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 years – 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 side 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 pecan. 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 friends. 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. When 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?