Wicked Wednesday: Thanksgiving Traditions

IMG_3104On Wicked Wednesday today, we’re all writing about our most cherished Thanksgiving traditions.

Barb: This year we’re having Thanksgiving at my husband’s sister’s house. She’s our most frequent hostess and experience shows in the beautiful day she always makes for us. There will be 20+ of us, most of my husband’s five siblings and in-laws, ex-in-laws, outlaws and friends. I love the way the meal reflects the way this large clan has come together. Everyone contributes something, frequently from their own traditions. It’s a long, crazy day, but somehow it always works.

Liz: That sounds lovely, Barb! Our Thanksgiving traditions have become simple over the roastturkeyyears – stay home and celebrate. The animals are getting their own turkey this year, which I’m sure they’re hoping will become a tradition. The humans will stick with something vegetarian.

Jessie: My family has different traditions highlighted depending on which household is hosting the event. For the last several years one of my sisters has generously provided a vegetarian spread which has included things like twice baked potatoes and root vegetable pot pie. They may not be traditional for most families but they have become beloved by ours. This year we are holding the meal at my house where the menu includes an old tradition from my father’s empadaoside of the family. His grandmother always made a chicken pie for Thanksgiving using Pilot Crackers, chicken and a lot of cream. My husband added to the chicken pie tradition with a recipe for a Brazilian variety called Empadao which features onions, olives, tomatoes and a buttery crust.

Edith: Emapdao sounds fabulous – save me a piece, Jessie? On this, my favorite holiday, I always make pies. Two pumpkins, an apple, and a ApplePiepecan. This tradition goes straight back to childhood, when my mother and then my older sister would make all the pie dough, and each of us girls was responsible for one kind of pie. I also brine and roast a local turkey, and the stuffing for that goes straight back to childhood too: sauteed onions and celery in lots of butter, then add a mountain of shredded stale bread, turkey seasoning like sage and rosemary, and chopped walnuts. I’m getting hungry! The best tradition is having both my sons home, of course.

Julie: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Usually by now I am well into prep mode, but I have been/am in book jail (edits due very soon!), so every spare moment is spent writing. Nonetheless, traditions are a must. Making pie has always been a tradition that I learned from my grandmother. Now I share it with my nieces, and am teaching them her recipes. We also make cranberry relish together. Another favorite tradition is leftover day with IMG_3107friends. Trying to figure that out this year, but it will happen, even if it ends up being a second mini holiday.

Sherry: Since we were a military family and in different places every few years we don’t have a lot of traditions. From year to year there would be different faces at our table. One year many of our friends’ husbands were deployed and Bob was the only male in a sea of females. IMG_1938When we were station at Naval Post Graduate school in Monterey we had many international friends and invited them for Thanksgiving along with American friends — families from Romania, Hungary, South Africa, Brazil and Botswana. After dinner we sat outside around a fire pit a neighbor brought over. Someone asked us to sing an American song. Pretty soon all of the adults are standing and doing the Hokey-Pokey. It was so much fun.

Readers — Friends: What are your traditions?

27 Thoughts

  1. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We don’t have many left in the family to make the big traditional day of it that we used to. I make the basic traditional turkey dinner for the few of us and one favorite for each person. This year it’s just the three of us. Paul has to have pecan pie, or it isn’t Thanksgiving. Steve needs his favorite tortilla chips from a local cook and fresh salsas. I make the guacamole. As for me I make sure we have great eggnog and some excellent rum. In the morning I make our favorite crispy corn muffins—cooked in melted bacon grease—in the old cast iron pan that makes the muffins in the shape of corn on the cob. That keeps almost everyone happy until it’s appetizer time. I let the guys handle the football accoutrements. Happy Thanksgiving, Wickeds and Friends of Wickeds xoxox

      1. Crispy Corn Stick Muffins Cooked in Bacon Grease

        A. Technique is as important as your ingredients!
        B. Cast iron corn muffin pan. I use the Lodge Cast Iron Cornstick Pan. It’s perfect.
        C. Let your ingredients, except the bacon grease, come to room temperature.
        D. If you don’t have cast iron corn stick pans, preheat your cast iron muffin pans. as directed here but use the baking time on your recipe.
        E. If you don’t have cast iron? Get it or forget it. My recipe can’t help you.

        1. Prepare your favorite corn muffin recipe—hopefully New England style, the kind with a little sugar. It makes the crispiest crust and brings out the pattern of the corn on the cob—if you are using it in the cast iron form for baking what are sometimes called corn sticks. I call them crispy corn muffins shaped like corn on the cob. 🙂 I am so clever.
        2. Set aside batter to settle undisturbed and start to bubble a bit on the surface.
        3. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
        4. Spread thick layer of cold bacon grease over the surface of the muffin or corn stick indentations.
        5. Place in oven to preheat greased pan for about 5 minutes. Must be hot!
        6. Remove from oven and spoon batter into smoking hot pan to fill half-way or so.
        7. Return quickly to oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until tops are golden brown.
        8. Let pan cool for a few minutes. Loosen the corn sticks (or muffins) carefully and remove to cake or cookie rack. With a well-seasoned pan they will fall out easily onto your rack.


  2. Here in Baltimore it’s not Thanksgiving without the saur kraut. I usually cook mine with apples and bacon, but this year I’m going with a recipe my business partner shared with me. I have tossed the kraut in a crockpot with beer and letting it cook for a few days. I am calling it drunkin’ kraut!

  3. Coming from a small family whose current members are widely scattered, I find we’ve minimized a lot of the traditions. The menu remains the same, but now the challenge is to find a turkey small enough for two rather than large enough to feed a dozen.

    I’ve always believed that Thanksgiving was meant to be shared not just with family but with the community, however you define that at any given time. One of my favorite memories is of a Thanksgiving celebration in Berkeley, the first year my husband and I lived there. As you might guess, Berkeley is filled with single people with few local attachments. One group who shared a house volunteered to hold a pot-luck for the “orphans,” and I think 25 people attended. The table extended from the living room all the way out into the hallway. I’ve always thought that’s the way the event should be celebrated.

    1. While my husband’s family makes up the core of the group, my husband always likes to have a few randoms. His theory is everyone in the family behaves better when there are others present.

    2. We love sharing Thanksgiving with all kinds of people who might not have nearby loved ones. It is especially fun to share with people who are new to the US.

  4. Although we have pared down over the years, we’ve always believed that holidays were meant to be shared. As a result, all our neighbors, friends, and their friends, have an open invitation. I cook, everyone is welcome to bring something (or not) and the food and fun go on all day. So far, even if my bird has been only 13 pounds, we have never run out of food.

  5. For almost a decade, my family all went to my brother and sister-in-law’s in Dallas for Thanksgiving. When they moved back to California, it felt a little weird not going there.

    They still host, and I am leaving in a few hours to drive to an hour north of San Francisco for the long weekend.

    Our tradition has become two yam dishes – the one my family always made and the one my SiL’s family always made. It’s now gotten to the point that I love them both, and everyone in the family feels the same way.

    1. That’s the way my yellow turnips (rutabagas) are. They’re a multi-generational tradition in my family, but after 38 years of marriage, they’re now a tradition in my husband’s family, too.

      I kind of love that aspect of Thanksgiving.

      1. My family makes one that is layers of sweet potatoes, apples, raisins, cinnamon, and lemon juice. My sister-in-law’s is the more tradition one with marshmallows on the top.

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