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Northern versus Southern Thanksgiving Meals: What's the Diff?

Perilagu Khan Nov 25, 2012 03:16 PM

Just taking a stab in the dark here:

North, bread stuffing -- South, cornbread dressing
North, pumpkin pie -- South, pecan and/or sweet potato pie are likely to appear
North, turkey reigns supreme -- South, ham is a contender

Anything else? Am I all wet? Fire away.

  1. JenJeninCT Nov 25, 2012 03:38 PM

    I and "my people" are from the South. We had turkey, giblet gravy(with slices of hard bolied egg), cornbread stuffing, pecan pie, cooked to death green beans-NOT the ubiquitous GB casserole, although we did have a similarly prepared yellow squash casserole and sweet potato souffle with a pecan streusel topping. We never had mashed potatoes, mostly because my dad was the main cook, and he didn't like them, but we did always have white rice and usually also wild rice with mushrooms. We usually had 2 turkeys- 1 smoked and 1 roasted with stuffing.

    My DH was born and raised in the CT/NYC area, and his people are from VA/NC, and they always had ham, turkey, GB casserole, sweet potato pie and Mac and cheese at holiday gatherings.

    Because we are now so far from most of both of our families, we rarely have holidays with them, so on our holidays on our own, I make a compromise of both traditions- roasted turkey with cornbread stuffing (although I omit the water chestnuts my dad always put in, because DH freaked out when I put them in the first time I made Thanksgiving Dinner- and I STILL REALLY MISS THEM); Turkey gravy with giblets in the stock, but not in the gravy itself; mac and cheese- I make really excellent mac and cheese, if I may say so myself; my family's green beans- he doesn't eat them any way they are prepared, so I might as well have them the way I want them; sweet potato pie. That's it. Not so much cooking that it's overwhelming, and not tons of leftovers if I am only cooking for the 2 of us, or sometimes 3 if a friend joins us.

    1. tracylee Nov 25, 2012 03:45 PM

      I can only attest to the cornbread vs. bread stuffing. I'd never heard of cornbread stuffing until my early 20s when attending a Thanksgiving party of fellow Peace Corps volunteers.

      1. fldhkybnva Nov 25, 2012 03:46 PM

        I have only recently been clued into the Southern touches of my family's Thanksgiving dinner since spending more time in the North. My family is most definietly Southern-rooted. It seems our Southern staples include:

        Sweet potato pie: we only recently discovered the existence of pumpkin pie a few years ago, it was ALWAYS sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas, this fascination with pumpkin pie was unheard of

        Macaroni and cheese: a MUST! It is always a front and center side dish and the highlight side dish for most of us. It is always baked, Southern custard style.

        Dressing: it is always called dressing, always cooked outside of the bird (though, some is also stuffed in the bird but it usually stays there or people nibble off the crispy bits on top)

        Ham: there is always a ginormous turkey, but ham is also always present.

        19 Replies
        1. re: fldhkybnva
          Bill Hunt Nov 29, 2012 08:49 PM

          Wow, mac & cheese? I am from Mississippi, where mac & cheese is considered to be a vegetable, and is near the base of all "food pyramids," I have never seen it at any Thanksgiving meal, but maybe I led a sheltered life? That is a new one to me, and here I thought that I was a "son of the Old South."

          Hunt

          1. re: Bill Hunt
            fldhkybnva Nov 29, 2012 09:18 PM

            You're missing out. You should demand that this delicious vegetable be included at all holiday meals for nutrition purposes of course.

            1. re: Bill Hunt
              jmcarthur8 Dec 1, 2012 03:28 AM

              Bill, I suspect the macaroni and cheese could be another Georgia regionalism.

              1. re: jmcarthur8
                k
                kengk Dec 1, 2012 11:10 AM

                Have lived in Georgia 52 years and nobody on either side of the family (who have all lived here for many generations) have ever served mac and cheese at Thanksgiving.

                1. re: kengk
                  jmcarthur8 Dec 1, 2012 11:25 AM

                  I'm sure it's not mandatory for every family. ;-)

                2. re: jmcarthur8
                  sunshine842 Dec 1, 2012 11:38 AM

                  and I've seen it in Tennessee and Florida...

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    paulj Dec 1, 2012 01:14 PM

                    Could it be that mac and cheese is mandatory at all extended family gatherings, from Thanksgiving to 4th of July picnics - at least for some families?

                    1. re: paulj
                      sunshine842 Dec 1, 2012 01:40 PM

                      probably safe to say.

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        l
                        Leepa Dec 1, 2012 01:42 PM

                        yup

                        We never had macaroni and cheese at any meal. It's just not something my mom ever made. Doesn't mean I don't have it now, but not for holidays.

                      2. re: paulj
                        jmcarthur8 Dec 1, 2012 08:08 PM

                        I'd never heard of Mac & Cheese for Thanksgiving until I worked at my sons' grammar school in the late 90s up in Northwest Indiana. The only kids who had it were a couple of black kids and a white kid with MeeMaws in Atlanta. I didn't know what Southern macaroni and cheese was until I moved to the Atlanta area myself 10 years ago.

                        1. re: jmcarthur8
                          paulj Dec 1, 2012 09:50 PM

                          I assume the Thanksgiving M&C is the 'fancy' baked kind, not the stove top version that I whip up for lunch.

                          1. re: paulj
                            jmcarthur8 Dec 2, 2012 01:04 AM

                            Of course! ;-)
                            The fancy one that includes Velveeta and/or eggs, along with sharp cheddar, etc.

                            1. re: jmcarthur8
                              danna Dec 2, 2012 03:07 PM

                              ewwh...no Velveeta in our mac and cheese...i think that recipe was older than the invention of velveeta. we did have the "fancy" kind though. I never saw the stove top mac and cheese until I was an adult. As far as i knew, all mac and cheese was an eggy casserole that could be cut in sections if it were cold.

                              1. re: danna
                                jmcarthur8 Dec 2, 2012 03:15 PM

                                I never heard of eggs in Mac & Cheese until I moved to Georgia. I just can't get used to it. I grew up on the white sauce and Cheddar kind. No eggs, no Velveeta.

                                1. re: jmcarthur8
                                  melpy Dec 3, 2012 11:59 AM

                                  We do white sauce too and although the original recipe calls for cheddar my mother has always used Land o Lakes white American cheese cut at the deli counter.

                        2. re: paulj
                          melpy Dec 3, 2012 11:55 AM

                          It is ubiquitous in the Central PA area. Amish custard style, everywhere from weddings to Thanksgiving etc.

                          Not really a favorite of mine but I'm marrying into it not born into it.

                      3. re: jmcarthur8
                        JenJeninCT Dec 2, 2012 07:02 AM

                        all of my family is from GA, and as previously mentioned, mac and cheese was never even a consideration.

                        1. re: JenJeninCT
                          jmcarthur8 Dec 2, 2012 07:07 AM

                          Yes, it really does seem to be a regional and/ or cultural tradition, doesn't it?

                          1. re: jmcarthur8
                            mamachef Dec 2, 2012 07:19 AM

                            Southern-oriented and most definitely cultural.

                  2. r
                    robt5265 Nov 25, 2012 09:26 PM

                    I think oyster dressing is and has been for many years , more prevalent in the south.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: robt5265
                      sunshine842 Nov 26, 2012 03:20 AM

                      I have never figured out (nor has anyone in my family) how my Northern Yankee family came to have oyster dressing as a family tradition.

                      It wasn't until my early 20s that I found out that it's common -- just not where I grew up.

                      1. re: robt5265
                        Perilagu Khan Nov 26, 2012 07:51 AM

                        I, a Texan, had never heard of oyster dressing until my Ohioan uncle by marriage unhappily introduced it to me. Hardly dispositive, but there ya' go.

                        1. re: Perilagu Khan
                          Veggo Nov 26, 2012 08:00 AM

                          Hey, PK, you live in a f---ing desert. When you have a chance for oysters, follow Janis' advice, and get it while you can, my friend.

                          1. re: Veggo
                            Perilagu Khan Nov 26, 2012 08:16 AM

                            Ian or Joplin?

                            By the by, I'm wondering if anybody has thought to make dressing with mountain oysters? Not that I'd cotton to that any more than if it was made with Blue Points, mind you.

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                              Veggo Nov 26, 2012 08:19 AM

                              Never crossed my mind. Maybe with a valley turkey? Bull testicles are $10/ lb in my latin market, so somebody likes them.

                              1. re: Veggo
                                Bill Hunt Nov 29, 2012 08:50 PM

                                Hey, they are still the #2 selling dish at The Fort, in Morrison, CO.

                                Hunt

                                BTW - you can have my order.

                              2. re: Perilagu Khan
                                Bill Hunt Nov 29, 2012 08:49 PM

                                In Texas, I would say Joplin...

                                I would anticipate that oyster dressing might be bigger from Beaumont to McAllen, but am just guessing there.

                                We had it on the MS Gulf Coast, and my wife had it in New Orleans, but somehow, I would say that Mississippians in, say Meridian, might not have - straight cornbread would be my guess.

                                However, I stand to be corrected, if someone from Lauderdale County corrects me.

                                Hunt

                            2. re: Perilagu Khan
                              biondanonima Nov 26, 2012 10:05 AM

                              My parents/grandparents (all from Ohio) also do oyster dressing - it always seemed weird to me, given that Ohio is about as landlocked as it gets, but there you go.

                              1. re: biondanonima
                                Perilagu Khan Nov 26, 2012 10:39 AM

                                I understand the Lake Erie Wellfleets are stupendous.

                                1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                  s
                                  sr44 Nov 26, 2012 10:37 AM

                                  Best of the best.

                                2. re: biondanonima
                                  Bill Hunt Nov 29, 2012 08:51 PM

                                  That does surprise me, but then I have never lived in Ohio.

                                  Thanks for educating me - maybe my speculation about Oyster Dressing not making it beyond the MS Gulf Coast to Meridian, MS, is all wet?

                                  Hunt

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                    sunshine842 Nov 29, 2012 10:27 PM

                                    Northern Indiana- almost to the Michigan state line....I don't know about all wet, but a little soggy, perhaps. ;)

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                      h
                                      hazelhurst Dec 3, 2012 11:55 AM

                                      Well, remember the days when Wiedmann's in Meridian was on teh list of 100 best restaurants in America...seafood made it there on the train and they had oysters. It was the last outpost of good food travelling north from New Orleans until one reached Baltimore or the environs. So I'm guessing there might have been oyster dressing. Unfortunately the relative who lived there is long dead. (Jackson, MS had it in limited amounts I think).

                                      1. re: hazelhurst
                                        Bill Hunt Dec 11, 2012 05:31 PM

                                        While we did dine there often (my father and two uncles were in the historic WWII photographs on the walls), I cannot recall any "Holiday meal," there. The last visit was fairly early AM, and the Hot Cakes were excellent, as always. Have not dined there in too many years. [Somewhere, my wife still has one of their peanut butter jars.]

                                        Hunt

                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                          h
                                          hazelhurst Dec 12, 2012 06:11 AM

                                          I never had a Holiday Meal there either but I brought it up to sugests oysters could have been around so long as they were on teh RR line. people in Jackson used to get them in those llittle kind of Chinese Food takeout things with wire handles (see Eudora Welty's introduction to "The Jackson Cookbook") Weidmann's has been open-and-closed a few times overe the last several years. Shorty's family sold it after he died and teh New People "renovated." I went in once on the way back from New York and it broke my heart. Nothing of teh old place remains. It was probably about to fall in anyway though. It was, for years, the last decent place to eat driving from Lousiana to the Northeast before you crossed the vast desert wasteland of Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia. My father stuck to fried chicken and milk in those territories on teh theory that this could be relied on (and it usually could be).

                              2. bagelman01 Nov 26, 2012 03:09 AM

                                PK............
                                there are branches of our family that settled in the south in the early 1860s and NYC about 5 years later. The Bagelman family doesn't do ham, and serves no dairy ingredients with a meat (Turkey) meal.
                                The one consistent difference I seen in more than 50 years of Thanksgivings I remember:
                                Biscuits in the south, Dinner rolls in the north.
                                Same challah stuffing, root vegetables, gravy and desserts, with slight varieties based on the hosts' preferences.

                                34 Replies
                                1. re: bagelman01
                                  shanagain Nov 29, 2012 07:22 AM

                                  Biscuits at Thanksgiving dinner?? Horrors!!! No, no, no, said the Texan. (My grandmother was from Georgia, so we have deeper "Southern" roots as well.)

                                  But yes, we're also alllll about cornbread dressing (which isn't just cornbread, it's also a mix of whatever breads or biscuits or even occasionally a sleeve of crackers crushed in the mix), which is to me the defining difference.

                                  My grandmother would be sad, however, that without her we're losing the "salads" tradition - she would've had at least two fruit salads of some sort on the table, generally ambrosia and her "coke salad" which was a cherry, coke, jello salad.

                                  1. re: shanagain
                                    h
                                    hazelhurst Nov 29, 2012 07:33 AM

                                    Those jello salads were a staple in the 1960's and even into the 1980's. I'm afraid America's food revolution may consign them to the scrap heap which is too bad. they are awful but they are, well, American. Don't forget the terrible little marshmellows.

                                    1. re: hazelhurst
                                      Perilagu Khan Nov 29, 2012 07:36 AM

                                      There's a scene in the Thanksgiving flick, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" where those terrible little marshmallows are mentioned. Gobble, gobble.

                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                        h
                                        hazelhurst Nov 29, 2012 07:37 AM

                                        Never seen it but on that comment I'll go out and have a look. I have a great fondness for cookbooks that have recipes with canned ingredients. The Jackson, Mississippi Symphony cookbook has tons of those gems. One of them has ten ingredients, all canned. It, too, has a Coca-Cola salad.

                                        I think I'll have a Swanson Frozen TV Dinner for lunch...maybe the Salisbury Steak with Gravy, cardboard beans and library paste apple cobbler. I cannot hazard a guess as to what the mashed potates are made of....

                                        1. re: hazelhurst
                                          Perilagu Khan Nov 29, 2012 07:43 AM

                                          By all means do. It's the funniest movie ever made. Dam' poignant, too.

                                          Requiescat in pacem, John Candy.

                                          PS--The Khantessa collects those retro cookbook-pamphlets that were produced by food manufacturers, the producers of cooking implements and local societies/churches. They are filled with the canned ingredient recipes you love.

                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                            h
                                            hazelhurst Nov 29, 2012 07:46 AM

                                            Yup..great crap. I have a big plastic file box from Good Housekeeping with 1,000 recipe cards, filed by meat,fish, appetiazers, soups etc. Big glossy things with pictures from the test kitchen of, for example, the ONE baked chicken of 500 that turned out pretty. A friend's grandmother had this gem and he gave it to me when she died. Perfectly awful. I love it. The casseroles should be in the American Museumof Natural History. And mguess what? A Super Bowl parties I'll make something from it and whatever it is vanishes before the Scottish smoked salmon.

                                            1. re: hazelhurst
                                              Perilagu Khan Nov 29, 2012 07:51 AM

                                              I believe it. There's something in those mid-century monstrosities that is elemental and has not yet been extinguished. For at least a few more decades, they will be well remembered and well loved.

                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                h
                                                hazelhurst Nov 29, 2012 07:55 AM

                                                Your're right...I like to think I know my way around good food and spirits but there is something about the chicken casserole with the proverbial mushroom soup that calls to me (it is citified by the addition of sherry). Or the Wolf Trap Cookbook with the cold soup involving four or five Campbells prodcuts. I consider myself lucky that I do not have a "Princess & the Pea" type of palate: how miserable would life be then!

                                            2. re: Perilagu Khan
                                              sunshine842 Nov 29, 2012 11:18 AM

                                              Here: http://www.lileks.com/institute/galle...

                                              It's an online collection of "regreattable food" -- it's amazing that the manufacturers thought someone would eat that stuff....and what's worse it that somebody probably did.

                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                Perilagu Khan Nov 29, 2012 11:40 AM

                                                That's quite a collection, alright, although I can do without the snide, dismissive and oh so superior manner of its author.

                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                  John E. Nov 29, 2012 03:05 PM

                                                  He's a columnist from our local newspaper (Twin Cities) and not really worth reading. His only claim to fame is that he's had an internet blog since before they were called blogs. He started it around '96 or '97.

                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                    Perilagu Khan Nov 29, 2012 03:07 PM

                                                    Ah. Well, good for him.

                                          2. re: Perilagu Khan
                                            jmcarthur8 Nov 29, 2012 07:40 AM

                                            (Sheepishly says..) I like the little marshmallows! In jello with walnuts and fruit.
                                            Now you're disillusioned. Oh, dear.

                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                              melpy Nov 29, 2012 07:57 AM

                                              One of my family's favorite movies. That scene is classic.

                                              1. re: melpy
                                                Perilagu Khan Nov 29, 2012 08:01 AM

                                                Watching it on Thanksgiving is one of our most cherished traditions. The movie never gets old. Never fails to provoke guffaws.

                                            2. re: hazelhurst
                                              k
                                              kengk Nov 29, 2012 03:09 PM

                                              I detest marshmallows in any way shape or form but I do love the jello salads for the holidays and funerals.

                                              My grandmother and mom made one from at least the early sixties that had black cherry jello, cream cheese and pecans. One aunt put diced celery in her version which was kind of sketchy but not that bad now that I think of it.

                                              1. re: kengk
                                                John E. Nov 29, 2012 03:22 PM

                                                My mother had a Jello recipe that we still make for holiday dinners. It has orange jello, canned mandarin oranges, orange sherbet and whipped cream. The original recipe called for Cool Whip, but I like it with the real stuff better.

                                                A couple of years ago, Andrew Zimmern took his show to a Lutheran church supper that featured lutefisk and the typical potluck dishes at such places in Minnesota. One woman brought a jello salad that had crushed pineapple, cream cheese and Cool Whip. Zimmern playfully told the woman that it was possibly the worst thing he's ever eaten on all of his TV shows.

                                                1. re: John E.
                                                  j
                                                  Jerseygirl111 Nov 29, 2012 07:40 PM

                                                  I would so make that. Do you know what flavor of Jello she used?

                                                  Jerseygirl111

                                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                    John E. Nov 29, 2012 08:21 PM

                                                    Here is the recipe... Enjoy.

                                                    Orange Sherbet Salad

                                                    2 packages orange Jello
                                                    1 cup boiling water (use juice from mandarin oranges)
                                                    1 pint orange sherbet
                                                    2 cans (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
                                                    (save the juice and use it to dissolve the gelatin)
                                                    1 cup heavy cream, whipped (not sweetened)
                                                    (or use an 8 ounce tub of cool whip)

                                                    Dissolve the gelatin in the juice/water. Add the sherbet and mix well. When partially set, add the oranges and fold in the whipped cream/cool whip. Chill for several hours before serving.

                                                    1. re: John E.
                                                      j
                                                      Jerseygirl111 Dec 2, 2012 12:39 PM

                                                      My husband thanks you! A couple of questions:

                                                      Do I boil the juice? Are the pkgs of jello the small ones? Will the sherbet be liquified?

                                                      Jerseygirl111

                                                2. re: kengk
                                                  s
                                                  sandylc Dec 2, 2012 01:48 PM

                                                  My mom's version: Lemon jello with shredded carrots and crushed pineapple. With sweetened mayonnaise topping for special occasions. Ugh.

                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                    l
                                                    Leepa Dec 2, 2012 01:55 PM

                                                    That sounds disgusting.

                                                    My sister has a couple of really good congealed salads she brings out at holidays - one is blackberry and the other is apricot. And they're good. I wouldn't want them any more often though.

                                                    1. re: Leepa
                                                      d
                                                      dtremit Dec 2, 2012 08:52 PM

                                                      I am a huge fan of Jell-o salads, at least the sweet ones -- but mayonnaise is The Line That Must Not Be Crossed.

                                                      We have good cranberry Jell-o salad traditions on both sides of the family. The paternal salad is an unusual recipe that calls for ground whole cranberries, chopped nuts, celery, and an entire ground orange. Pulp, rind, and zest, all together. Somehow it works.

                                                      On my mother's side, the traditional recipe involved sour cream, mandarine oranges, walnuts, and celery, and either cranberries or cranberry sauce. I cannot for the life of me track down the recipe, which makes me very sad.

                                                      My stepmother's family has a Jello-recipe that involves pretzels; that has to be the strangest one. Not a molded salad, though.

                                                      1. re: dtremit
                                                        sunshine842 Dec 2, 2012 10:16 PM

                                                        or even worse, congealed salads with Miracle Whip. Bleh.

                                                        1. re: dtremit
                                                          l
                                                          Leepa Dec 3, 2012 03:47 AM

                                                          Is it that strawberry-pretzel salad? Someone tried to feed me that once...

                                                          1. re: dtremit
                                                            Bill Hunt Dec 11, 2012 05:33 PM

                                                            Was the pretzel salad from the North, or the South?

                                                            That is a new one to me, and it might take some major convincing to get me to eat it... but until I taste it, I will withhold final comments.

                                                            Hunt

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                              sunshine842 Dec 11, 2012 10:21 PM

                                                              I believe it was a promotional recipe from Jell-O.

                                                              IIRC, it was oddly tasty -- but it's been a long time since I last had it -- and frankly have no desire to run out and make it, either.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                k
                                                                kengk Dec 12, 2012 05:53 AM

                                                                If ya'll are talking about the one with the pretzel crust, it is pretty tasty to me. I like salty and sweet together.

                                                                The crust is made similar to a graham cracker crust only with broken up pretzels.

                                                3. re: bagelman01
                                                  Bill Hunt Nov 29, 2012 08:54 PM

                                                  For Thanksgiving, it has always been rolls for my families - Deep South.

                                                  While biscuits ARE a staple, rolls replace them on the Thanksgiving table.

                                                  Hunt

                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                    fldhkybnva Nov 29, 2012 09:18 PM

                                                    Biscuits in the morning, rolls for dinner.

                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                      danna Nov 30, 2012 05:53 AM

                                                      I agree with that. We did Thanksgiving at lunchtime while my grandmother was alive, so she served both rolls and biscuits. (she was awesome)

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                        Bill Hunt Dec 2, 2012 06:01 PM

                                                        That was how it was in my Deep South family, and also in my wife's New Orleans family.

                                                        I also do not recall any deviation from that general menu, even with other family members in different states. Does not mean that it was not common with them, but just that I did not ever recall observing it.

                                                        Hunt

                                                      2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                        bagelman01 Nov 30, 2012 05:30 AM

                                                        in the southern side of our family, if there's gravy, then biscuits are served. Thnksgiving hot dinner at 1PM, Turkey, gravy, biscuits. Supper at 7Pm leftover sliced turkey for sandwiches on rolls.

                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                          m
                                                          mpjmph Nov 30, 2012 06:07 PM

                                                          Same here. Biscuits are everyday food, and rolls are for special occasions. Thanksgiving is pretty special, so we have rolls.

                                                      3. sunshine842 Nov 26, 2012 03:23 AM

                                                        I think you're likely to find more similarities than differences.

                                                        I grew up in the North and spent most of my adult life in the South -- it was bread dressing (with oysters, which is a southern tradition, but we didn't know that at the time), pumpkin and pecan pie -- and frequently a green-tomato pie with the last of the tomatoes, and chicken, because my great-grandmother and grandmother didn't like turkey. (Turkey came after we moved to the South.) Ham is for Christmas.

                                                        I'll agree with you that sweet potato pie is more common in the south.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                          g
                                                          givemecarbs Nov 27, 2012 02:05 AM

                                                          That green tomato pie sounds yummy sunshine. This year I used the last of the green tomatoes in a curry. They had been kissed by a bit of frost. They have a unique taste which gives a sense of time and place.

                                                          1. re: givemecarbs
                                                            sunshine842 Nov 27, 2012 04:30 AM

                                                            it was -- and one of these days I have to make one, should I find enough green tomatoes. I unfortunately didn't get my hands on the recipe before my grandmother and great-grandmother passed, but it had raisins and a sort of sweet/sour tang very similar to modern (meatless) mincemeat.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                              s
                                                              sr44 Dec 2, 2012 07:23 AM

                                                              Could you deconstruct a green tomato mincemeat recipe and get close to your remembered taste?

                                                              1. re: sr44
                                                                sunshine842 Dec 2, 2012 01:16 PM

                                                                probably -- but we eat very few baked goods at our house, and I'm the only one who like this particular one, so it seems like a waste to make a whole pie to only eat 1-2 pieces.

                                                            2. re: givemecarbs
                                                              Bill Hunt Nov 29, 2012 08:56 PM

                                                              That was a new one for me, and I thought that I had a good handle on the cuisine of the Deep South - learn something new every day.

                                                              Hunt

                                                          2. mamachef Nov 26, 2012 05:45 AM

                                                            I think you'll find that the main differences are variations on the same things, w/ maybe the addition of items like mac/cheese in the South; or rice and gravy as a side. Differences in base ingredients, e.g oysters in stuffing, which bread is used and whether ham is a commonly-served meat in addition to the bird are more regionally-oriented. Just IMHO. No need to start a new "war between factions."

                                                            1. pikawicca Nov 26, 2012 05:58 AM

                                                              Scalloped oysters in the South.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: pikawicca
                                                                sunshine842 Nov 26, 2012 10:17 AM

                                                                ooh, ooh, ooh -- what's in THAT?

                                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                                  pikawicca Nov 26, 2012 04:42 PM

                                                                  Cream, butter, crumbled Saltines enhance the oysters. Seriously good.

                                                                  1. re: pikawicca
                                                                    sunshine842 Nov 26, 2012 11:07 PM

                                                                    yum.

                                                              2. h
                                                                hazelhurst Nov 26, 2012 06:09 AM

                                                                My father did not like turkey(he said all that stuffing and jelly and so forth were to make up for the lack of flavor). besides, he go get a wine to go with standing rib roast so we had that and spinach madeline from River Road Cooking. In my teen years I went to massachusettts Thanksgivings and they always had a turkey and a ham.

                                                                1. Veggo Nov 26, 2012 06:14 AM

                                                                  Of my 60 Thanksgivings, I have spent about 20 north of the Mason-Dixon, 20 south of it, and 20 abroad. A few observations: Cornbread stuffing with its southern origins is increasingly popular in the north. Oysters in stuffing are a matter of choice, not geography. Northerners are bigger on root vegetables - more turnips and rutabegas. Sweet potato dishes are increasingly popular in the north. Chestnuts in dressing are more popular in the north. No one in the north serves rice or mac and cheese at Thanksgiving. Northern Italian-Americans cook a turkey to demonstrate they are second generation Americans, then proceed with an Italian feast. More pecan pie in the south, pumpkin north.
                                                                  Abroad, dealers' choice as it's not a holiday. Boar in Bavaria, barramundi in Australia, tuna in Costa Rica, stone crabs in Belize, feijoida in Brazil, ropa vieja in Cuba, arroz con pollo in Canaima, Venezuela, chicken in St. Maartin, lobster in Turks & Caicos, too many to list.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Veggo
                                                                    c
                                                                    chocolatetartguy Nov 26, 2012 04:38 PM

                                                                    Some Chinese-American families serve rice instead of potatoes along with the traditional turkey dinner. Before it became prohibitively expensive, my Uncle Don used to make sharks fin soup for holiday dinners.

                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                      g
                                                                      givemecarbs Nov 27, 2012 02:09 AM

                                                                      Great post Veggo. I was hoping someone would mention the rutabagas. I always mash mine with a bit of the mashed potatoes to make them a bit more mild tasting, but to me they go perfect with the rich gravy and filling.
                                                                      You are so right about the Italian feast. Turkey is just one of many options!

                                                                    2. s
                                                                      sr44 Nov 26, 2012 06:49 AM

                                                                      I think my New England family had the same holiday meal both Thanksgiving and Christmas for over a hundred years. There would be a turkey stuffed with a fairly plain bread stuffing (onions, celery, and Bell's seasoning), mashed potatoes and gravy, mashed Eastham turnip, mashed butternut squash and creamed onions. Cranberry sauce, of course, and not from a can. Everything was well cooked and seasoned, but very plain. The evening meal of leftovers featured a large Boston lettuce salad because my great grandfather had helped someone trying to grow lettuce in glass houses during the winter and received heads of lettuce in thanks.

                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                      1. re: sr44
                                                                        s
                                                                        sr44 Nov 26, 2012 09:33 AM

                                                                        With a relish tray to start, and pumpkin and mince pies for dessert.

                                                                        1. re: sr44
                                                                          pinehurst Nov 26, 2012 05:16 PM

                                                                          +1

                                                                        2. re: sr44
                                                                          Ruth Lafler Nov 27, 2012 04:40 PM

                                                                          I was born and raised in California and my mother was raised in Chicago, so I'm not sure where my family Thanksgiving traditions came from, but they sound a lot like that.

                                                                          --Creamed onions, definitely.
                                                                          --We've transitioned from bread stuffing to stuffing that's two-thirds bread and one-third cornbread.
                                                                          --No mashed potatoes, because my mother is not big on potatoes.
                                                                          --Some kind of root vegetable and/or some kind of orange vegetable (pumpkin, squash, sweet potato).
                                                                          --Raw orange-cranberry sauce (in addition to the jelly stuff out of the can). When I was a kid I loved feeding the cranberries into the grinder

                                                                          My great-grandfather was a baker, so my grandmother always brought dinner rolls and pies (pumpkin and mince).

                                                                          The idea of mac and cheese is just bizarre to me. I never heard of such a thing until that Pat Robertson "is that a black thing?" story last year.

                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                            s
                                                                            sr44 Nov 28, 2012 07:18 AM

                                                                            I don't follow this menu slavishly now that I've got the reins in my hands, but change 1 or 2 things every time.

                                                                            We had Tgiving at a friend's a few years ago, and the look on my nephew's face when he realized there was rice instead of mashed potatoes was a sight to behold.

                                                                            1. re: sr44
                                                                              Ruth Lafler Nov 28, 2012 12:06 PM

                                                                              I can't imagine! We don't usually do another starch in addition to stuffing (and maybe rolls or biscuits). Root vegetables and/or squash only.

                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                s
                                                                                sr44 Nov 28, 2012 07:24 PM

                                                                                I can only imagine that's what was available in November and December. The Boston lettuce salad is a startling addition to the leftovers. Way back in the 19th century, lettuce would have been raised in glass houses, helped by the addition of a lot of fresh manure deep under the growing medium to provide heat as it decomposed.

                                                                                And I add a bit of roasted and ground Szechuan pepper to the creamed onions.

                                                                              2. re: sr44
                                                                                melpy Nov 29, 2012 07:59 AM

                                                                                The first time I heard of rice as a meat side dish like that was when my best friend said her family alway made roast beef and rice. She claims because her family doesn't eat potatoes besides fries but her mom is from Alabama so that might have something to do with it.

                                                                              3. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                JenJeninCT Nov 28, 2012 06:35 PM

                                                                                "The idea of mac and cheese is just bizarre to me. I never heard of such a thing until that Pat Robertson "is that a black thing?" story last year."

                                                                                Haha! This is a big joke at my house- my DH is back, and I am white, so "it's a black thing" or "It's a caucasian thing" is a common joking refrain. My DH has a whole list of what he calls "caucasian food"- with artichokes at the top. LOL

                                                                                1. re: JenJeninCT
                                                                                  Veggo Nov 28, 2012 07:10 PM

                                                                                  We're glad he returned...:)

                                                                                  1. re: Veggo
                                                                                    Perilagu Khan Nov 28, 2012 07:25 PM

                                                                                    Heh heh.

                                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                                      JenJeninCT Nov 28, 2012 07:31 PM

                                                                                      HAHAHA!! BLACK

                                                                                      1. re: JenJeninCT
                                                                                        Perilagu Khan Nov 28, 2012 07:33 PM

                                                                                        A certain AC/DC tune is pounding in my head...

                                                                                2. re: sr44
                                                                                  s
                                                                                  Solstice444 Nov 28, 2012 07:31 PM

                                                                                  sr44, this sounds like my Thanksgivings (NYC area). We also have stuffed mushrooms, mashed sweet potatoes rather than mashed butternut squash, and a broccoli casserole that my mom started making years ago and that everyone likes. We have cranberry sauce both from a can and homemade. Dessert usually includes pumpkin pie, mince pie (only my grandfather and uncle eat it), and something apple-related. Usually a pie, this year a cake.

                                                                                  We actually have had mac & cheese in the past at holidays, my aunt makes a great recipe using Cracker Barrel white cheddar and onions. But I normally wouldn't think of other people having at their Thanksgivings.

                                                                                3. Uncle Bob Nov 26, 2012 06:55 AM

                                                                                  In My South mashed potatoes are Northern. ~~ Rarely do I see them in homes here ~~ Exceptions are out there I suppose. Especially in Thanksgiving buffets type establishments (Casinos) where they are trying to appeal to a very wide audience.

                                                                                  The Mason and Dixon Line was a border dispute primarily between the British Colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland before1763, and prior to the American Revolutionary War! Not a delineation of North and South.

                                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                    Veggo Nov 26, 2012 07:05 AM

                                                                                    Where would you draw the North-South line? M-D is the only conventional one. Most of America west of the Mississippi was not yet relevant to the division, and doesn't experience the lingering cultural divide, which I indicate is homogenizing.

                                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                                      Uncle Bob Nov 26, 2012 07:09 AM

                                                                                      The Missouri Compromise of 1850.......Parallel 36* 30' North.
                                                                                      Exception: Virginia at the time

                                                                                      1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                        Veggo Nov 26, 2012 07:20 AM

                                                                                        So, are Maryland crab cakes a Northern or Southern delicacy?...:)

                                                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                                                          Uncle Bob Nov 26, 2012 07:41 AM

                                                                                          Crab cakes are traditionally associated with the State of Maryland ~~ But are popular all along the eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast regions making them a universally popular delicacy. ;).

                                                                                          1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                            Veggo Nov 26, 2012 07:51 AM

                                                                                            A very politic reply...you have my vote....:)

                                                                                        2. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                          Karl S Nov 28, 2012 03:08 PM

                                                                                          Maryland is Janus-like: neither fully Northern nor fully Southern. Historically, it was more the latter than the former, and its food traditions reflect that.

                                                                                          1. re: Karl S
                                                                                            melpy Nov 29, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                                                            Having lived in Central MD I woul say there are a few things that can be considered Southern but really doesn't have a southern vibe at all. I would say the African Americans in MD lean more towards a Southern tradition but considering there are also a lot of Jewish folk and many Catholics, there are a lot of German and Irish traditions too. As a native of CT my family thought it was a little Southern but I will say that Central PA gives me more if a southern vibe than MD. No wonder so many people from PA move to NC.

                                                                                            1. re: melpy
                                                                                              gaffk Nov 29, 2012 12:51 PM

                                                                                              That's why PA is described as: Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in between.

                                                                                              1. re: melpy
                                                                                                d
                                                                                                dtremit Dec 2, 2012 08:59 PM

                                                                                                If I'm not mistaken, many of the migration paths into the non-Atlantic South went right through the middle of Pennsylvania -- so there's logic to that. Talking about well before the Civil War, though.

                                                                                        3. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                          Perilagu Khan Nov 26, 2012 07:58 AM

                                                                                          Politics changes rapidly; culture is more obdurate. Hence, North Carolina is no longer a conservative state but its culture remains resolutely southern.

                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                            Uncle Bob Nov 26, 2012 08:08 AM

                                                                                            The culture does lag behind...but soon catches up.

                                                                                            1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                              Perilagu Khan Nov 26, 2012 08:15 AM

                                                                                              God forbid.

                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                Uncle Bob Nov 26, 2012 11:02 AM

                                                                                                I know....I feel sorry for Virginia....:))

                                                                                        4. m
                                                                                          mpjmph Nov 26, 2012 07:24 AM

                                                                                          My family has been in Eastern NC since the mid-1600's, and only expanded beyond state borders in the 1970's (and even then, only to VA). Our Southern Thanksgiving table includes turkey and ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing made with yeast bread (sometimes oysters, never cornbread), green beans and collards cooked with salt pork, and roasted sweet potatoes. When my grandmother was still around, the meal also included mashed rutabaga and cornmeal dumplings. Desserts include pumpkin pie and pecan pie, sometimes seven layer cake. I prefer sweet potato pie, but I'm the only one.

                                                                                          I think the regional differences in holiday foods are far more granular than North vs. South. Local crops are a major factor, as well as differences/similarities in immigration and settlement over the years. For example, potatoes and sweet potatoes are major crops where I grew up, and feature prominently in our menus. Rice is more popular in traditional rice growing regions.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: mpjmph
                                                                                            fldhkybnva Nov 26, 2012 07:27 AM

                                                                                            Oh wow, how could I forget the requisite green beans and collards with salt pork and/or hamhocks and roasted sweet potatoes - always on the table as well!

                                                                                            1. re: mpjmph
                                                                                              d
                                                                                              drloripalooza Nov 26, 2012 08:19 AM

                                                                                              Do you have a recipe for cornmeal dumplings? I would very much appreciate it!

                                                                                              1. re: drloripalooza
                                                                                                m
                                                                                                mpjmph Nov 26, 2012 09:49 AM

                                                                                                There isn't much of a recipe... They are made when cooking long cooked greens or green beans. During the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time, mix some of the pot liquor with corn meal. I usually start with a cup of corn meal and add about 1/4 cup of liquid to start. Mix together, adding liquid as needed until you have a soft dough. Shape the dough into patties 1/2 inch thick and about 3 inches in diameter. Make sure the greens/beans are just barely simmering, anything more will make the dumplings fall apart. Gently place the dumpling patties in the pot with the greens/beans, and cook for 10 minutes.

                                                                                            2. viperlush Nov 26, 2012 07:45 AM

                                                                                              Well according to this thread we are from the South. When my grandmother cooked Thanksgiving (NoVa born and raised) it was turkey, ham, dressing (not cornmeal), collards, green beans (ham hock not casserole), mac & cheese, oyster casserole (oysters, cream, saltines?), deviled eggs, creamed onions, potatoe salad, sweet potatoe casserole (w/marshmallows) and biscuits. Always mincemeat pie (for my grandpa), pecan (for my dad), and sweet potatoe pie for dessert. I miss those meals.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: viperlush
                                                                                                Veggo Nov 26, 2012 07:55 AM

                                                                                                I suspect mincemeat pie is on the endangered list - fond memories here, too.

                                                                                                1. re: viperlush
                                                                                                  Perilagu Khan Nov 26, 2012 08:00 AM

                                                                                                  Sounds pretty lush.

                                                                                                2. d
                                                                                                  drloripalooza Nov 26, 2012 08:39 AM

                                                                                                  I come from a very Southern family (Tennessee, Virginia, NC, all ended up in Florida). Here's the typical menu:
                                                                                                  Relish tray: olives, pickles, celery
                                                                                                  Smoked turkey or roasted turkey, at least 20 lbs.
                                                                                                  No ham (Christmas only)
                                                                                                  Boiled to death green beans with ham hock and quartered potatoes
                                                                                                  (No mashed potatoes)
                                                                                                  Oyster bread dressing
                                                                                                  Cornbread dressing
                                                                                                  Rolls
                                                                                                  Skillet cornbread, no flour, no sugar
                                                                                                  Giblet gravy
                                                                                                  Sweet Potato Casserole with brown sugar and marshmallows on top
                                                                                                  Creamed Onions
                                                                                                  Eggplant Souffle (Scalloped Eggplant)
                                                                                                  Scalloped Potatoes
                                                                                                  Cooked Cranberry Relish
                                                                                                  Mincemeat Pie
                                                                                                  Pecan Pie
                                                                                                  Pumpkin Pie

                                                                                                  We never had sweet potato pie.
                                                                                                  And Yankees have Brussels Sprouts!
                                                                                                  ;)

                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: drloripalooza
                                                                                                    p
                                                                                                    pine time Nov 26, 2012 09:27 AM

                                                                                                    Boiled to death green beans are a southern delicacy! It's the only vegetable that I'll intentionally overcook. And add a bit of bacon grease for flavor. And intentionally make twice as much as needed for many days of leftovers. Love me some overcooked, dead-as-doornails-green beans.

                                                                                                    1. re: pine time
                                                                                                      sunshine842 Nov 26, 2012 10:22 AM

                                                                                                      Me, too -- I can't always find the big fat beans that you have to have to stew the daylights out of them, but they're a favorite at our house, too. I start by rendering down a package of bacon (chopped into 1" pieces) and sauteeing an onion in the fat until it's brown -- then I add the beans and the water and let it go for several hours.

                                                                                                    2. re: drloripalooza
                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                      mpjmph Nov 26, 2012 09:46 AM

                                                                                                      I forgot about the relish tray! Always an assortment of pickles, plus olives that no one touched. Pickles could be homemade or store bought (always Mt. Olive brand, because that is the local brand).

                                                                                                      1. re: drloripalooza
                                                                                                        l
                                                                                                        Leepa Nov 26, 2012 04:54 PM

                                                                                                        Almost the same here. My family has been in TN since before it was a state.

                                                                                                        Turkey only, no ham at Thanksgiving
                                                                                                        Usually no green beans but if we did they'd be simmered (not boiled) for a while
                                                                                                        No mashed potatoes (what's up with this?)
                                                                                                        No Oyster stuffing
                                                                                                        Cornbread dressing
                                                                                                        My mom's homemade bread or rolls made from the dough
                                                                                                        Giblet gravy - no boiled eggs
                                                                                                        Sweet Potato casserole
                                                                                                        Corn souffle
                                                                                                        Broccoli casserole
                                                                                                        Usually some sort of baked rice dish
                                                                                                        Cooked cranberry sauce
                                                                                                        Relish tray (celery with pimento cheese stuffing, olives, tiny tomatoes, etc.)
                                                                                                        Pumpkin chiffon pie

                                                                                                        I can't wait for the equivalent Christmas thread!

                                                                                                        1. re: Leepa
                                                                                                          sunshine842 Nov 26, 2012 11:10 PM

                                                                                                          and the relish tray served on a cut-glass dish that's pulled out only for the holidays. ;)

                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                            pine time Nov 27, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                                                            Yes! Mom's was divided into 3 sections, and she even had a rule about which item went into each section!

                                                                                                            1. re: pine time
                                                                                                              gaffk Nov 27, 2012 03:02 PM

                                                                                                              I still have that dish . . . and it will be dutifully put to use at Christmas ;)

                                                                                                            2. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                              l
                                                                                                              Leepa Nov 27, 2012 03:56 PM

                                                                                                              Mom's is a five section one that fits into a lazy susan. A bowl section in the center and four sections that fit around the bowl. It's quite festive! And it spins!

                                                                                                        2. JMF Nov 26, 2012 09:10 AM

                                                                                                          In NY, but parents are immigrants, Mother is English/Welsh.
                                                                                                          Eggnog (served at T-day, X-mas, and New Years) and red and white wines.
                                                                                                          Assorted Cheese (brie, parmesan, soft and hard blue, etc.) and crackers, pickles, and pickled onions
                                                                                                          Boiled brussel sprouts in butter
                                                                                                          Oven roasted potatoes cooked crispy golden brown at high heat in turkey fat
                                                                                                          Green beans
                                                                                                          Homemade raw cranberry relish with oranges and lemons all ground up, plus sugar (I never liked it)
                                                                                                          Canned whole cranberry sauce
                                                                                                          Pumpkin and apple pie
                                                                                                          Roast turkey with gravy
                                                                                                          Sausage, corn bread, onion, celery, sage, poultry seasoning stuffing. Very meaty, tastes amazing. The best part of the meal, and great as cold leftovers.
                                                                                                          Baked sweet potato, sometimes whole, sometimes mashed, never topped with marshmallow.

                                                                                                          As I started to help cook as a teen I would add homemade cooked cranberry sauce, different each year. Usually add apples or pears, maybe port wine or stewed dried fruit and other tasty things.
                                                                                                          Mashed potatoes
                                                                                                          I would make huge batches of gravy ahead of time from roasted turkey wings and thighs.
                                                                                                          I would try a new veggie dish or two. Things like creamed pearl onions, roasted root vegetable soup, assorted recipes from Food & Wine magazine holiday issue..

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: JMF
                                                                                                            Veggo Nov 26, 2012 09:16 AM

                                                                                                            JMF, you have a likeable style! And I would guess a "normal" family. Go for it!

                                                                                                            1. re: JMF
                                                                                                              mamachef Dec 12, 2012 09:44 AM

                                                                                                              Oh HELL yes. I love everything about this meal. Tell me, what time do we eat?

                                                                                                            2. jmcarthur8 Nov 26, 2012 05:28 PM

                                                                                                              In Northwest Indiana, up near Chicago, many of our neighbors served kielbasa and cabbage with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, along with the usual line-up. One of my neighbors of Polish descent (most everyone in our town was of Polish descent) always made blood soup at Christmas. I tried it once. Never again.

                                                                                                              The only families who had macaroni and cheese were the ones with Southern relatives.

                                                                                                              Bread stuffing or prune and apple stuffing were pretty traditional there. I don't recall anyone I know making oyster stuffing. I did once, but I really didn't like it much. It just wasn't Mother's stuffing!

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: jmcarthur8
                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                chocolatetartguy Nov 27, 2012 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                My Swedish aunt by marriage always served potato sausage and lutefisk along with the turkey and fixin's. I believe she was from Minnesota.

                                                                                                                1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                                                                                                  paulj Nov 27, 2012 06:57 PM

                                                                                                                  She was a month early. Potato sausage and lutefisk are Christmas Eve fare, at least among my Minnesota relatives.

                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                    chocolatetartguy Nov 28, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                    Actually, I was a month early. We only went there at Christmas. I think we had it both on Day and Eve over the years.

                                                                                                              2. ipsedixit Nov 27, 2012 09:52 AM

                                                                                                                This thread has been truly enlightening.

                                                                                                                I never realized the great continental divide between Southern and Northern Thanksgiving Cooking.

                                                                                                                Where was this part in the Lincoln movie???

                                                                                                                Is there a similar difference between Thanksgiving foods between Eastern seaboard and the West Coast?

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                  Perilagu Khan Nov 27, 2012 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                  Good question. Make a thread.

                                                                                                                2. s
                                                                                                                  sal_acid Nov 27, 2012 09:57 AM

                                                                                                                  No Southerner has mentioned greens eg collard or kale. Not a thanksgiving thing?

                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: sal_acid
                                                                                                                    viperlush Nov 27, 2012 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                    I mentioned it above. No holiday meals was complete without collards.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sal_acid
                                                                                                                      fldhkybnva Nov 27, 2012 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                      Collard greens...always on our table! I think I might have mentioned it above somewhere but always collard greens with hamhocks.

                                                                                                                      1. re: sal_acid
                                                                                                                        deet13 Nov 27, 2012 07:25 PM

                                                                                                                        Collards, black eyed peas, skillet cornbread, and slaw are the default sides at our Southern family functions and holidays.

                                                                                                                        They're usually provided by whichever family member is having the dinner at their house, unless you in particular are asked to bring them.

                                                                                                                        Honestly, I don't think anyone really gives them a second thought, unless they weren't made. And usually someone always brings some.

                                                                                                                        1. re: deet13
                                                                                                                          fldhkybnva Nov 28, 2012 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                          We always have black eyed peas on New Year's Day.

                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                            Veggo Nov 28, 2012 07:16 AM

                                                                                                                            When I lived in East Texas, the Lufkin Daily News left a complimentary can of black eyed peas with the morning paper on the porch of subscribers on New Years' Day.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                              Perilagu Khan Nov 28, 2012 07:41 AM

                                                                                                                              The Daily News has always been a good newspeaper.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                mamachef Dec 12, 2012 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                Really? That's awesome! And where have you beeeeeeeen?

                                                                                                                              2. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                                sunshine842 Nov 28, 2012 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                It's a law somewhere, isn't it? ;)

                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                  Uncle Bob Nov 28, 2012 12:32 PM

                                                                                                                                  It is in these parts ~~ High Crimes & Misdemeanors!!!! 30 Days in Jail and a $1000 fine!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                                                                                    deet13 Nov 28, 2012 04:30 PM

                                                                                                                                    Or at least a very liberal application of warm pine tar and a sack full of soft downy feathers...

                                                                                                                                2. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                                  mpjmph Nov 28, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                                                                                                  It's my favorite part of New Year's!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                                    deet13 Nov 28, 2012 04:37 PM

                                                                                                                                    AFAIK, Hopping John on New Years was always more of a regional thing from South Carolina/NE Georgia than down here in Florida.

                                                                                                                                    But we always made it (along with dirty rice) for our gatherings.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: deet13
                                                                                                                                      sunshine842 Nov 28, 2012 11:13 PM

                                                                                                                                      and Florida was where I was taught the rule -- not Hopping John, but black-eyed peas with a ham hock and greens, eaten as the first food after the stroke of midnight. The hugs and kisses and "Happy New Year" goes round, then the food comes out. Black-eyed peas carry luck, the greens signify money, and since I've only had one cup of coffee so far, I can't remember the significance of the ham hock, but it means something, too.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                        deet13 Nov 29, 2012 01:04 AM

                                                                                                                                        Ahh, now that shook loose a memory.

                                                                                                                                        I recall my grandma saying something about eating greens for money during the holidays, and then discounting it as "superstitious rubbish" like she did with all the old folk things.

                                                                                                                                        I'll have to ask my mother, or maybe one of my aunts, and see if they remember anything about it.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                                                          mpjmph Nov 29, 2012 03:47 AM

                                                                                                                                          I believe the pork is for prosperity - may we all be so wealthy that we are fat as pigs.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mpjmph
                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 Nov 29, 2012 04:12 AM

                                                                                                                                            it's something like that -- the fat of the land, having food on the table...I'm wide-awake and still can't remember.

                                                                                                                                            This has some interesting customs: http://www.epicurious.com/articlesgui...

                                                                                                                                            While I was toodling around looking for that, I also saw another mention that I'd forgotten -- that you "eat poor" on New Year's to ensure you "eat rich" the rest of the year.

                                                                                                                                            I don't put much stock in these...but they're fun.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: sal_acid
                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                    mpjmph Nov 28, 2012 04:14 AM

                                                                                                                                    Definitely a Thanksgiving thing, and mentioned in several posts above. In my family, they show up at every special meal when in season.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sal_acid
                                                                                                                                      danna Nov 28, 2012 07:21 AM

                                                                                                                                      Not a thanksgiving thing for my SC family. Greens were by no means a staple in either grandmother's kitchen although they were done occasionally.

                                                                                                                                    2. John E. Nov 28, 2012 10:16 PM

                                                                                                                                      I'm from Minnesota and the only food item you mentioned that we did not have is corn bread dressing. The reason cornbread is more prevalent in the south is because while corn grows readily in the south, hard winter wheat does not. So years ago ground corn was more widely used than was wheat flour.

                                                                                                                                      1. w
                                                                                                                                        Westy Nov 29, 2012 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                        Definitely a greater emphasis on sweet potatoes down here than in Massachusetts. Pecan pie also shows up more often.

                                                                                                                                        That being said, my dad's side used serve sill (pickled herring), sauerkraut, and potato sauages at all holidays. Makes me think most carry a few of their cultural food traditions wherever they go.

                                                                                                                                        1. Bill Hunt Nov 29, 2012 08:44 PM

                                                                                                                                          I have observed similar differences, but then, being a product of the Deep South, have to take others' word for what might be served in the North.

                                                                                                                                          Now, for us, pumpkin pie IS part of the spread too, but maybe that is just us? Though my wife was Miss Sweet Potato, long ago, we do not do a pie, though there are often other sweet potato dishes (same for yams too).

                                                                                                                                          Ham does show up, though for us, turkey IS still king.

                                                                                                                                          Dressings do vary for us. My wife's family is big on a oyster bread stuffing, but they are from New Orleans - while part of the Deep South, the cuisine is much more international, than true "Southern."

                                                                                                                                          Maybe our experiences are not that "typical," and perhaps exhibit some purely regional differences.

                                                                                                                                          Now, the "hot-cross buns" ARE part of our spread. What bread differences exist?

                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
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                                                                                                                                            sandylc Dec 2, 2012 01:57 PM

                                                                                                                                            One might be that in some parts of the country (that I have yet to nail down geographically) people feel the need to call rolls "bread rolls". From the department of redundancy department.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                              pikawicca Dec 2, 2012 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                              "Bread rolls" is very British, and is the common term throughout the Commonwealth.

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                                                                                                                                                sandylc Dec 2, 2012 06:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                Wow,,,,interesting how you find the odd Britishism sprinkled about the US. Makes me want to take another linguistics class!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                  John E. Dec 2, 2012 07:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Bullocks ; )

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
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                                                                                                                                                    sandylc Dec 2, 2012 07:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Huh? 'Splain me.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                      John E. Dec 2, 2012 08:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                      It's a Britich expression and I was trying to be funny. It apparently did not land. Sorry about that.

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                                                                                                                                                        sandylc Dec 2, 2012 08:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Bullocks is a funny and appreciated britspeak. I am slow tonight!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                          sunshine842 Dec 2, 2012 10:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                          but more commonly, "bollocks", which is different.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                            John E. Dec 2, 2012 10:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Apparently I got the animal confused with his departed parts. ; )

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                              sunshine842 Dec 2, 2012 10:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                              exactly. :)

                                                                                                                                              2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                paulj Dec 2, 2012 08:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                There are different kinds of rolls, even when speaking about food, the yeast bread variety is most common.

                                                                                                                                                From a dictionary:
                                                                                                                                                "c : any of various food preparations rolled up for cooking or serving <cabbage rolls>; especially : a small piece of baked yeast dough"

                                                                                                                                                Any redundancy is the result of usage, not an inherent part of the definition.

                                                                                                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_roll

                                                                                                                                              3. re: Bill Hunt
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                                                                                                                                                kengk Dec 2, 2012 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                "What bread differences exist?"

                                                                                                                                                My mother took the position that the cornbread dressing rendered additional bread unnecessary.

                                                                                                                                                I took strong exception to this position and would persuade her to serve at least some kind of "store" rolls.

                                                                                                                                                I don't recollect any of the elders in my family making yeast bread for any occasion. It was biscuits, cornbread or store bread.

                                                                                                                                                I remember fondly the biscuits my grandmother made when she still prepared holiday meals. Two buttery crusts, with the scantest of middles, the diameter and thickness of two Ritz crackers stacked one on the other.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kengk
                                                                                                                                                  John E. Dec 2, 2012 02:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Although my mother almosr never made bread, she akways made rolls for holiday meals. I also remember her once making a hamburger bun in a 9" cake pan for my older brother's 12th birthday. Instead of a cake, he asked for a giant hamburger. Apparently, he was way ahead of the curve with that one.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Bill Hunt
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                                                                                                                                                  stargazer77 Dec 2, 2012 04:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                  We have rolls at Thanksgiving and Christmas (homemade yeast or Sister Schubert in a pinch), but the rest of the year we nearly always have cornbread as our bread. Yet I can't imagine having cornbread at Thanksgiving. Strange. Maybe it seems too ordinary?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: stargazer77
                                                                                                                                                    John E. Dec 2, 2012 04:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                    If you have cornbread the rest of the year, how do you make a sandwich?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.
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                                                                                                                                                      stargazer77 Dec 3, 2012 11:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                      ... I meant that when we have bread as a side dish with dinner, like in a bread basket at the table, 90% of the time it is cornbread. Of course we have bread in the house for sandwiches, toast, french toast, etc.

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                                                                                                                                                  stargazer77 Nov 30, 2012 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Southern family here- relish tray, deviled eggs, potato salad, all-cornbread dressing (not called stuffing!), green beans and turnip greens with ham hock, turkey and ham, various casseroles with veg, cream of x soup, and breadcrumb/cracker topping, cranberry sauce (not canned), rolls, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie. Sometimes sweet potato casserole but with praline topping, never marshmallows (yuck).

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                                                                                                                                                    Sal Vanilla Dec 11, 2012 10:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Funny reading some of the comments! My family (Southern) had weird rules for the holidays and what must be on the table. Most of them had to do with NY day where ham, greens, mac and cheese, black eyed peas and rice with lots of pepper sauce is consumed. Therefore no ham at either Christmas or Thanksgiving. If someone came with a ham it would be put in the freezer for later. Period. Weirdos.

                                                                                                                                                    Pecan pie every holiday but only because my grands live in a pecan orchard. And it is pronounced PEEcun, not peCAWN. I hate pecan pie.

                                                                                                                                                    Turkey Thanksgiving and prime rib for Christmas. Varying from that causes something cataclysmic like polar shift. I think that may be just my clan of wackjobs though. Also - green beans and red potatoes cooked to DEATH every holiday. YUM!

                                                                                                                                                    Also Pralines at thanksgiving. Naturally... pecans. I miss mawmaw.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla
                                                                                                                                                      mamachef Dec 12, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Love this. Weirdo hams and Polar shifts. Guffaw.
                                                                                                                                                      You wouldn't happen to have mamaw's Praline recipe? I make something similar, but the texture's a bit different, and you cut it into cubes, like caramels. The candy I make is like a cross between fudge and pralines. Yum.

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