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Nov 4, 2010 12:28 AM

What says Thanksgiving to you?

Hello there,

For the first time in my life, I have a large kitchen (and a large audience) in which to cook an amazing, sumptuous Thanksgiving meal. Previously, I've had a tiny 1-2 burner kitchen and an incredibly small family who might possibly eat the food I cooked, so I've always done something very unusual. Besides the obvious dishes like Turkey and stuffing, what says Thanksgiving to you and your family? What are your traditional dishes? Give me some idea for what to whip up for my family!


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  1. Whatever else you do, please make sure to have plenty of good gravy. I unfortunately have been a guest at a few gatherings where the gravy was bad, in woefully short supply or absent all together, can you believe that. It was heartbreaking.

    Oh, and cranberries. Nothing sez Thanksgiving to me like a cranberry.

    We usually include mac 'n cheese and arroz con gandules with the other traditional dishes.

    Check out some of the older Thanksgiving threads, at the bottom of this page, for lots more ideas.

    1. My parents were always a little non-traditional. Sure when we hosted Thanksgiving most years we'd have the big Turkey, but on special occasions we'd have a small gathering. We did Cornish game hens, squab, quail, goose and even duck. Obviously, the stuffing, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry was always there, but some of the other things I could expect was succotash and brussel sprouts with bacon. I spent a few thanksgivings at a friends house after my mother passed away and went crazy over whipped cauliflower, bacon wrapped dates, and mashed sweet potatoes with meringue (almost too sweet not to be a dessert). I'm not a dessert person, but Thanksgiving to me, isn't complete without either pumpin or pecan pie.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jhopp217

        Agreed with the pies. Always pumpkin and pecan- I make them every year.

        Last year we were away, and had Thai food. Not the same...

        1. re: cheesecake17

          Me too- sweet potato pie, pecan pie, and of course pumpkin pie all with fresh whipped cream.

          Only time of year I eat pies is Thanksgiving.

      2. My grandma always made her creamed pearl onions, and I love them. Not only did I always prefer the sauce to ANY gravy I've ever tried, I use them as a base for turkey pot pie with leftovers.

        10 Replies
        1. re: katecm

          Yum, that sounds great and love the idea of the pot pies!

          1. re: katecm

            By any chance, do you have the recipe for the creamed pearl onions? Sounds delicious!

              1. re: BubblyOne

                Well, yes and no. Last year I decided to try the Gourmet cookbook's version, using fresh peeled onions. They were good, but just not the same! Gram's were old-school. You get a few jars of pearl onions in water (not pickled), then drain them and rinse them. Make a basic bechamel - melt butter, add in flour and whisk for about 30 seconds, then pour in milk or cream and cook, whisking, until very thickened. Stir in the onions and let them cook slowly for a few minutes, seasoning with salt, a good amount of black pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. They can be made in advance and keep really well. It's SO not fancy or difficult, but there's just something about them. I;m sure you can get fresh onions and boil them a bit rather than using the jars, but mine got a bit mushy last year, and the jarred stuff just stays nicely crisp.

                1. re: katecm

                  Thanks, katecm. This sounds really easy and yet so good. I'm going to have to try this.

                  1. re: katecm

                    Thanks for this one, we did a trial run last night. Easy and really good.

                    1. re: BubblyOne

                      I wonder how the frozen pearl onions would work. Certainly cheaper than the cocktail onions.

                        1. re: BubblyOne

                          That's good to know! I was scared to venture from Gram's instructions (I even use her beat-up old double boiler, which had been a hand-me-down to her from her mother-in-law!

                          They're actually a great side dish with red meat, too.

                          1. re: katecm

                            I'm also making a triple batch and swiping your pot pie idea:)

            1. Fried turkey and smoked spare ribs = Thanksgiving at casa de Gordeaux

              1. Hmm, I will have to agree with everyone here and say pie - for me, apple, for DH, pumpkin. I've eaten Thanksgiving at many different tables with many different menus, but I don't ever remember one without pie.

                Stuffing is big for me too, but only in the last few years - I hated it (and pretty much all other Thanksgiving foods except for pie) growing up, but now that I get to make it myself, I love it. LOVE.