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Turkey Day Traditions: What Are Yours?

The word dressing has many associations. For some it’s ranch, light or on the side. For me it’s stuffing.

There is a divide in the continental US over this traditional holiday dish.

Most southerners refrain from stuffing their turkeys, which makes the term “stuffing” null. Dressing (a.k.a stuffing) is prepared in a separate dish, and for me it’s the center piece of Thanksgiving.

There was a recipe on my dad’s side that was handed down from generation to generation. Before my Grandma passed I pleaded for the recipe. She offered a list of ingredients without measurements. A pinch of this and a dash of that would lead me down a rabbit hole for years. I might never perfect the recipe but I’ve come pretty damned close, and that is my offering each holiday. It’s a simple cornbread dressing that always roused my family from a dead sleep. We often bumped into each other between the fridge and the microwave.

Derek is a chef by trade and always takes the reigns when it comes to the bird. I can usually take or leave turkey, but when he stuffs oranges up it’s butt, brines it, and wraps bacon around it, I always go back for seconds.

I am the mashed potato queen! Just give me this accolade because I can count on two hands, dishes that I can successfully pull off. My mashed potatoes are laden with butter and cream, and are silky smooth.

Collard greens are a thing in NC. I hated them until I tried Derek’s. He cooks them down in apple cider vinegar and bacon until they are a melt-in-your-mouth-dream.

Collard Greens

If I’m feeling fancy, I make  pecan and blue cheese tarlets with swiss chard and emmentaler cheese. I’m usually feeling fancy during the holidays, and these are quick to whip up.

My “award winning” cherry pie almost always makes an appearance. It consists of refrigerated pie dough and canned cherry pie filling. Sometimes improvements aren’t needed on the classics.

Fresh Cherry Pie Recipe

This year I will attempt to make a salted-caramel chocolate pecan pie from scratch. I have a 50/50 success rate.

What will be on your table at Thanksgiving? What holiday traditions do you hold near and dear?

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12 thoughts on “Turkey Day Traditions: What Are Yours?

  1. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but last week I bought turkey legs to prepare for my kids (I only need to remember when it’s Thanksgiving). I’m vegetarian so I never try how it’s going on the way. And my kids will eat whatever I put on their plates… My success rate is very low 🙂

  2. We’ll go to my mothers house, and she’ll cook for a small army. She’ll cook a traditional turkey with stuffing, but also have manicotti, roast beef, and soup. Then there will be far too many sweets afterwards and an overdue nap by the time that I get home. 😀

  3. Oh goodness, Kim. I’m afraid my family’s traditions are shameful compared to yours. None of us cook. We usually go to my mother’s and she just buys something from Costco. I used to make something simple (sometimes just whip up a salad or some grilled veggies) but my mother has since asked me not to. I wonder why…(no seriously, I have no idea, they really didn’t turn out too badly.)

  4. Growing up in a small family, single mom to an only child, we really didn’t have any Thanksgiving traditions. Now that I am older I am doing my best to change that. Over the past few years I have been “training” myself for cooking for more than two on Thanksgiving. This year I am cooking for six, including my mom, and I am so very excited! Please post, or link, the recipe for those tartlets! I have a feeling those will be a big hit with my friends over the holidays.

  5. I only know how to make one thing and that is cranberry sauce! Mine is the best!! But isn’t everything when you dump a few cups of wine in the pot! Yes! That is the secret!

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