going to prepare the box kind.
Anyway, I tried this recipe several years ago for the first time and it is now a family favorite. Even the folks from Mass. were pleasantly surprised. It is really delish:
JenBoes, my dad always wanted macaroni & cheese to be part of the Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners because that was part of those meals when he was a kid. My aunt, his sister, always made it from scratch (no Kraft blue box) as their mother had made it as one of her contributions to the meals at family gatherings. It was good, but I always enjoyed it more at some time other than Thanksgiving or Christmas - when there was not already mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, dressing, etc. which seemed to be basically the same type or class food as the mac & cheese. I've never knew any of my mother's people (or anyone else that I can recall) to serve mac & cheese as part of the Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. It may well be one of "those southern things", but don't believe it is nearly as widespread as are a number of other southern food traditions. By the way, I like the looks of your mac & cheese recipe much better than that which my aunt made. Yours looks not so bland, like its got some flavorful "oomph" to it.