Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Always. Nontraditional. Thanksgivings.

Our Thanksgivings are anything but traditional.  I guess you could say our tradition is to be nontraditional.

As children, we both had the traditional meal, except when my great aunt decided to serve Swedish Meatballs.

"Swedish Meatballs on Thanksgiving?" my mom said with shock, " whoever hear of that?" Now that she is 86 and detests the taste of turkey, she would gladly eat Swedish Meatballs.

In the 80's we lived on a Minnesota  farm where we tried our hand at raising turkeys and ducks and chickens.  Melida was in kindergarten and the teacher inquired of all the children what they would be doing on Thanksgiving.  Melida, in her animated style explained, " We will open up our freezer,all the turkey's will jump out and dance a jig! Their names are Duke, Earl and Ourfolks."  That year, we ate our pets.

That next summer we had a Thanksgiving celebration for a German Exchange Student in the community.  It was so hot in the non-air conditioned house cooking a turkey the old fashion way, in a roaster. We had all the trimmings of a traditional meal in July. In my younger life, I never gave it a thought that someone in other parts of the world would not have tasted turkey, cranberries or pumpkin pie. I think they enjoyed it!

When we moved to Iowa, we started hosting the Thanksgiving meals for students who couldn't get home.  I felt bad that I couldn't fulfill their meal expectation.  Their tradition.  It was then that I realized that no matter how alike us American's are, we are all very different is so many ways.

We shared a meal with a couple from the south.  She brought Chicken Dumplings.  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Why on earth would you serve something with Chicken when you are having turkey?  I have found out, since living in southern Indiana for the last 20 years,that Thanksgiving is NOT Thanksgiving without Chicken Dumplin's  I have not made them, nor will I.
Dumpling preparation will forever be left to the pros,  The pro's are the guys and gals who make them every year for the Church Summer socials.  When these folks die there is a special kitchen in heaven made up of rolling pins, flour, boiled chicken and stock.

In the 90's turkey became "the meat" of choice on our shopping trips.  It wasn't so much for the health benefit, which would seem like the logical reasoning.  We consumed it because it was cheap.  Beef prices had skyrocketed and turkey was now available "ground" making way for turkey chili, turkey spaghetti, turkey meatloaf, turkey burgers, turkey this, turkey that, and turkey what!.  When Thanksgiving rolled around, I proclaimed it a NON-turkey day.  Sure enough, I had no thanks for the old bird, I wanted to be thankful for beef.  That year, we splurged and cooked Prime Rib.  That year, we all got sick because we weren't use to the richness of beef and ate too much.  It was like we started the " Thanksgiving Day Over Eaters club" for the first time. And it was worth it! 

This year we plan to celebrate Thanksgiving at the cabin on Saturday.  Tom wanted to smoke a turkey, which we have done in the past.  I just wanted a plain old fashion meal.  The kind that includes sage dressing and pumpkin pie spices. I finally have a gas range and  I can't wait to roast the bird.  We no longer eat turkey I am good with having turkey.  We raised our own pumpkins this year and I am not sick of eating them yet.  I always buy the biggest bag of cranberries and sometimes end up throwing half away.  If I don't throw them away, I freeze them for next year and then I throw them away.  My favorite dressing is Corn bread with sage sausage.  Another acquired taste since moving to the south.  When in northern Illinois, the dressing faze was "White Castle Sliders Thanksgiving Dressing". I just couldn't bring myself to make it.  But I will.  I have promised for the last 20 Thanksgivings.  I even looked up the recipe.  I am getting there. I'm thinking about it. Maybe next year.

 I love being nontraditional.  I love to shake it up.   So, I guess I will go to White Castle and get 12 sliders (without the pickle) and make this the best Thanksgiving ever for someone who has been waiting 20 years.  I don't want to disappoint.
Hope helping prepare pumpkins.


  1. How cool. We will be over there in Sulphur tomorrow. And Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy your cabin and your White Castle!!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you and have a blessed weekend yourself!! Don't drink to much Leinies'!

  3. Loved to hear of your Thanksgivings through the years! Have a wonderful celebration this year with your family.

    1. Becky, did you ever spend a Thanksgiving with us in ames???