Setting aside some of the chaos that can come with the holidays, food is of course a major part of Thanksgiving and it’s interesting to look back on the different places and families I’ve been with over the years.
Growing up in small towns in the deep South before the time of being able to access literally any kind of food, the tradition was turkey and ham as the meats. My maternal grandmother’s famous dressing as stuffing for us was something you saw in magazines. I think I’ve posted before that she didn’t use a recipe as is often the case with family dishes, and my sister spent years experimenting until she was finally able to match it. Mashed potatoes and candied yams with marshmallow topping, green bean casserole, rolls and giblet gravy (never been a fan of that). Cranberry sauce from the can and in addition to pecan and pumpkin pie, my grandmother did a cherry spice cake.
My first encounter with stuffing and “real cranberry sauce” were, not surprisingly, when I was in Maryland. I didn’t encounter mince and strawberry-rhubarb pie until I was in Maine and no, I don’t care for either one. Butternut squash done in a mashed potato style was also new for me and I’m sort of neutral on that.
I’ve previously posted about Thanksgiving with my Georgia in-laws as the one I find truly astounding since somehow over the years the “sides” increased in number. In addition to the “regular items” their tradition includes potato salad, mac and cheese, broccoli salad, corn casserole, field peas, collard greens, yellow squash casserole, and I may be leaving something out. You simply can’t fit everything onto one plate. The dessert variety is almost as plentiful.
There have been multiple Thanksgivings spent overseas and when in a place with a fairly small commissary (grocery store on post), waiting until the last minute often meant not being able to get at least one staple – like no crescent rolls or maybe no frozen pie crusts to help out those of us who don’t do them well from scratch.
Anyway, this year, we’re going again with folks from the dive shop and we’ll take the fried turkey as our contribution. Host has new smoker he’ll be using for that one.