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Do you dread Thanksgiving?

j
Janet from Richmond Oct 22, 2012 11:33 AM

I do.

I don't like the meal much and for the amount of work, the reward is just not there.

Thanks for the vent.

  1. hill food Nov 15, 2012 07:33 PM

    just a little OCD madness from a person called Bachelor Kitchen on FB.

    really thought here was the best place to share it.

     
    7 Replies
    1. re: hill food
      s
      sandylc Nov 15, 2012 07:37 PM

      Great pic!

      1. re: hill food
        r
        ricepad Nov 15, 2012 07:57 PM

        I've never seen a plaid turkey before!

        1. re: hill food
          sunshine842 Nov 15, 2012 10:34 PM

          this has to be the turkey from the infamous Marney, who sent the email dictating who was bringing what, and what dishes it would be served in.

          I'm thinking of the fun of trying to cut through that woven carpet of bacon once it's spent a few hours in the oven...as well as the pale and insipid soggy skin it will leave behind.

          No thanks.

          1. re: hill food
            KaimukiMan Nov 15, 2012 11:14 PM

            a lot more attractive than the armadillo bacon turkey from a couple of years ago

             
            1. re: KaimukiMan
              hill food Nov 16, 2012 02:44 AM

              heh, as both evoke an "eww"

              1. re: KaimukiMan
                LindaWhit Nov 16, 2012 12:30 PM

                Wasn't that a CHOW-posted recipe?

                1. re: KaimukiMan
                  Bill Hunt Nov 16, 2012 09:12 PM

                  "Armadillo bacon?"

                  No, wait, never mind.

                  Hunt

              2. cosmogrrl Nov 14, 2012 01:40 AM

                I love Thanksgiving. I make it for my SO's family, at his Mom's house. I offered to do this a few years ago, since my SO wasn't happy with the Thanksgiving out of a bag he'd had the year before, his mother can't cook very much anymore.

                This year the first words out of his Uncle's mouth when we invited him was You going to make you stuffing aren't you?". They love it. It won't be very fancy, they like the marshmallowed yams, and the green bean casserole (I actually like this too, don't tell anyone!), the ambrosia salad, and the potatoes, and I did get them interested in roasted veggies last year so those too. I don't really care, they're happy, I get to cook and have plenty of help, and we're all together having fun. It's really enjoyable. Oh and booze flows!

                1. Bill Hunt Nov 13, 2012 07:27 PM

                  Now, as we have done "Cajun Fried Turkey" several times, I would not pass up the opportunity to do the bird, that way, again. There are photographs of several of those events, and some are not pretty, but they do tell a story.

                  We have also experimented with many different turkey recipes, from chipolte/ancho-rubbed to Zinfandel marinated turkey, that was outstanding - along with the Zinfandels that were served.

                  Nah, I normally enjoy myself.

                  Hunt

                  1. Bill Hunt Nov 13, 2012 07:20 PM

                    Now, I DO enjoy the traditional meal. Now, I have had great, and horrendous Thanksgiving meals. One sort of does not know.

                    At one, we had some family members, who were not with us, just a few months later. At one, we had an "extended" family member, who was pulled from "the jaws of death," but then he did not requite himself well, over the next year. We have actually had "Thanksgiving in July," with great friends, where we once lived, as schedules precluded our getting together in Nov, as we had for almost 20 years. While it IS tough to get a fresh turkey in July, in Colorado, it was doable, and a memorable experience.

                    It all just depends, but along with the meal, we offer prayers of thanks, for what we DO have, and then silence for those, who cannot be with us, on that evening.

                    Were some meals better than others? Of course. However, even the worst were still good for me, though maybe more reserved.

                    Enjoy,

                    Hunt

                    1. h
                      HappyHattiesburgr Nov 12, 2012 08:47 PM

                      I love Thanksgiving but it always depends on who you are with and what you are doing. Maybe it is time for you to buy one of those prepared turkey and all the trimmings Thanksgiving meals from the area grocery or caterer and let them do the cooking and you the enjoying, Janet?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: HappyHattiesburgr
                        j
                        Janet from Richmond Nov 13, 2012 07:08 AM

                        There would be a mutiny......now, we are also having ham and my brother commented that since we are having ham, I should also make at least a small pan of my famous mac & cheese.

                        This too shall pass (until next year...lol). The good news is (a) we are eating early this year and (b) I don't work on Friday.

                        1. re: Janet from Richmond
                          LindaWhit Nov 13, 2012 09:32 AM

                          ::::Wondering if they make 40 lb. hams and if it'll fit next to the 40 lb. turkey in the oven::::: :-)

                          1. re: LindaWhit
                            j
                            Janet from Richmond Nov 13, 2012 10:29 AM

                            The ham is 11 pounds :-) I will bake it before T'giving...lol.

                            We are in the 22+ pound category for the turkey, which I will pick up next week.

                            Fun times....afterall there will be 6 of us at dinner....bahahha

                            1. re: Janet from Richmond
                              LindaWhit Nov 13, 2012 10:37 AM

                              33 lbs. of MEAT.

                              Fill up that wine cellar, missy. ;-)

                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                j
                                Janet from Richmond Nov 13, 2012 01:38 PM

                                Oh, you know that :-)

                        2. re: HappyHattiesburgr
                          Bill Hunt Nov 13, 2012 07:34 PM

                          We have gone the "catered" route a couple of times. Those were great, and we even hired a serving staff, and a sommelier for the duties. However, we have also brined, rubbed, deep-fried, roasted, marinated, and almost every possible recipe, along the way. Each has been good, and being with our friends (have not done family recently, and they are far away now), has been worth the effort. We have attended a Thanksgiving with friends (she writes cookbooks), but have almost always just flown in, or about to fly out, so we just bring a few dishes, and I the wines. Still, even with the slightly abbreviated events, we have enjoyed ourselves.

                          Hunt

                        3. MGZ Nov 9, 2012 09:19 AM

                          After the last two weeks, I cannot wait to give thanks!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: MGZ
                            c
                            chefathome Nov 9, 2012 12:39 PM

                            You are so right. We all have much to be thankful for. But I don't wait until Thanksgiving to give thanks - I make a habit of doing it each day. :-)

                            1. re: chefathome
                              hill food Nov 9, 2012 07:08 PM

                              I'm thankful the phone, full of recorded election messages is no longer ringing off the hook. truly.

                            2. re: MGZ
                              MGZ Nov 21, 2012 12:48 PM

                              Here's my hometown:

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba3VWb...

                              Now you can see why I'm so grateful to give thanks. We're still able to celebrate the family and the Holiday.

                              Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

                              1. re: MGZ
                                LindaWhit Nov 21, 2012 08:52 PM

                                {{{hugs to you, MGZ}}}

                            3. c
                              chefathome Nov 8, 2012 10:04 AM

                              Our Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone. My husband spend each October at our house in Croatia so Thanksgiving is no issue. However, with other get togethers such as Christmas, it is very difficult if I do not cook the meal as I have celiac disease and cannot eat things others have prepared unless they are gluten free as well (to prevent cross contamination). A few exceptions are turkey (as long as the cooking vessel is immaculately clean) and non-alcoholic punch. I either make everything else (which is ok by me - I love to do it) or watch over those as they prepare in the kitchen. It makes things challenging to say the least. I do not look forward to these events as much as I used to for that reason but thankfully food is not the only focus! Or at least I keep telling myself that... :-)

                              1. r
                                ricepad Nov 7, 2012 12:50 PM

                                I don't dread Thanksgiving, I dread seeing my in-laws, who I absolutely hate. How such mean, petty, spiteful, arrogant people produced my wife, who is the most generous, giving, and loving person in the world, is beyond me. As for the day itself, I happily set about the kitchen preparing the meal while Mrs. ricepad plops herself down in front of the TV to watch the parade (which appeal I have never understood). And as long as we're not hosting HER family, it always turns out to be a perfect day.

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: ricepad
                                  Jay F Nov 7, 2012 03:54 PM

                                  Don't invite them. Anyone I hate that much I have zero to do with.

                                  1. re: Jay F
                                    s
                                    sandylc Nov 7, 2012 04:04 PM

                                    I am the sole care-giver for a mean-spirited, hypochondriac, drama queen relative who has done me some serious wrongs in my life. I hope you are never in the boat that I find myself in, Jay F.!

                                    1. re: sandylc
                                      Jay F Nov 7, 2012 04:07 PM

                                      Oh, not you, Sandy. I find our takes on things so very similar. My sympathies.

                                      1. re: Jay F
                                        s
                                        sandylc Nov 7, 2012 04:23 PM

                                        Not looking for sympathy - I give plenty of that to myself :-(

                                        Just pointing out that we don't always have the opportunity to control what company we keep.....

                                    2. re: Jay F
                                      KaimukiMan Nov 7, 2012 06:16 PM

                                      you get to choose your friends. family you are born with or marry into.

                                      1. re: Jay F
                                        r
                                        ricepad Nov 8, 2012 12:00 PM

                                        I've stopped inviting them. When our kids were small, we'd have the in-laws on a rotating basis (taking turns between my parents and my in-laws, not my in-laws on a rotisserie, altho that idea does bring a smile), mostly because we thought it was important for the kids to have a relationship with their grandparents. Now that the kids are adults, they are free to form their own opinions about their relatives and we feel no such compunction to host and tolerate them.

                                      2. re: ricepad
                                        melpy Nov 7, 2012 04:14 PM

                                        The parade is pure nostalgia, a feeling. Plus I love the broadway musical part.

                                        1. re: melpy
                                          Cheflambo Nov 7, 2012 07:13 PM

                                          My family always had a traditional meal - and we brought out the good china and silverware for the occasion. As soon as my sisters and I were old enough, we helped with whatever we could - toasting the bread for the stuffing (cooked IN the bird for maximum flavor) rolling out piecrust, and setting the table. We got dressed up for this meal too - I remember a few early years when dad actually wore a tie, and we were all taught how to carve the bird (it was a big honor when he thought each of us was old enough to do it ourselves). NOW ... I travel to another city to celebrate with Mr. Cheflambo's family. IIts in south Florida, so shorts and flipflops are the norm. Depending on the number of attendees (and we're going to be about 25 this year, including a cousin and his family visiting from the UK) we all eat on a lovely lanai with a view of a canal. I learned long ago that my culinary training was NOT welcome in our hostess's kitchen; no one wants my input on they turkey (which is cooked to total dryness) dressing (baked outside the bird for fear of ... oh, who knows what) side dishes (potatoes are actually cooked and mashed the day before to "save time"; sweet potatoes with a crusty carapice of marshmallows) or dessert (pies from Publix, garnished w. Reddi-Whip). I am allowed to bring wine. It is all served on paper plates, with plastic cutlery (the latter is washed and used again the following year). I am so over having my input rejected, that I just drink heavily and play games with the smaller children. Its about the family, not the meal. I know its a lot of work, but I would dearly LOVE to cook these people my kind of Thanksgiving dinner; instead, I just consider this a mini-vacatation with the relatives, who happen to serve turkey.

                                        2. re: ricepad
                                          l
                                          littlemissmuffin Nov 9, 2012 12:27 PM

                                          I'm with you ricepad. My in-laws are all selfish controlling egomaniacs, who will fight to the death to get their own way, about everything from what time dinner is to who sits where to who gets the first second helpings. They see letting someone else make a decision as a weakness. And then there is my husband, whose response to any question I ask him is, "Whatever you want, dear." And he means it! It's hard to believe they are even related.

                                          1. re: littlemissmuffin
                                            s
                                            sandylc Nov 9, 2012 12:34 PM

                                            His attitude is how he survived.

                                            1. re: littlemissmuffin
                                              hill food Nov 9, 2012 07:07 PM

                                              certain types of assholian behavior can skip a generation I think.

                                              I'd rather believe that than sandy's probably accurate assessment.

                                          2. s
                                            sandylc Nov 1, 2012 01:04 PM

                                            Anyone else out there with a major family member who is a legend in her own mind cooking/baking-wise? I have to be awfully tricky to keep her from making very much of the meal without hurting her feelings. The son and I determined one food that she can make fairly well and then I made a big deal out of it to her that she really needs to make her special (fill in the blank) because we're all looking forward to it. We'll see how that goes.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: sandylc
                                              LindaWhit Nov 1, 2012 01:45 PM

                                              No. Because my family abdicates all responsibility to me. :-) Although my sister and BIL always like mashed butternut squash with maple, so she always brings that along. An easy reheat.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                e
                                                eliewriter Nov 7, 2012 06:15 AM

                                                I'm with you Linda, I don't dread it ─ I love it! My boyfriend hosts it at his house every year for his family, who often starts arriving around 10 a.m. for coffee. It's a lot of work and we start early but it's a lot of fun. We have all the traditional dishes and most of the fam brings something. We set up a table downstairs in front of the fireplace and another huge table upstairs. Where we get a little more creative is with appetizers ─ this year his son will likely be preparing something from wild game he's bagged ─ and with the decor. Every year we work on our system and try to make it a little more efficient. It's loud and heartwarming and never seems to last long enough to justify all the work, but I just love throwing the dinner there.
                                                -Elizabeth Lowe

                                            2. c
                                              christy319 Oct 31, 2012 03:56 PM

                                              Yes, so I skip it. After years of hosting family that does not care a bit about good food, or trying to eat the dreadful stuff said family cooks, my husband and I go skiing in Canada over the holiday every year. No signs of T-day there.

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: christy319
                                                mariacarmen Oct 31, 2012 04:17 PM

                                                hah - one of the best thanksgivings i ever had was taking my mom to Paris - no sign of it there either, and not a lot of American tourists there at that time of year. and they were just dressing things up for xmas. lovely time.

                                                1. re: mariacarmen
                                                  sunshine842 Oct 31, 2012 04:25 PM

                                                  ah, but those of us who live here are already talking to the butchers and the volaillers and planning shopping outings to buy the specialty items that we buy just once a year....The expat community goes a long way out of our collective way to continue the tradition here -- for ourselves, and for our kids.

                                                  Thanksgiving is hard on American expats, because we're the only ones who celebrate it, and being out of the country (when you LIKE Thanksgiving) is a little like having been exiled to another planet. My first year away was really, really hard, and I cried a bucket of tears knowing that my family and friends were all sitting down to their meal, while I was getting everyone off to work and school, and not having a parade or a meal..We had another family over for a small meal, but it felt like something was missing...

                                                  ...so I fixed it -- and now on Thanksgiving, I think of my family and friends in the US, just as I'm starting to kick into high gear planning my Thanksgiving for a houseful of friends here in France who are also a long way from home on a special holiday.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                    John E. Oct 31, 2012 06:54 PM

                                                    Is it difficult to find turkeys in Paris? I live in Minnesota where turkeys are ubiquitous. (Minnesota produces 20% of all turkeys in the U.S., the most of any state at more than 45 million annually. I actually grew up in a small town that claims to be the turkey capital of the world, but I digress). A couple years ago, two Twins Cities grocery chains got into a turkey war and the final price of frozen turkeys got down to .38¢ per pound.

                                                    1. re: John E.
                                                      sunshine842 Nov 1, 2012 02:30 AM

                                                      Turkey parts are everywhere, though certainly more than 38 cents a pound! Turkey legs are cheap, at about $3 a pound (roughly).

                                                      Whole turkeys are a trick to find, requiring conversations with a couple of butchers and poultry vendors well ahead of time to see who might be able to supply one, how much time it will take, and what the price might be. The first year, I about fainted dead away when the butcher told me it would be 20 euros per kilo -- that's about $22 a pound.

                                                      I've finally shopped and researched to where I can get it down to a little under 10 euros per kilo -- $5 per pound or thereabouts, and that's a good price.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                        l
                                                        lcool Nov 1, 2012 08:40 AM

                                                        Glad to here you were successful.Sorry to here that it's still as hard,2012 as it was in 1962.When we want to serve whole bird turkey in France or Italy the sourcing is such a task.Work,not luck.

                                                        1. re: lcool
                                                          sunshine842 Nov 1, 2012 09:55 AM

                                                          once you've done it a time or two, it's not that hard...but boy, until you figure it out, you swear it's magic, or you're going to end up with a pan full of drumsticks...

                                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                                            l
                                                            lcool Nov 1, 2012 10:52 AM

                                                            I know
                                                            When we bought the house with 4 hectares outside of Verona 25 years ago a turkey ,not parts of for an expat holiday was the most like herding cats round robin we had.
                                                            My butcher,one of two in the town next door has become one of our dearest friends.Both families still joke about what a hear tell story it became in a tiny,tight community.Our younger twin boy married and lives in the Toscana,drove north to Renato three years in a row for a bird to show,flaunt at the three locals that were stone walling him.It worked.He now gets three turkeys for autumn,winter holidays at home.

                                                            The best,silly reason,make this entire thing go away I heard why you don't really want a whole turkey "no,no,it must be a mistake,it won't fit in your oven"
                                                            That cracked it to nearly wet your pants laughing on my part.I AM A WOMAN AND I CAN PACK OR COOK ANYTHING!!! Renato,even after only 5 months should have known better.I had already driven him crazy with back to his grandmother's era of meat,leaf fat left on beef and pork kidneys,whole shoulder etc.I went back that day,brought him to our house to show him I was serious about MY TURKEY.
                                                            Renato,you have geese (he nearly drooled)..this is your peach orchard..your oven looks OK.. We settled on one goose and future peaches for one turkey.Still the rate 25 years of dear friendship later.

                                                            1. re: lcool
                                                              sunshine842 Nov 1, 2012 11:59 AM

                                                              hehe -- I'd make that trade, too!

                                                              I've found that 5-1/2 kg (about 11lbs) is about as big as you can comfortably put in a European oven and still have room for the heat to circulate.

                                                              (this compared to the freak-of-nature 34-pounder -- that's 16kg! -- my sister-in-law ended up with. It took two of us, and a Frankensteined roasting pan that was as much heating duct tape as it was aluminum -- but we got that stupid bird into and out of her big US oven....and it was delicious)

                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                l
                                                                lcool Nov 1, 2012 12:30 PM

                                                                Thank all I don't have a conventional,small European oven.But even,there is an outdoor pillar oven,wood burning I could have used.
                                                                I have never tackled a 34#er except in halves,sawed down the center,head to tail.

                                                    2. re: sunshine842
                                                      mariacarmen Oct 31, 2012 07:16 PM

                                                      good for you! and for your ex-pat friends who miss the holidays. i would not be one (because I didn't love the holidays here, when we were celebrating them), if i was lucky enough to become an ex-pat . . . one day . . . it is still a dream i hold dear.... but i'm glad you fixed it!

                                                2. macca Oct 31, 2012 08:15 AM

                                                  I guess I am in the minority- I LOVE Thanksgiving! Host it every year- We have a large family, so just inviting my brothers (who live locally) and thier families puts our list at at least 26 this year! I do the cooling for the meal and usually put out a cheese tray and make a couple of pies. The family supplies the appetizers and desserts. We have 5 celiacs in the family, so it is a bit of work to make sure they can enjoy a dinner that includes stuffing, rolls and gravy. My mother is still in charge of making the stuffing- and she makes enought to feed an army! We have whkat I guess is the "standard' American Tgiving meal- the family loves vegetables, so I think I cook almost every vegetable at the farm stand! Will be reviewing my checklist soon. Cant wait!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: macca
                                                    r
                                                    ratgirlagogo Oct 31, 2012 12:15 PM

                                                    "the family loves vegetables, so I think I cook almost every vegetable at the farm stand!"

                                                    And that's probably a big reason why you love Thanksgiving dinner more than many. I love it too - when I was a vegetarian it was the ONLY holiday dinner at which I could be assured I would be able to get an actual meal. If you had to cook for folks who don't get excited about rutabagas, squash, and kale it would not be as much fun.

                                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                      macca Oct 31, 2012 01:30 PM

                                                      I think you are right- though I do love turkey, gravy, and my moms stuffing!

                                                  2. Savour Oct 30, 2012 02:16 PM

                                                    I used to not get the dread of Thanksgiving, but then I realized that most people cook and serve it all themselves (ie., the whole dinner comes out of one kitchen). My family always does potluck, which brings down a lot of stress (though we inevitably have 3 kinds of cranberry sauce and at least half a pie per person because we're crazy like that.)

                                                    It doesn't have to be a lot of work -- it can be what you make of it.

                                                    1. l
                                                      littlemissmuffin Oct 30, 2012 12:40 PM

                                                      Do I dread Thanksgiving? Oh, do I ever!

                                                      I loved Thanksgiving up until my mother died. I love Thanksgiving food, and we had a huge family stuffed into a small house and it was busiest, bustlingest, funnest, most delicious day of the year. Then my mother died, my father refused to celebrate or have company that day, my brothers and siters started going to their in-laws, so I had the bright idea as a new mother to have my husbands family over and start the same tradition at our house for our daughter. I would decorate and practice recipes and run myself ragged to produce the same wonderful holiday my family always had.

                                                      Yeah, it didn't work out. His family have a retinue of grudges, resentments, mental illnesses, addictions, etc, along with just plain bad manners. Every year was full of snide remarks, stupid arguments, the occasional theft from our liquor cabinent, someone was always on the verge of a divorce or being expelled or being sued for embezzlement (seriously), someone always stormed out halfway through the meal, someone always locked themselves in the bathroom and cried...and somehow, the food never tasted good. I didn't realize what makes Thanksgiving a success is not the recipes, its the relatives.

                                                      For the past two years we have skipped Thanksgiving dinner and gone out for sushi. And you know what? My daughter says she LOVES our new tradition and wants to do it every year!

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: littlemissmuffin
                                                        mariacarmen Oct 30, 2012 02:11 PM

                                                        good for you for creating your own little family tradition for your daughter! it's original and it's all your own. and you have warm memories of the ones your mother gave you. we're coming up on our second year without our mom too - it's not easy. i'm sure your mom would be so happy her granddaughter gets her own new tradition to remember fondly.

                                                        1. re: mariacarmen
                                                          hill food Oct 30, 2012 08:13 PM

                                                          I dunno, psychologically it's far healthier for your kid (and I'd prefer the sushi) but the dysfunctional trainwreck sounds like fun. once or twice.

                                                          1. re: hill food
                                                            mariacarmen Oct 30, 2012 09:38 PM

                                                            it only sounds fun cuz

                                                            A) it's not your family.
                                                            B) you didn't marry into it.

                                                            1. re: mariacarmen
                                                              hill food Oct 31, 2012 12:04 AM

                                                              yeah I see your point. in mine the eye-rolling and tongue-biting gets painful too. I've found a way to move past it all. "water - duck's back" is my mantra. thankfully violence hasn't been an issue here in over 40 years. (marry in? more awkward if it's your bio-dad)

                                                              I think we can agree that while it is fodder for a good screenplay the important part is littlemissmuffin's daughter's perception of this or any other holiday. cheers!

                                                              1. re: hill food
                                                                l
                                                                lcool Oct 31, 2012 07:25 AM

                                                                Visiting it is one thing.Steady,unavoidable diet of it likely tough.

                                                      2. l
                                                        lemons Oct 26, 2012 02:14 PM

                                                        18 years ago this November I married into a family (including a grat MIL and 3 stepdaughters) whose holiday was Thanksgiving - Christmas was nothing, etc., but Thanksgiving was what brought folks in from almost everywhere. So mostly it was mine to host, MIL was gracious and encouraging and it was a good ritual.

                                                        MIL died, one SD had to move to our town because of a chronic illness that is progressive, and finally she has become unable to enter our house physically b/c of major barriers. So Thanksgiving became dinner out, which none of us enjoyed but no one had the heart to skip entirely. (Her living arrangements are too limited for me to do it there.) DH died this year and so it would be just the two of us - but SD's daughter and granddaughter have decided to make a fast dash across the country to come in for the holiday b/c they know how much it means to her. They'll be staying with me, and my granddaughter (step-, but by now, only technically!) and I were talking about where to go, and she said, "Oh, couldn't you cook? I miss your cooking, and maybe we can use the recreation room where Mom lives. Please?"

                                                        I was shocked how much I missed the planning and the cooking in the past few years, so this is a Thanksgiving gift for ME. SD is not, unlike her sisters, the grateful type, but that's okay; this is all gonna work out.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: lemons
                                                          mariacarmen Oct 26, 2012 02:30 PM

                                                          love this story, lemons. have a wonderful holiday.

                                                          1. re: mariacarmen
                                                            c
                                                            cleobeach Oct 26, 2012 07:14 PM

                                                            I wish your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. How nice that all will enjoy the pleasure of the holiday.

                                                          2. re: lemons
                                                            LindaWhit Oct 27, 2012 06:21 AM

                                                            I think it will be a wonderful gathering for all involved.

                                                            1. re: lemons
                                                              Jay F Oct 31, 2012 07:33 AM

                                                              made me cry

                                                            2. mariacarmen Oct 25, 2012 06:05 PM

                                                              i had a love/hate relationship with it. i liked cooking for our small family of 4 (mom, dad, me and my sister). my sister and i didn't like having to travel from our beloved Bay Area back to a place we both moved away from and hated (O.C.). The cooking took all day (but again, I enjoyed it) and we'd literally wolf it down in like 15 minutes. Then my mom got sick, we moved my parents up to be close to us, my mom died shortly thereafter, and Thanksgivings have pretty much been over. it seemed we were mostly doing it for her. This will be our second without her. i don't miss it, i miss her. i liked cooking things she would love (and she loved everything i cooked). now, instead, we take my aged dad to a bad buffet restaurant, which he loves, at a hefty price, but at least it has crab legs for my sister and i to indulge in. Probably more of the same this year. So i kinda dread the whole holiday thing, period. But then, i kinda always did.

                                                              However, on the brighter side, my boyfriend, who eschews all holidays and doesn't go home for them (much to HIS family's dismay!), does miss the food now and again, so i usually make him a mini-thxgiving dinner. and that's fun to leave him with. and we have leftovers.

                                                              1. LindaWhit Oct 25, 2012 01:26 PM

                                                                I hadn't even seen that you had started this post, Janet, but I knew you'd have responded if it hadn't been you starting it. :-)

                                                                No, I don't dread it, as I'm dealing with just very close family coming over...a total of maybe 4-5 people. We don't go uber-crazy with seventy-leven side dishes, nor do I have to worry about anyone buying a 45 lb. turkey when there's only 5 people. Perhaps that's what you're dreading again? A Frankenturkey?

                                                                9 Replies
                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                  hill food Oct 25, 2012 06:39 PM

                                                                  but what about 7-11 side dishes?

                                                                  1. re: hill food
                                                                    LindaWhit Oct 25, 2012 07:21 PM

                                                                    Nah. I shop at my local supermarket instead of the 7-11 for the ingredients for my side dishes.

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                      hill food Oct 25, 2012 07:51 PM

                                                                      it could be an interesting challenge that we might ponder but never aspire to meet.

                                                                      1. re: hill food
                                                                        LindaWhit Oct 26, 2012 05:35 AM

                                                                        It's enough that I got my family to accept 1 new dish each year. I'm not about to prepare a meal from a Gas 'n' Shop. No Top Chef challenges for Thanksgiving dinner. :-)

                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                    j
                                                                    Janet from Richmond Oct 26, 2012 05:38 AM

                                                                    The Frankenturkey (love that, will be using that term) is a big part of it. And now that my stepdaughter & SIL (and baby...Linda....not sure you knew I'm a grandmother now..lol) and baby have to do the multi-family thing, the time of dinner has to be more definite.

                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                      LindaWhit Oct 26, 2012 08:18 AM

                                                                      WHA'??????? Granny Janet? Impossible. :-) But congrats to your stepdaughter and her husband! I am curious what Grandma-type name you're going with! I'm thinking GranJan would work. ;-)

                                                                      And perhaps your stepdaughter and her husband can switch holidays - T'giving at your place or her in-laws, Christmas at the other. And perhaps once the baby is a toddler, they'll end up staying put at their place for Santa's visit. Always fun trying to figure out the holiday logistics with kids.

                                                                      And you're welcome for the Frankenturkey. It fits, based on the stories I've read of yester-Thanksgivings in the Janet household. :-)

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                        j
                                                                        Janet from Richmond Oct 26, 2012 09:43 AM

                                                                        I'm Nana...Dh is Pop-pop. Baby is Harper. She is 4 months old and a wonderful and happy baby. SD's MIL died suddenly this summer and since all of the parents are divorced, it makes it more complicated. Her FIL & his wife aren't local which makes it easier. Our son-in-law comes from a large extended family who is close. They will figure it out. And yes, once Harper is older, they probably will do something on their own.

                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                          LindaWhit Oct 26, 2012 11:09 AM

                                                                          Aww, my late stepfather was Pop-Pop to his grandkids as well.

                                                                          And I love the name Harper for a girl. Enjoy your new grandchild. :-)

                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                            mariacarmen Oct 28, 2012 10:17 PM

                                                                            love that name!

                                                                    2. l
                                                                      LeoLioness Oct 25, 2012 07:55 AM

                                                                      I used to, until I realized it was largely a lot of family members who were making me dread it. Once I extricated myself from that, I always enjoy myself, whether it's a turkey feast with my "chosen" family or a faraway vacation or doing nothing at all.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness
                                                                        MGZ Oct 25, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                                        See, now that's a very enlightened and aware attitude. Sad that it's out of reach for so many since (a) acquiring such self knowledge is very difficult for most people and (b) our societal pressures and, more importantly, healthcare system prevent many from accepting the benefits of psychoanalysis (preferring instead to treat the symptoms in whatever way the drug companies best compensate the medical community, rather than deal with the underlying issues). I mean, let's be honest, every parent makes mistakes and every child is damaged thereby - it's really a question of degree.

                                                                        1. re: MGZ
                                                                          hill food Oct 25, 2012 06:35 PM

                                                                          "every parent makes mistakes and every child is damaged thereby"

                                                                          short of victims of horrendous abuse, at what point do we own up to moving ourselves past that. yes so and so is always hyper-critical and sees nothing but the worst in almost everything. when I figured out that while the verbal behavior was cutting, I was never physically abused, it's all predictable, and I've even managed to turn it into sort of a game and sometimes say things, not to be provocative but get them off on a tangent that I don't care what the outcome is anyway. smoke and mirrors. I do understand there are some who DO need to step back just for their own psyche's sake. but for me it's kind of a mild irritant, I dread it, but ehh I'm a self-centered bastard who needs to just deal and keep the internal dialog going and not respond. I do have relatives who feel as I do but at this point sharing notes and eye-rolls is getting boring.

                                                                          1. re: hill food
                                                                            s
                                                                            sandylc Oct 25, 2012 06:57 PM

                                                                            My mom squashed everything I wanted to do and isolated me socially. Then, even though I did amazingly well in school, including advanced math, she steered me away from college. I am paying for these things to this day in a very concrete way. Smashed my self-esteem as an extra bonus.

                                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                                              hill food Oct 25, 2012 07:50 PM

                                                                              yes. I know of these mixed messages. go away. why don't you come home more often? study hard, but don't try to do anything with that. be thrifty and use things wisely. why are you saving all these stock bones and vegetable stalks in the freezer?

                                                                        2. re: LeoLioness
                                                                          alliegator Oct 25, 2012 11:40 AM

                                                                          Very good attitude! As I have a couple of family members that have the same effect on me, I choose to do the vacation thing during the grandaddy of all the dreadable holidays: Christmas :)

                                                                          1. re: alliegator
                                                                            IndyGirl Oct 25, 2012 04:03 PM

                                                                            I've started being "busy" during Christmas to avoid the insane pressure that comes over everyone during that holiday (it's easy to be "busy" since I live far away). So we are getting it out of the way over Thanksgiving. I'll be haggard and exhausted, but I will relax over Christmas. I sorely need it.

                                                                        3. k
                                                                          KSlink Oct 24, 2012 03:37 PM

                                                                          Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts, these are trying times and it's good to have the warm wishes of others to help carry me through.....

                                                                          1. k
                                                                            KSlink Oct 24, 2012 01:45 PM

                                                                            The only thing I dread about this Thanksgiving is that it's the first one my mother, recently diagnosed with dementia and now in assisted living far, far away, won't be spending with us.

                                                                            Truly, lets all count our blessings instead of our sorrows.....

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: KSlink
                                                                              KaimukiMan Oct 24, 2012 02:08 PM

                                                                              I hope you will be able to have your mother present in your memories,, not only with sorrow of her not being there, but with happiness for the years she was.

                                                                              1. re: KSlink
                                                                                MGZ Oct 24, 2012 02:26 PM

                                                                                That's exactly the point. My condolences and my wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving nonetheless.

                                                                                1. re: KSlink
                                                                                  j
                                                                                  Janet from Richmond Oct 24, 2012 02:37 PM

                                                                                  I understand KSlink.

                                                                                  As the OP of this thread....my Mom died in 1994 & my Dad in 1974, so I am more than aware of how challenging it is to spend holidays without your loved ones.

                                                                                  It's not a sorrow...simply a day I don't look forward to. I have many, many blessings.

                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                                    l
                                                                                    latindancer Oct 24, 2012 05:04 PM

                                                                                    I have a holiday like that which I don't like and don't look forward to for the same reasons you're mentioning.
                                                                                    No sorrow, just can't wait for the damn day to be over with and my blessings are also many.

                                                                                  2. re: KSlink
                                                                                    j
                                                                                    jujuthomas Oct 25, 2012 06:20 AM

                                                                                    KS, I understand completely. Our family reunion,"Thanksmas", will be tough this year because it's the first without my grandfather who died in May. There will be some tears, but I know there will be good times as well.

                                                                                    1. re: KSlink
                                                                                      mariacarmen Oct 25, 2012 06:07 PM

                                                                                      i'm sorry KS, it's very hard when you don't have them any more to share with them. Whether the holiday meant something or not, they are missed.

                                                                                    2. KaimukiMan Oct 24, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                                                      I enjoy thanksgiving. Last year it was at Mom's house, but I cooked. Not familiar with her oven, and somehow the oven ended up on broil instead of bake. The turkey looked wonderful but was pretty much raw in the middle. We waited an extra hour, took it out, cut it up and finished it in the microwave and stovetop. No one died.

                                                                                      If I invite people over/host, then i expect to cook food they like, not food I like. With a Thanksgiving meal there is enough food and enough options that there should be enough variety for everyone. If you don't like wild rice casserole, then eat the mashed potatoes. If you don't like candied yams, have some baked turnips or beets. And while I make green bean casserole, its not exactly the one on the back of the campbell's can.

                                                                                      I like wine. Some don't. I'm not going to push it on you, and I will make sure there is an alternative other than water. Last year there was a choice of grape juice, apple juice, or lemonade. My relatives can tell me I'm going to hell at some other time.

                                                                                      I like a late afternoon meal. I do understand those who want a brunch, it means they don't fill up on other food during the day when so much work has gone into the main meal. Some people just don't seem able to put off eating for as much as two or three hours beyond their normal meal times. If I'm doing all the work of cooking, they can eat when I serve. There are enough snacks around no one is going to starve. I've occassionally done a late lunch instead of an early dinner. Especially when I know some guests have a long way to travel home and don't want to drive on dark slippery roads (not usually an issue in Honolulu or LA where I often spend thanksgiving.)

                                                                                      Its a holiday, its about celebrating the gifts we have in our lives. As a host I need to be flexible, just as I expect my guests to be flexible.

                                                                                      1. biondanonima Oct 24, 2012 08:40 AM

                                                                                        No, I love Thanksgiving - but I've either hosted friends or been a guest at friends' homes for the past 15 years. However, even when I celebrated it with my family, it was always just my parents and siblings (plus occasionally some of my parents' friends), never any extended family. The food generally sucked, but the company was fine. This year we're hosting my husband's mother for the first time - could be interesting. Luckily he's taking her to see the parade (we live in NYC) so I won't have to fend off any kitchen intrusions!

                                                                                        1. s
                                                                                          Skippy1414 Oct 23, 2012 11:06 PM

                                                                                          I've always hated Thanksgiving, since I was a little kid. I don't like any of the foods associated with it, and always found it stressed out relatives so much that it wasn't fun at all. Then for a few years my mother decided that she'd buck the tradition by having us go to dinner at an Indian restaurant, which was not at all fun--I like Indian food but we were always practically the only ones there so I just felt weird.Travel is also a nightmare around that day.

                                                                                          As soon as I reached an age where I was old enough to do such things, I just stopped going to Thanksgiving events. Now it's one of my favorite days of the year because it's quiet and I just get to hide out at home. I always have some popcorn, toast, and pretzels, though, as a salute to "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and the dinner made by Snoopy and Woodstock. When I was growing up, I always would watch that wistfully and think, "Now THAT'S a Thanksgiving dinner I would eat..."

                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Skippy1414
                                                                                            j
                                                                                            Janet from Richmond Oct 24, 2012 05:18 AM

                                                                                            That sounds wonderful to me.

                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                                              s
                                                                                              Skippy1414 Oct 24, 2012 08:51 AM

                                                                                              I used to live near the beginning of the Macy's parade route (moved uptown now) and every year on Thanksgiving morning, while out running or walking my dog, I would see families jousting for parking or dragging along unhappy, overbundled kids in search of a spot to watch the parade. I never saw so many people look so grim about trying to create a family memory. I was always so happy to just head home, far away from the crazy crowds.

                                                                                              1. re: Skippy1414
                                                                                                c
                                                                                                cleobeach Oct 24, 2012 08:56 AM

                                                                                                Friends of friends go to NYC every year for the parade. (they spend several nights in the city) Our kids are similar in age. Two years ago, the couple that connects us decided to go and invited us along. We declined (I detest crowds) and their reports of the day were horrifying - shoving and pushing people, crying kids, police in riot gear to control the crowds.

                                                                                                1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                  biondanonima Oct 24, 2012 09:01 AM

                                                                                                  We live in NYC and went to the parade one year to satisfy my husband's curiosity (I have never had ANY desire). We purposely went to an intersection that was both convenient for us (our subway line stops right there) and away from the popular viewing areas. It actually wasn't that bad - there was still a good-sized crowd, but we are tall so we didn't feel the need to be right at the front and we were still able to see the balloons just fine, which of course was what my husband wanted to see. I know what it was probably like at the popular spots, though, and there is NO WAY IN HELL I would ever do that. My MIL is coming this year to see the parade and my husband will be taking her while I stay home and cook. : )

                                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima
                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                    Skippy1414 Oct 24, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                                                                    I like your plan! I had to walk through the area where they were doing the balloon blow up one year and the crowd for that was just out of control. Ugh.

                                                                                                  2. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                    i
                                                                                                    Isolda Oct 24, 2012 09:22 AM

                                                                                                    I think their experience just highlights the beauty of watching the parade on TV and enjoying the cooking aromas coming from the kitchen.

                                                                                                    1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                      melpy Oct 25, 2012 09:15 AM

                                                                                                      I would never want to see it live. I have all the best views at home. I hear every performance and musical number and every interview. Plus as long as we are not going to my SO's grandparents, we have cooking aromas and parade.

                                                                                                      I'm also a sucker for those cotton commercial about "the fabric of our lives".

                                                                                                      1. re: melpy
                                                                                                        hill food Oct 25, 2012 06:28 PM

                                                                                                        ok ok just don't start a thread somewhere about the fabric softener "Snuggle" teddy bear.

                                                                                              2. re: Skippy1414
                                                                                                melpy Oct 24, 2012 12:05 PM

                                                                                                This sounds like my sister. She will be at the events without thanksgiving food.

                                                                                              3. a
                                                                                                AZGrandpa Oct 23, 2012 04:55 PM

                                                                                                damisssus and I live in a "retiement community". Over the years, we have developed good friendships with a number of snowbirds, and we have hosted the Thanksgiving dinner at our house. But all of us are in our mid-late 70's,or more, and this year we finally said "no more". We usually prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, mashed, gravy (lately out of the can), Barb brings greenbean casserole, Jane brings pies, Ron and Judy wine, John beer, and the like. But we have finally determined that physically, we can no longer be the hosts. So, we have asked our friends to join us at an upscale resto for the day. We'll host the libations, apps, etc, and then we all will adjourn to the resto for the meal. No two day preparation, and no clean up afterward. So far, all have agreed, and we are in the process of making reservations. Problem solved.

                                                                                                1. i
                                                                                                  Isolda Oct 23, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                                                                  Not anymore! And do you want to know why? Because my in-laws moved very, very far away!

                                                                                                  I gave up on the traditional meal long ago, because no one in my family likes turkey that much. So we all pick a favorite "feast" food or two and that's what I make. One year it was a medieval dinner, served in costume. This year, it will probably be ham and dressing (traditional sage and cornbread, because I love it), my grandmother's super-fattening rolls, roasted veggies, green salad, and lots of desserts.

                                                                                                  If I had to do the whole turkey and mashed potatoes thing, I'd just order it in from a reliable caterer.

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                    MGZ Oct 24, 2012 03:47 AM

                                                                                                    See, that's the spirit. Embrace the reasons behind that glorious day - appreciation of the things we have and indulging in whatever bounty we may encounter. Personally, my family and I truly enjoy turkey, so much so that I wind up making two every year - one fried and one roasted. The year there wound up being only 6 adults, the fried one was consumed with dinner and the other provided terrific sandwiches over the weekend for three families. At bottom, it's all good.

                                                                                                    The only thing to dread about Thanksgiving is the horror that has become of the commercial co-opting of the following day. That is shameful. It's sad to think that people will poorly prepare some stereotypical dinner they don't enjoy because they have unthinkingly adopted what they believe to be "tradition." Then, further act "as they are told" and flock to the stores to bring more stress and dissatisfaction upon themselves.

                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                      LindaWhit Oct 25, 2012 02:01 PM

                                                                                                      I avoid the Day After like the plague.

                                                                                                      My sister, mother and I did it *once* about 15 years back because my Mom wanted to go into the Boston area, so we went to the Cambridgeside Galleria, arriving around 10am. Not bad at all (I think most everyone went OUT of Boston to the larger malls outside the city) but by 1pm, it began to get crowded, so we got out of there. Once was enough.

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                        hill food Oct 25, 2012 06:27 PM

                                                                                                        it's a ring of Hell Dante wasn't graced with the foresight to number.

                                                                                                      2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                        g
                                                                                                        givemecarbs Nov 18, 2012 04:47 PM

                                                                                                        Things have been heading in this direction for a long time MGZ. My mother used to complain that her mom would drag her and her younger brother Christmas shopping in Philadelphia the day after Thanksgiving. There was a shoppers' special rate for the train and everything.
                                                                                                        At least they got to go to Wanamakers. My response when my mom told me of this was wow the day after thanksgiving? That's so early!

                                                                                                    2. BIGGUNDOCTOR Oct 23, 2012 01:11 PM

                                                                                                      Thanksgiving is no problem the way I have been doing it the past few years.

                                                                                                      A friend has his annual- Howie's Meetup orphans dinner- for the Meetup.com members that don't have a place to go. He makes the turkey, and mashed potatoes, and we bring a side, and what we want to drink. He has 50-75 people show up, we have a big selection of food, and we have a great time. He also does this for Christmas.

                                                                                                      For those of you who don't know, Meetup is an activity site, it is not a singles site, although there are singles Meetup groups. There are even dining , as well as other food related groups. Best part is that it is free.

                                                                                                      1. j
                                                                                                        jujuthomas Oct 23, 2012 08:17 AM

                                                                                                        Depends on who is hosting! If Thanksgiving is at my house, I look forward to it. If it's at my MIL's I dread the dried out cooked the day before and reheated to within a inch of burning dinner.

                                                                                                        we go to my family on the weekend after - which is my absolute favorite part of the holiday.

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: jujuthomas
                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                          sparky403 Oct 23, 2012 01:09 PM

                                                                                                          It's my favorite day of the year - my idea is that it's about food and hanging out with friends.. to me it's a simple meal to cook..

                                                                                                          I do my turkey on the bbq - so it keeps me out of house - also, I normally spend the day with my friends not my family...

                                                                                                          Some tips:

                                                                                                          It's just dinner
                                                                                                          the secret of good cook is to make sure everyone is reallly hungry I tell people that - TG dinner is usually served around 7:00.
                                                                                                          Dinner is served when it's ready ( I feel sorry for the poster that said dinner had to be served at 11:30) sheesh what do you do with the rest of the day..

                                                                                                          Trust me on doing the bird on the grill -its tons of fun and everyone gets to particpate hang out by the grill etc.

                                                                                                          1. re: sparky403
                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                            jujuthomas Oct 23, 2012 01:19 PM

                                                                                                            We love Turkey done on the grill!!!! tried it once for T-giving and his mother made poo-poo faces. So we do a traditional turkey for them, and smoke one later for us. :)

                                                                                                            I enjoy having people in, enjoy the process of cooking (usually) way too much food, and the collapse after with the knowledge of a job well done. :) His mother OTOH, STRESSES over it, so I try to host whenever possible. Also, she's 82-she's done her fair share!

                                                                                                            There is one challenge for me, in cooking for the inlaws - NO garlic, NO onions! but, they don't mind if I have a glass or 3 of wine, so we're all good.

                                                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas
                                                                                                              i
                                                                                                              Isolda Oct 23, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                                                                              If I had to cook without garlic or onions, I'd need 3 glasses of wine, too!

                                                                                                              1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                RUK Oct 23, 2012 02:19 PM

                                                                                                                I agree! :-)

                                                                                                                1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                  jujuthomas Oct 23, 2012 04:49 PM

                                                                                                                  LOL - we LOVE garlic so it is tough!

                                                                                                          2. c
                                                                                                            caviar_and_chitlins Oct 23, 2012 07:54 AM

                                                                                                            I still enjoy Thanksgiving, but in Graduate School, it was my favorite thing ever. The person with the biggest area for dining would host, and everyone would bring at least something. We'd have people from all over the world bringing a dish, many that had no clue what Thanksgiving was "about", as opposed to what's read in books. It was super fun. All orphans were welcome, and the meal was always different. We'd have 20+ people crowded around tables, and yes, plenty of alcohol.

                                                                                                            Now, it's just us and the in-laws, which is nice, but not nearly as fun. At least I get to do all the cooking. :)

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: caviar_and_chitlins
                                                                                                              sunshine842 Oct 23, 2012 10:18 AM

                                                                                                              as expats, that's our Thanksgiving now -- a collection of American friends and their families, as well as non-American friends who we couldn't imagine not having with us on Thanksgiving. We're pretty much a United Nations, with 25-plus people from all over the world.

                                                                                                              My best friend and I do the turkeys (it takes two, as birds AND ovens here are small...) -- and everyone makes a side or two. My most-treasured praise came from a friend who's been out of the US for twenty-plus years -- she took me by the hands and, eyes shining, said "it's a REAL Thanksgiving!"

                                                                                                              So yes, I'm looking forward to it all, and yes, it will be worth it.

                                                                                                            2. c
                                                                                                              Christina D Oct 23, 2012 07:29 AM

                                                                                                              Actually, the part I look forward to the most (and I'm already thinking about it), is the day after. We completely veg out, cuddle up on the couch together and have a movie marathon with the kids. I sip on mimosas all day and get my post-Thanksgiving sandwich: turkey, stuffing and arugula on the perfect roll with cranberry chutney mayo.

                                                                                                              Can't wait.

                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Christina D
                                                                                                                HillJ Oct 23, 2012 07:35 AM

                                                                                                                Now that's nirvana, C D!

                                                                                                                1. re: Christina D
                                                                                                                  twyst Oct 23, 2012 07:42 AM

                                                                                                                  "Actually, the part I look forward to the most (and I'm already thinking about it), is the day after. We completely veg out, cuddle up on the couch together and have a movie marathon with the kids. I sip on mimosas all day and get my post-Thanksgiving sandwich: turkey, stuffing and arugula on the perfect roll with cranberry chutney mayo."

                                                                                                                  For some reason C D your post made me think of the Friends episode when Ross goes nuts because someone ate his post thanksgiving turkey sandwich.

                                                                                                                  1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                    Christina D Oct 23, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                                                                                    No wonder, twyst...it's a sacred thing!

                                                                                                                    1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                      melpy Oct 26, 2012 08:40 AM

                                                                                                                      You don't mess with the Thanksgiving sandwich!

                                                                                                                      I like turkey, mayo, s/p, cranberry sauce, stuffing, a smear of creamed spinach an a smear of gravy. Swoon!

                                                                                                                      1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                        khh1138 Oct 28, 2012 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                        Creamed spinach on a sandwich - what a brilliant idea!!! Thanks for that one.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Christina D
                                                                                                                      rabaja Oct 23, 2012 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                      We are so starting that tradition once kids come along. Sounds perfect!

                                                                                                                    3. i
                                                                                                                      isabellacat Oct 23, 2012 06:28 AM

                                                                                                                      Like Janet, I think it is way too much work for very little payoff. I think the meal is boring to cook but at the same time it is incredibly labor intensive. My mother refuses to be invited anywhere because she claims that my dad doesn't like to eat other people's food...but she stresses out to an absolutely INCREDIBLE degree over serving Thanksgiving dinner to the four of us. It is very depressing. This year I gave up and am going to the boyfriend's house.

                                                                                                                      I have highjacked Christmas, however. I invite my parents, brother, stray aunts, and friends who want to get away from their families...lots of booze, food that I like to cook and eat, tons of desserts, and lingering conversation at the table. It's a good time.

                                                                                                                      1. HillJ Oct 23, 2012 06:26 AM

                                                                                                                        There's nothing traditional about Thanksgiving at our house, especially now that our four kids pretty much do their own thing. I take advantage of the sales and stock the freezer for recipes I'll prepare well after turkey day. Dh and I go on vacation.

                                                                                                                        1. MGZ Oct 23, 2012 06:14 AM

                                                                                                                          I think Thanksgiving is the food dork's holiest day. I look forward to it, revel in it, and am sad when that Sunday afternoon rolls around. I mean, it's a four day weekend predicated and celebrating overindulgence - how can that be bad?

                                                                                                                          1. RUK Oct 23, 2012 06:00 AM

                                                                                                                            I have always liked Thanksgiving in our house, did it about 25 years, with only one or two exceptions when we were on vacation/someone else wanted to do it. That year I made a Goose for us on the following Sunday, since there had been absolutely no yummy leftovers to be had, the cooking was so "stingy" on that Thanksgiving, the next year I took over again.
                                                                                                                            Nowadays the family has gotten much larger, and some years ago my daughter took over, her house is roomy and she is an excellent hostess. Most of us bring favorite dishes, my daughter will ask for a new, special dish to try out, so the menu never gets stale. I like it very much!
                                                                                                                            And in addition, reading about not allowed to drink - there is of course Alcohol around and we are happy with that! If there is someone in the family against drinking anything, that is his/her problem.....

                                                                                                                            1. coney with everything Oct 23, 2012 05:22 AM

                                                                                                                              I kind of do this year, because it's the year we see the traditions falling apart in my husband's family as his mom died this year.

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                sunshine842 Oct 23, 2012 06:31 AM

                                                                                                                                that first couple of years is really hard....I wish you the best.

                                                                                                                                1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Oct 25, 2012 01:49 PM

                                                                                                                                  That will be the tough part for you all. Create a few new traditions and remember your MIL fondly.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                    mariacarmen Oct 25, 2012 06:09 PM

                                                                                                                                    it does change everything. very sorry for your hubby.

                                                                                                                                  2. c
                                                                                                                                    Christina D Oct 23, 2012 04:28 AM

                                                                                                                                    I used to love hosting Thanksgiving, but it increasingly became a drag. My final straw was when my family showed up an hour and a half late, well into the cups from a brunch I couldn't attend, and fell asleep on the couch while I finished the cooking. After that, I decided to take a couple years off and let someone else host. Best thing I ever did. I enjoy it again (not quite like I did in the early years, though) and also enjoy when someone else hosts.

                                                                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Christina D
                                                                                                                                      sunshine842 Oct 23, 2012 05:06 AM

                                                                                                                                      ouf. You earned that respite! (I'd have been SO p.o.'d)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                                                        Christina D Oct 23, 2012 05:25 AM

                                                                                                                                        Uh..yeah, I was. I took a big glass of the pear cider that I drove across town to find, went out on the deck, and had myself a pity party (not that anyone noticed, as they were all asleep). Eventually, I set it aside and enjoyed the meal I had spent weeks planning, but it irks me to this day.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Christina D
                                                                                                                                        TheHuntress Nov 10, 2012 10:07 PM

                                                                                                                                        Ah, sounds similar to the Christmas I hosted last year. I asked people to arrive at midday (my parents like to be around when my son (their only grandchild) opens his presents. Thankfully my boy is wonderfully patient and can tolerate the waiting to do presents. Sadly I wasn't so tolerant of my parents arriving at 2.30pm (all other guests had arrived at the time requested) and all the beautiful food I had prepared was a bit sad.

                                                                                                                                        This year I'm thinking of telling everyone we're going away and just spending the day at home doing what I want with Mr. Huntress.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: TheHuntress
                                                                                                                                          r
                                                                                                                                          ricepad Nov 10, 2012 10:22 PM

                                                                                                                                          [wondering why he isn't called 'TheHunter'....or 'TheDog/Retriever'.....]

                                                                                                                                          1. re: TheHuntress
                                                                                                                                            John E. Nov 12, 2012 08:39 PM

                                                                                                                                            A child, patient, for opening Christmas presents? When I was a kid we opened our Christmas tree presents (as opposed to those brought by Santa) on Christmas Eve. I was about 10 when my brothers' and I were whining to open a present before Christmas Eve Church Services. My mother finally relented and allowed each of us (10, 12, and 14) to open a gift. We each got electric alarm clocks. My mother was tired of waking us up for school each morning and wanted to teach us some responsibility. (Thanks, Mom.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                              hill food Nov 13, 2012 01:18 AM

                                                                                                                                              that sounds like the draft of a story by O. Henry tossed aside. but I bet you all set them extra early for Xmas AM.

                                                                                                                                              a different Gift of the Magi result.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                TheHuntress Nov 13, 2012 02:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                Haha, ingenious of your mum. We have the opposite problem and are thinking of giving our boy a clock for Christmas so we can tell him he has to stay in bed until at least 6am.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: TheHuntress
                                                                                                                                                  sunshine842 Nov 13, 2012 04:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Fortunately, the same clock does double duty...by the time they hit their teen years, you're contemplating installing a spring-loaded platform on the bed to just throw them out of bed.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit Nov 13, 2012 09:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                    LOL! Love the visual. And quite true. Many teens become like cats - able to sleep for 16 hours without any problem.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
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                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Nov 13, 2012 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Ha. Yup. And we used to have a timer in the bathroom so that shower boy wouldn't drain the city water supply.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 Nov 13, 2012 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                        man, ain't THAT the truth.

                                                                                                                                                        Mine have a small amount of the fear of God instilled in them, though -- nothing makes me grouchier than a hot shower that's cold (we live in a Northern climate, so when it gets cold, the water is like ICE) -- so the first time the water heater got drained, I made the culprit be the last in the queue the next morning...nothing to teach you how crappy a cold shower is like having one.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                          i
                                                                                                                                                          Isolda Nov 13, 2012 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                          My dad used to do that to us in the 70s, when we had water rationing (big fines). He'd give us exactly three minutes of water. You could stand in that shower for 30 minutes if you wanted, but you could only run the water for three minutes. I'm thinking of implementing a similar standard for my teens now that we are on city water and have to pay for it.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                                                                            cleobeach Nov 13, 2012 12:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                            My father considered any heat or warmth that came at any cost (like electricity) to be for suckers. In his mind, a house kept 1 degree above what was necessary to keep the pipes from freezing was like lighting dollar bills on fire. (the pipes did freeze on a semi-regular basis.) The first time Mr. CB visited my parents' house, he asked me "is the furnance broken?" because it was so cold.

                                                                                                                                                            I still remember the misery of waking up cold and not allowed more than (an estimated) 5 minutes in the shower. He installed valves right above the shower heads. His "method" was that one was to wet down, turn off the water at the valve, use soap, wash hair and turn the water back on to rinse. (no, he wasn't in the Navy).

                                                                                                                                                            Years later he moved to a different house and with central heat AND air conditioning! We had a hard time not teasing him about using either.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                                                              sandylc Nov 13, 2012 12:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                              These kind of things made us what we are today.....

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                hill food Nov 13, 2012 08:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                cb - my dad was that way, now he's in a super-insulated house with geothermal H/C and despite that it paid for itself years ago I find the temperature settings scandalous. far too cold in Summer, far too warm in Winter.

                                                                                                                                                                sheesh, we DO turn into our parents...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                  TheHuntress Nov 14, 2012 01:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Wow, our dads must be related. He is so precious about electricity that my mother once had a major accident because of his compulsion to turn lights off and leave everyone in the dark.

                                                                                                                                                                  He is still so bad that even though they had solar panels installed, live in the city that has more sunshine and hours of daylight than anywhere else in Australia and have hundreds of dollars in CREDIT on the power bill he will still not let my mother run the aircon. If she does he will stop whatever he is doing, walk into the house and switch it off. My mother will then go and turn it on again and they play musical aircons all day. And people wonder why I am so reluctant to go home for Christmas dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TheHuntress
                                                                                                                                                                    John E. Nov 14, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    When I was a kid growing up in rural Minnesota I remember television commercials from the power company telling us to leave the lights on because 'electricity is pennies cheap'. They don't do that anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TheHuntress
                                                                                                                                                                      hill food Nov 14, 2012 06:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      wow, I didn't anyone could top my dad's OCD/control issue behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                      of course now that he's sliding, I'm the one turning off things and w/o a sense of smell he can't detect cigarettes or liquor on me.

                                                                                                                                                                      but to be on topic, since the mother's checklist has now been written, I debate whether to immediately comply (may compel new tasks) or gradually perform so the last 48 hours of fever pitch insanity is somewhat avoided.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                                                    MelMM Nov 13, 2012 05:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, the memories... not really good ones. My Mom would forcibly remove me from the shower when she had determined I had been there too long. Which was about 3 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                      2. l
                                                                                                                                                        Linda VH Oct 23, 2012 03:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I don't like it either. Thankfully my DH is happy to go out to dinner as long as they have the "traditional" turkey with struffing etc. and I usually have steak. Never liked turkey, never liked stuffing (please don't tell me I haven't tried yours cuz it is all just meh to me) and especially don't like gravy. My Mother was an exceptional cook and everyone loved to go there for T-giving. It was the one meal I was allowed to have what I wanted so she'd make mashed potatoes (did sweets for most all) for me and that was my meal. Do love pumpkin pie though!

                                                                                                                                                        1. mcf Oct 22, 2012 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I love it; it's my only day of worship.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                                                            Vetter Oct 23, 2012 10:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Oh, mcf, I knew I loved you! How perfectly put!

                                                                                                                                                          2. c
                                                                                                                                                            CookieLee Oct 22, 2012 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I always had stress on Thanksgiving, from the time I was a child. Nowadays, I have it at my house with my family, and some friends. And, one of my friends makes the turkey, which was also a source of stress for me. I love making side dishes and desserts. She makes a rice stuffing as she's gluten free. I discovered corn bread stuffing, and make a casserole dish of it. Every year, I make a different side. I've made Asian eggplant, spinach bake. And pies, my favorite is chocolate pecan tart. I also make a rustic apple tart, served with pumpkin ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                            1. John E. Oct 22, 2012 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I like Thanksgiving. It's pretty much a family reunion at my cousin's cousin's house. He has a huge house and he and his wife like to be the hosts. The most people we had was 63 and all were seated simultaneously. The hosts make the turkey, ham, and gravy and everyone else brings something. We have a lot of east European ethnic dishes as well as the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. I ended up making the mashed potatoes the first year and I've tried to make them crappier and crappier each year so I don't have to keep making them ; ) but so far that's still my assigned part of the meal. The most mashed potatoes I've ever made is 35 lbs. Since the kitchen is quite occupied, the potatoes are boiled on a propqne burner outside in a 32 quart kettle. I have a three-foot long potato masjer that I bought from a restaurant supply store. The best part about Thanksgiving like this we get to take home all kinds of leftovers without the hassle of messing up our own house.

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                r
                                                                                                                                                                ricepad Nov 7, 2012 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Apparently, you're not trying hard enough. Try putting sugar in them (as noted much earlier in the thread)!

                                                                                                                                                              2. drongo Oct 22, 2012 04:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                It’s a challenge because it’s expected to be the “meal of the year” but the menu options are very limited (e.g. with my family, a traditional whole intact turkey – not spatchcocked etc – is mandatory).

                                                                                                                                                                And this year my beloved wife decided to invite two additional families (and, needless to say, she does none of the cooking.)

                                                                                                                                                                I have a confession to make (and fortunately this is not the “Home Cooking” board, where I’d probably be laughed out of court): this year I’m planning to use a Ron Popeil (of TV infomercial fame) “Ronco Showtime” rotisserie (gifted to me some years ago) to cook the turkey, so I can use my (small 30") oven for other (more interesting) dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: drongo
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                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Oct 22, 2012 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I say spatchcock away and damn the torpedos. Not like they can stitch it back together.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                    hill food Oct 23, 2012 12:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    "il quest o gatz d'it la pappagalle"

                                                                                                                                                                    (it's this or squat said the parrot)

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: drongo
                                                                                                                                                                    ourswimmer Oct 22, 2012 09:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    I fixed a great turkey one year using the rotisserie attachment for my Weber kettle. You may be very happy with your Ronco Showtime turkey.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ourswimmer
                                                                                                                                                                      drongo Oct 23, 2012 03:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I have only used the Ronco rotisserie once -- not for a turkey but for a chicken (and that's what it was designed for). The chicken turned out great. Because it's bigger, a turkey will be closer to the red-hot heating element so my guess is that the skin will get more burned before the interior is done. But we shall see...

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: drongo
                                                                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                                                                      MelMM Oct 23, 2012 01:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I say if it works for you, and frees up oven space, do it. I usually cook the turkey on the grill for the same reason. I also make use of crockpots for suitable sides. Anything to free up burners & oven for the stuff that really needs it.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                                                                        drongo Oct 23, 2012 03:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        I also tend to use as much of my equipment as possible... my (crappy) gas grill for roasted vegetables, my crockpot for parmesan potatoes, my Breville Smart Oven for sides. I have an electric lefse grill which I haven't figured out how to employ for Thanksgiving (other than to make lefse, which I don't do -- since my wife is the Norwegian, not me).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: drongo
                                                                                                                                                                          Vetter Oct 23, 2012 10:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          The lefse griddle really shines for breakfast and doing lots of little things at once. My mother makes traditional Swedish pancakes with hers. I make Japanese rolled omelets on mine, and any kind of patty - zucchini cakes, latkes, that sort of thing. I love mine! Lefse is also worth learning to make, btw. Fabulous stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. r
                                                                                                                                                                      rockycat Oct 22, 2012 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I find that I put the stress on myself. I have (fortunately, amazingly) never had guests be less than gracious and I have a Spouse who was thrilled to dtich his family's T-day traditions and create our own. I however, seem to feel that everything must be perfect and even though I get a good bit of useful help I tend to stress if everything doesn't go exactly right. And no matter how well everything comes out it will never match my memories of my late aunt's dinners.

                                                                                                                                                                      I realize I should be grateful for not having to put up with so much of the cr*p that so many others have to deal with. I really need to learn to relax already.

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rockycat
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                                                                                                                                                                        sandylc Oct 22, 2012 07:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        It comes with time. I'm just starting to relax a little bit and I'm 53.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rockycat
                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Oct 22, 2012 07:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          My mom used to stress out at Christmas. She was a great cook and we would have big meals for both Christmas Eve supper and Christmas Day. It got to be too much so she simplified things by eliminating the fancy Christmas Eve dinner. Interestingly, one of the best, most stress-free and memorable Christmas dinners we ever had was at McDonald's. We had to take my 12 year old recently orphaned nephew to the airport to fly to California on Christmas Day to spend time with his much older sister. The whole extended family went along to see Daniel off to fly alone that day. We had Christmas Dinner at the airport McDonald's. If I thought we could replicate that day, I would do so every Christmas.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rockycat
                                                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 Oct 22, 2012 11:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            thus my comment on another thread that the #1 "must-do" on Thanksgiving is to accept that it won't be perfect. Something will go south -- sometimes several things -- and you can only do what you can do.

                                                                                                                                                                            Way too many of us put this pressure on ourselves to have everything be photo-shoot perfect, forgetting how many negatives ended up on the editing room floor because they weren't perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                            Breathe. Enjoy your family and friends. And anybody who bitches gets invited to host next year. :) (I'm not THAT zen. Geez.)

                                                                                                                                                                          2. ipsedixit Oct 22, 2012 04:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            I dread the heightened expectations, and trying to meet them.

                                                                                                                                                                            I wish Thansgiving was just about getting together with family and friends and having a nice meal.

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                              hill food Oct 23, 2012 12:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              well it is in theory (IN THEORY! pfff!)

                                                                                                                                                                              my favorite T-days have been among an ad hoc collection of friends who had nothing better to do and couldn't travel to wherever home was.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                viperlush Nov 1, 2012 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Yup. Same with Christmas. Just want to eat and enjoy seeing family that I rarely see.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. pinehurst Oct 22, 2012 03:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Hi Janet,

                                                                                                                                                                                I have bittersweet feelings about Thanksgiving. I find myself nostalgic for my mom, dad, aunties and uncles who have passed on and who did everything from scratch and so graciously.

                                                                                                                                                                                I take joy in watching my husband (and occasional inlaws) take joy in the holiday. He LOVES turkey (I don't), but it's the gateway to the holidays, so it's all good.

                                                                                                                                                                                Vent anytime!

                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pinehurst
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                                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Oct 22, 2012 07:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Very nice, pinehurst. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pinehurst
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                                                                                                                                                                                    zippypinhead Oct 22, 2012 07:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Same sort of bittersweet experience here.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Three years ago it turns out I cooked my dad's last supper. He passed away the next morning unexpectatly.
                                                                                                                                                                                    So, although I enjoy the cooking for guests, I advise them that it might very well be their last meal. Life is so fleeting.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: zippypinhead
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                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Oct 22, 2012 07:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I lost my dad suddenly following a Thanksgiving holiday as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                        r
                                                                                                                                                                                        rockycat Oct 23, 2012 06:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Oddly enough, so did my FIL. I never knew him, I met the future Spouse a few months later, but T-day was the last time that the Spouse saw his father as they lived in different parts of the country and Spouse had already flown back home to be at work on Monday. FIL passed away on Sunday.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                          c
                                                                                                                                                                                          Christina D Oct 23, 2012 07:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          At the very first Thanksgiving we hosted, my husband's grandfather had a massive stroke at the dinner table (as he and my husband were discussing after-dinner drinks). He was the dearest man I've ever met. He left that day in an ambulance and never went home again.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Just before dinner, he and his wife were watching their family gathered, playing games and watching football. He put his arm around her and said, "Look at what we did".

                                                                                                                                                                                          We say that that Thanksgiving was perfect...right up until it wasn't. :o(

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Christina D
                                                                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 Oct 23, 2012 10:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            As sad as it is, and as much as you and yours have my genuine sympathy -- I hope we all get the opportunity to be in a room full of healthy, happy, successful children and grandchildren, and have the wisdom and ability to stop and appreciate looking at what we did.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. m
                                                                                                                                                                                      MelMM Oct 22, 2012 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      No, it's my favorite holiday. I started hosting about 15 years ago (a huge breakthrough in my family), and that made it even better. Right now, I am living too far away to host, and won't go home for Thanksgiving, so it's just me and Mr. MM.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The meal is a mix of our traditional Southern dishes, some with a contemporary twist, and a few new things. I keep the turkey small, as I prefer to do it on the grill. I have hosted dinner for 18, and still cooked a 14 lb turkey, and it was plenty. That year, I also added a 6 lb red snapper, also grilled. I always do cornbread dressing, green beans (no canned soup involved, just cooked low and slow with onions and bacon), sweet potatoes (no marshmallows), and cranberry sauce (never canned, usually with some garam masala, ginger, and chile added). I am fortunate that some of the more disgusting food traditions never took root in my family. We just skipped that era. My mother, born in 1924 on a farm, predates that crap, so it didn't really didn't ever take hold in my family. She made simple, pure, Southern fare. The kids, of whom I am the youngest, are generally pretty sophisticated about their food. So we like our traditions, but our traditions are quality food, and we are also open to some experimentation. And we go pretty heavy on the wine and booze, which always helps. I don't find it stressful at all, because at this point, I can cook the basic Thanksgiving dinner with my eyes closed.

                                                                                                                                                                                      In my family, Thanksgiving and Christmas are pretty much the same meal. Two years ago, it was just me and Mr. MM, and knowing that I'd get all the same stuff over Christmas, I opted out of the traditional meal. I made Paula Wolfert's cassoulet instead, and it was a refreshing change, that still had the prerequisite autumnal feel. I decided then that whenever I wasn't with the whole family for Thanksgiving, I'd go with a non-traditional meal. Didn't get to do that last year, but looks like I might get to this year, and I'm looking forward to it. Thankfully Mr. MM is open to anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. melpy Oct 22, 2012 12:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes and no. It is my favorite holiday but now that we are hosting, I am having trouble with meshing two traditions. His family won't budge on their Central PA menu and while my family is flexible, part of the fun is gone for me using their traditions. Personally I like to get up early, have some coffee and a small breakfast of toast or an apple cider donut while I begin prepping and watch the Macy's day parade. Ideally dinner is 3 courses with a later dessert which starts between 1-2. After dessert those that are hungry later partake in turkey soup and cold sandwiches. First course should be fruit cup, soup or antipasti. Second course is a meatless pasta dish: ravioli, manicotti, vegetarian lasagna with red sauce. Third is the turkey and trimmings. Dessert is pie-pumpkin, pecan and one other. Maybe apple maybe coconut custard.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The SO's family dinner is the following. Get up early and cook. Watch as much of the parade as possible because dinner is between 11-11:30 no exceptions. One course followed by dessert, some even eat it on the same plate. Clean, sit a spell and package up leftovers. Go home by 3 at the latest. Even the turkey meal is completely different. Their bird is dry with cornstarch gravy. Ours is moist with a gravy made from drippings. They have sugar in their mashed potatoes. Their stuffing is bread only while we do a mushroom stuffing. They also have Mac and cheese, baked corn, baked beans, oyster stuffing, everything is brown or tan!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                        We have things like creamed spinach, mashed turnip, red cabbage, creamed onions, traditional New England faire.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Last year I hosted and was able to sneak in steamed broccoli and roasted root vegetables and my mother's quick breads (nut, pumpkin and cranberry).

                                                                                                                                                                                        We are also moving the week before and hopefully we can manage to get the house completely put together because I think we are hosting again!

                                                                                                                                                                                        147 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                          rabaja Oct 22, 2012 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          That's booty. If your hosting you should be able to have some say on what time you all sit down. Although, I understand you need to keep the peace as well with the IL's...but still, main meal at 11:30am, home by 3pm? that's nutty.
                                                                                                                                                                                          And cornstarch gravy just sounds so wrong in so many ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rabaja
                                                                                                                                                                                            melpy Oct 22, 2012 05:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Cornstarch gravy is butt. I think it is chicken broth thickened with cornstarch. It looks like wallpaper paste.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rabaja
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                                                                                                                                                                                              Astur Oct 23, 2012 07:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              If it is the IL's, home by 3pm sounds like the best part! I don't like eating "dinner" that early, which i have to at the inlaws, but if it were home by 3pm it would more than make up for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Astur
                                                                                                                                                                                                melpy Oct 23, 2012 01:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                When it is at their house it usually is. At my house last year when thy left it meant we could break out a bottle of wine with my parents but then they were gone by 5 ish and I was sad that the holiday was over.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                              twyst Oct 22, 2012 12:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              "The SO's family dinner is the following. Get up early and cook. Watch as much of the parade as possible because dinner is between 11-11:30 no exceptions. One course followed by dessert, some even eat it on the same plate. Clean, sit a spell and package up leftovers. Go home by 3 at the latest. Even the turkey meal is completely different. Their bird is dry with cornstarch gravy. Ours is moist with a gravy made from drippings. They have sugar in their mashed potatoes. Their stuffing is bread only while we do a mushroom stuffing. They also have Mac and cheese, baked corn, baked beans, oyster stuffing, everything is brown or tan!!!"

                                                                                                                                                                                              I think your SO and I may be related as that sounds like what my thanksgivings were like growing up! About the time I switched careers and went to culinary school I took over holiday dinners, and everyone is much happier now. I just dont think they knew any better.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I definitely look forward to thanksgiving no matter how the meal turns out though as its a time when I get to see my whole family and cherish the time I have with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                DuchessNukem Oct 22, 2012 12:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Sugar. In. Their. Mashed. Potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Jaw agape.

                                                                                                                                                                                                (Edited: Oops. Meant to reply directly to Melpy lol.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DuchessNukem
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                                                                                                                                                                                                  guilty Oct 23, 2012 04:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, this is the part I couldn't get my head around, either. But apparently Paula Deen adds sugar to her mashed potatoes too: http://www.pauladeen.com/article_view... (not that I'm saying this makes it OK, I'm just saying it's apparently a "thing")

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: guilty
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                                                                                                                                                                                                    latindancer Oct 23, 2012 05:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    What is sugar supposed to do? Is there an explanation? I've never, ever heard of this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                                                                                      sunshine842 Oct 23, 2012 10:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      me, either - and I lived and traveled in the South for 25 years!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                                                                                        hill food Oct 23, 2012 11:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        a new path to type II diabetes? sorry that was really mean. even for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                                                                                          melpy Oct 24, 2012 08:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Makes it sweeter. They don't put a ton, just a tiny bit. A whole large batch might have one teaspoon or so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: DuchessNukem
                                                                                                                                                                                                        TheHuntress Nov 10, 2012 09:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yep. I'm struggling with that bit too...I'm sorry you have to eat that :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                        g
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Georgia Strait Nov 12, 2012 10:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        the eating the main and then the dessert off the same plate paints quite a picture of my outlaws. What was a I THINKING!!!! (clearly not much)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        or - i llike this one - advancing to dessert before thte table is cleared (or clearing while some still eat - and i'm not talking about the tipsy guest still fiddling with their food)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        and while advancing - they pile the dessert plate ON TOP OF THE mucky dinner plate and use the same cutlery (silverware)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        i cannot tell you how many times i have worked very hard at making some darn meal - only to have MIL say "oh we already ate - we stopped on the way over here" (hello, you were invited for LUNCH!) - or we came earlier and nobody was here so we went home (yes, that was SIX HOURS before the hour of your invite time) --- or she shows up late and so the entire lunch is crowded in to 38 minutes

                                                                                                                                                                                                        but as someone above has posted - thank goodness the dinner starts at 11am - cuz they are all gone by 3.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Georgia Strait
                                                                                                                                                                                                          mariacarmen Nov 14, 2012 03:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          "my outlaws" - love that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                        r
                                                                                                                                                                                                        rochfood Oct 22, 2012 12:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I always thought it was Thankgiving Dinner, not Thanksgiving Lunch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds a litle bit like a Peppermint Patty situation going on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                          drongo Oct 22, 2012 04:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow... I could never manage an 11 am Thanksgiving dinner (unless I skipped a night's sleep!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: drongo
                                                                                                                                                                                                            melpy Oct 22, 2012 05:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The best part is his family is against TV so no parade if they arrive early and they are against drinking. We drink water because I don't really keep soda on hand. No wine for thanksgiving and no Bloody Mary or mimosa while cooking :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: melpy
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                                                                                                                                                                                                              sandylc Oct 22, 2012 06:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'd sneak the wine in the kitchen. Party poopers. In every way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                melpy Oct 23, 2012 03:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                No alcoholics so last year I snuck it int the gravy. No one notices but I did get chastised for using garlic in the meal. Apparently flavor is a no non.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sunshine842 Oct 23, 2012 03:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  m'dear, at some point, you are completely allowed to say "it's MY house and MY kitchen - I will make some of your favorite dishes, but I will no longer be a slave to your traditions if *I* have to do the work".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Easier to say than do, I know so very well....but the friction now (**before** the day) is worth the anger and resentment that you will inevitably harbour later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Christina D Oct 23, 2012 04:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Amen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lcool Oct 23, 2012 08:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      another amen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Three of us,senior women in my family took that avenue in spades 20+ years ago and never looked back!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit Oct 25, 2012 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +1 - what I said a bit further down. If you're hosting, you call the shots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          HappyHattiesburgr Nov 12, 2012 08:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Amen to Sunshine842's advice. And maybe they should grow up enough to watch you drinking a bloody mary or mimosa too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      rabaja Oct 22, 2012 11:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well then, maybe it's for the best that they go home at 3pm. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        hill food Oct 23, 2012 12:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        this is why I'm thankful for Xanax.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sheesh you're moving AND hosting a big gathering in the same week?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        let it all (mostly all) be potluck this year. ask the I-L's to bring their "wonderful, really great" Mac and cheese, baked corn, baked beans and oyster stuffing. have your family bring their favorite sides, explaining to all that in the chaos of the move you will be too frazzled and can't predict where the hell the movers will put the kitchen boxes. but you will personally move the roasting pan and can do the turkey (and gravy).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the night before, make a late phone call to the early birds that the darn thing is just not defrosting and at this rate, it's going to be running late "I know we always aim for 11:30 at the latest, but I'm afraid it's looking more like 12 - 12:30" and with all the stress you've been under anyone around the house as you cook is just going to send you completely around the bend. and then enjoy that Bloody while you baste at your schedule. anyway "against drinking" unless they're recovering alcoholics, I say heck it's your house, let them shoot dirty looks if you toss back a few glasses of wine at dinner. as long as you don't get sloshed what are they going to do, 'ground' you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Oct 25, 2012 01:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, now THIS is a brilliant idea, hill food! Problem solved!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Janet from Richmond Oct 23, 2012 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We that sucks worse than mine. At least I can drink (and since we host, not worry about driving).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Family events should never be "dry".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            lcool Oct 23, 2012 08:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Family events should never be "dry" ". yes,very much yes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lcool
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MelMM Oct 23, 2012 01:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So true, and I would never let anyone tell me I couldn't drink in my own home. If going to the home of a non-drinker, I feel free to have a glass before I go, even that means 10am. Sometimes holidays call for extreme measures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                twyst Oct 23, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "So true, and I would never let anyone tell me I couldn't drink in my own home"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would never allow someone to TELL me what I can and can't do in my home, but if I have guests who are morally opposed to drinking I will abstain out of respect for their beliefs. I believe not offending your guests is an important part of being a good host.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  melpy Oct 23, 2012 01:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is the idea. We try to be respectful since as it is we are going to he'll because the rapture is coming and we are living in sin. Since this was the conversation when the event was at the home of my SO's grandparents we figure there is no reason to rock the boat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: melpy
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sandylc Oct 23, 2012 02:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am always amazed when people harbor beliefs that would theoretically support an abusive but legal relationship, yet denigrate a caring and respectful "illicit" one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: melpy
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      latindancer Oct 23, 2012 05:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "there is no reason to rock the boat"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, I'd rock the boat. It's my home, I do the cooking and organizing. If they want to come, they're very welcome....but they're my rules not theirs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They could easily tell me I'm living in sin but who listens?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        HoosierFoodie Nov 13, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree. My house my rules. Don't like it don't come. The holidays are stressful enough without someone's else's beliefs and judgment getting in the way. I agree, be respectful, but if they won't come because you're "sneaking" wine in the kitchen or a bloody mary, well, that's really their problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: melpy
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        foiegras Nov 7, 2012 12:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I guess when the rapture comes you can go back to Thanksgiving your way :D Bring it on then, bring it on ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Janet from Richmond Oct 23, 2012 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If I have guests who are recovering alcoholics, I will abstain in my home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If it's a moral issue, they are on their own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Isolda Oct 23, 2012 02:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When a guest refuses a drink in my house, I just ask if they mind if I have one. If they look uncomfortable before answering, I abstain. I never really know why someone doesn't drink unless they tell me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hill food Oct 23, 2012 04:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            yep and if they choose to not tell, the reason is none of my business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Isolda Oct 24, 2012 09:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Exactly, and I really don't want to know, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            lcool Oct 23, 2012 02:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and you are spot on again,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Oct 25, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Another +1 on abstention or moral issues when it comes to drinking in my own home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MelMM Oct 24, 2012 03:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I might CHOOSE to abstain out of respect for my guests, but I would never feel compelled to abstain, and I sure wouldn't let anyone demand it. I respect my guests preferences by having choices available to them that accommodate their requirements. If I have a non-drinker over, I make sure to have plenty of good, non-alcoholic drink options, but I'm not going to make it a dry party. Same things for vegetarians, vegans, and those with allergies. I will make sure they have plenty of things that they can eat & drink, and take pains that it be uncontaminated with the offending ingredient, but I won't rearrange the entire party, and limit the choices of my other guests, based on one or a few people. No matter what one's restriction is, whether it be alcohol, or meat eating for religious reasons, or an allergy, that person lives in the real world. The office Christmas party doesn't go dry for one person, or vegetarian for one Hindu, or kosher for one Jew. Ideally, any event that a person with restrictions attends has made accomodations, and no one will go hungry or thirsty. But all these people live in the real world and know that others eat/drink things that they don't, and they know how to deal with it. When they start wanting an entire party of people to abstain from something they can't/refuse to have, they've crossed a line. Respect goes two ways. In their own home, the party can be dry/vegan/kosher, whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sandylc Oct 24, 2012 04:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Exactly. Well-explained. My mother has some unusual food allergies, and she always has to make numerous loud comments about what she's allergic to, asking why is it in so many foods, why would people eat that, etc. Very annoying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Isolda Nov 9, 2012 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You must be my long lost sister in law because my MIL does the same thing. Every single time. When they lived near us, I always made food that would accommodate her, but would occasionally serve a side dish or something minor that had one of her many forbidden ingredients, which changed regularly. And she'd always say something like, "That smells delicious. Too bad I can't have it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, yes, it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hill food Oct 24, 2012 09:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  that was the subject of an advice column the other day - vegans who refuse to attend a family T-Day if turkey is also going to be on the table, despite that vegan alternatives would be served as well. just counter-productive and only gives polite vegans a bad name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Isolda Nov 9, 2012 12:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I read that column, too. I can't imagine having the temerity to inflict one's dietary restrictions on everyone, to the point of not allowing "dead animals" on the table in someone else's home. Fortunately, none of the vegans I know would do something like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 Oct 24, 2012 11:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the only time I've come close to that is a party which was attended by both Muslim and Jewish colleagues, with a vegan and a couple of vegetarians to add to the mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I avoided pork of all forms, just because it was less work for me at the end, and less worries of a major incident if something went pear-shaped, and there was enough food (for everyone) that I'm pretty sure nobody even noticed, let alone cared.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I spent hours researching (and talking to the invitees to make sure I was on track) -- it was a little like a three-ring circus when it came to serving, but it was interesting and edifying and I'm glad I went to the trouble.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ratgirlagogo Oct 25, 2012 01:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Most Jews who keep Kosher will not eat (cannot eat) anything prepared in a non-Kosher kitchen. Not all of course, there are many ways of being Jewish and observant. But for the most part observant Kosher-keeping Jews will bring their own food, plates, and utensils if they actually do agree to come to a dinner party at a non-Kosher home. Visit the Kosher board to find many discussions of how this can pan out at holiday time in families. Same is true for some Hindu or Buddhist vegetarians.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for recovering alcoholics when this has come up I have opted to go out to a restaurant. It's not just whether Mr. Rat and I are drinking, it's that our house is full of beer, wine, and spirits. Recovering alcoholics who are okay with having alcohol clearly on display are more likely to be okay with people drinking in front of them, in my experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MelMM Oct 25, 2012 01:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In my circles, no one is that strict. But the point is, none of these people demand that their own restrictions be imposed on the entire party. They live in the real world, and they know how to cope. I always accommodate to the degree I can by having plenty of options. I do like to know of any dietary restrictions in advance so I can plan around it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In Melpy's case, though, it really seems like the objections are in another category. I mean, we aren't just talking no alcohol here: "his family is against TV so no parade"... This really seems like the guests imposing their values upon the host. And that's a lack of respect, going in the other direction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hill food Oct 25, 2012 06:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'd have no problem with anyone for any reason bringing their own food (hey people with nut allergies, that stuff is in far more than we're aware and Kosher, well I wouldn't even presume to understand the intricacies, there's a reason why there are Rebbes who specialize in this) but alcohol, that is dicey. I wouldn't want to be a 'trigger' but only they know what they can tolerate. I have known folks in recovery who thought they'd be OK only to spend 10 minutes and leave. fair enough. no offense taken. some other setting, some other time. if one just doesn't approve, well then an analogy to something Henry Rollins recently said is apt "don't like gay marriage - don't have one".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          meaning unless there's a reason it's bad for a guest to be in the room with alcohol and the aromas involved (in which case I would abstain) it's not unreasonable to expect them to just simply not have any. someone in recovery is indeed a different issue than disapproval.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          but I do agree with Melpy's in-laws about no TV during dinner BTW. I s'pose the parade could always be DVR'd for the leftover round.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MelMM Oct 25, 2012 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But it isn't no TV during dinner. The parade is early in the morning, when they are cooking. The impression I get from Melpy's post is that they don't approve of TV at all, ever, period. So once they enter the house, the TV must be off. That's just overbearing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hill food Oct 25, 2012 07:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I re-read and I think you're right. it is overbearing but ehh, I'm still OK with it life's too short (but if the parade is important to Melpy then employ the arrival time stalling tactics or record for later)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MelMM
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          JudiAU Nov 10, 2012 09:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Exactly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: lcool
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      HappyHattiesburgr Nov 12, 2012 08:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On the other hand, some people are mean enough when sober though I generally agree with your sentiment, lcool & JanetfromRichmond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      IndyGirl Oct 23, 2012 03:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      SO TRUE!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: IndyGirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        twyst Oct 23, 2012 03:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "If it's a moral issue, they are on their own."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sometimes I wish I could just say screw it you are on your own, but it would just seem so disrespectful to drink in front of my grandparents etc who have become extremely religious late in life. I think abstaining from a drink to make guests feel more comfortable is a small price to pay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Janet from Richmond Oct 24, 2012 05:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We have wine with dinner every night. If you are close enough to me to be at a holiday gathering, then you know this about us. I would not bring wine to your house and drink it if I knew you had a problem with it, but I would not expect to abstain at my own home because of your sensibilities and moral code.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Would you not eat meat or serve meat for a holiday meal because a guest is a vegetarian or vegan? I'd make sure there were items they could enjoy but I would still have meat on the menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now, if you are a recovering alcoholic, that is a completely different scenario.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            melpy Oct 24, 2012 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ditto. Although we did buy a bottle of wine for his cousin at Chrisas and basically hid her opening it from the family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Honestly we think the rest o the family drinks and smokes except his grandparents and parents but since everyone abstains around them it is just considered normal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          deet13 Oct 23, 2012 03:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Amen and pass the whiskey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm in a military family, so a family get-together without alcohol is like a day without sunshine...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: deet13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            boyzoma Oct 24, 2012 04:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            deet13 - I live in Oregon - We have LOTS of days without sunshine!!!! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: boyzoma
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Isolda Oct 24, 2012 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, well, that's why the microbrew and coffee crazes got started in the PNW. People were self-medicating due to the lack of sunshine. At least that's what I tell myself when I visit my family in the Seattle area and have to drink coffee all day long just to stay alive, and beer or wine in the evenings to come down off of my caffeine high. It's actually a very nice little arrangement you guys have out there!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: melpy
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cleobeach Oct 26, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Melpy - Are they Mennonite? The no TV/no alcohol and your knowledge of Central PA wackiness makes me think so. (you don't need to answer)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            melpy Oct 26, 2012 08:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The grandparents who are basically just of the no drinking mindset are Churche of the brethren. I think there is also no dancing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The parents (mom and stepdad) are more closely related to the Pentecostal churches. They have no jewelry, no tv, women wear dresses and I believe they keep their hair in cut (observation not directly stated).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ancestrally there were Mennonites but WAY back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            On the other hand my family is Italian American Catholic and WASC/P (two cultures meshing again). So drinking, dancing, loudness etc. is the cultural norm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My SO and I fall somewhere in the middle. He is quieter and more reserved (an observer) and I am loud and we will drink on occasion but not with the zeal of my family. However a dinner party with friends is sure to include wine and beer (our our booze of choice). My father is rarely found without a TNT at a social event.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Trying to find the middle ground to celebrate ANYTHING together is interesting and we haven't really found the balance yet. We are airing on the side of separate events for the most part. In six years the one combined event was thanksgiving last year. We are on deck again this year and based on the comments I will probably have an area of help yourself for the drinks and thy can take what they want and ignore or gripe about the rest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cleobeach Oct 26, 2012 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Say no more. I am VERY familar with the type. Live and work around it, know exactly how they evaluate behaviors most of us consider to be normal as yardsticks to measure by. I don't know how to label it (and I probably shouldn't try) but there are lots of large congregations of what you describe where I live.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chowers, trust me on this one. Being the host and having alcohol present would be WAY more trouble than it is worth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                alliegator Oct 26, 2012 12:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No doubt. Don't have anything like that in my family but am familiar with with it, and it would just cause headaches. While I normally live by the "it's your house-your rules" rule, I agree it's best to avoid drink here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Don't ever bring them by my family's house. Excessive drinking around a loud tv and all the female family wearing way too much jewelry is the norm! Hehe...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alliegator
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Oct 26, 2012 12:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This will probably start a flap, but I am fatigued by the whispering and delicate tip-toed footsteps which surround religious beliefs. Why do someone's religious rituals and beliefs need to automatically command my awe and respect?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    HillJ Oct 26, 2012 12:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I suppose for the same reason we are told to whisper in a library. While I don't recall either commanding automatic compliance sometimes it's just easier to go along to get along.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Oct 26, 2012 01:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do very much agree that it is the thing to do as a host to try to make your guests comfortable - the question here was how far does one bend over backwards to accommodate?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        HillJ Oct 26, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Point taken! A host does his/her best to bend over backwards, forwards right through to the guests departure. Otherwise, WHY in the world were they invited? And, if your best isn't good enough then don't repeat invitations expecting a different result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Unless you're serving turkey to the Queen, I think far too much pressure is given in the host to guest relationship. Guests should relax, eat, drink and be happy....or don't feel the need to host them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      alliegator Oct 26, 2012 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, I don't think it'll start a flap at all. Speaking just for myself, I just like to take the easy road and avoid conflict, with family especially. It could be religious or anything. Just saves the host aggravation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        John E. Oct 26, 2012 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Who, due to their religious beliefs, are attempting to command your awe and respect?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sandylc Oct 26, 2012 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Would you like a list? I'm not sure if there's room!! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            John E. Oct 26, 2012 01:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No, not a list, just a general idea. I've never had a situation happen to me that is like what you have described. You brought it up. I'm just curious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sandylc Oct 26, 2012 01:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ah, I knew I should not have spoken. Peace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                John E. Oct 27, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's fine with me. Our large, extended family has both church goers and those who are not religious. It just has never become a topic of conversation or otherwise come up in any form.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Janet from Richmond Oct 27, 2012 06:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I understand. As an agnostic living in the Bible belt, there is a presumption that one is a Christian. If you aren't, some try to save you. Others simply can bring Jesus into any situation and there is an unspoken rule that you play along.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They will give a passing nod to Jewish people, because that is their idea of diversity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sandylc Oct 27, 2012 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "there is an unspoken rule that you play along."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's part of my concern. Of course, I do it., too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks, Janet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  latindancer Nov 1, 2012 07:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would not do well there....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cactus Wren Nov 1, 2012 01:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was watching a Deadwood on DVD the other night and a line from it has stuck in my head:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "What claim has your piety on my deference?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cactus Wren
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hill food Nov 1, 2012 01:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              been there "then we'll pray for your immortal soul"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              'uhh thanks, knock yourself out sweetheart'. it's easier to just let that stuff slide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            melpy Oct 26, 2012 02:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll come over alone ;) loud is right up my alley!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pedalfaster Oct 22, 2012 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For me, part of the fun of "hosting" is my house, my schedule, my menu, my rules (to TV or not to TV...). I consider it one of the perks of being a grownup.And of having to deal with the clean-up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, and I loooove Thanksgiving. One of my favorite holidays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: melpy
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sandylc Oct 22, 2012 06:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    melpy, my MIL used to do similar things. With military discipline. Holiday meals were grimly served at 12 noon; no exceptions. The few veg that were present were overcooked and buried in something gloppy. Ugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John E. Oct 22, 2012 07:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Several years ago (more than ten) my father was on business oversees for the month of November. We brought my mother to my eldest brother's SIL's house for Thankagiving. It was an eye opener for me to see a different family's Thanksgiving. Dinner was served at 12 noon. After dinner I believe it was conversation and football on the television. About 4 pm the leftovers were brought out to eat again. (again?) I wanted to take my mother home much earlier, but she was enjoying herself with my brother's in-laws. My dad is the only one left now. (He's 81 and doing well. I brought him to a computer store over the weekend to get him a new laptop. HIs old one is 8 years old and is slowing down. He got his first PC in 1985 and he still has no idea how they work ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tcamp Oct 23, 2012 06:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh my, all that would certainly put a big chill on T-day for me. 11 AM??? No wine or garlic??? Crappy gravy??? My family wouldn't survive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cleobeach Oct 23, 2012 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        melpy's description of the typical Central PA Thanksgiving has me in tears of laughter. I recognize every single element except the no-drinking part. Most families in my Central PA would have cheap beer on hand in the garage. And yes, many families eat crazy-early in the day. There naps to be taken or a drive to hunting camp or a massive Black Friday shopping plan to be formulated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We host and eat later in the day and it progresses at a very leisurely pace. Dessert is often two or so hours after the meal. This drives my mother bats and she often wolfs down her dessert before others have even finished their meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Overall, I really like Thanksgiving but there are a few things I dread about it -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mr. CB's constant anxiety over not having enough food. This starts about two weeks out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Having too much food. The amount of leftovers is insane. I beg people to take as much as they want (and they are not shy about it) and we still have so much there isn't enough room to store it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My mother's social anxiety. And the pacing that starts 15 minutes prior to when the food is suppose to be on the table. She starts circling and fretting that she will have to wait an extra 10 or 15 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A couple of years ago, we lost a big chunk of our yearly guests to death and a devestating divorce. We took a break from hosting for a number of years. It still makes us very sad that those prior guests aren't with us anymore because they were the ones that enjoyed our hospitality the most and it was a pleasure to cook for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          alliegator Oct 23, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You and Melpy are both cracking me up! So spot on with the central PA turkey day. Though my crew eats kind of late, at 1, hahaha!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I live in Texas and don't attend my crew's Thanksgiving every year, but this is my lucky year :/ I dread everything from the brain rattling shaking of those dinky USAir commuter planes to the blander than bland food.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The thing that bothers me most is the amount of food that is cranked out, and it's just not good. Creamed corn from a can, green bean casserole (you know the one), Pepperidge Farm stuffing, and my Nana's stringy and mysteriously oily pumpkin custard. And I'm not allowed to help cook. At all. I have "exotic" tastes, you see.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          At least there is indeed plenty of cheap beer in the garage to blur it all out a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alliegator
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            rockycat Oct 23, 2012 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah, yes, the "exotic tastes." One Sunday morning at a cousin's house, said cousin said she was making a bagel run and what kind of bagels would we like? You know, the usual kind. Garlic, everything, onion's okay, too. Oh, you like the "exotic" bagels. Huh? She grew up in BROOKLYN!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rockycat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              alliegator Oct 23, 2012 10:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bwahaha! That cracked me up. Exotic bagels?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              On my last visit, I made a simple risotto while helping my brother host Easter, what's not to like? Rice, cheesy, y'know. My mom started into it, made a face, and asked if that was some of the weird food I learned to make in Thailand. I told her that most everyone eats rice, and she replied "well, we don't. We don't eat stuff like this".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                melpy Oct 23, 2012 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They don't eat rice? So funny! Although I've seen anything with rice at mySO's family either. Risotto is definitely too exotic for them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Janet from Richmond Oct 23, 2012 01:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They probably only eat Minute Rice ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jujuthomas Oct 23, 2012 04:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My FIL doesn't eat rice, or anything small like rice. I served couscous once and he just passed it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                melpy Oct 23, 2012 01:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes the fact I am half Italian American half New England meat and potatoes mean my food choices are extremely exotic!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for making me feel not so alone out there :)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe someone can help us figure out throw to mesh the PA thing with my foodie family for a wedding of sorts in the future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  alliegator Oct 23, 2012 02:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  JfR, I have never, and I mean never been served rice as a child. And with a sauce?! That's insanity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And Melpy, you are so not alone, we're out there.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For this "wedding of sorts" I really hope you start a thread! For now, I'm thinking a first nibble should be ham spread on Ritz crackers :D
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But being of Czechoslovak, German, and (get this) native American descent, meat and potatoes is what I know best!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    twyst Oct 23, 2012 02:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    wow, NEVER having had rice as a child borders on bizarre! I guess its just such a large part of our culture in New Oreans that I cant imagine not having rice now and again at least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      alliegator Oct 23, 2012 02:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, I have had it at Chinese take out and such with friends, just never from the kitchen at home. What's funny is that Asian food is my cooking passion, maybe it was the early lack of rice?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ok, I'm headed WAY off topic. But I have been thinking of bringing a baked cheesy rice dish to this years t-day just for kicks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alliegator
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        pollymerase Oct 24, 2012 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We also didn't eat a lot of white/brown rice in my house while I was growing up. We'd have wild rice and the seasoned rice packets/boxes, but never just a white/brown rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      melpy Oct 24, 2012 09:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh there will definitely a post once we get the ring. It is imminent ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alliegator
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        littlemissmuffin Nov 9, 2012 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        alliegator, I never had rice as a child either. For two reasons, I think - we lived on a farm and were poor, so we mainly ate what we grew and in Indiana that did not include rice. Second, my father liked very plain food, nothing "spicy" or "foriegn" and he had a hatred of foods that were mixed together, like casseroles or spaghetti with sauce. So we ate meat, potato and vegetables every day, no rice ever. They didn't serve it in my school cafeteria either, and somehow I never had it at a friends house. The first time I had rice was when a Chinese restaurant opened in our town when I was 16.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littlemissmuffin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hill food Nov 9, 2012 07:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          li'lmiss: wow, my folks grew up like that. imagine the time I took them to a Thai restaurant that didn't hold back! I still wonder what the heck I was thinking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littlemissmuffin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            John E. Nov 12, 2012 08:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My grandmother had a boyfriend (boyfriend?) like that late in her life (thank God she had him). Bud never wanted to be in the kitchen to see the food being prepared. I have a distinct memory of him drenching his saltine infested chicken noodle soup with ketchup. He was an ok guy though, and was good for my grandmother. In her last 21 years she buried her husband and two special friends before Bud came along to see her die on her 86th birthday. We should all be so lucky.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hill food Nov 13, 2012 01:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yep. so should we all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hyacinthgirl Oct 30, 2012 12:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's easy! Hold the wedding ceremony at the preferred time (11am, I'd guess?), have a simple luncheon of Lebanon bologna sandwiches on white bread, done by 1pm. And then maybe hold a... "after-party" around 7pm, for those particular crazy types who might be interested.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hyacinthgirl
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sandylc Oct 30, 2012 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sound like heaven, even though I don't even like bologna! Weddings are a stupid nightmare that everyone romanticizes until they actually have to plan/participate in one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jw615 Oct 30, 2012 02:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Eloping was one of the best choices I ever made...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Reinforced by the fact that I broke my foot three days before the wedding. I would NOT have been a nice person if I had to circulate and entertain people. It was bad enough that I had to be off pain meds long enough for my marriage to be legal - I downed percoset between the ceremony and the pictures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                hyacinthgirl Oct 30, 2012 02:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't like bologna either, I'm just taking a regional guess about what Melpy's new family might enjoy : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hill food Oct 30, 2012 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nah, fried scrapple (plain)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    cleobeach Oct 31, 2012 06:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The "perfect" Central PA wedding menu would be stuffed chicken breasts swimming in yellow gravy, mashed tatters and some sort of veggie cooked to the point of mushy. Buffet style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would elope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cleobeach
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      baseballfan Oct 31, 2012 07:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I went to a wedding with that exact menu! The wedding couple were transplanted to MD from PA. An added bonus was the always awesome money dance (pay to dance with the bride) First time I had ever seen that and had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: baseballfan
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cleobeach Oct 31, 2012 08:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They all have that menu. Unless you are fancy and have a family-style meal with TWO meats!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I know that as a dollar dance and it is very common in my area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was absolutely forbidden by my mother from having a dollar dance. She viewed it as no different then straight out asking someone to give you money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Did the attendents offer shots and/or packs of gum?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cleobeach
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          baseballfan Oct 31, 2012 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A shot would have been most welcome!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: baseballfan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            melpy Oct 31, 2012 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Seriously! The one I went to was a dry wedding. I believe the groom's father who was also the best man was a recovering alcoholic (or an alcoholic they didn't want to deal with) but I forget the whole story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              alliegator Oct 31, 2012 02:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ah, the alcoholic nobody wants to deal with. We had one, too. It was insisted upon that nobody drink around him even though his breath could easily remove your nail polish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the last things he did in life was fall down a flight of stairs to be found with a plastic jug of vodka nearby, so all that abstaining was not really making an impression.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: baseballfan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Oct 31, 2012 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A wedding reception and dance in rural Minnesota where I grew up often had a dollar dance. In my family a shot of whiskey was offered along with the dance. The menu would likely be a whole roasted hog, au gratin potatoes, green beans and some kind of salad. My oldest nephew got married last summer and his reception and dance had none of these things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: baseballfan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 Oct 31, 2012 03:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            that's a pretty common tradition in the South, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: baseballfan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Christina D Nov 1, 2012 06:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The apron dance (or money dance) is actually a Polish tradition. I have, however, seen many brides who couldn't find Poland on a map adopt the tradition at their wedding receptions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Funny story (OT)...my brother's bride was very Polish and did indeed dance the apron dance at their reception. My brother had no clue that he was to throw in his wallet and carry the bride out at the end. After a lengthy dance, I asked him when he was going to save her and got "Wait..what? How?". The poor thing would still be dancing if I hadn't filled him in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              melpy Oct 31, 2012 10:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I went to that exact wedding: but is was fried chicken and we ate on styrofoam plates with plastic silverware in a lodge a a park and sat on rustic benches. Didn't know anyone but my boyfriend who sat at the head table because he was a "bridesmaid" so I ate with the photgrapher's boyfriend and some elderly ladies who sat on my bench.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cleobeach Nov 1, 2012 06:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have been to plenty of inside wedding with styrofoam plates and plastic silverware.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Many years ago, we attended a wedding where the "champagne" (ginger ale) for the toast was served in those thin paper Dixie cups commonly found in bathrooms, the type used to rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                KaimukiMan Nov 7, 2012 12:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                OK, I'll bite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What pray tell is yellow gravy?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  melpy Nov 7, 2012 04:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Probably what we call chicken gravy. I don't know how to make it because my gravy is always from pan drippings and the "yellow" gravy is very commercial to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    cleobeach Nov 8, 2012 03:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes,it is chicken gravy and it comes in an amazing range of yellows. I am sure it comes out of huge industrial sized cans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Nov 8, 2012 06:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The color of that "gravy" squicks me out. I also recall seeing it in restaurants when I lived in central PA in the late 1980s.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cleobeach Nov 8, 2012 07:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We will be at a restaurant this weekend that has a buffet (we eat on the bar side) and if I can take a picture their chicken gravy pan without drawing attention to myself, I will do so and post it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Nov 8, 2012 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ahhh, determined to bring back my 25-year old nightmare, cleo? LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sandylc Nov 8, 2012 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I actually can't wait! This is fascinating. I wonder if it will resemble the stuff served with noodles on top of mashed potatoes in the school cafeterias in Indiana in the seventies. Never could fathom noodles on top of potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cleobeach
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              foiegras Nov 11, 2012 07:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just tell them it's for your food blog ;) Num num num.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foiegras
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cleobeach Nov 13, 2012 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can just hear the response "Food hog?" Why would you take pictures for a pig?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We arrived after they broke down the bufffet so I will try again next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      susancinsf Nov 13, 2012 10:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "The "perfect" Central PA wedding menu would be stuffed chicken breasts swimming in yellow gravy, mashed tatters and some sort of veggie cooked to the point of mushy. Buffet style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would elope."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So, as the daughter of a Berkeley prof (atheistic) and an even more Berkeley political activist (Jewish) who grew up in a home where drinking was the norm, who married a guy from Central PA, I had to laugh. That was our solution. We got married on a dive boat at sunset, just off the Kona coast in Hawaii. The wedding dinner was overlooking the ocean and included lots of seafood and champagne. No chicken in sight. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      but then hubby's response to being from Central PA, as soon as he was out of school, was to get in a car and keep driving until he couldn't any more, because he'd hit Ocean Beach in SF. He was more than happy to continue that tradition by flying in an airplane further (south) west for the wedding venue....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: susancinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        hill food Nov 13, 2012 08:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        how very Robert Penn Warren of him. (heh I sorta did the same thing once, only on SW air, knowing I'd end up in the Sunset district)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: susancinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          melpy Nov 14, 2012 03:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now that we are engaged we are wracking our brains for what we can do. Eloping is sounding wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            lcool Nov 14, 2012 06:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can vouch for it,42 years later.My parents were totally OK with it.My future MIL just couldn't leave our engagement alone.Her first born baby boy and all.Some of the "all" was my parents continually working very hard reminding her "it really isn't any of your business" NICELY instead of "just piss off".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nice small annual dinner party,Bobby Burns birthday,a dear old family friend at the table vested to marry,us with a license,wed over dessert and whisky.None of this was planned,it just fell into place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  alliegator Oct 31, 2012 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nah, I think it should be at 1 or 2 in August in a church with no aircon. Cleobeach already hit the nail on the head with chicken swimming in yellow gravy! Though ham loaf would be a nice option.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The chicken with neon gravy was served at my brother's PA wedding. It was a hit! I was just glad at that point that the bride was no longer angry with me for cutting my hair too short to be fashioned into the mandatory pineapple-like updo.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I advise eloping, like everyone said. I did and it was one of the better choices I've made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    cleobeach Nov 1, 2012 06:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ham loaf! How could I forget that. We attended a Mennonite wedding several years ago and the ham loaf was actually quite tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pedalfaster Nov 1, 2012 05:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Dry" and "Wedding".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Two words that really never should meet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  {{{shudder}}}

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  alliegator Nov 8, 2012 10:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't be jealous---but I've escaped!!! No Thanksgiving for me :D
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr. gator requires a minor surgery on his hip early next week and will need my help. He'll be good as new soon, and I have already begun dreaming up my unique t-day for two menu. I'm thinking some kind of a turkey curry dish...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lemons Nov 9, 2012 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nigella Lawson has a wonderful cold turkey noodle salad, Vietnamese-ish, that my grown kids beg for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lemons
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hill food Nov 9, 2012 07:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      what kinda noodle? cause I stocked up on a load of rice fettuccine at our South Grand store a while back...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      will look this up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ms.M Oct 23, 2012 10:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                However hilarious your narrative is, it's so unlike my Centre Co PA thanksgiving! Leisurely family time as we prepped and cooked, with the Macy's day parade in the background. Brussels sprouts right out of the garden and so sweet after a hard frost. I loved and continue to love Thanksgiving - it's one of my favorite days. A great meal, great leftovers, great family time, and you don't have to worry about presents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ms.M
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  alliegator Oct 23, 2012 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your Thanksgiving sounds wonderful, Ms.M. There are a lot more central PA folks on here than I realized---cool to see.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ms.M
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    cleobeach Oct 23, 2012 11:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There is the geographic Central PA and then there is the Central PA mindset. I think the Central PA mindset extends rather far east of Centre County. Maybe a PA Dutch approach to the holiday is a better way to describe it but according to my Coal Region friends, their Thanksgivings were pretty similar to melpy's description.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We were labelled as "fancy" as opposed to exotic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I will give my relatives (the ones on my side) credit for happily chowing down on anything someone else is willing to prepare for them. That isn't to say there haven't been comments and exclaimations of "this is different" over the years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My ILs are a different story. They were invited once many years ago, Mr. CB hasn't extended a second invitation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      alliegator Oct 23, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You're spot on with that, and it goes way east and north of State College.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps you've gotten "hoity-toity" (sp?) in the past? In my family, that's pretty much anything plated with a garnish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's great your family will appreciate and eat up. Mine is just very rigid with how things 'should be'. With the exception of my 90 year old pap, who is very kind and will at least try anything I put in front of him. Who knew the old coot would love pad thai, hehehe...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        melpy Oct 23, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pap! So PA...wonder if my kids will say that too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        His family is from the Shippensburg area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sandylc Oct 23, 2012 02:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, yes, the "shoulds". My mother has always been obsessed with the "shoulds" and "supposed to's". She thinks everyone should keep their heads down and just follow the rules, and EVERYTHING has rules, from which foods are served together to what time we eat, etc. What a miserable way to view things! I think that generation views any bit of imagination or creativity as something bizarre and to be avoided!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hill food Oct 23, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sandy - heh I ran across my 'should' Mom's report cards from that era, about the only category she earned A's every term were in Conduct, Stenography and Chemistry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            explained a lot about the meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sandylc Oct 23, 2012 04:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There were some really broken things in that generation.......I wonder what's broken in mine?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Oct 25, 2012 01:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you're hosting, you call the shots. You can accommodate some of their traditions, but you aren't responsible to accommodate *all* of them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      baseballfan Oct 22, 2012 11:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes...mostly due to visiting in laws. While I love to cook, by the time I have prepared the entire meal with no help at all, I have absolutely no appetite. I do like the leftovers the next day though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: baseballfan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mudcat Oct 23, 2012 04:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also lose my appetite after cooking all day, however, I still enjoy the cookiing. Personally, I'd settle for a nice Linguini and Clam Sauce rather than the traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mudcat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          melpy Oct 23, 2012 01:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or be like my family and pasta is te second course ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Allieroseww Oct 22, 2012 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I dread the receipt of all the cooking magazines I receive in October, because they're full of boring articles about brining turkeys, mashing potatoes AND yet another way to disguise brussels sprouts by shredding them up and dousing them with bacon fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Allieroseww
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          twyst Oct 22, 2012 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I used to hate brussels sprouts until I discovered fried brussels sprouts. Now I ADORE them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: twyst
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            khh1138 Oct 24, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Samesies. Except for me it's roasting them and tossing them with lemon juice and red pepper. I don't know why it makes such a difference. But I swear, I love them now and want them all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Allieroseww
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bill Hunt Nov 13, 2012 07:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah, there WAS a time, when I hated Brussels Sprouts, but then I discovered that the ones that my mother served (Bird's Eye frozen), were not even close to the real thing. That was then, and this is now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My wife usually bakes them, with a wonderful mixture of olive oil and garlic salt, or I grill them in a basket. There is a world of difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hill food Nov 13, 2012 08:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              this is true. I just now suggested to our host the idea of me doing sprouts this way (and far ahead of time to let it sink in) I was met with suspicion. the way a cat regards a new piece of furniture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              best selling point I could muster was the no muss or fuss factor on her part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Allieroseww
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              marymac Nov 15, 2012 08:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Turkey and side recipes in November, cookie recipes for December, and diet recipes for January every year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: marymac
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bill Hunt Nov 16, 2012 09:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sounds like my plan, when I visit New Orleans - diet for weeks afterward.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

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