When I was growing up, we had Thanksgiving with at my grandmother’s house and/or Aunt E’s house. Everyone would bring a dish or two, and there would be so much food.
As we got older, we usually celebrated Thanksgiving at my mom’s, sister’s, cousin’s or my house, and still there was enough food to feed a small Army!
In more recent years, my sister and I decided to pare down the menu. We make only the items that are someone’s favorites: deviled eggs, turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce (the jellied, canned version), dressing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls (Sister Shubert’s), and pumpkin and yam pie (absolutely the best in the world) with fresh whipped cream. Last year, my husband asked that we add Waldorf salad. Not my favorite, but if it is his favorite then it will be served!
We repeat this menu for Christmas.
I have been wondering if this paring down is an evolution of life, a change in times, or just an isolated case.
We used to also have a cream pie (Aunt E made chocolate and grandma made coconut), every salad known to mankind, ham, pea salad, sweet potatoes, creamed spinach, crudités, pecan pie, orange balls, seasoned nuts, pumpkin log, and whatever new recipe someone had found in the last year. (There were probably more vegetables offered, but I was more of a dessert girl, so I did not pay them any attention!) If we did make it to both my aunt’s and grandmother’s houses, then we would be so stuffed that we were useless for a week.
Although I have not tried it, I wonder if a better plan than to serve all the good stuff in one day would be to serve the traditional pared down menu on the big day, and then serve other great offerings throughout the season? Maybe ham, seven-layer salad (the kind with the peas, bacon, lettuce, mayonnaise, etc…yum!) sweet potatoes, and a pecan pie would be lovely at some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Another great meal would be chicken and dressing, pink salad (made with Cool Whip, nuts, pineapple, cherry pie filling, etc.), creamed spinach, and a coconut cream pie for dessert. You get the picture…spread out the fun over the holiday season. Don’t just save all the goodness for a day or two!
What are your favorite dishes that must be on the holiday table? And why are there always so many salads at holiday smorgasbords? It is not like they are the healthy salad variety!
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