A traditional Thanksgiving meal at my house includes all the family’s favorites: “Da turkey”, Nanny’s stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce from a can and peas and carrots from a can. Dessert can come in many forms at my house today but on Thanksgiving at my childhood home, pies were king. There was always Pumpkin, Apple and Coconut Custard. That’s it. You’d never see any other type of pie or any other kind of dessert.
At every Thanksgiving, there would be bowls of both black and green olives, celery stalks filled with pimento cheese and bowls of whole walnuts with nut crackers on the coffee table. These were our “appetizers”. There was always sparkling apple cider with dinner. As I write this, I realize just how basic and simple our holiday was but it was magical. We waited all year for that feast.
Anything and everything besides the items listed above have been added over the years and weren’t at my childhood Thanksgivings. My mom is a fanatic for tradition and therefore, every single year it was the exact same menu. No deviations and nothing new or different in the preparation. I loved it growing up but as I got older and got exposed to all kinds of food and really started enjoying my time in the kitchen, the menu and the recipes just grew and grew. While everything above HAS TO BE on the table, we now have lots of additional choices and extras. Sometimes we go wild and have two stuffings or two types of cranberry sauce… lol. I stopped serving cranberry sauce and vegetables out of cans many years ago (And people thank me!). We’ve added popovers with cinnamon and honey, and sweet potato casserole as regulars to the menu. A wide array of appetizers and cheese platters always make an appearance and are usually served with cocktails and wine.
Dessert takes many forms today. Everything from specialty cheesecakes to creme brulee can be found on our dessert table tucked in between those pies! Today’s menu offers a little of the old with some of the new. I invite you to try one or all of the recipes. Enjoy.