Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Please share your Thanksgiving traditions

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

When I was interviewing newcomers for today's story about people who clear out of Charlotte to celebrate Thanksgiving "back home," one told me that her Virginia family always gathers for a "big Southern Thanksgiving."

I started thinking about what that means. Most likely, the side dishes include macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top and stuffing made with cornbread. (It was relatively late in my life that I learned people in some parts of the country actually make stuffing with oysters - shudder.) But as far as the nature of the gathering - extended family, all in one place to share in good cheer - I don't think it makes much difference what part of the country you're in.

I grew up in Charlotte, and my family's traditions hail from a combination of the Midwest (Dad grew up in Chicago) and Texas (Mom's from Lubbock). Some of our quirks include an occasionally appearing green jello dish made with cottage cheese and crushed pineapple, and pumpkin pie which I usually serve with Cool Whip (just as good as the real stuff to me, and a lot easier). We usually stress over who's going to make the gravy, because nobody feels confident about it.

Now I'd like to hear some of your family Thanksgiving quirks - and please specify where you grew up. There are probably commonplace dishes and traditions in other parts of the country that I - and fellow Southerners - haven't heard of. And everyone out there, please have a happy and safe holiday!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I usually make my dressing with chicken and chicken broth that way it's never too dry. We also have to have pineapple casserole.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that green jello with the pineapple and cottage cheese. I haven't thought about that in years. Thanks for the reminder!

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeast rolls and sweet potatoe casserole that's a must have for us.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

after dinner is over we usually gather around the television and watch "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" great fun.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget the green bean casserole and deviled eggs!

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! Lubbock! That's where I moved from two years ago! Love it here. We will have broccoli casserole and my mother-in-law's famous cornbread dressing, heavy on the poultry seasoning. I'm sure my folks in Texas will have that jello-cottage cheese thing squeezed onto the buffet table somewhere.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

watergate salad made with marshmallows,cool whip and pistachio instant pudding..

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cornbread stuffing - use onions, celery, giblets, MCCormick's poultry seasoning and turkey broth made from scratch, jiffy cornbread mix. Home made pies and coconut cake. Friends and relatives, neighbors drop by for dessert.

And we always have a long prayer followed by everyone saying what he or she is thankful for this year.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of drinking, getting wasted before we sit down to eat, then we fight, and pass out or go home.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

food, then someone gets in a fight with someone else. Normally this is like the preview to the big christmas brawl.

Gotta love holidays in the south.

Native Charlottean

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plenty of eggshells.
Several buckets of cold icey stares.
Huge dollops of heavy sour creamy oppression.
Combine and enjoy.

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Starting to think us Yankees are a little boring- Turkey, Stuffing (Not "dressing"), Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Cranberry Relish, and Pumpkin Pie. Occasionally toss in a green been casserole.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, the Jello in its various forms. I too learned of the oyster stuffing just this year as well, although my response is "thank you Food Network!"
Yes, we always had the Green bean casserole too and turkey was either roasted or grilled or both depending on how big the crowd was that year. My favorite by far is a side titled, seemly for the time that it's made: "Holliday Salad." Iceberg lettuce with Celery and sweet onions (optional), a sour cream and vinegar dressing with parmesan and Bacon (this year from the Charlotte Farmers Market, even a Vegetarian couldn’t refuse!)
Being from the Midwest, cornbread casserole and other southern favorites were added to the menu when a brother of mine was blessed with a marriage to a Tennessean.

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i went back home and robbed a few places ate some great pizza and then returned to Charlotte via rental car; No turkey this year pepperoni pizza and works from TOMMYS the worlds best.

6:54 PM  

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