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Trial Versus Tradition on Thanksgiving

Photo Credit: AJC file photo

Photo Credit: AJC file photo

Growing up, the only part of Thanksgiving I participated in was peeling the green beans for my mom. Okay, it actually involved me peeling about ten beans, then getting bored and going outside to play while my mom finished the task. Cooking has changed for me over the past five years as my skills have developed and now I find myself assigning my mom the grunt work of peeling.

My family has always stuck to tradition; turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and cornbread. I feel torn between sticking to our traditional menu and wanting to try new recipes. A suggestion of a quinoa, kale and walnut stuffed in a pumpkin was shot down. They did not want to try a salted caramel pecan pie. The family finally agreed to let me put rainbow carrots on the table this year instead of their orange counterparts.

Yes, Thanksgiving is just one meal out the year, but it is still a special meal, and with it comes with the old formalities that are lost in every day meals. Fine china, the dining room table, the presence of company.

Do you stick with tradition and cook the same recipes year after year? Or do you try to put a spin on the classics? What about venturing beyond the menu and adding something new?

-By Alexa Lampasona for the Food & More Blog

14 comments Add your comment

stephie

November 26th, 2013
12:21 pm

We have our traditional foods (green bean casserole, dressing, apple cranberry cobbler, and sweet potato casserole) and then we also add in one or 2 new dishes every year. This year will mostly be different though since we are forgoing sweet potato casserole for sweet potato latkes and while we are still doing dressing, it will be challah dressing this year. My parents are also smoking a brisket to go with the turkey. I’ll probably bring some random brussels sprouts dish and something else.

Kar

November 26th, 2013
2:52 pm

Personally there are some traditions that need to die.

I have never had a green bean casserole that I’ve eaten voluntarily. Same with Sweet Potato casserole. With or without marshmellows.

A slight tweak here or there does not have to break the family in half. If you want mushroom instead of chestnut stuffing, that doesn’t have to be traumatic. Chopped cranberry relish along with the traditional jelly out of a can for choice.

I wouldn’t walk out the kitchen to the table with a tofuturkey if everyone hasn’t agreed to it but having a dish that a long departed great aunt loved and no one else eats doesn’t make sense.

Different Drum

November 26th, 2013
3:30 pm

I’m hoping I can find a couple of prime filet mignons for my dinner on Thursday. Salad with buttermilk ranch dressing that’s not from a bottle, twice baked potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and onion, some nice bread and wine and I’m set.

FoodFan

November 26th, 2013
3:53 pm

We have done a “themed” Thanksgiving the last few years in my family, which has been fun. Some of the cuisine’s we’ve done have been Italian, Mexican, and this year is Cajun. So we still do the traditional tastes such as potatoes/stuffing/green beans, etc. but they each get a twist depending on the theme.

Baltisraul......

November 26th, 2013
4:21 pm

Kar….I can’t agree w/ you on the green bean casserole. There are many out there that are great not just the one on the back on the Campbell Soup can. I am no booster of that one either. We are subing a carrot soufle’ for the sweetpotato casserole this year and may never go back to the sweetpotato version. A tofuturkey, I would rather put a sharp stick in my eye!

Baltisraul......

November 26th, 2013
4:27 pm

FoodFan……the theme thing is cool. If we could get sweet corn at this time of the year, I would go with a ‘low country’ theme and have ‘Frogmore Stew’.

Kar

November 27th, 2013
1:11 am

Balt, maybe there are good recipes out there but in general, I prefer recipes that enhance the green bean flavor rather than crowding it out. So the addition of a cream sauce and toppings detract more than add form.

Baltisraul......

November 27th, 2013
7:25 am

Kar…..I believe that is why they call it a casserole, they do have their place during the holidays. Having a topping or sauce never has to detract from the veggies if you pick the right casserole recipe. Using creamed soups were very popular but you don’t see as much of them anymore.

RK

November 27th, 2013
10:14 am

I’m making green beans, but making a mushroom cream sauce for Modernist Cuisine at Home, and a lemon-parsley pesto, so people can decide if they want a souped-up traditional version of something different.

Baltisraul......

November 27th, 2013
12:42 pm

RK……seems like you have struck the right balance to me.

Kar

November 27th, 2013
11:22 pm

Balt, that’s the point.

If you have a recipe then share it but otherwise, I maintain that I have yet to taste a green bean recipe that enhances the green beans rather than drown them in salt and sauce.

Baltisraul......

November 28th, 2013
7:59 am

Kar, ok, If I find time I will do just that for you, but tomorrow!. Happy T’Giving!

Baltisraul......

November 29th, 2013
9:04 am

Kar……this may change your mind? Dug out of my recipe file. We had this dish 2 yrs ago @ Christmas.

2lbs-fresh green beans-trimmed
1 tbl-olive oil
6-garlic cloves-chopped
8-slices of french or italian bread, cubed & dried
4 tbl-butter-melted
1/2 cup-1/2′n1/2
1 tea-salt & pepper
1 small can-diced tomatoes-drained

saute garlic in oil, 2min, remove from pan. combine remaining and toss w/ boiled green beans. add back garlic. place in casserole dish and bake 19 min @ 400 degrees, uncovered.

Note: it is best to drop boiled green beans in a bowl of ice to stop the cooking process. This keeps the beans crisp.

Baltisraul......

November 29th, 2013
9:11 am

Kar….forgot, boil green bean 5 min.