Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving of Days Gone By

I was reminiscing recently about the Thanksgivings of my childhood.
Since my father only ate a small range of foods, the bounty on our Thanksgiving table was very predictable.

There was always a whole turkey. 'Nuf said.

There was stuffing, not dressing or filling.  The stuffing was always shoved into the bird and a small auxillary pan contained whatever didn't fit into the bird.
A few times my mother put oysters into her stuffing as she dearly loved oysters.  I don't believe she told my father when she put those into the stuffing. ;-)
She didn't do a cornbread stuffing(even though she was a Southern gal through and through)because again, that is something my father wouldn't eat.

There were always mashed potatoes and gravy.  REAL mashed potatoes with lumps. 8-)

And potato rolls made using Great Aunt Ollie's recipe.(My mother actually got her to write down the recipe before she passed as Ollie didn't have any recipes, except in her head.)

Side dishes-There was always rutabaga(known up North here as "orange turnips" by many). My father turned his nose up at rutabaga but with plenty of other foods to partake of, mom got to indulge one of the foods of her youth anyway.
Sometimes there were green beans(I don't recall a green bean casserole affair however), sometimes corn and sometimes sweet potato casserole(no marshmallows!).

There was always jellied cranberry out of a can.  We didn't go in for fancy pants whole berry relish or anything like that.

The preferred drink was unsweetened iced tea, usually still warm from being made, with ice cubes in your glass.  I miss that mix of warm and cold swallows of tea from the glass.  The thought of it takes me back to Thanskgiving.

The dessert was pumpkin pie with a dollop of real whipped cream or Reddi-Whip on top.  Sometimes there was also pecan pie(but generally that only appeared at Christmas).

Everything was made from scratch by my mother(except the jellied cranberry "glop").  The only concessions to convenience foods was the "glop"and sometimes the aerosol whipped cream and the veg may have been out of a can(back before frozen veggies were good).  No canned sweet potatoes, no gravy in a jar and no pre-cubed bread(I still remember having the job of toasting all that bread and tearing it up for the stuffing. lolz)

I guess you could say we always had what's known as a very traditional American Thanksgiving meal with very little variation.

Given Hubs will eat almost anything and we both have a wider palate than my father(most anybody but a 5 year old child has a wider palate), my Thanksgiving menus, though fairly Traditional at it's core, has expended a bit to include different side dishes, more pie types and even smoking the turkey one year(nobody cared for that treatment much here so it didn't ever happen again).  We also trade-off each year between Great Aunt Ollie's potato rolls and Great Aunt Lula's dinner rolls(a recipe mom got from her Aunt Lula after I was grown and passed down to me).

So it's over to you dear readers.......what are your food memories of Thanksgiving?
Let's share our recollections.

On that note, I hope everyone is with the folks they cherish tomorrow(or at least in your thoughts and prayers if circumstances keep you apart)and y'all can celebrate Thanksgiving in the way that gives your life meaning.  8-)))



  1. We have some picky eaters here. Usually a whole turkey, I make the stuffing (outside the bird). My step-daughter usually host but will be moving in December so her sister us hosting this year. A smoked turkey plus regular. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams from a can, corn, green bean casserole, pasta with meatballs and sausage. My 31 yr.old nephew won't really eat turkey so his mommy will make it special for him. No ham this year. No sweet potato casserole with pecans. Can't wait till next year when Amanda hosts again.

  2. I still make real mashed potatoes with lumps! lol. My most nostalgic food item for the holidays is stuffing - in the bird with extra on the side. It is my entire families favorite so I usually make a boatload. I make it with fresh bread torn in bits, not dried. It was my Mom's recipe but I can now recreate it exactly. Christmas and Thanksgiving is always a turkey. We usually do some special lighter meal on Christmas eve like a soup (this year it is either french onion in the croc pot or salmon chowder that hubby learned to make earlier this year). Always pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. No pies at Christmas, too many other sweet things to eat. Mom always let us have the tiniest bit of wine (she had thimble sized glasses) even when we were kids so it was super special.

  3. It was always pretty traditional with my mom and grandma cooking. A whole turkey that was stuffed with dressing made from bread crumbs and the gizzard, heart, etc boiled and chopped up in the dressing. It still is my favorite dressing I've ever had. (but I'm too lazy to make it that way). Sides were traditional (real)mashed potatoes, gravy from the turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, jello fruit salad, rolls, cranberry jelly (from the can), and for some reason always a tray of black and green olives. I recall one year, as a child, my cousin putting the black olives on all his fingers, LOL.

  4. My Grandms made the best pie pastry and her specialty was pecan pie :) mmmmm, I'm salivating!

  5. Hi Sluggy, this is Chris. We had Thanksgiving at my Grandma and Grandpa's every year. For a long time they lived 2 doors down from us. I remember going back and forth from our house to their house. My mom always made the turkey, but would have us take the neck and innards (we thought they were gross) over to Grandma so she could use them to make the dressing. My mom would also buy the oysters for the dressing and have us take them over (we thought they were gross too. LOL!) I also remember being in awe at how much food my grandpa would eat that day, but he was not overweight at all. Grandma and all the aunts would make the same dishes every year. My mom made the rolls and chocolate pie, and green beans with carrots besides roasting the turkey.

    In more recent years we have been invited to our daughter's in-laws for Thanksgiving and I make the Asian slaw with the ramen noodles and we bring the ham. I am happy I don't have to make the entire dinner like I did for many years when we lived away from our families.

  6. Thanksgiving was pretty boring growing up. My mom never liked to cook or eat outside her comfort zone. Turkey, potatoes (sometimes real, sometimes fake), gravy, canned cranberry, Stovetop from a box. I convinced her in my teen years to make green bean casserole and her pumpkin pie was always good. We never had a big extended family so it was usually just us and my Grandmas. When I got married we had to visit all of his family and ate so much for days....but time passes and things change. Now we will spend thanksgiving with just my dad, and i'll cook at home too.

  7. I think we should get together for a holiday. I think Hub's and I will fly in some year. See how I just invite myself? I miss you.

  8. My mother would set the plates, and all the dishes of food in front of my father, and then call us all to the table. My father would, in order from youngest girl to older girl, youngest boy to oldest boy, then my mother, ask what he might serve each of us, then pass us the plate. My oldest brother was in charge of pouring wine. Only after my mother had her plate, did he serve himself and begin eating. He would remain at the table eating long after the half dozen of us and my mother had left. Mother would go to the kitchen to make coffee and set out the desserts. When Dad finished eating and sipping his wine, he would ask us to join him for dessert and coffee, which we all drank at a young age--along with wine at all holiday meals. (Dad was 100% European.) It was my older sister's job to fix my father a cup of coffee with liqueur and milk, usually Irish cream, to drink with his dessert. One year she let me do it, taking it from me before I served it to "fix" it. I had put a shot of liqueur, in a cup of coffee, and a splash of milk. The proper ratio was a shot of coffee in a cup of liqueur with a splash of milk.
    I truly miss my mother's oyster dressing and creamed onions. I also miss the way my father would remain in his chair at the head of the table after we had left, with a look of utter contentment as he finished his meal in leisure. As we became adults, we kids remained at the table with him, discussing all matter of thought invoking topics, later bringing our spouses. At this point, with willing helpers in the kitchen, my mother could join in the conversation. Coffee preparation was passed on to my husband, who knew "how to fix a demitasse." I remember my husband saying in our early years that a Thanksgiving dinner with my parents was worth a semester of sociology at SUNY. My memories of holidays with my parents are fond ones. I hope my kids feel the same way when they are my age.

  9. Turkey, potatoes, gravy and stuffing-prefer cranberries for a can, but never get them anymore at Hubs family boo hoooo! After that, I don't remember all the stuff I grew up on, but know it was all god and tasty!

  10. I posted it all on my blog today. I'm looking forward to the dressing and the ham most of all. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday, SLuggy. :)

  11. Until this Thanksgiving, the holiday was always a cooperative affair. When TheHubs parents were alive we all took dishes while his mom made the turkey and ham.
    If we ate with my family it was an extended family gathering of about 80 people. Everyone brought their speciality dishes and the serving table was groaning, as was the dessert table. Aunt Ruth's pecan pie was the best pecan pie I have ever tasted and we only had it on Thanksgiving, so I will be up early baking one using her recipe.

  12. I made up my cornbread dressing yesterday and will cook this morning. First time making it on my own. And having a crowd at my house today so hoping it turns out well. I have had two wonderful dressing-makers for an example, my grandmother and mom, so I hope I can continue on the tradition. :)

  13. Reading this after Thanksgiving day so I will share with you what we actually had on the big day. I prepared it all, no outside helpers this time. We had roasted turkey, chicken and dressing, candied sweet potatoes (not canned), mashed potatoes (not out of a box), English peas, corn, Sister Shubert rolls, cranberry sauce (out of the can), apple pie and cherry pie (Mrs. Smith's) with sweet tea and coffee to drink. Today is Saturday and we have just about finished off the leftovers. Looking forward to starting my cookie dough making. I will start with the dough making and freeze bags of it for baking as needed throughout December. Usually make: chocolate chip with pecans, snickerdoodles, peanutbutter, as well as fruitcake cookies. Penny S.

  14. I'm an old maid, but I make turkey breast, fresh green beans with bacon & onion, scratch mashed potatoes made with sour cream & cream cheese & butter, cornbread dressing & a pumpkin pie. All homemade. The house smells so good. It makes me remember my childhood Thanksgivings. My mother made a mince pie for my dad & 2 pumpkin pies for me & her. My dad hated cornbread dressing, so she made him white bread dressing & cornbread dressing for me & her. Homemade cranberry sauce & always a relish "tray". Best holiday!


Hey there! Thanks for leaving a comment.
All Anonymous commentors will be deleted.
Please include your name in your comment, or choose the 'Name' option and put your name or whatever you call yourself, in the box. Thank you.

Though I moderate it's partly to keep trolls at bay but also partly so that I read every comment. I don't often respond to comments so if you need me to answer you please write me at my email addy posted on my "About Me" page, linked on the side bar.