Thanksgiving Memories

Reading stories about how people will be facing the Nazi-like restrictions on gatherings this Thanksgiving had me reminiscing…

When I was young, we would sometimes converge at my Uncle Bob’s house in San Francisco for Thanksgiving, but for the most part it was just the three of us. Mom cooked a typical turkey dinner – which was overkill and would see us eating leftovers (Can you say “turkey sandwich”?) for what seemed liked weeks.

After I turned 18 and moved out on my own, we’d take our Thanksgiving celebrations to fine-dining establishments. To this day, my fondest holiday memories are the ones where we got all dressed-up and went out to eat. I can remember dinner-plate-sized Caesar salads tossed at the table and escargots with lots of french bread with which to mop-up the garlic butter sauce (This was before I became a vegetarian.), and Cherries Jubilee for dessert. I dearly miss those special times with my Mom and Dad.

After I got married, my ex-husband and I would swap holidays. One year we’d go to my family for Thanksgiving and spend Christmas with his folks. The next year, we switch it up…and so on. When my Mom died we’d invite Dad over to our place each year – until he met a wonderful lady (Ruth), who would become his wife and my step-mother, and then holiday get-togethers would be split between three households.

As far as holiday traditions go, I can’t recall much after my divorce. But I DO remember occasional dinners out with Dad and Ruth. Most holidays I spent by myself, but I really didn’t mind. I’d watch movies and hang-out with my cats. One Thanksgiving a couple who were close friends (and aerobics students) of mine came over brandishing a turkey thigh (Yes, the kitties got some!) while I cooked all the extras.

When I moved in with my ex-boyfriend (and very best friend), splitting-up the holidays between families became de rigueur once again. After my Dad passed away and holidays with his family occurred sporadically, we chose to create our own traditions – which lived on even after we split-up and became roommates.

Then I moved to Hootersville… Never part of any family and not given the opportunity to make friends, I spent the last two years with an individual who didn’t believe that holidays were “special”. So Diego and I celebrated together, in our own way.

Now that I’m back home in Santa Clara, I am excited to be hanging-out with my two best friends – and roommates. This will be our first Thanksgiving together, Ramses and I (Too bad we’re having Tofurkey®. I may have to come up with something special for him.), and the first one for all three of us. I have much to be grateful for.

My heart goes out to all who cannot be with their loved ones today, but I hope everyone has at least one good friend to “hang-out” with – whether that friend has four legs or two!

Together, let’s raise a glass – you and I – and toast to friendships, family, health, and happiness for one and all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tradional Thanksgiving dishes around the country

A discussion ensued today regarding what Americans consider “must haves” for their Thanksgiving table, so I did some research and found regional-based recipes that are obvious – and some that suprised me:

  1. Where would find fried turkey, turkey tamales, and cornbread dressing?
  2. What about creamed onions (A staple when I was growing-up.), oyster stuffing, and Indian pudding?
  3. Which state relishes pickeled cabbage, corn cakes, and corn on the cob for Thanksgiving?
  4. Which nationality serves pasta, pickled vegetables, and antipasto at Thanksgiving?
  5. Where did this Thanksgiving staple originate:  cranberry relish/sauce?
  6. Which region “must have” this on their Thanksgiving table:  Frog eye salad. (They’re also partial to Jell-O salad)
  7. The Green bean casserole originated in which region of the U.S.? (They also replace the traditional pumpkin pie with cherry pie.)
  8. Wild rice casserole can be served on the side or as stuffing. Which state(s) is this usually found?
  9. This one should be a no-brainer:  Which region prides itself on serving Sweet Potato Pie? (Hint:  General portions of collard greens are also served.)
  10. In what state do you find an abundance of peaches (and peach pie) – in addition to their Thanksgiving favorite, Pecan pie?
  11. Key Lime pie is not only a Thanksgiving tradition in this state, but it’s also the state food!
  12. Where did mushroom gravy originate?
  13. Another no-brainer:  Which state incorporates sourdough bread in their stuffing?
  14. Last but not least, where would you find Okinawan sweet potatoes (they’re purple!) served?

Happy Thanksgiving!!

What Thanksgiving dinner looks like in 16 regions across the country
Bonus:  10 dishes you should never serve on Thanksgiving

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Adopt A Turkey This Thanksgiving!

“Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary’s annual Adopt a Turkey Project has reached millions of people with a message of compassion for these wonderful birds. Do your part and sponsor one of our rescued turkeys!”

I’ve been a vegetarian for many moons, and at Thanksgiving I enjoy Tofurkey roast with all the fixings. (Believe me when I tell you this is REALLY good and makes yummy after-Thanksgiving sandwiches. “Faux meat” has come a long way over the years…)

Vegetarian or not, you can STILL support Farm Sanctuary‘s wonderful work rescuing farm animals by adopting one of their turkeys.

With names like Anna (“The Goofball”), Elsa (“The Wallflower”), Marnie (“The Alpha”), Hank Williams (“The Legend”), and Pamela (“The Lover”) how could you not fall in love with one of these sweeties.

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