Here we are on the eve of Thanksgiving and the house is filled with fabulous aromas from a wide range of dishes. And while I spend most of the year trying new recipes and experimenting with new foods, both for my newspaper column and in researching my book, when the holidays come I rarely deviate from the tried and true.
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that demand the tried and true. Comfort food is what the family wants, and of all the traditions that surround the holiday, turkey is almost universally the centerpiece. Everybody (except the vegetarians) demands turkey. (I did go on strike one year and serve chicken, but was almost disowned for that faux pas.) For me, the only reason the bird exists is as a vehicle for stuffing. I love stuffing. And since tiny changes are sometimes allowed, a couple of times I’ve tried to stuff kasha into my turkey, but frankly, the tried and true bread stuffing is really my fave.
This year’s tiny change is that I am bumping the green beans for Brussels sprouts. It turns out that hubby never liked green beans (we’ve only been married 38 years and now he tells me). But, the kids demand both pumpkin pie and Grandma Cele’s Jello cranberry cherry mold. (These kids probably think Jello mold was served at Plymouth.)
As for mashed potatoes, this is not a dish anybody in my tribe has ever served on Thanksgiving – on any branch of either hubby’s or my family. But, when my hairdresser Shannon cried, “What?” You can’t have Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes!” I felt this might be the year to try them, perhaps because she was so passionate about the potatoes – or perhaps because she was holding a pair of sharp scissors at the time. I can’t be sure.
However, considering that the preparation of said dish is a major pain in the tuchus, I delegated the task to my first-born child, who accepted the assignment with great aplomb.
Luckily, he is as good a cook as he is a sport.
So this year, mashed potatoes will be on our family Thanksgiving table, squeezed in among the turkey, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, Jello mold, squash soufflé, apple crisp, and pumpkin pie.
Time to let out the waistband. That’s tradition.