My Favorite Holiday

cranberriesThanksgiving is without a doubt my favorite holiday.  It’s non-commercial, revolves around food, and is all about family and friends.  I think another one of the reasons I enjoy it so much is that I want anyone and everyone to come to my house for dinner.  I like taking in Thanksgiving “orphans”, as everyone should eat with a family, regardless if it’s their own.  On Thanksgiving, everyone is family.

One final reason that I love Thanksgiving is that the food I’ll make on Thursday will be quite similar to what I ate as a child.  I cook a lot differently than my mother, but with the exception of a few minor improvements, it’s pretty much what she made 40 years ago.  I don’t show off on Thanksgiving and keep the meal simple.  Here’s our tentative menu for Thursday, which is as ordinary as you’ll find.  But damn, it’s good.

Shrimp cocktail
Roast turkey
Mashed potatoes
Deviled eggs
Carrots with maple syrup
Homemade rolls
Pumpkin pie
Apple pie
Bourbon pecan pie

Everything is made from scratch, but it’s all easy stuff. Did I forget anything? Oh, a little bit of wine, too.

Tell me about your Thanksgiving traditions.


14 Responses to My Favorite Holiday

  1. mmmm food that is my favorite too!

  2. GinnySkal says:

    My Thanksgiving staples are sweet potatoes and green bean cassarole. If I don’t have those two side dishes, then my T-Day meal doesn’t feel complete. I’ve never had carrots with maple syrup though, we always do carrots and honey.

  3. Fuzzy says:


    Cheese pudding.
    Oyster Casserole.
    Sweet cucumber, watermelon rind, and green tomato pickles, to be specific.
    Carrots with brown sugar, Tortuga lime citrus honey, cayenne pepper, pepper and dill.
    Sweet potato casserole or candied “yams”.
    Mince meat pie
    Chess pies: brown sugar, lemon, chocolate
    Meringue pies, cheese cakes, and a lot of other desserts…

  4. Looks like we are ordering Papa John’s for Thanksgiving, 🙂

  5. MB says:

    dressing (made from giblets)
    giblet gravy
    smoked ham
    sweet potatoes
    texas taters
    mashed potatoes
    homemade mac and cheese with bacon
    green beans
    cranberry sauce
    homemade bread
    coconut cake
    pineapple cake
    buttermilk pie
    sweet potato pie
    hummingbird cake
    krispy kreme bread pudding

    and last but not least: COLLARDS! My niece and I threatened to not appear at Thanksgiving or Christmas functions every again if collards were not served. My momma makes the best ones in North Carolina according to a former Supreme Court Chief Justice.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Apple Cider Brined Fried Turkey (we always fry the turkey- the brine will be new this year)
    Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    Roasted Brussel Sprouts
    Whiskey Glazed Carrots
    Mac and Cheese (for my vegetarian sister)
    Deviled Eggs
    Cranberry Orange Sauce
    Homemade rolls (maybe rosemary potato rolls this year)
    Pumpkin Cheesecake
    Spice Cake with Orange Glaze

  7. Maura says:

    Varmint, like you, my Thanksgiving is now made up of orphans. This is the 5th year running I’ve had dinner at my house. And, TG is also my favorite holiday. It’s a much bigger deal than Christmas is in my family.

    What I’m making this year
    Spicy carrot puree
    Baked polenta
    Pumpkin Pie

    Someone is bringing a ham, and I’ve turned the mashed potatoes over to a trusted friend (I don’t like them and I hate making them). At this point, I don’t know what else my guests are bringing, but they have yet to disappoint me.

    I also put out an antipasto of sorts, so that guests have something to nibble on while waiting for dinner. My mother always did that. As an old boyfriend once said, we eat before we eat.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
    I’ve already started the prep. I only serve food that can be prepped ahead of time.

  8. Erin says:

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday as well. Back in Chicago, Alan and I hosted the orphan Thanksgiving as well. But, being orphans in our new town this year, we’re being taken in by a kindly new friend.

  9. andrea says:

    I love that so many people listed like a half dozen desserts for one meal. My dream.

  10. NancyH says:

    A tradition that continues in one form or another to this day is the exclamation of “cranberry sauce”! In my mother’s house, this meant that she had once again forgotten to serve the can of cranberry sauce she’d put in the fridge to chill, and had realized it when putting the leftovers away. In our house, it means that something that was supposed to be put on the table was forgotten (we make our cranberry sauce from scratch, and I DON’T forget it).

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  11. Jeff says:

    Pappy Van Winkle (15 year old) straight
    prosciutto-wrapped cheese stuffed figs
    grilled flat iron steak
    grilled shrimp
    pumpkin risotto
    roasted vegetables
    world’s best cornbread
    apple crisp
    pecan pie
    chocolate cake
    Strong Arms Shiraz

  12. Lisa -- says:

    We always have the same menu. The menu always features a creamed vegetable (an homage to my Irish grandma); so the only ‘swing’ in the menu is which veggie will be creamed in a given year. Our standard menu is:

    Cucumber sandwiches
    Deviled eggs
    Stuffing with a second pan of dressing
    Mashed potatoes
    Gravy (made from my own turkey stock)
    Green bean casserole (I make the cream of mushroom myself and use haricot verts)
    Creamed carrots
    Mashed rutabaga
    Cranberry sauce (and yes, it comes from a can)
    Rye bread
    Coconut custard pie
    Apple pie
    Mocha birthday cake (for my sister)

    I hope you had a great one!

  13. Anonymous says:

    We took in orphans this year too, as usual. I would’nt’ know what to do if I wasn’t up at dawn making too much food. Our tradition is to have “pie day” on Wednesday, where the kids help me make the pies the day before. This year we made 7 (three pumpkin, two choc. chess, one buttermilk, one pecan. I don’t think that is excessive for 10 people!!!!! I am always amazed though, when people ask “what is buttermilk pie” and then are blown away by it. I making another tonight for book club. It will still be warm when we eat it. Is there ANYTHING better than a warm buttermilk pie?

    Oh, and hubby smokes the turkey cause our oven is too small for our roasting pan. DId you smell it smoking over at your house? We make the neighborhood smell great!

    I always make Caprial Pence’s “Pinot Noir Cranberry Sauce” which has curry, ginger, five spice. Hubby keeps catching me with a spoonful of it out of the fridge. Really great on those turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce sandwiches we ate all weekend the beach.

  14. Scot says:

    I made your buttermilk pie recipe last summer, and guess what? My mama made it for us on Thursday. You started a new tradition for us!

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