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Oh glorious day! Oh wonderful year! Oh lucky me! I finally, finally, finally get to host Thanksgiving. I banish thee jarred gravy (tell me about your single favorite dish)

I am *wild* with joy at finally being able to host Thanksgiving.

I am *giddy* with the possibility.

I have endured too much by too many and this year, this year I will rise above it all.

I can't wait. I am not even at the menu planning stage yet. I am at the menu dreaming stage.

Please help me prolong to the dream a bit and tell me your single favorite Thanksgiving dish.

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  1. There is no single item. I love so many dishes: giblet gravy, corn pudding, cheese grits souffle, soft dressing and hard dressing, chess pie, cranberry salad, homemade parker house rolls. That is just a few items. It is a food orgy.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Janet

      we must be at the same Thanksgiving...yum

      1. re: LaLa

        What are hard and soft dressing? Never heard of that before . . .

        1. re: Rick

          one is fluffy and moist and the other is baked in a casserole dish

      2. re: Janet

        Chess Pie!! I haven't heard anyone mention chess pie in 20 years!

        I LOVE chess pie, but can never get the family to break away from pumpkin and apple. Gone are the days when i made 4 pies just to get the two I like.

      3. Um ... not to rain on your parade but ... it's Thanksgiving. That means you really, really .... really need to include the dishes that define Thanksgiving to your group. That means if everyone loves canned Oceanspray cut along the can marks ... if you only provide that delicious-sounding cranberry sauce recipe you have been drooling over ... you will have a lot of unhappy guests. So if you get creative, be sure there are two versions of the dish.

        Yes, I know it sucks, but if jarred gravy is what everyone has been eating since jars were invented, there had better be a dish of that on the table along with your own house-made super gravy.

        It's a weird holiday. Too many people don't like messing with tradition.

        Maybe you lucked out and your guests are all open to the brave new world of wonderful food. Maybe no one will care if you replace the turkey with trout. However, I'd talk to your guests and be very sure how much they will tolerate.

        You want people to talk about your Thanksgiving dinner for years ... and they will .. but hopefully it is in a good way so people are begging you to host again.

        18 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          Very important point. I've learnt the hard way that no matter how exciting a menu is to me, it has to please the people I'm serving it too. Because them being unhappy will make the meal feel like a failure, even if the food is amazing.

          I've been planning my wedding menu, and similarly, I've realised that I need to please others. I'm thinking of offering a small post-wedding dinner for my nearest and dearest foodies, where I can cook my own dream wedding feast, rather than please the palates of 120 disparate people.

          For this reason, I'd personally rather cook the meal before thanksgiving, and cook what I want, rather than trying to please everyone else's expectations and nostalgia.

          1. re: Gooseberry

            In my experience, it is ok to be creative and have stuff that pleases you as long as there are the expected dishes. Have the trout, but also have the turkey. The one thing that it is too darn bad if you don't like it is stuffing. I'm not having fifty different types of stuffings. If you must have your great, great, great grandma's then make it for yourself at home. Or bring it along and I'll put it on the table.

            1. re: rworange

              Let's just have 50 kinds of stuffing. That would be an awesome dinner. Stuffing tasting party!!!!!

            2. re: Gooseberry

              Who are you eating with????? Isn't Thanksgiving a day to give thanks and also bless the hands that prepared this wonderful meal for us all so we can share it together???? Who is raining on your parade. I would only stoop so low as to make one special dish for a much older guest if that's possible. Otherwise, everybody has the ONE TRUE WAY to roast a bird and some of them still put it in at 200 the night before. When I host Thanksgiving I do it MY ONE TRUE WAY and don't compromise! I've also learned that it's only gracious to ask a certain few to bring their own special 'best' dishes. Keeps everyone participating and makes it a whole lot easier!!

              1. re: Gooseberry

                Couldn't agree more. I go to the extra effort to have the canned cranberry next to my gorgeous cranberry relish, I make the green foamy jello crap my father just has to have at the table, and there is the green bean mushroom thing that our guests and my DH want every year, too.

                But I do experiement. I try at least two new side dishes every year. The bird, the stuffing and the incredible gravy are a serious tradition in my family...and I'm not messing with perfection. It's foodie all the way.

                But to get to the OP's question, my absolute favorite is a sweet potato souffle that is out of this world. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Gourmet-...

              2. re: rworange

                No....canned...gravy.

                I am flexible on other things.

                Actually, my family's meal is scheduled on an easier date so I don't have to worry about them.

                1. re: JudiAU

                  You can canvass the grocery stores starting about now for turkey backs, wings, necks, legs, etc and make a strong broth with them to make the gravy out of- no artificials involved. You can do the broth ahead and freeze it,, thicken it or not, strain whatever fat you want to out of it. the possibilities are myriad.

                  Unfortunately, once I have that done I've convinced myself that i'm halfway there and the rest is a panic. AKA- attention-deficit cooking. But the gravy is always awesome.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    I used to bring creamed onions until we sort of figured out that it gave enough of us too much discomfort after dinner; i brought homade caponata one year; not traditional in my family's practice but very welcomed as an alternative veggie dish and the whole recipe was consumed...my mom always did a beautiful relish tray with olives,black and green, celery,pickles several kinds...maybe a spoonful of different "chows" i.e. pickalillies.

                2. re: Normandie

                  What is it about lamb that creates such an either "love it" or "hate it" division?

                  Some years ago I gave a dinner party for a friend who had a new beau she wanted to introduce. From the get-go he showed himself to be both a bore and boor. Lots of stories about how horrible his ex-wives were followed by a graphically detailed medical history, past and present.

                  However, all this paled when he began his lamb diatribe. Every possible negative turn of the phrase was used from disgusting through vile, beginning with the simple disclaimer "I hate lamb". He went on and on about much he detested lamb in any form, could smell it miles away, made him physically sick to think about, people who eat lamb are the dregs of the earth ............ for probably 20 minutes.

                  Each time his hostess (me) intervened, he plowed on. I should mention that this lamb-bashing took place at the dinner table. From time to time, he did praise our meal finally asking "what kind of beef is this? I've never had anything so flavorful". When I answered "Lamb Shanks" the entire table exploded! Beau was very quiet from then until departure. Phew! Yes, she did marry him. Happily, I have no reason to see him any longer.

                  Normandie, your line "It won't kill them to be polite for two hours ..." resonated with me. Unfortunately for most of us, the Opera Singer life has become widespread; life lived in the key of me-me-me.

                  Now to your question "what are we eating this year?"
                  "I don't know" is the honest answer. After many years of traditional turkey-gravy-stuffing-mashed potatoes-etc, I broke the mold last year. Several guests, including friends of my son and DIL, wanted to learn to cook. I realized that "helping" with the traditional feast would be difficult so we had a completely non-traditional meal. We ate for the entire afternoon, dish after dish in no particular order. Shrimp and grits, crab cakes, fresh oysters, ham biscuits, stuffed mushrooms, cheese straws, puff pastry roulade, roasted Brussels sprouts, freshly made potato chips and I don't remember what all. Champagne flowed and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Everyone told family holiday horror stories - seems many of us were separated at birth and share the same in-laws.
                  I roasted a small turkey on Friday so there were the requisite leftovers.

                  FYI: when I hosted larger family gatherings, I would roast two turkeys. One was cooked on Wednesday, cooled, sliced and packed away for re-heating. I made gravy from the pan drippings as well so there was no last minute hustle, it was ready to go. On Thursday, I roast a second turkey so the house smells like Thanksgiving. At serving, the freshly cooked bird has pride of place on the platter surrounded by hot, pre-sliced white and dark meat. It's quite festive and saves me a lot of last minute work. It took me years to work this out and I offer it to you as a New Tradition for your family. Happy Thanksgiving - I hope your family appreciates all the thought, time, effort and work you've put into their dinner.

                  1. re: Sherri

                    Badly-done lamb apparently has traumatized many a soul into thinking they hate it. Many of those open-minded souls have converted after having lamb that was well-done.

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      and by well done you mean medium rare :)

                      1. re: thew

                        Hahaha. Just think of converting lamb-haters with over cooked meat.

                      2. re: EWSflash

                        i do remember as a youth, smelling some mutton awaiting preparation and it was a sickeningly bloody smell... could this have contributed to peoples' unfortunate bias? I do enjoy lamb as an adult as well as an occasional goat curry...

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          I don't think it's necessarily that. It has a gaminess to it, more so from NZ and Oz than Colorado. I like lamb, but sometimes the gaminess turns me off, too. I often marinate Greek style, either lemon or yogurt based marinade to reduce that aspect.

                        2. re: Sherri

                          "I would roast two turkeys. One was cooked on Wednesday, cooled, sliced and packed away for re-heating. I made gravy from the pan drippings as well so there was no last minute hustle, it was ready to go. On Thursday, I roast a second turkey so the house smells like Thanksgiving. At serving, the freshly cooked bird has pride of place on the platter surrounded by hot, pre-sliced white and dark meat. It's quite festive and saves me a lot of last minute work."

                          Yes! I am SO suggesting this to MIL!

                          Love her to death, and we have always worked it out, but she thaws the turkey in the Atlanta garage for three days and that makes me nervous.

                        3. re: rworange

                          ABSOLUTELY. People like what they are used too.
                          I tried some years ago to upgrade Thanksgiving dinner and on reflection
                          accepted that our guests EXPECTED what they were primed for.
                          Express yourself but resist deviating too much from the familiar.
                          Best.
                          dick
                          dick

                          1. re: mr jig

                            My experience with my mid-west family -- and a friend's with her Alabama family as well -- is that dressing up a meal will provoke them into thinking you're trying to be uppity. Sorry, "aw uppity" in the proper vernacular. I've learned to sidestep holidays with those folks or try to let it run off like water on a duck's back. If it'smy meal they came to eat, they'll get the famous greenbean casserole and they can bring along a can of sauce. I'll dump it on a plate and put it on the sideboard.... But ain't nobody bringing a jar of gravy into my house.....

                            1. re: lil magill

                              This is my fear with my SO's family. Although in PA they probably won't say uppity so much as fancy and mean it as an insult. Last year I made mostly their foods with my gravy, two stuffings, and I asked them to bring their dishes I can't make.

                              This year will be more of the same but my family will be there the day before to help so I am hoping that I can make more food to offset my cravings while still having their down home cooking.

                        4. I think rworange has a good point about thanksgiving being about the classics. Fortunately for me, I have family and friends who love my interpretations of the classics and the extra goodies we throw in for fun. I say go nuts!

                          I can't narrow down my favorite dish. Last year, I hosted a party with these dishes and it was talked about for months afterwards. I never felt more appreciated as a cook.

                          My thanksgiving spread would not be complete wihout my deep-fried, wine/herb citrus brined turkey.

                          Last year, I made a delicious roast of heirloom tomatoes with cippolini onions and stonehouse blood orange olive oil, maldon sea saltm fresh thyme and pepper. It vanished.

                          I also decided to make Lee Ann Wong's turducken roulade. This was so delicious, but I was very nervous about the chicken mouse. Let me tell you, it rocked! http://www.hulu.com/watch/3861/top-ch...

                          Last year, I ran out of time before going to Panera Bread for stuffing bread. All they had left was a classic white loaf as well as a sun dried tomato loaf. Well, I bought both loaves. I took a dare with the sun dried tomato loaf in the stuffing. I threw in a pound of mild jalapeno/bacon duck sausage, sage, onions, carrots, celery and butter. I cut the different breads in slightly uneven dice for a rustic quality. It was extremely well recieved and I look foward to making it again this year. The stuffing had a subdued, yet bright flavor that was a nice complement to the richness of all the other offerings. It paired very well with the tomatoes. One of these days, I will start writing down recipes.

                          This year, I will make savory onion marmalade in addition to delicious home made gravy. Home made gravy is a tough feat when you deep fry a turkey. For my gravy, I used trader joes organic chicken broth reduced by about one half along with roasted chcken bones, turkey giblets and scraps from the turducken roulade to make a savory stock which was thickened with a little cornstarch, fresh herbs, minced onions and garlic. It was very good.

                          Anyone who prefers canned gravy at my party can lay an egg. =) Jellied cranberry sauce cut along the tin lines is always welcome! I tried making a fancy cranberry sauce a few years back and it solidified on the table. It wasn't pretty.

                          Green bean casserole is about the only thing I make where tradition rings true every year.

                          My piece de resistance is my own potato dish. I make a truffled potato risotto with shitake mushrooms and loads of cream and parmesan reggiano that my friends go ape over. Its basically a gratin, but the potatos are cut in a ultra small dice and cooked "al dente." I remove the potatoes when they are still somewhat raw and make a sofrito of minced onions, garlic, rosemary, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Then I add the cream and parmesan cheese (by the cupful!) until combined and throw the potatoes back in for a few minutes. The potatos soak in the cream and cheese mixture and it gets nice and thick (reverse order of the true risotto technique). I pour them into a large casserole dish and top it with a layer of sauted shitake and crimini mushrooms right down the center of the dish lengthwise (truffle oil is added if its around). I love the reaction to this dish. Its probably 1000 calories a cup, but it tastes so good. I do have the recipe typed out for this one! =

                          )

                          I am glad that I am not the only one who is looking forward to thanksgiving as much as you! I keep it classic, but the foodie in me always twists things up a bit.

                          Its never too early for feeling greatful of your friends and family!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: zendrive

                            I would love to have your recipe for your potato dish. It sounds fantastic. Your onion marmalade also sounds great. It would work well because we have a deep fried turkey to.

                            1. re: zendrive

                              "Last year, I made a delicious roast of heirloom tomatoes with cippolini onions and stonehouse blood orange olive oil, maldon sea saltm fresh thyme and pepper"

                              What! OMG...that will not wait for Thanksgiving....do you still get fresh heirloom tomatoes late November where you are, or would this, by some act of God, be something you can prepare ahead and freeze?

                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                that really does sound phenomenal.... please share!

                              2. re: zendrive

                                Can you post Lee Anne's turducken roulade recipe? I had on my computer before a virus wiped it out. The video on The Wong Way To Cook only helps so much.

                              3. RW Has a point, but I think if you've suffered all these years, it's your turn. It's only fair :)

                                1. Gazed chestnuts with haricots verts--the biggest problem is that I almost have to double the glazed chestnuts because I can't stop eating them.

                                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                  Sweet potato casserole--I know this is more like dessert than a side and I would never have tried this recipe, but someone brought it to a dinner once and it was so good. It's the one dish that people always ask for the recipe:

                                  http://whatdidyoueat.typepad.com/what...

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Oh my gosh how'd I miss a dish that involves Sortilège?? I definitely have to make this for thanksgiving! (which for me means next weekend!)

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      Thank you! The one thing I was up in the air about was a green bean dish, this will do very nicely!

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        oooohhh those chestnut/beans look sooo good. One Christmas I spent far too long making a Joel Robouchon recipe involving chestnuts, fennel, little onions ... forget what else. It took longer than I expected, and my thumbs were sore and discolored from the chestnuts, but it was the perfect addition to the turkey dinner. Sadly the yield was small for all that hard work. I think these beans will be the new replacement!

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          Oh, chowser, those chestnuts sound SO good. I think they're going to have to find their way onto one of my holiday menus this year. TY for posting the link.

                                        2. I love hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Last year I decided to use only organic food items, everything from the turkey to the cornstarch in the chocolate cream pie. It was really, really expensive. I will still incorporate some of these items, though not all.

                                          I learned to compromise. Like RW, I had family members who love the canned cranberry sauce, so now I have learned to serve it along with my own homemade cranberry applesauce which I really love. As it turns out both kinds disappear.

                                          Sausage stuffing is a must in our home, and we cook some inside the turkey and some out.

                                          I have a niece who is wild about fruit so I make a fresh fruit cup every year, which can also get expensive because I use blackberries, raspberries and blueberries which aren't in season, but taste so good. Sometimes I serve the fruit cup in antique glassware, once I served it in hollowed out orange shells, I like to vary the presentation.

                                          Dessert is all about pies, pies, pies. My mother in law is the Queen of apple pie, so she makes a few of those. She also makes pumpkin pie. I like to make blueberry pie, sometimes a cherry pie if I can find good cherries, and always a chocolate cream pie. It's a huge favorite. Vanilla ice cream and fresh whipped cream on the side.

                                          1. Over the last few years, I have fallen in love with three recipes for thanksgiving: 1) mush/fennel bread pudding 2) ginger cream lemon scalloped sweet potato 3) 4 onion gratin

                                            All to die for:

                                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                            http://www.chow.com/recipes/11145
                                            http://noblepig.com/2008/08/09/the-ug...

                                            Have fun!!!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. not traditional anywhere but in my family, but we have potato dumplings as the main starch on thanksgiving. yum

                                              1. I like making a small bowl of cold chopped cranberry salad (there is one on the back of some frozen ocean spray bags that calls for orange zest and a TON of sugar, but you can do better than that). For those times when you're temporarily too full of rich/warm/solid foods to keep going, but you can't...stop...eating...

                                                1. We had a pretty fobby Asian interpretation of Thanksgiving until I was 12 and offered to make the entire Thanksgiving dinner myself. With some help from American relatives I learned the basics. Now our traditional meal always includes whipped sweet potatoes with maple topping, ginger cranberry relish, turkey with prosciutto-hazelnut butter, mashed potatoes, dressing with Italian sausage, chicken and crab gumbo and, of course, giblet gravy.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                    That's funny. I've *had* "pretty fobby Asian interpretations" of Thanksgiving.

                                                    However, the Chinese "dry sauteed string beans" (if done authentically) are a fine substitute for the worn-out, frizzled-onion-topped green bean casserole.

                                                    I also have a great recipe for pumpkin pie which calls for Five Spice Powder instead of the usual spice culprits. It's absolutely delicious, and not too sweet.

                                                    1. re: shaogo

                                                      "However, the Chinese "dry sauteed string beans" (if done authentically) are a fine substitute for the worn-out, frizzled-onion-topped green bean casserole."

                                                      Lies. All lies (though I would still love your recipe). I grew up on Asian long beans, though I suppose it was regular green beans in November. But when I went to my first Thanksgiving away from home, the mother sheepishly offered me green bean casserole (replete with Campbell's and French's) and it was the most amazingly exotic dish I had ever eaten. I raved about it for days until she introduced me to "Frito casserole." Then we had a new exotic winner.

                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                        JungMann, you and I are opposites. The first time you had green been casserole is like the first time I ever had wu cai gee ("rainbow" chicken with five colored vegetables) in a *real* Chinese restaurant. I'd never order chow mein again!

                                                        About green beans: we *never* make dry sauteed string beans with long beans (I call long beans "cow beans"). We braise long beans in stock. Dry-sauteed are as follows:

                                                        4 tbs. Cooking oil (peatnut or soy are best)
                                                        1 lb. String beans, stringed, with ends removed but left whole otherwise
                                                        3 tbs. Yibin ya cai (preserved bean sprouts from Yibin in Sichuan province)
                                                        1 tsp. very finely minced garlic
                                                        Salt, pepper and MSG (optional) to taste

                                                        Get a wok smoking hot. Add the oil and the beans and stir fry very rapidly and vigorously until the beans start to get scorched (whitish lines) on the outside. Add the Yibin ya cai and garlic and stir fry some more. Reduce the heat and season with salt, pepper (and, if you wish, MSG).

                                                        That's it. They're just great with all sorts of "meat and potatoes" dishes.

                                                    2. re: JungMann

                                                      JungMann, our experiences sound similar. I also initiated the coup at 12, the same year I started cooking basics, and have done the meal every year since then. Since my family still eats Cantonese homecooking nearly every day of the year, and (fortunately) are very adventurous eaters, I'm given a lot of room to do whatever I want. Last year it was turkey with a chili lime glaze, giblet gravy, orange cranberry relish, jalapeno cornbread, green beans sauteed with dried shrimp and ginger (the green bean casserole, which I'd had at my classmates' houses and adored, was vetoed the first time I made it), roasted garlic mashed potatoes, avocado salad with cilantro and lime, and chicken corn chowder. Pumpkin flan for dessert.

                                                      A bonus of serving exotic/foreign foods, I've found, is that they're received with very few expectations -- little to no pressure!

                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                        Forgot a few things -- traumatic amnesia...we also had elote (with crumbled cotija, homemade mayo, cayenne, and lime), sweet potato fries with homemade aioli, and chorizo stuffing. And, while guests were filtering in, some (much-needed) margaritas, goodhealthgourmet's black bean dip, and Tostitos lime chips -- by that point, I really wasn't up for making those from scratch.

                                                      2. <enter Thanksgiving Scrooge>. I am thrilled you are thrilled about hosting Thanksgiving. I've hosted Thankgiving for 20+ years and will be thrilled the day I get to turn it over to my daughter and I get to watch football, drink wine, and not have a care in the world :-)

                                                        Having said that my three favorite dishes are pumpkin pie (I make the recipe from LIbby's and double the spices...it's my traditional Fri morning breakfast after T'giving Day), my brother's sweet potatoes with fresh pineapple and rum and his Oystew Stew Florentine.

                                                        If you want the potato or stew recipe, just let me know :-)

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                          I would like the sweet potato recipe please!

                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                            I would love the oyster stew recipe! I live in oyster central, Washington, but that's not the sort of recipe you see much out here.

                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                              I would love the oyster stew recipe please!

                                                              1. Ours is usually pretty simple, with only a few people over.

                                                                My favourite thing though is the gravy. I generally have dinner with the in-laws who before only had powdered gravy. We now do both kinds, and both disappear, usually with everybody taking a little of each for various dishes :)

                                                                My mom always took the turkey gizzards, and fried the liver (do not clean the pan afterward), and boil the neck and other parts to make a broth in about 2-4 ish cups of well salted water (sometimes we use chicken or turkey stock). Puree the liver with a bit of the broth. Melt some butter in the pan you used to cook the liver in, and add some flour. brown slightly, then add the liquid, and boil until done.

                                                                As to the mashed potatoes, I personally like them a little chunky, but that seems to be unique in my circle, so I just suck it up and enjoy the whipped potatoes, remembering to make chunky potatoes to go with the leftovers I'll take home.

                                                                My grandma always made fruit salad too as an appetizer/dessert (made early in the day and snacked upon throughout), usually using apples, strawberries, grapes, canned peaches and canned pears. Just slice, and mix with home-made, full-fat, luscious vanilla whipped cream.

                                                                1. Mashed potatoes with clarified butter, and a good sprinkling of sea salt and parsely.

                                                                  Save the gravy for the turkey breast meat ...

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    I've never heard of clarifying butter for mashed potatoes. Why do you do it?

                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      yes to the gravy for the breast meat and don't forget the hot turkey sandwich the next day. I'm curious abt the advantage of clarified butter in the spuds too.

                                                                    2. JudiAU, I applaud your enthusiasm and CH spirit! Here's wishing you a very delicious Thanksgiving dinner!

                                                                      A holiday favorite of ours is to start off with this hearty soup:

                                                                      Apple Butternut Squash Soup

                                                                      Saute 3 c chopped onion, 1/2 tsp mace, 1 tsp ginger in 4 Tbs butter til soft. Add 3 medium butternut squash, chopped, 3 granny smiths, peeled and chopped, 5 c chicken broth. Bring to boil then simmer til squash soft ( ~ 25 minutes) Drain the squash and save the broth. In batches puree squash with 1 c broth. Return to pot , add the rest of the broth and 2 cups of apple juice. Season with salt & pepper and a dash of freshly ground nutmeg.

                                                                      1. can I just say, as someone who makes good gravy and has made many a TDay Dinner, keep a jar or two of gravy in the pantry "just in case".
                                                                        Things happen. Tha's all I'm sayin'

                                                                        my personal favorite thangsgiving dish is the day after sandwich with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce (Ocean Spray), lettuce and mayo on whole wheat toast.

                                                                        We serve vegetarians, low carbers, diabetics, small children, and those who indulge at our table, so everything is fair game and on the table.

                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                        1. re: laliz

                                                                          I buy a container of gravy from a local market's prepared food section and if my gravy happens to go awry or we run out, there is a reasonable Plan B easy enough to execute.

                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                            What a great idea!!! I remember one Thanksgiving when the gravy just tasted disgusting and it required a great amount of sweat, stress, and fixing to get it to edible.

                                                                            1. re: Full tummy

                                                                              Williams Sonoma sells a great jar of gravy that works in a pinch. It always seems to sell out so buy early. Flavour is good.

                                                                              1. re: beggsy

                                                                                I have to disagree. This is the stuff that has been terrorizing me for years.

                                                                                1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                  Too funny. As is the title of your post. However, I had Wm Sonoma gravy for the first time last year - first time i'd ever had any pre-fab gravy and it was pretty good. And it was at a friend's who makes everything herself . . . like, the bread for bread pudding. So I was pretty surprised. That said, she didn't just heat it up and serve ... she put it in the roasting pan with all the drippings. I think she deglazed w something first. FYI only . . . I"m just sayin' . . .

                                                                                  1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                    Our family had Thanksgiving for many years at the restaurant of relatives-in-laws. They closed the restaurant, everyone brought their special side dish or dessert and they did the turkeys. One year I found out they had bought commercial prepared gravy and I was scandalized. The gravy is the best part!

                                                                                    Lately my SO has been brining turkeys and we thought the drippings would probably be too salty. So my contribution to the meals has been gravy. I buy fresh turkey wings and other parts at Whole Foods (had trouble finding the fresh parts elsewhere) and made gravy from that.

                                                                                    At last. Good gravy again.

                                                                                    1. re: karykat

                                                                                      Did you try turning the drippings into gravy? Just curious. I've made brined poultry gravy and it's turned out great. I do deglaze with a little white wine though figuring the acid will help mitigate against the salt. Also, I make a light chicken/turkey stock with the neck and giblets and don't add salt. (Which feels weird at the time.)

                                                                                      1. re: cinnamon girl

                                                                                        This is easy gravy and it makes a lot. Simmer the giblets and neck with onions, parsley, celery, a clove of garlic, salt and pepper in water for an hour or two. IN another pot, brown a bunch of sliced mushrooms in butter. Strain the giblet broth into the mushrooms, add a shot of sherry, and the brown bits from the turkey pan after you remove the turkey and fat from it. Shake up some flour with cream or whole milk in a jar, with a bit of paprika, and add it to the gravy to thicken. Make sure it simmers for a while to cook the flour. Fabulous gravy, and there's always enough.

                                                                                        1. re: cinnamon girl

                                                                                          The drippings from a brined bird can be turned into gravy, but other, unsalted, liquids will need to be added to the drippings, in my experience.

                                                                                          1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                            I have heard of good experiences with brined turkey drippings since last Thanksgiving. Maybe I will give that a try this year.

                                                                                            I like to be sure I have lots of gravy though. For the potatoes, the stuffing, all the leftovers . . . . .

                                                                                            1. re: karykat

                                                                                              The drippings have never been salty in my experience, you can use it as you would any pan drippings for gravy, etc. Doesn't end up making the stuffing salty, either.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                Oh, we're very light salt users, in general, but I know everybody has different standards/preferences. I do find the drippings from a brined bird to be somewhat saltier than from a non-brined bird, and also the meat is slightly saltier, too, so it's something people may just want to be aware of. Our brined bird was rinsed this year and the gravy was still the saltiest part of the meal, even though I didn't add any salt to it...

                                                                                          2. re: cinnamon girl

                                                                                            I agree. I always thaw in brine -- sugar and salt both -- and the brine does not adversely affect anything. I also baste 3 x per hour with stock fortfied with a dab of boullion, celery, carrot, bay and balsamic to produce a gloriously chestnut-colored, shiny crisp skin! All vinegar acid cooks out and it has a fabulous flavor. Adding the liver to your gravy can make it cloud, but I always do it anyway.

                                                                                            1. re: lil magill

                                                                                              what if you're planning on smoking your brined bird on a grill? how can i make gravy if i can't collect drippings?

                                                                                              1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                You might want to buy some turkey wings, and use them, along with the heart, neck, etc., that's found in the cavity of the bird, to make a stock with some onions (you can leave the skins on to add more brown colour), carrots, celery, herbs, bay leaves, etc. Then, thicken as you would normally. If worst comes to worst, use chicken stock, as I did.

                                                                                                Oh, and you will want to reduce your stock till you have the right flavour for a gravy.

                                                                              2. some of the things that are always on the table at thanksgiving

                                                                                cranberry sauce with apples/pears/oranges/grandmarnier
                                                                                parker house rolls
                                                                                mashed potatoes with cream fraiche and lots of butter (mountains of this!!)
                                                                                roasted root veggies dressed up various ways (marjoram and balsamic)
                                                                                fennel salad with citrus, sauteed fennel or fennel gratin
                                                                                green bean almondine or brussel sprout and bacon
                                                                                warm rum raisin apple pie and brown sugar rum ice cream
                                                                                lots and lots of cookies and marshmallows next to the fire.

                                                                                27 Replies
                                                                                1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                  This isn't real right? This is the fantasy Thanksgiving! lol

                                                                                  Do you make your own parker house rolls, Jeniyo? I've yet to make them and am thinking of giving it a go so . . . anything you'd like to share would be welcome.

                                                                                  Oh - and what time's dinner??????????
                                                                                  :-)

                                                                                  1. re: cinnamon girl

                                                                                    it's true! this my cooking week of the year. I love making a mess and a house that smells like sausages and butter.... mmm

                                                                                    i make my own parker house rolls. these make great vessel for leftover turkey sandwiches. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                    oh yeah, it sound disturbing to my friends but (!) - my sister raised 4 turkeys for the holidays for such an occasion. the real test of zacky farms, the expensive organic turkey in fancy stores and sister's free range, organic, turkey that has places to roam around in the backyard!

                                                                                    every year, it is hosted at my mom's house. i'd lug half my kitchen to her house =) luckily, my husband understand... =) cuz he gets fed, in a very big way....

                                                                                    1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                      Gosh - you're like the purest food expression of thanksgiving. You should write an article about it all. Who wouldn't want to read about the home-raised turkeys and all this good food?!

                                                                                      Thanks for the link. Am going to give the rolls a go now that it's starting to really feel like fall.

                                                                                      1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                        What do you use the sausages for?
                                                                                        I cook Thanksgiving at my mother's too. How far away is your mother?
                                                                                        My brother used to raise the turkeys which were wonderful. But the kids grew up and he got a job outside the home and can't any more.

                                                                                    2. re: jeniyo

                                                                                      Oh, my word, does that all sound good, jeniyo!

                                                                                      I think you just planned my Thanksgiving menu for me. I'm not kidding. I'll add my favorite squash pie and something chocolate for the addicts (including me), but otherwise...that sounds perfect. Well done.

                                                                                      1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                        Oh my! Brown sugar rum ice cream! Homemade?

                                                                                        1. re: Athena

                                                                                          it's crazy but yes, it is homemade. luckily i get to make this days ahead, so it wasn't much trouble at all. it is simply awesome... last year, we auctioned off the ice cream container to take home, mom won, of course =)

                                                                                          while we are on the subject - how do you guys feel about making your own pumpkin puree vs. libby's canned stuff? is it worth the steaming, peeling, pureeing, and pushing it through a fine mesh???

                                                                                          1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                            >>> how do you guys feel about making your own pumpkin puree vs. libby's canned stuff

                                                                                            My vote is don't do it. Even though I'm not much of a cook it is rare ... really, really rare that even in a good restaurant that I am served a decent pumpkin pie starting from pumpkin.

                                                                                            First, you have to find the right pumpkin. Don't use a jack o lantern ... too watery.

                                                                                            Even when using the right sort of cooking pumpkin the taste and texture is off.

                                                                                            Then again, make one once for the experience ... but have a backup using canned 'pumpkin' (its really squash).

                                                                                            Does anyone see a pattern here with me about experiment all you want but do the regular version as well as a backup?

                                                                                            1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                              I believe CI felt canned was better.

                                                                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                  Sorry, from the garden to the pie shell. There is a diff in flavor, fresh and subtle.
                                                                                                  Cans should be banned from T-day.

                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                    I didn't say there's no difference, just that it's not worth it, to me, and others, apparently.

                                                                                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                      Lack of experience. Taste is not democratic or we'd all be eating Turkey at Mikkey Dee's. Sorry. Buy a pie at the supermercado.
                                                                                                      I despise canned pumpkin pie, all allspice, but home made "punkin" is a fave. There is something esoteric about the garden to table experience. Sorry again.
                                                                                                      Same w/ a hunted, shot, plucked and baked turkey.
                                                                                                      Grizzly Dumukeg

                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                        No doubt... I grow a number of "crops" in my yard, but I'd have to wrangle a pumpkin away from the raccoons before wrangling with it in the kitchen. So, alas, this experience is not to be gained in my city plot.

                                                                                                        1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                          Great. Raccon is also a traditional T-day meal. My problem was your "there's no difference...to me and others, apparently." this typical advertising "band wagon" and not for Chowhound. Truth is beauty and beauty is truth.
                                                                                                          Give thanks for all we have.

                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                            No, no, no, I didn't say there's no difference!!! I said it's not worth it. Just my opinion, admittedly, but very different than saying there's no difference.

                                                                                                            Oh, and I meant to add a link to this other thread about just this topic:

                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/658203

                                                                                                          2. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                            I want to roast some pumpkin stuffed raccoon guts!
                                                                                                            Thatta'd be some fine Thanksgivin vittles!

                                                                                                          3. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                            Wanna explain how canned pumpkin has allspice in it?

                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                              I think we are talking about canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix. The canned pumpkin is great for so many things besides pie and is 100% pumpkin (not winter squash) as long as you get Libbys. Nothing added,including spices. Now as far as the pumpkin mix, I don't let anyone mess with my spices, and would never use for anything.

                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                I agree. I would never bother with fresh pumpkin when canned pumpkin is so good. Not pumpkin pie filling; canned pumpkin

                                                                                                                1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                  That is exactly what I used, and my pie turned out great. Apparently, however, some of us like hunting fresh, live pumpkins in the wilds of their gardens!!!

                                                                                                        1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                                          See, I was all for the Libby's variety until I got my first true pie pumpkin this Halloween (Cub scout project) and did the whole roast and rice thing. I found the flavor to be much better. And, if you've got a ricer, the whole prep was relatively simple. Slice, seed/de-junk and roast on tinfoil - 1 hour at 350. Tent the the foil to let it steam as it cools. Once cool, scrape flesh into ricer. I found the stuff just fell off the peel into the ricer basket. Squish contents directly into measuring cup. The pumpkin even came with a pie recipe-produce code sticker that is in my cookbook notiebook. Super-super easy. Especially if you make up the pumpkin mash the week before and freeze it to use later.

                                                                                                          The key to this is the ricer. it made life so much easier for so many reasons. like potatos, sweet potatos, spatzle,.. I just realized how much I use the thing.

                                                                                                          Anyway, the pie just seemed to have a deeper richer flavor and was less sweet and more robust that my ordinary p-pie. Your milage may vary.

                                                                                                          1. re: aggiecat

                                                                                                            I'm in complete agreement with you here. Using a fresh sugar pumpkin makes all the difference in the world, and honestly, it's no harder than roasting a butternut squash for a soup. Roasting a pumpkin in the flesh is way less time-consuming than peeling it, cubing it and steaming it.

                                                                                                            I don't get it. I'm really surprised at the number of Libby's canned pumpkin lovers there are here... on a foodie site.

                                                                                                            The color from a fresh pumpkin is nicer too, I've found. It freezes well too. I have enough puree in the freezer to make me 2 more pies. I haven't bought canned pumpkin puree in over 10 years.

                                                                                                            Now? I am seriously craving some pumpkin pie.

                                                                                                            I think that a bake-off between fresh and canned would be interesting!

                                                                                                            1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                              So true the color is gorgeous!

                                                                                                            2. re: aggiecat

                                                                                                              My sister in law used to grow and use pumpkin squash to make pies.....cakes.....quickbreads.It was delicious and rich.I think I will try to get a couple of small sugar pumpkins and roast them up and try to make a custard or a pumpkin roll or something extremely fattening and decadent this year!

                                                                                                            3. re: jeniyo

                                                                                                              Personally I thought I hated pumpkin pie until I had it made from real longneck pumpkin instead of the can. I will use the can for other things. Plus we use less spices, cinnamon only to get a really lovely flavor where you can taste the actual fruit. It can be a pain but you can do one longneck pumpkin in September or October and have enough purée frozen for a year of pies.

                                                                                                        2. Wow, and here's me just waiting for the day someone else takes over our Thanksgiving feast!
                                                                                                          Congratulations JudiAU, you're in for a fun, AND super busy "oh my god!! theres sooo much to do dinner!!
                                                                                                          Thanksgiving in my home theres a favorite made for almost everyone. My two youngest grandchildren excluded as they're in their "ewww, yuk, I don't like everything stage right now. Must haves on my table are, homemade cranberry sauce, giblet gravy minus the giblet bits when served, old fashioned bread stuffing with sausage and, sometimes without sausage if I forget, creamed onions, steamed squash with butter and honey, mashed rutabaga with butter, brussel sprouts with butter & bacon & parmesan, a vegi casserole containing a mixture of cauliflower, carrots, snap peas and broccoli covered with cheese sauce & sprinkled with toasted slivered almonds, cream cheese, cheddar, & sour cream make ahead mashed pototo casserole, a small dish of corn, a small dish of baked yams with butter and brown sugar, and, the most important have to have no matter what, 36 to 48 individual yorkshire puddings.
                                                                                                          Dessert is always a cake or cheesecake pie, a pumpkin pie with the manditory splash of molasses, an apple pie with whipped cream and pastry cut-outs, plus a plate of shortbread fingers on the side.
                                                                                                          Oh, I amost forgot, theres always an assortment of pickles on the table too.

                                                                                                          Have fun with your dinner JudiAU!

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Joyfull

                                                                                                            I thought that yorkshire puddings were made in the hot grease of a roast beef. how else can they be made?

                                                                                                            1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                                              You can make them in any fat, technically. I've seen recipes that call for butter. I guess you could use Turkey fat.

                                                                                                          2. Awesome, Judi, very excited for you! Last year was my first year and I had a blast. I struggled for awhile trying to come up with a second "root" side (in addition to the mashed potatoes), and just knew I wanted to incorporate sweet potatoes but not much else. Did a search on chow and found a recipe for a potato, onion, panko and thyme-walnut gratin. I made it w/ half reg potatoes and half sweet potatoes and it was incredible! Very easy to make, and easy to get right. I think the timing and oven temp of it worked really well as well. I'm sure a quick search would turn it up, I'm sorry I'm not better at adding links.

                                                                                                            Good luck and have fun, you've got a great attitude to make the day a lot of fun!

                                                                                                            1. When I was doing a big Thanksgiving dinner I loved it! It became my favorite holiday. It was tons of work, but I enjoyed it. I miss it now a lot. So, I hope you have a really good day.

                                                                                                              My favorite dish was the turkey stuffing, which I made roughly according to my mother's concept of sagey, savory cornbread stuffing. I had a plan for making that stuffing! I made my own cornbread the day before. I incorporated seasonings into the cornbread. When it was baked, I cut it and split it and laid it out to dry overnight. I added more seasonings as I mixed it with cooked brown or wild rice, broth, onion, celery, apple, caraway seeds, salt and pepper.. It was quite a production.

                                                                                                              I say, make your own gravy, but you may have to give way on the cranberry sauce. And don't be afraid to buy rolls from a good bakery. Making your own might be too much. Have fun!

                                                                                                              1. OHMIGOSH!! i'm so excited. but still, co-workers think i'm crazy cuz we still have 2 months!!

                                                                                                                it's true, it's dreaming stage...

                                                                                                                my dad likes a wild rice stuffing with lots of mushrooms and truffle oil. yum!

                                                                                                                1. You will do just fine!! If all else fails to hell with the turkey and hook up some great steaks - yes, we did that one year...threw the turkey out the window and make a 6 rib in Ribeye roast! Amazing...

                                                                                                                  I miss a big family Thanksgiving Dinner, here in Bermuda we do not celebrate Thanksgiving but if it falls in a weekend I will do a small Thanksgiving dinner.

                                                                                                                  One year we did stuffed rolled Turkey breast, truffled gravy, parsley garlic smashed fried potatoes sautéed green beans with almonds and parmesan cheese and a wonder Tropical Trifle

                                                                                                                  My favorite was Cornish hens; one for each person, stuffed with sausage stuffing under the skin of the hens was rosemary butter, bacon cornbread muffins, herbed potato au gratin and roasted acorn squash and a carmel cheesecake

                                                                                                                  1. I know you said "single" favourite dish, but there are a few must-haves in my home.

                                                                                                                    1) The turkey must be brined!!! You will never eat a more tender turkey, and once I did it, I just couldn't go back to old-style.

                                                                                                                    2) Enough with the mashed turnip, mashed squash, mashed potatoes. Well, keep the mashed potatoes, and make these Moroccan spiced roast vegetables. They are exceptional.
                                                                                                                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                    3) Homemade cranberry sauce. For wow factor, there's nothing easier. I love this recipe:
                                                                                                                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                    Last tip: There are so many delicious stuffing recipes out there; stay away from the packaged stuff!! And have fun!!

                                                                                                                    1. I envy you. I have a small family and they are EXTREMELY picky. If my sister isn't going to be around, I can make this fabulous wild mushroom stuffing. Otherwise, it's bread stuffing, turkey, corn and mashed potatoes.

                                                                                                                      I do make these wonderful soft dinner rolls using my bread machine to make the dough. It is a King Arthur Flour recipe. Every time I make them, they disappear.

                                                                                                                      The other thing I make is gravy. Forget the jar. Somehow last year I instinctively knew how to make a simple roux and added it to the drippings (and a bit of broth because I made too much roux!) Everyone raved about the gravy. Mom had always thickened hers with flour and water shook in a jar and added to the drippings.

                                                                                                                      Even if you don't get to execute your dream Thanksgiving, enjoy imagining it!

                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: aekbooth

                                                                                                                        Something I learned about here, if I remember and have the time, is to brown the flour first like you would for dark roux, before adding to the gravy pan. Worth the effort!

                                                                                                                        1. re: aekbooth

                                                                                                                          What kind of rolls? I'm on a bread machine kick right now and most of the breads become sandwich rolls in our house. I need a new recipe to add to the rotation.

                                                                                                                          1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                                                                            Sorry I didn't see this earlier. Here is the link to the soft dinner rolls. King Arthur Flour has the most amazing website. I love their blog. Check out the other recipes, too.

                                                                                                                            http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                                                                                            1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                                                                              OOPS. This is the one I use because I never have nonfat dried milk. Either one should be good, though.

                                                                                                                              http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                                                                                              1. re: aekbooth

                                                                                                                                Thanks! I'll have to try them, but unfortunately I have to find a way to make them non-dairy for my purposes. Any ideas?

                                                                                                                                1. re: TampaAurora

                                                                                                                                  I contacted the bakers at King Arthur Flour and they assure me that you can replace the butter with oil and just leave the dried milk out of the first recipe. I'm guessing in the other recipe you would just use water instead of the milk. good luck.

                                                                                                                          2. Must- haves:
                                                                                                                            Bruce Aidell's Sausage and Artichoke Stuffing
                                                                                                                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                            Cazuela Pie from Regan Daley's "In the Sweet Kitchen"

                                                                                                                            Cranberry Kumquat Sauce
                                                                                                                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                                                                                            but I'll have to find a new sauce since my kumquat seller has disappeared.

                                                                                                                            1. I felt the same way when I started hosting! Congrats! Like any large meal, being organized is key. I think you should make whatever you want. Some of my favorites are- soup- I always start the meal with a squash or pumpkin soup and Balsalmic glazed cioppoline onions. Dont be afraid to try something new an start your own traditions.

                                                                                                                              1. Even when I'm at someone else's Thanksgiving or Christmas feast, I always volunteer to do the mashed potatoes (if that's what they're serving). I've had too many lumpy, bland, stodgy, loose, goopy, sticky, gummy versions... I eat mashed potatoes too rarely to waste a single opportunity!!!

                                                                                                                                To avoid the finicky gravy problem, unless you're some sort of gravy wiz, I would suggest buying a bunch of chicken wings and giblets a few days before and preparing a base gravy, ahead of time, to which you can just add the drippings at the last minute.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                  My fave holiday, cuz it's all about the food. I like to host it, and serve traditional dishes, but sides that my family demands. Best part about this, my house is spanking clean and I get all of the leftovers!!

                                                                                                                                  I make a puree of steamed cauliflower, (well drained) add roasted garlic cloves, fresh heavy cream and cream cheese and buzz it with an immersion blender. Who needs the potato-a low carber's dream.

                                                                                                                                  I also do some roasted root veggies with fresh thyme, sea salt, garlic and rosemary, usually rutabagas, red onions, carrots, and delicata or butternut squash.

                                                                                                                                  I break into a cold sweat just thinking about the turkey carving, though, have watched many videos, have not quite gotten the hang of it, but skills have improved somewhat. Due to budget, I will get a frozen turkey, but it will be brined, and wouldn't do it any other way, I like Alton B's method the best.

                                                                                                                                2. My grandmother always cooked the same delicious meal every year. Since we stopped with the large family gatherings, my mom and I like to get all the holiday issues (Gourmet, BA, CI, etc.) and pick out new recipes to try every year. It's easy to do because there are only 6 of us. And since I don't like turkey and my SIL is a vegetarian we tend to go heavy on sides and dessert. My favorite recipe so far as been a goat cheese roasted eggplant lasagna from a WS cookbook.

                                                                                                                                  If we do Thanksgiving with my SIL and her large Italian family my mom and bring a pumpkin cheesecake and what ever pie catches out interest that year. Last year I made a cranberry sauce w/wine that I got off a thread.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                    Goat cheese roasted eggplant lasagna sounds great for any meal. Can you share the recipe? Thanks!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                      I would if I could but I can't because the cookbook is down in NoVa w/my mother. It's in the The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Pasta (Hardcover) by Erica De Mane (Author), Chuck Williams (Editor) cookbook.

                                                                                                                                    2. The only thing I really need at Thanksgiving is perfect turkey and moist, simple oyster dressing. Those two dishes alone make the holiday for me. It's really only me, my sister and mom who like the dressing, so we always make a much larger dish of traditional cornbread dressing for everyone else. More of the oyster variety for us!

                                                                                                                                      1. Scallop cerviche as an app is my favorite. If a commercial bird, I love a red chile gravy to add flavor. Try to find a free range turkey or even one from a local organic farm if you really want to impress.
                                                                                                                                        When I hunt and bag a wild turkey (No Scargod, not the Wild Turkey from the bottle!) it is so very special. Our native fowl from a very native setting. It seems so natural and right. Butterball pails by comparison.

                                                                                                                                        1. I love love LOVE cooking & hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Almost every year I take a bit of a different route, as my family is pretty open & receptive of new flavors & dishes (to a point, of course...)

                                                                                                                                          First off, the bird. May I suggest something other than turkey? Partridge? Pheasant? Individual guinea hens? Very fun.
                                                                                                                                          My other great success has been with different takes on a very old recipe from Cooking Light, of all places. Cider Scalloped Potatoes - I ignore their suggestions for low fat cheeses (please!!!), don't peel the potatoes (personally, I like the peels) and sometimes do a mix of sweet & regular potatoes.

                                                                                                                                          As others have said, sometimes 'tradition' needs to trump all, but you certainly know your family better than we do, so take the room you DO have to play around and go for it!

                                                                                                                                          1. I know you're really excited about making Thanksgiving dinner but do yourself a big favor and make your gravy ahead of time using turkey wings. There are several recipes out there or I will post my own if you wish. You will have so much stuff going on between the time you take the bird out of the oven and serving that the last thing you need is to make a bunch of gravy! It's a HUGE relief to have the gravy already made and warming on the stove. I guess that's why it's my favorite dish.
                                                                                                                                            Bob

                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: SonyBob

                                                                                                                                              What do you do with all the good drippings in the roasting pan? I guess you could pour your pre-made gravy in there capturing all those good flavours. But then you'd have the bother of degreasing . . . which would negate your earlier work . . . 'k, never mind . . . I have a scary, pathological really, compulsion not to waste so I'd have to go into therapy if I tried this :-0

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cinnamon girl

                                                                                                                                                My turkey is smoked outside using Cherry wood harvested from the North Country forest blowdowns. No drippings to be had, so I use parts to make the gravy.

                                                                                                                                                If I had drippings, I would save them to add to the turkey tetrazzini white sauce or the turkey stock that is made from the carcass.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                  Wow! I'm wondering if I could swing by your place after Jeniyo's? :-)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cinnamon girl

                                                                                                                                                    i always have an extra place..... and an extra turkey plate.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                    i posted a question about smoking upthread. we're planning on smoking ours. do you brine yours first? and about the gravy...can you tell me your method? thanks!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                                                      Yes- Brine the turkey before smoking. Keep your smoker a little higher than you would for brisket or pork- about 260, 275. You have to watch the thigh temp if you do it dry- half an hour too long and it starts to dry out. Bigger the bird, the longer the smoke. I did a 12 lb hen in 3:50 earllier this year, resting 20 mins or so and it was perfect.

                                                                                                                                                      A water bath will keep it moist,but it will take longer.
                                                                                                                                                      It's a long smoke, and you want to eat the skin so use fruit wood. No hickory and please no mesquite or oak, ever on a bird.

                                                                                                                                              2. Judi, My Mother gave me Thanksgiving about 8 years ago. After two years had passed, the turkey plates [really] were passed to me. Whatever test there was, I had passed. Turns out, like Janet, my Mother was thrilled to give away this cooking-intensive holiday. But I love hosting. I love cooking the food, hosting the family, and creating the perfect day.

                                                                                                                                                You don't say how many folks you will be feeding, but generally, I have between 16-24 people around my table. This takes planning.

                                                                                                                                                I have a timeline that begins on Tuesday. Yes, it is written down and on grid paper. It includes every task that must be accomplished starting with baking the bread for the stuffing all the way to when I should polish the silver.

                                                                                                                                                Every year, I revise the timeline based on what actually happened. I have all the recipes in a folder, along with a shopping list by market. This prevents the purchase of 24 lbs of squash, when I only need 12.

                                                                                                                                                I wish I had been more organized the first year. I would have gotten more sleep on Wednesday night if I had been. So that is my only advise. Whatever the menu, spend some time mapping out your burners, ovens and sequence so that you get to enjoy the day along with your guests.

                                                                                                                                                [p.s. make the gravy early with parts. Saves a ton of stress.... and gives you time to defat the gravy.]

                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                  Wow - I wish I was half as organized as you. Your meal must be awesome. Polish the silver???? Didn't know people did that anymore. I'm lucky if the table gets set beforehand. We usually host Christmas instead of Thanksgiving and this year will be in Curacao for the holiday. Next year, can we come to your house?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: curly girl

                                                                                                                                                    << I'm lucky if the table gets set beforehand.>>

                                                                                                                                                    LOL, curly. Sounds like my house on weeknights. :-)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: curly girl

                                                                                                                                                      I only polish my silver when it looks black. I usually find out shortly before dinner.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                                        Yes..... only from Tuesday. I like to think that I am smart AND lazy which translates to efficient. Though I have to admit, I harvested all the green tomatoes from the garden yesterday and made the green tomato relish today, It is one of the most loved dishes on the T-day table since it just like Grandmother Tucker's. Does that mean I need to create a timeline from Columbus Day weekend?

                                                                                                                                                        And yea, I get that you are being just a tad facetious. :-)

                                                                                                                                                    2. Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year, and I do enjoy "the classics". But since you asked for our one single favorite Thanksgiving dish, mine is squash pie. Essentially, the same as pumpkin, but slightly more delicate.

                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Normandie

                                                                                                                                                        My favorite is the turkey sandwich the next day, with lots of stuffing and cranberry sauce in it. And as someone mentioned, the sparkling clean house and fridge full of all kinds of delicious foods to last the weekend. I just make a fire, read a book and finish off the wine. I deserve it!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                          Coll, try adding whole roasted green chile to your turk sand. I'm not a big fan of gene super turk, but that sandwich is among my faves.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                            I have some serranos in the freezer I roasted a couple of months ago, I'll give it a try.....probably the second sandwich though.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                            You're not kidding, coll. That is one great sandwich...and with the fireplace going? Heaven. I like Passa's idea re the chili, too--and I had no idea that you could freeze chilis. Just roast them and wrap them up? Do you have to peel them?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Normandie

                                                                                                                                                              I started doing it because the only red bell peppers I can tolerate are the roasted type, and I used to roast them and put in oil and garlic, and have to throw out what was left a week or two later when it started going bad. So I heard you could just roast them and freeze them, and it works great. Then I was at a Spanish market and did it with all kinds of hot peppers too, since it worked so good, with scotch bonnet, long green (they swore that was the real name), serranos, chiles, I don't remember all. Lasted me months. Here's all you do:

                                                                                                                                                              Roast under broiler til blackened. Take off as much skin as possible. Put in brown paper bag to cool and dry. Lay on wax paper, and put in Ziploc. You can make as many layers as fit. When needed, you can break hunks off and throw right in the pot. This works especially well with red peppers, because you can buy them at 79 cents now and store for the holidays when they'll charge $3.99. With the red peppers, I thaw and then put in oil and garlic as usual, and you can't tell they're not fresh. No waste, I love it.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                Coll: try putting the just roasted peppers in to or wrapping with plastic. The moist steamy heat actually makes the skins of most peppers come off easier. Then layer in wax paper and freeze as recommended. Yum. Roasted peppers are good stuff no matter how they get there.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: aggiecat

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the heads up, the brown paper bag trick does the same thing but I posted in the wrong order, so silly of me. Anyway that's why and how my MIL told me to do it when she passed on the legacy. She also told me to rinse off the oil after roasting, it freaks people out when I tell them but I think that is why mine don't give anyone indigestion!

                                                                                                                                                                  You definitely have to somehow let them cool and also steam at the same time. If she was still around, she would have loved the freezer trick. I love buying peppers on sale and then having them available roasted whenever I want.
                                                                                                                                                                  I used to wait until a week or two before a big holiday and then pay top dollar because I had to have them.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I agree - Thanksgiving isn't about just one "dish". It's the whole once-a-year Food Fest experience. If I had to pick just one, I would pick the corn pudding. That's definitely something you only have at Thanksgiving. And as far as gravy, my favorite is our family "recipe" of adding cream of chicken soup, and milk depending on thickness you want, to the turkey drippings (once you've skimmed off the fat of course) Throw in a dash of the Poultry seasoning and you're set. Yum!! Good luck on your meal. Have your guests bring a side dish, appy or dessert and it will make it much easier on you.

                                                                                                                                                          1. I would love to host Thanksgiving but that has always been my mother's holiday. Now that she is 84 it is too much for her so I do the cooking at her place. Everyone else in the family (except my sister who stays with me) stays at my parent's for most of the weekend so it is a very special time for our family. Usually there are 20 plus at the table.
                                                                                                                                                            One dish that has been traditional for years is the Craig Claiborne Sausage & Chestnut Stuffing. It is mostly meat - no bread.
                                                                                                                                                            I make my husband Brussel Sprouts braised in Red Wine with garlic & shallots out of an old Fine Cooking. I hate brussels sprouts but it smells wonderful.
                                                                                                                                                            For gravy I make a turkey stock from a turkey carcass earlier in the year. I then reduce the turkey stock over roasted turkey wings & thighs until I get what my brother calls "Turkey Jello" which I freeze. I use that to make the gravy.
                                                                                                                                                            Have fun and smtucker's idea of the timeline is a great one. Being organized is the secret to success. Success being you having had fun doing this without stressing out.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                                                              Turkey jello, I love it!

                                                                                                                                                              I've been doing Thanksgiving for many moons, and the first time I did it, as a newlywed, my parents told me afterwards that the fact that I was so calm about the whole dinner (for around 30) was the key. I always think about that the morning of, no matter what happens if you are in a good mood that's all that matters.

                                                                                                                                                            2. i too totally dorked out when i hosted my first Thanksgiving last year - check out the recipes and event here: http://lollya.blogspot.com/2008/11/bo...

                                                                                                                                                              good luck judiau, it will be so much fun!

                                                                                                                                                              1. I think green beans need to be on the table in some form, but I also think we need a break from all the warm/mushy foods. So I use a friend's recipe, which is welcome on the table as a sort of salad. I blanch whole greens beans. When they're cool and still crisp, I toss them with a lot of minced red onion, lots of tiny cubes of extra sharp cheddar (really cut them small), a good vinaigrette with olice oil and white balsamic vinegar, and a bit of mustard. Sometimes salt and pepper. Everyone loves the contrast with all the warm/mushies.

                                                                                                                                                                1. and brining the turkey makes all the difference! BRINE, baby, brine!

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                    For us who live in Paris, my Iowa-born husband also insists on doing Thanxgiving the classic way.
                                                                                                                                                                    The tastiest and juiciest turkey recipe has been a brining recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                    In SF my Chinese grandmother liked to make fried rice stuffing, but my hubby poo thinks it's herecy.
                                                                                                                                                                    We also like oyster stuffing, but the oysters seem to get lost in the final result...
                                                                                                                                                                    Btw, our French friends love the whole dinner (but some do consider the cranberry sauce a real perversion).It is always a great fun evening here. Our French friends think it is très exotique, while our American friends appreciate the warmth and the nostalgia. No b*tchy relatives. Just good vibes.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds like a yummy, generous way to spend the holiday, Parigi! There is nothing like brined poultry and a holiday turkey brined overnight is magical!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                        You got it. We are serious about giving thanks !

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Single favorite: Onion pie. From a small recipe book "Foods and Wine from Alsace." I make a double crust version.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                      My father would probably love that. He says onions are his favorite vegetable. Could you paraphrase it? Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                                                                        you father must be the bizarro my my father. onions are the food he will not touch

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                                                                          6 slices bacon
                                                                                                                                                                          1tbsp butter
                                                                                                                                                                          6 large onions, thickly sliced (I use yellow)
                                                                                                                                                                          1/4 tsp salt
                                                                                                                                                                          1/8 tsp pepper
                                                                                                                                                                          1 tbsp flour
                                                                                                                                                                          4 whole eggs
                                                                                                                                                                          1/ tsp nutmeg
                                                                                                                                                                          your favorite savory PIE CRUST RECIPE

                                                                                                                                                                          cook bacon, discard almost all of fat, crumble, add butter, add onion,cook until slightly soft, season with s and p, sprinkle flour, add eggs one at a time, mix, pour into pie shell, sprinkle nutmeg, cover with second crust, bake in 400 degree oven for 35-40 mins.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. http://www.chow.com/recipes/13708
                                                                                                                                                                        Here is my recipe for cornbread stuffing, everyone loves it. I usually make it the day ahead and bake it in the dutch oven i cooked it in.
                                                                                                                                                                        Here is the roasted sweet potatoes that I adore.
                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.chow.com/recipes/13666
                                                                                                                                                                        Thanksgiving is my favorite cooking holliday andf I look forward to all of the yummieness that will be created in my kitchen. Like others I do some of the traditional foods, just in MY way. The cranberry relish on the back of the package is a MUST for my daughter. I also make a cranberry chutney that has a little kick to it.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Lucky you!! I hosted last year but now that we live in NYC, there is no way we have space. :( I love hosting TG!!

                                                                                                                                                                          This is my favorite thing to make. I make it early in the day, then stick it in the crock pot to keep it warm until we eat!

                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.kartme.com/recipe/winter-s...

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: saj1139

                                                                                                                                                                            no recipe following the link though...

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Thanksgiving without a doubt is my favorite holiday. A day devoted to eating and spending time with family (and giving thanks).

                                                                                                                                                                            The thead has cover the specific dishes that I also love (minus the korean speciality items we prepare at our house hold).

                                                                                                                                                                            However, my contribution to the thread would be in the way of libation. A Tday with out lot of libation would be only half as good. I find that it has a way of extending and pacing the meal to a very relax comfortable rate and also making for a more festive and interesting conversation.

                                                                                                                                                                            We do beer, wine, hot apple cider, tea, coffee, and port.

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Soup

                                                                                                                                                                              My sisters and I drink champagne. My younger sister doesn't cook so that is her contribution to the day. Nice contribution?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                                                                                                                                That is an oustanding contribution!!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. My favourites:

                                                                                                                                                                              Gravy - made from pan drippings, some giblet stock, and thickened with Beurre Manié (butter and flour). Absolutely no jarred gravy or gravy mix. If you want it, I'll serve it on the side, but anyone who tries to adulterate my gravy will pull back a bloody stump.

                                                                                                                                                                              Stuffing - a simple stuffing with diced onion and celery, cubed white bread, and sage.

                                                                                                                                                                              Cranberry Relish - One package fresh cranberries. Two oranges, seeded, with peel. Toss the cranberries and chopped oranges into a food processor and blend. Add sugar to taste (1/2 to 1 cup). Be sure to make the day ahead. This keeps extraordinarily well, as one year we used the same batch for *Canadian* Thanksgiving and Christmas.

                                                                                                                                                                              What I've found with holiday meals is that it's hard to get around people's expectations. Most people don't want fantastic food, they want familiar food, reminding them of previous holidays. So experimenting too much is going to give unhappy guests. But upgrading some of the dishes is usually okay although you can have gummy tasteless jarred gravy, mushy boxed stuffing and that horrible tube-o-cranberry jelly on the side if your guests are particularly fond of their pre-made atrocities.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Corn bread stuffing from Fine Cooking ( recipe involves cornbread with lady miller, cooked two days ahead, dried, and soaked in the custard one day ahead), gravy ( with brown turkey stock made from roasted wings, from Gourmet, usually the weekend before), sweet potatoes ( with a oatmeal cookie/orange marmalade/ginger streusal from Gourmet), cranberry "sauce" ( some simple version with ginger, orange zest and chili flake...made ahead), and a brined turkey, dried overnight before roasting

                                                                                                                                                                                Do aheads have been a key tradition.

                                                                                                                                                                                I usually give thanks with my husbands Jamaican family, so saltfish and ackee, plantains, and rice and peas are usually my MIL's must haves.

                                                                                                                                                                                A few years ago they insisted I try some Manechevitz (sp)....t..and we live a stones throw from Napa...they felt I was grown up enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                  I have to know how you make those sweet potatoes, I love my recipes but that sounds so intriguing. By the way, heard yesterday that Gourmet was going out of business, what a shame!
                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh never mind, their website is still up and I found it. I think I'll make this and the creamy chipotle version too, been working on getting my in-laws to like sweet potatoes for over 30 years but it's been a long, hard battle! They are mad I refuse to make them with marshmallow, but at least they stopped asking where's the marshmallow.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                    Glad you could find it...the marmalade is in the potatoes, not the streusal..

                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                                    "By the way, heard yesterday that Gourmet was going out of business, what a shame!"

                                                                                                                                                                                    What! Is there a source? I KNEW it! Right after I got rid of my 20+ year collection, trusting epicurious,,,,

                                                                                                                                                                                    Here's a link to a Gourmet story...glad they will still do November. I think I've kept most of the Thansgiving magazines...Hoping this is not TOO off topic?

                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.time.com/time/business/art...

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                      i heard the news on NPR yesterday afternoon. i'm a bit shocked and very sad... i was just beginning to organize my magazines since college!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                        Just a heads up. The "oatmeal cookies" get harder to find even year. The epicurious review of this recipe says "Mothers" went out of business. Any thoughts about "deconstructing" the cookies in this recipe? The epicurious thread mentioned gingersnaps.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I love my mom more than anything, but a great cook she is not. Really. Horrific. So....I've been cooking Thanksgiving since I was 16. Over the years I've come up with some really great turkey recipes, but my all-time favorite Thanksgiving recipe is my late-grandfather's candied yams. Very retro, very simple, very yummy. Peeled yams cut into around two inch squares, enough to cover a 9x12 with a single layer. Take a stick of cold salted butter and squish it through your fingers. Take all the little pats, break them up and sprinkle throughout. Then sprinkle dark brown sugar over, allowing it to form clumps every now and then. Pour on real maple syrup grade B until all the yams are coated. Season with salt. Bake at 350 until the yams are tender. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: minxypinx

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've done something similar with butter, a little brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon. Definitely a hit, and very simple.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Two words: Cranberry Jezebel. Recipe all over the net. A new tradition that is asked for and inhaled at every Thangsgiving!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: leetmom7

                                                                                                                                                                                        Seems like there are a million different takes on Cranbery Jezebel.

                                                                                                                                                                                        This has horseradish
                                                                                                                                                                                        http://ferfood.blogspot.com/2006/11/c...

                                                                                                                                                                                        This has jalepenos
                                                                                                                                                                                        http://homecooking.about.com/od/condi...

                                                                                                                                                                                        Sooo ... cranberries, white sugar, brown sugar and something to give it a kick?

                                                                                                                                                                                        I saw my first bag of fresh cranberries yesterday.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                                                          I do one with chili flakes and vinegar, uMMMMMMMM

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Nobody hereinabove mentioned peas with little tiny pearl onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I've tried a recipe that calls for "brining" the turkey in water, soy sauce, a little vinegar, garlic, scallions and ginger. I set it up overnight and then cook the bird as usual.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I've been known to make rosettes of mashed potatoes with a piping bag, and broil just to brown the ridges. It's a really elegant way to serve 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shaogo

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not into elegant-looking mashed potatoes. Whenever I have them in a restaurant, I am always disheartened that they have been pureed to death so they will squeeze out of that piping bag. Not as good as my homemade, lumpy, skin-on pile of mess... with gravy for thems that like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                            And skin on mashed potatoes topped w/ red chile "gravy"! White, bland turkey breast too. Red chile rules! (Good to give flavor for to bad stuffing too.) You should have seen the look on my, related to 1/2 the Mayflower (I thought she was joking!), Boston Brahmin, Yankee Blue Blood, MIL's face, the first time I made it here in Maine. Makes me smile.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                              That's a great idea! ...My husband is always asking for gravy, but tends to buy/prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts. How am i suppose to get "gravy" out of those? And I mean gravy, as in 1/2 cup portions, NOT sauce!......Hmmmmm...

                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo....

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                Buy some cheap chicken parts - bones+meat for soup if possible, or thighs and wings, plus some gibblets (hearts, gizzards, liver, etc).

                                                                                                                                                                                                Roast the meat with no seasonings, cool it, and make a stock with the gibblets, cooked meat (including all the fat and drippings), a little bit of onion and celery, and bay leaf. Don't add any salt or pepper at this point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Then reduce the stock until it is extra strength and tastes more like gravy than like soup. At this point, you can strain it, cool it, and skim off the fat if you want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thicken with a mix of butter and flour (or flour and water), and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. It's not quite as good as pan dripping gravy from a roast bird, but it sure beats anything pre packaged.

                                                                                                                                                                                                If you want to do this frequently, make up the stock and freeze in single meal portions. Thaw and thicken when you want it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's a good idea too. In fact I did that the other day ( with cornstarch to thicken), as I always make stock when I cut up a chicken. "We" are usually thinking of a darker gravy, but it was good!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Several years ago, my mom broke from the traditional sweet potato recipe and made Maple-Glazed Yams with Pecan Topping. We had already left the marshmallow sweet potatoes in the dust for the cornflake, pecan, brown sugar version, but these are so delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                          We also have two unusual stuffings...a meat-based one with ground beef, pork, onion, bread, poultry seasoning, etc and scalloped oyster stuffing. When we were young, we would have been happy to skip the turkey and just have stuffing. :-) Most people find it too odd.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Oatmeal rolls! Mmmmm!

                                                                                                                                                                                          Pies are usually apple and chocolate pecan. If we have a large group, we pile on more desserts.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Thank heavens my husband and I are always asked to our next door neighbors' house for Thanksgiving. I'm not a fan of any of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes (I agree with whoever it was who called the turkey "that great feathered swindle") and even the simplest Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work. My contribution is several loaves of bread still warm from the oven and then I feast on the home-smoked ham they always serve in addition to Mr. Tom.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Having said that, the one year that I did host a small T-Day dinner my favorite part was a Pear Salad from Nick Stellino's Mediterranean Flavors cookbook.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Toss peeled and cored pear slices with honey, melted butter and cinnamon then roast in a 500 degree oven about 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Coat the roasted pear slices with a dry sherry vinaigrette dressing.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Serve over baby salad greens and top with toasted walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese and prosciutto cut into matchsticks.

                                                                                                                                                                                            You can roast the pears and combine with the vinaigrette the day before and remove from the fridge 2-3 hours before dinner on the day to come back to room temp. I've since made this with apples instead of pears and liked the way the apples kept their shape better than pears generally do.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mandycat

                                                                                                                                                                                              That sounds delicious, mandycat. Easy and fresh, too. Thank you for posting it.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Creamed onions (start with a roux...then make a dilled cream sauce with or without cheese pearl onions and bake...add grueyere if you like a nutty texture).

                                                                                                                                                                                              Stuffing had to be made using my grandma's hand grinder for apples, celery, onions, and sausage to give it appropriate moisture and spice with a more uniform texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Tomato Aspic was the "must have" gross out side dish that we would dare each other to try, and my grandmother always used crazy brass jello molds...most unique was the giggling tomato jello in the shape of a fish with chopped celery inside!!

                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, but I did go to the in-laws for my first "Italian" Thanksgiving...and they had a rice and mushroom stuffing that was unreal!!! Creamy and cheesy...but I think I'd prefer it as a side for a roast chicken...or fried up as arancini!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. So, JudiAU, what happened? What did you make? Was your meal full of glory and wonder? Please share!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Unless the OP has Canadian family, she appears to be in the LA area so will have to remain giddy a little longer - Thanksgiving in the US is celebrated the 4th thursday in November, this year that's Nov 26.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, I forgot!!! Our Canadian Thanksgiving is long over; only a few leftovers remain!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yep, still in the planning/salivating stages here....

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. My dad's stuffing/dressing. He finally gave me the recipe this year. It's crazy good. Please make it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  These are estimates of the quantity of ingredients to make enough to stuff a medium bird as well as make a large bowl of stuffing...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 large onion, diced large
                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 stalks celery (leaves and all), diced large
                                                                                                                                                                                                  3-4 medium to large apples, stemmed, cored and diced large (not peeled)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 loaf of bread, toasted and cubed and seasoned with poultry seasoning to taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                  [Poultry seasoning is an equal mix of powdered sage , rosemary and thyme if you can't find it mixed)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2-3 tablespoons of finely minced garlic
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Salt and pepper to taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 to 2 quarts or more of Chicken broth (if you use chicken boullion, omit all other salt)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 cups milk with 3 eggs beaten added to the milk (this acts as a binder for all the ingredients)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 pound of spicy hot country sausage, fully cooked but not drained (drippings help season the mix)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Combine all dry ingredients and sausage with drippings, in a very large bowl. Slowly add broth to the mixture while stirring, until the bread cubes are wet but not soggy and there is no liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Mix thoroughly. Let mixture sit for five minutes. Finally, add egg-milk mixture and mix thoroughly. Now you have stuffing mix for the bird and for a large side dish. I bake, covered with foil at 375 degrees for 30-45 minuted depending on the depth of the baking dish. I uncover the dish the last few minutes until the top is crusty but not burned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Two more can't-miss sides:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1) Homemade cranberry sauce. Not too much work, and worth the (little bit of extra) effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Take a bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries and boil as directed on the back of the bag just until tender, reducing the sugar somewhat. Toast 3/4 c. of walnut pieces. If you're talented, cut the peel and pith off an orange and cut it into segments. If you're not, drain a can of mandarin oranges (this is what I do). Cut a few curls of orange zest from an orange.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Combine the cranberries, toasted walnuts, orange segments, and zest. Squeeze in a bit of fresh orange juice to taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2) Corn pudding/souffle. Maybe it's lowbrow, but it's damn delicious. http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1850,...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Homemade cranberry sauce. I was never really a fan until I had some homemade stuff (at a friend's home in London of all places!). Also I love a well roasted turkey... where the meat is still moist (my mom's were always dry). And I am a fan of classic mashed potatoes, especially with roasted garlic. I guess you could say I'm traditional. Well... there was that year in high school when I decided we would have lasagna at thanksgiving...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: k80k

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had a very nice lasagna dinner for Thanksgiving one year at a fellow college classmate's house. His family was vegetarian. Although it was delicious, bruschetta and pasta just made for a really odd Turkey Day meal. Fortunately, there was enough warmth and hospitality to go around so that we didn't notice so much. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is also going to be my first opportunity to make Thanksgiving for my family, and I am thrilled. I have coveted this holiday for so long, I feel like I owe it to myself and everyone else to make it really special.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Like alot of other people who wrote in, I too have family members who want to see the same old same ol' so I am going to have to factor that into my decision making. But I am not going to let that get me down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am still in the planning stages, but this is what I am thinking so far (Recipe sources are referenced, where available):

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Drinks:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kir Royal to start
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Merlot to serve with the meal

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Apps:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Panela con oregano with hot, crusty bread (Chowhound) - easy
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Caramelized bacon dip with potato chips (Chowhound) - make day before
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Shrimp cocktail with habanero lime aioli and cilantro almond dip (Chowhound) - make dips day before, shrimp morning of

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Salad:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Apple, Frisee and Cabrales Salad (Ciudad recipe) - make morning of, assemble last minute

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Main:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Turkey roasted in a bag (Tom P's recipe, Chowhound)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Make Ahead gravy (Chowhound) - make ahead
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Honey Baked Ham (Store bought, my cousin's are bringing this)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sides:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cranberry Citrus Dressing (MIchael Chiarello) - make 3 days prior
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Prune, Pear and Saffron compote (Chowhound) make 3 days prior
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cranberry Parker House Rolls (NYT) make day before
                                                                                                                                                                                                          My Sister's Mashed Potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Panettone Stuffing (MIchael Chiarello) - can do 3 steps ahead, finish day of - or
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bon Appetit 11/02 Leek and Wild Mushroom Stuffing
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rabbi Jeff's Cannelloni Beans and Brussels Sprouts - make morning of and reheat -or
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tyler Florence's Green Beans and Bacon Salad - morning of -or
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chard Gratin (Chowhound) - morning of

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Desserts:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ginger Cake (Chowhound) - made day before
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pumpkin PIe (Better Homes and Gardens) made day before or can be made and frozen
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chocolate bread Pudding - easy, day of
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chocolate Lady Finger Mousse - day before - show-stopper
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Berries and Creme Fraiche -easy
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fresh Whipped Cream to accompany it all

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This sounds like a lot but I am expecting anywhere from 13 to 26!!!! Can't wait to start!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Please, please invite me. I'll eat at the kids table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My only comment is that potato chips sound salty with the bacon dip. Maybe pita chips.......

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Everything else sounds amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I tried to find the bacon dip at chow, no luck. Could you share the recipe please?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                              dk do you have the recipe for chocolate lady finger mousse?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wowie! That is ambitious. A lot of different dishes. How will you top that next time???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That sounds like a fabulous meal - and reminds me that maybe I'll make some of that compote again. You served it with turkey before, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BTW - I was inspired to make the compote on Saturday to go with some local blue cheese that I'd bought. I ended up using some left over Asian pear and apple, as well as a quince - I chopped them into cubes - used Prunes d'Agen, and didn't use saffron. Well, so maybe I didn't *actually* make the compote! I decided that I do like having the saffron in it, but didn't feel like using some of my expensive saffron for this purpose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Man, reading all this mess about rice and oysters (what are these things you speak of?) and sausage and tomatoes (tomatoes? At Tgiving? Where do you get them?) and parmesan (cheese? other than cheddar? At tgiving?) makes me glad to be from the south, where thanksgiving is blissfully consistent! There's no varying from the tried and true 'round here. My faves:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cornbread dressing-- with a whole chicken and a gallon of stock inside, its a meal in and of itself. The mushier the better. I have to rely on my mother-in-law for this....my family is more of the dry, bready, stovetoppy variety. Terrible. They're always trying to add something stupid, like apples. NO. Ridiculous. Not dressing at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sweet potato souffle-- There is nothing sophisticated or sensible about this, and if there were, it would be terrible. No hint of chipotle or any other flavor profile other than gratuitous, offensive SWEET. Just sweet potatoes mashed up with all sort of butter and pumpkin pie spices, put in a casserole and baked with marshmallows and pecans on top. I've seen this "sweet potato pie" so many speak of, and I understand it to be a tried and true tradition for my other Southern bretheren, but I'm not convinced that sweet potatoes can reveal their true potential without the addition of pecans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pecan Pie. Am I the first to mention this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Green bean casserole. I'll admit. I'm a sucker for the condensed soup style and that's what my family makes. BUT I hosted my family dinner last year and made Alton Brown's trumped up casserole and it was absolute heaven. My mother-in-law, patron saint of all food tradition, ate about half of the dish by herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Macaroni and Cheese-- Delish. Its the only application of cheese that I'll accept for Tgiving. YES THIS MEANS YOU ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE-- ick. Hashbrown casserole, you get a bye because you're just so cute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              AND A HAM. Dang, y'all-- it simply isn't thanksgiving without a ham to steal the spotlight from the dry turkey! We need some respite from the bird! For the love of thanksgiving, please get yourself one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cpilgrim84

                                                                                                                                                                                                                just say no to cornbread in any form
                                                                                                                                                                                                                just say no to mushy stuffing or dressing. I have watched Paula Deen, she can POUR her dressing into the baking dish. no No NO

                                                                                                                                                                                                                and lastly no No NO to marshmallows anywhere on anything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Laliz, you must just not be a GRITS woman. Cornbread is a MUST for the dressing. And, mine looks like soup before it goes in the oven, but it bakes a LONG time (1.5 hours). I wouldn't call it mushy, but you probably would.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'll agree on the marshmalls, except for Co-Cola cake (but I don't make that for Thanksgiving).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. For something with a traditional flavor but slighly different, we all liked this pumpkin creme brulee recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... I served it with gingersnaps and all the pumpkin pie lovers want it for Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi JEN10 - I will find the bacon dip recipe and post it later tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JEN10

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So here is the Bacon, Scallion and Caramelized Onion Dip recipe which I got off another thread:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      chowhound.chow.com/topics/575324
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This thread has a lot of really helpful information about Thanksgiving so I would encourage everyone to check it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here is the link for the recipe, I think it was originally published through Cook's Illustrated Magazine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.mealsmatter.org/recipes-me...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Re the chocolate lady finger torte ( or mousse) requested by Drew, I will have to pull it and input it, so it will take me a few days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BTW, how do you get your response to reference a specific person, like JEN10 above did for me? I'd love to know how to do that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh one more tid-bit. I just bought the best reference guide on Thanksgiving. It is called the new Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan. Some of you new to Thanksgiving (like me), might want to check it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Your first post in this thread actually came up as a reply to Christina Mason's - which happens when you select "reply" in that post's window rather than selecting "reply to original post" at the bottom of the thread or in the OP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In order to reference a particular post in a thread select the permalink in that post and you'll see the post's "address" in your browser's address bar which you can then copy and paste - like I did with this one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6562...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For more info check out the Techinical Help Board: http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/40 :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The dip sounds delicious. Have you ever used the bacon drippings in place of the butter and oil?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks again I will be giving this a try. BACON!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JEN10

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As promised, here is the recipe for the lady finger torte. It is the height of decadence!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chocolate Ladyfinger Torte

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 spring form pan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 packages store bought lady fingers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1/2 lb. butter, brought to room temperature
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 c. powdered sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 t. vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              6 eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 pints heavy cream

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Line the sides and bottom of a spring form pan with lady fingers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and powdered sugar until creamy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Add vanilla and melted chocolate, beat until creamy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Add eggs, two at a time. Beat for four minutes per each set of eggs, for a total of 12 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In a separate bowl, whip the cream to a fairly firm consistency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To assemble:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Start with a layer of chocolate, then a layer of whip cream, then a layer of lady fingers, then a second layer of chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Top with a splash of whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Serve more whipped cream on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Serves 12-16.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                this was a classic in my house growing up. man, is it ever rich and delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I do appreciate a recipe that calls for three pints of heavy cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    thx! I will have to try for the holidays

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Because I always crave something fresh and green: I make a salad with mixed greens, sliced Fuyu persimmons (the hard ones), pomegranate seeds and goat cheese with a raspberry vinaigrette.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ola

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            wow, this sounds delicious. i've never had a persimmon. is it the orangey fruit that kind of looks like an elongated tomato? what does it taste similar to?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Flat-bottomed Fuyu Persimmons, crisp like an apple and sweet like a pear, can be eaten out of hand, sliced into salads or stir-fries, or tossed into pies, crisps and cobblers. You don’t even have to peel a Fuyu. Stores at room temperature for up to three weeks. The brilliant orange flesh, packed with good stuff like fiber, beta-carotene and Vitamin C, does not turn brown when sliced, making it the perfect for holiday fruit trays, salads, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: watercolor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sounds like the perfect fruit! Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I am so happy for you! It's always a letdown to not cook that day. My 'tradition' starts with getting up at 5:00 a.m. to get the neck and giblets into a pot of water with lid firmly atop, dating back to my first Big Day dinner party when I couldn't handle the innards without retching!!! And I still get up quite early because we eat at 2:00 so l don't have to feed people twice! The one thing I must just be truly awful about is the 'wings akimbo' from Julia Child. I don't want to see the little wing-tips sticking up in the air all dry and over-cooked. I want to see them tucked back under the bird before roasting. I even do this with little quai! Isn't that just being polite? Is it just me?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Hi Judi! I have a crowd-pleasing recipe to share. I always make green bean bundles. It's so easy. Blanch some grean beens, wrap a piece of raw bacon around the bundles. Put all bundles on a baking sheet, drizzle melted butter and real maple syrup on them. Bake till bacon is crispy. They make a great presentation and most folks love them! I hope your holiday is *wonderful*!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: meritage101

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, these are fabulous!! I use brown sugar instead of maple syrup. And for diabetics and others who don't want the butter and brown sugar, you can sprinkle the bundles with fresh oregano and drizzle with olive oil--those are great too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I have been cooking Thanksgiving Dinner and I always make the turkey, the Gravy, the Sweet Potatoes, and a pie or two. I also make a smaller turkey for me and my grandmother whom I live with and she cannot get out to the big dinner. Plus I get leftover of turkey for sandwiches all to my self. I always brine the turkey the night before using Alton Brown's method but sometimes add other herbs or seasoning or citrus fruits in the brine. My turkey always comes out moist in the breast and I am convinced it is because of the brine. I always make a compound garlic and herb butter to place under the skin of the breast. I stuff the bird with a large onion and several garlic cloves along with a orange. I don't like to much of a citrus flavor like a lemon. Then I coat the skin with a bit of vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper I also S&P the inside before stuffing also. I roast at 375 till done using a meat thermometer. After its done cooking I make the gravy and I do like to try different gravy's each year but all are so wonderful and the best part of the meal I think. I also make sweet potatoes, usually I like to make the roasted sweet potatoes a day ahead and mash them up after cooled and then the day of I add butter and brown sugar and place in a casserole dish and top with a crunchy oat, brown sugar and coconut crisp like topping. But last year I was asked just to make plain mashed sweet potatoes and I gladly did but I also toasted some coconut and added that to the table for a optional topping. As far as the pies I do pumpkin from the Libby's label as its tradition in my family. I also make a Oatmeal Pie my Grandmother used to make for her monthly Sunday big meal when I was younger and she was able. So she has a recipe placed in between two pages in a old cookbook that I use. I have a lot on my plate enough for Thanksgiving so my mom and aunt help out and help make stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and my aunt make a chocolate silk pie sometimes. I do plan on finding a mouthwatering gravy recipe and trying that and I will try a rosemary rolls found on Pioneer Woman's website. No they are not from scratch but Thanksgiving being as busy as it is I don't have time to make bread from scratch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So to answer your question my single favorite dish is my Turkey dark meat please with a great gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LEsherick2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love the traditions of Thanksgiving dinner, so I am so happy to read your post and how it all works for you and your family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now tell me more about that oatmeal pie......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh the Oatmeal Pie is so good. Its like Pecan Pie but with Oatmeal and Angel Flake Coconut with a very similar syrupy filling like in the Pecan Pie. I can't eat large pieces of nuts so pecan pie is out for me and my grandmother cannot eat nuts either. But I suppose you could put some walnuts or pecans chopped up in the pie also. I don't have the recipe offhand but I should be able to get it by Monday if you would like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry its 2 months late but I have been busy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oatmeal Pie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ingredients

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        * 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        * 1/3 cup butter, melted
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        * 2/3 cup white sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        * 1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        * 3 eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        * 1 cup corn syrup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        * 1 cup quick cooking oats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Directions

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Beat together the eggs, sugar, salt, butter, and syrup together. Stir in oats.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Pour into the unbaked pastry shell and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LEsherick2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, I'm 9 months late! Sorry!! Thank you for the recipe. I will give it a try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Hi Judi,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Whatever your feelings about serving what you like vs. what other folks like, I can tell you that the Barefoot Contessa's Parmesan Mashed Potatoes has ALWAYS been a hit with a wide variety of people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I always serve it without telling people about the Parmesan and everyone comments that there's something "special" about them. I like to play a guessing game to see if anyone can tell what the secret ingredient is, but they never can :-) The Parmesan adds a really creamy nuttiness to the potatoes - subtle, but amazing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BesottedGourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That recipe is so rich and delicious. I took it to Thanksgiving dinner last year, along with two other mashed potato versions (plain and garlic), and the Barefoot Contessa's parmesan smashed was devoured.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Brussel sprouts with chestnuts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I steam the sprouts, roast the chestnuts; when they're ready and hot, toss with melted butter, a good dash of powdered ginger and freshly fine ground black pepper. Be generous with the butter and pepper. I use salted butter, so I don't add more to the dish. But I recognize that I'm a light salter, so I always have salt on the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Love, love, LOVE bs&c. Freshness of the sprouts + richness of the butter + sweetness of the chestnuts + taste treat of the spices. The mix of textures is amazing. Love, love, LOVE!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Trimming the sprouts is a little tedious, but peeling the chestnuts is a burnt finger tip horror. So, it's definitely a celebration dish. But it's so pretty in the serving dish and delish in the mouth, it's always worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Good luck with the dinner. While most people who attend our dinner are foodies and have eclectic palates, we always have the canned jelly type cranberries for a BIL, and then two other types of homemade cranberry for the rest of us. Re: people who are vegetarian/vegan and what they do on Thanksgiving, that would be me. Since I love to cook and find the only way to survive being a vegan is to cook great food myself, I make a killer artisan bread stuffing w/ no dairy or chicken broth, it's like a savory bread pudding with a mushroom sauce. I can usually eat a few other things, cranberries, sweet potatoes (roasted in olive oil), pickles. I bring a pre-baked potato sometimes and heat it in the microwave. Then I make applesauce with whole vanilla bean and bring that for dessert (I don't eat sweets either). People consider my stuff equal to anything else on the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: exminnesotan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would LOVE your recipe for mushroom bread stuffing. Please?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. The first thing that struck me when I saw your title was the line from the Jabberwocky: "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I got to host Thanksgiving a few years ago, and got great joy from cooking what I wanted. I did have to provide the canned cranberry sauce for those infidels who wouldn't eat homemade; plus, the faction that absolutely HAD to have oyster stuffing said that they would be glad ton bring some along. Fine by me. I made my must-have sausage-apple stuffing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was told that I HAD to supply the green bean casserole, and I did, but I made my own version of the creamy mushroom sauce because I can't stand the canned stuff. I also brined a turkey and swear by it. I made my maple-wheat dinner rolls and should have made a double batch. They disappeared quickly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This year I'll be at my parents, but my mom said that she's looking forward to having me do the cooking, so it works out for everyone. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with all of your favorite foods!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One thing I haven't seen on all these posts is soup. I've been hosting TG for a mix of traditionalists and foodies for over 10 years (16-25 people) and have found that starting with soup frankly gives me time to get things together in the kitchen (and get everyone out of the kitchen and sitting at the table). Obviously something on the lighter side (made a killer corn chowder early on--great soup but no one ate anything else!). Have done pumpkin/squash soups, mushroom, etc, all with positive results. Its not "traditional" but makes for a different start to the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: johnmdjr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Soup is my thing. Last year I made Calvados-Laced Squash Soup with Cinnamon and Bay Leaves and it was so good I may make it again this year, even though most of the same people will be coming and I usually try something new. That plus I have a whole bottle of Calvados in my cupboard...The recipe calls for you to roast the squash and I wouldn't skip this step in favor of buying the already peeled squash and boiling it. The roasted flavor adds a richness that you won't get otherwise. I always ask the produce person to cut my squashes in half at the supermarket so that I don't have to deal with cutting them at home. Seriously, the recipe is perfect as is and I wouldn't change a thing. The cinnamon sour-cream garnish looks elegant and your guests will be happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: carolbf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That recipe loks wonderful. I'll have ti try it Christmas Eve. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I also prefer the intensity of flavor you get when roasting the squash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: johnmdjr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a butternut squash soup which makes a great starter. I've done it for Christmas Eve feast, and would be suitable for a Thanksgiving dinner as well. I also love the convenience of a soup starter, although I usually end up with a ton of "helpers" socializing with me in the kitchen no matter what I do. It's the place to be... there's wine there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My butternut squash soup is a wee bit untraditional too because it's got some spice to it. I use New England-Portuguese style chourico in it. Everyone who's tried it has loved it though. It's a nice change from all the cinnamon, maple and brown sugar treatments of winter squash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Happy Thanksgiving, dear chow-hounds. My cooking is done, many dishes are being taken by car to the gathering site, and I'm sitting down and counting my blessings, for a minute, CH being one of them. Be happy and safe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. So, thought I would report back. Dinner was terrific although I was very, very tired as a result. Everything was served hot, which was a minor miracle in that I also have a toddler and a babe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The turkey was excellent. The best I've had. Truly proud of this one. We spatcocked and did a dry Zuni brine and then dried out the skin for two days in the fridge. A 16 pound roasted in 70 minutes and produced enough fond and juices to amp up my pre-made gravy. Just terrific.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The giblet gravy was superior. =) I made turkey stock a few weeks ago. Used it to cook the backbone and giblets from this turkey. Pre-made the gravy based on advice from this board the day before. SO HELPFUL. It took forever for the the flour to thicken properly and the flavors to come together, at least an hour. I then added back pan and carving juices as well as the deglazed fond which had some white wine and brandy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I like my mom's baked cranberry sauce but for years I've been thinking if only I could get rid of the orange. So this year I made it with Chinese five spice powder and brandy rather than Grand Manier and orange juice concentrate. I then decided that I overcooked it and compromized the texture and that it was sweeter than I remembered. So I made a second batch, cut down the cooking time, reduced the sugar, swapped in half brown sugar for white, and added a little water at it cooled. It was perfect. I will always bake cranberries from now on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing - Very good although for the first time I noticed the commercial flavor of the pre-seasoned breadcrumbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mashed Potatoes - In deference to popular taste, I made them richer than I prefer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Proscuitto Covered Sweet Potatoes with a bit of maple syrup (from NYT) - BIg hit. Actually tasted like a sweet potato which is fairly uncommon on the table. I baked them slowly in the oven and I'll do that again. I would have been happy without the proscuitto (an honest sweet potato!) but that helped them onto other plates.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Roasted Brussel Sprouts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mom’s Rolls with Butter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Frisee with Pear and Pecans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Brown Sugar Apple Pie with an All Butter Crust - Ate a large piece for breakfast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bourbon Pumpkin Pie - Tweaked from current Martha Stewart - Very happy that I pre-baked crust based on board recs. Made for a much better pie all around

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Heavenly Raw Milk Cream

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Some Very Good Chocolates

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Coffee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sounds like a great meal -- glad your first time was a success.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The proscuitto sweet potato sounds great to me, I just searched but couldn't find. Any hints?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Coll, here it is. It's number 48. It's also in the video....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/din...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: funniduck

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks so much, I guess it didn't come up because it wasn't an "official" recipe. I never would have found it, even though I glanced through that story when it first came out. What a great idea, I make figs like that in the summer, this could be my winter substitute. I'd better read through the whole article again, now that I have time to concentrate!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So lovely. I can identify with the exhaustion! Its a lot of hours on your feet but I feel so fulfilled and satiated in many ways. It was the Thanksgiving dinner I've been missing-- bright colors, whole ingredients, diverse flavors, beautiful presentations, local sources for many things...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Your dinner sounds amazing. Raw milk cream, mmm...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      *Sigh!* Sounds just wonderful. Congrats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. This makes me SO happy that you are so joyous at this opportunity! I finally fulfilled my dream to have "Thanksgiving MY way" this tonight, albeit with just a small group of friends after the traditional white-on-beige Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps I can help with your menu dreaming by sharing some of what I put forth?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Roast butternut soup. Creme fraiche, toasted almonds, grated nutmeg.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Pea tendril salad. Watermelon radishes and goat cheese. Honey dijon vinaigrette and black sesame seeds.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Dry-brined turkey (Zuni style) with lemon/rosemary/garlic compound butter under skin.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Roast garlic gravy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Bacon and apple cider braised brussle sprouts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Vinegared lacinato kale "confetti" with edamame and onions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Parsnip and toasted macadamia mousseline.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Chestnut, adzuki bean, pumpkin, and black japonica rice "stuffing." Chinese 5-spice.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Fresh cranberry and orange relish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Cherry and chocolate creme tart with homemade persimmon sorbet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Fresh-made apple cider with ginger whipped cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ...here's to another year of gastronomic fantasizing and delicious leftover-inspired creations this week!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Hurrah. I get to host again this year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Someone is already talking about bringing their own turkey. ::::Head in Hands:::

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I laughed out loud when I saw this resurrected. I nominate for best Chowhound title and accompanying post ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've been hosting every year for the last five and invariably, someone who really doesn't know how to cook insists on bringing a HUGE pan of something NO ONE eats. The last two years it has been maple roasted root vegetables - sounds delicious, but not when the vegetables are half raw and only a teaspoon of maple syrup is used on 10 lbs of turnips. Not to mention the whole raw cloves of garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha. I saw an advertisement yesterday from a local not-very-good grocery story for "wild mushroom bruscetta" It called for SIX POUNDS of wild mushrooms, none of which are for sale at this store. For SIX POUNDS of muchrooms it calls for one clove of garlic and 3 teaspoons of olive oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And how would their turkey be different that yours?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are so many possible responses to that question...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Because mine isn't a monstrous factory fed bird that it is cooked to death and yet still needs molasses to make it "brown"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Because this is the turkey my boys eat" (hugh? Your son is the one cooking the other bird.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh well that's what holidays are all about. We decided not to invite anyone this year, and I'm not sad at all. The certain family members that attend recently are not the joyous type. But this is after 35 years, you have a long way to go! Well at least you won't run out of food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. This is a second-hand anecdote, from the hubster's unbelievably picky family. (I observed it once, but I was blinded by early love at the time.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the days of yore, his family used to rotate Thanksgiving/Christmas dinners between the 5 women of the clan. The menu was rigidly enforced, just a plain turkey, potatoes, canned corn, gravy. Dressing was a drift of cough-inducing dry breadcrumbs that burst forth from the desiccated fowl. Men sat first, and were served by the ladies. Plates not filled correctly were swiftly sent back. (You can't make this stuff up.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyway. The point of the story is this; one of the wives had raised two sons who only ate hamburgers, made by their mother to their specifications. (Dry, no condiments, no cheese. Bun toasted.) Thus for many years did this women bring along hamburger makings for her spoiled rotten spawn, so they wouldn't fade away. During the preparation of dinner, she would require a burner so that the burgers could be freshly made. Nice, huh? This went on until they were in their twenties, when the lady in question passed away. I don't honestly know how I would have handled such a situation if it had been my home. Likely I would have had too much to drink, and then said something regrettable, which was kind of a party theme for me with that clan for many years, more's the pity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I brought dressing to a family dinner once when the hosting lady was my MIL. It was moist with apple and bacon, luscious with onion and celery and butter. No one would eat it because it was 'soggy'. It's funny now, but at the time I was a young thing, and I felt kind of rejected.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Judi, I'm glad your celebration last year turned out wonderful! The main focus of Thanksgiving is the family with food a close second. We typically have a lot of things so everybody is happy. There are some things we always have and some things where we play fast and loose. LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Always on the table:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cornbread Dressing (never called stuffing) - family recipe passed down at least 6 generations and my absolute favourite dish of the meal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Parker House Rolls - my grandmother's recipe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes in Orange Shells - my other grandmother's recipe. She cooked the potatoes and mashed them with some butter, salt and orange juice. Then stuffed them into hollowed out orange shell halves. Half were topped with mini marshmallows and half were topped with a pecan/brown sugar topping. When she served the turkey, these surrounded it on that giant turkey platter. She would tuck fresh cut sage in around them for presentation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Baked Macaroni and Cheese - my great-grandmother's recipe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Spinach Madeleine - from Cotton Country Cookbook: the recipe that made that book famous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Homemade cranberry sauce - two versions. One made pretty much the way the back of the Ocean Spray bag says, though with a bit less sugar. The other baked with some sugar and Grand Marnier. No one here likes jellied sauce in the can. This is DD#1's favourite Turkey Day food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Green Shutters Carrots - from the now defunct Green Shutters Restaurant in Clayton, GA. Carrots are cooked with butter, sugar and a lot of fresh ginger. This is DD#2's favourite dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pumpkin Lemon Cream Pie - a recipe I found somewhere when I was first married and I've been making it ever since. I like to use fresh cooked pumpkin, rather than the canned that was in the original recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pecan Pie - my great-grandmother's recipe and my spouse's favourite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pineapple Upside Down Cake - this is a new tradition being started this year. I asked my soon to be son-in-law if there was anything in particular he would like added to the traditional part of the menu. This is what he requested, as it is his favourite dessert and he rarely gets it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Up for grabs:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The poultry. Sometimes smoked turkey, sometimes roasted turkey. Sometimes Cornish game hens, at least once a capon. We like to play around with this. The Cornish game hens have probably become the favourite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sides - most of the time we have some kind of green beans. I like to barely steam haricots verts, then season them different ways. One favourite is with toasted sesame oil and ume plum vinegar. Another is with butter and slivered almonds. Lots of possibilities. Steamed broccoli or roasted Brussels sprouts have made appearances. And a Roasted Garlic Potato Tart from a Southern Living newsletter some years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Two things I never make unless we have a bunch of extended family around:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. A layered jello salad that my grandmother used to make. One layer is black cherry jello with black cherries. Second layer is cream cheese. Third layer is lemon jello with crushed pineapple in it. There are some members of the family who wouldn't consider it a proper Thanksgiving without this.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Gravy. It's just not that big of a thing to most of the people in our family. Many actually don't care for gravy at all. I don't care one way or the other, but if I know some gravy lovers will be here, I will make it. I do the make-ahead recipe that was in Women's Day years and years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Delicious cornbread stuffing, made with diced roasted apple, celery, onion and butter/rosemary glazed pecans. This stuff is unbelievable. I could have only this and a scrambled egg for Thanksgiving dinner and call it good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    mamachef, I've never had cornbread stuffing made the way you described. Could you share the recipe? I wouldn't be able to serve it on Turkey Day, but I like to make dressing other times, too, and would love to give your version a try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sure, to paraphrase: Mix up a 9by13 pan of your favorite basic cornbread mix two days in advance of using. I don't generally make stuffing more than several hours in advance, my own bias, but a day ahead is okay. When it cools, cube it and toast it at 350 after drizzling with a little melted butter. 15 mins. should do it - dry, but not very browned. Keep it out to let it continue drying. You'll have a good 8 cups cubes. Dice 1 yellow onion with 2 stalks celery and 4 apples: I like to use a combo of Pippins and Jonagolds; add 1 clove minced garlic. Toss together w/ 2 tbs. olive oil and roast at 375 until apples and veg are crisp-tender, about 25-30 minutes. While it roasts, melt 2 T. butter in saucepan and add 1 T. chopped rosemary. Add 1 cup rough-chopped pecans and toss; keep pan moving until nuts are lightly toasted. In large bowl, mix cornbread, apple/veg. mixture, pecans and 1 tsp. salt and good shakes of pepper; add in good chicken broth (or canned, or whatever, or turkey broth) until moistened. Layer in two 9by13 pans and drizzle with melted butter; bake 375 until crunchy and brown atop and pillowy and delicious inside, about 20-30 minutes. Be prepared for a stampede.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This looks terrific - it won't make the cut for Thanksgiving but maybe for Christmas!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks so much! I've copied, pasted and printed out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Wow! I'm happy for you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bemused - after 20 years in a row of doing bird day for my entire family, I revolted and refused to do it anymore. It's been 26 years since there's been a family bird day because regardless of how much they trumpeted about the better job they could do, they were all too cheap and lazy to actually DO it, LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm glad for you. It's always a relief to me to see families that AREN'T like mine. Gives me hope for my son's future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't have a favorite dish, unless maybe it was the stuffing. It was my own recipe and I don't remember it anymore, but it did have "Parsley sage rosemary and thyme" in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's what happens when you're 12, hooked on Simon & Garfunkle, and have a free hand in the kitchen, LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I liked the cranberry sauce that came in a can, parker house rolls, and apple pie, if I could sneak one in there. Preferred a ham to a turkey but I didn't have THAT much of a free hand, so it was always turkey for bird day and ham for xmas and easter. Smashed potatoes. The rest of the family liked giblets and gravy. As others have mentioned it was usually more about having a ton of food than any particular dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. First of all, congratulations on your victory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think my favorite Thanskgiving dish is cranberry sauce. Just cranberries and sugar please-- no apples, orange zest, or other weirdness. I recently had a revelation that there's actually no law against me making cranberry sauce at other times besides Thanksgiving :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I just spent the better portion of afternoon reading this entire thread. What great fun!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My dear, I am SOOOO Happy for you. I'm just crossing my fingers and toes that I don't have to endure another Thanksgiving at the "boyfriend's" parents (I hope he is really an ex by then) where I sit down at the dinner table and place a Whataburger napkin in my lap. They steal napkins and condiments from fast food restaurants and use them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am Bohemian, (Czech), so our turkey was accompanied with dumplings and sauerkraut instead of the traditional potatoes and gravy and green bean casserole. I really miss that. The dressing/stuffing was savory and in the bird. No worry about food safety, and no one ever had food poisoning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seriously, Whataburger? Yuck! If he finds nothing wrong with that, then that alone is reason enough to break up! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Forgot to add that his stupid sister in law was all obsessed with her 4 year old brat being allergic to eggs. I understand food allergies, but she was over the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanksgiving didn't even include turkey or any of the trimmings, It was a mishmosh of brisket (I don't eat beef and they know that), overcooked canned vegetables, and cranberry sauce served out of the can.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  No alcohol, either. And they don't know their son drinks. Pretty dismal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I'm back living in New Mexico and I'm seriously contemplating a turkey mole. Commercial, atomic genetically distorted turkey is one of my least favorite foods. May also make pork tamales, red chile enchiladas and posole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Our family tries to step back a bit from the traditional Thanksgiving, and spice things up. Each year at Easter we draw names to see who will host Thanksgiving Dinner, and that person gets to serve what ever type dinner they want and the other family members bring different desserts. Then after we've all pitched in to clean up, we draw names to see who will host Christmas Dinner. To our family, it's not what you have, but who you have that's most important. GOOD LUCK & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Have two years of struggles I am now a smarter and wiser woman. I just made the phone call suggesting that we would be happy to attend THE thanksgiving dinner as guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I will simply make my delicous dinner on another date without conflict.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Live and learn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There's 51 other weekends in the year.....make one your own!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow. Aside from the Turkey power struggle last year, what happened to turn around all that enthusiasm? This is a story I want to hear....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ow! I am so sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But I think you made a wise decision.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha. I love this old thread. So, so our offer was rejected and we did host and it was better and then cooked another dinner again. That was actually my favorite. Plotting for this year now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do already have the turkey stock made. This year I am looking for a new stuffing idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I still want to hear the story of both the struggle and the redemption. And of course how it went this year!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Me too. I love family drama, when it's other people's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cooking just for 2 this year, but we are making the whole megillah, just smaller portions. Favorite: we go to an apple orchard not too far from home, and get a mix of local apples for pie, to dice for the dressing, and to braise with the Brussels sprouts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. My fav thanksgiving dish is my mothers yeast rolls. I mean, I loved my Dad's turkey, it was awesome and I still can't match it. But those rolls just made the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Once I moved away from "home" my fav Thanksgiving meal (and still choice 1.5) is Dim Sum in the San Gabriel Valley. Those carts give excitement , the prices are right and, you do truly have a meal of joyful plenty - just what Thanksgiving is supposed to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And if you are smart enough to over order, you have Thanksgiving leftovers for the next day : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, my favorites are yeast rolls too. Sadly, my sister convinces my mom to make her fine but not as fantastic cinnamon rolls instead ever year and buy the rolls. I need a dog in that fight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. the one thing I really look forward to, that I don't make at home, is my aunt's rutabaga casserole. it's almost a pudding - mashed rutabaga, milk, egg, bread crumbs and nutmeg. I host thanksgiving most years for DH's family and they just don't eat rutabaga, so there's no point in making it at my house, I can't eat it all myself. so the saturday after turkey day, I will get my fill at my family's thanksgiving reunion. YUM.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Thanksgiving is the holiday and the meal that I get the most excited about.I love preparing Thanksgiving dinner even if it is just for me and one or two other people. My single favorite dish would have to be the roasted turkey.If done correctly it is so delicious. In my family though the coveted jewel is later on when people start getting hungry again we make turkey sandwiches with the home made cranberry sauce delicious breads and Best Foods mayonnaise. Then people start passing out and snoring until it is time to wake up and eat some more at my house:):) LOVE it!!!!!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My adult nephews make the most delicious smoked turkeys...briskets....smoked salmon in their big smoker they have rigged up BUT they live 3 1/2 hours from me and even though I am always invited there for Thanksgiving I hate the drive there BUT their smoked turkey is absolutely melt in your mouth perfection:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. The turkey is my single favorite dish followed by cornbread dressing. Pumpkin pie isn't bad, of course. <g>