How kid-focused is your Thanksgiving menu? has a slide show of kid-friendly (dare I say kid-focused) Thanksgiving side dishes that gave me pause.

The most creative side dishes were cranberry sauce molded to look like turkeys and soup served in tiny little pumpkins.

The slide show made me feel guilty that I didn’t think more about amusing my kids’ bouches, instead of just making yummy (mostly traditional family recipes) that I think everyone will like.

For example, the kids don’t like sweet potato soufflé so we are also having mashed potatoes. And while they like broccoli they don’t like my mom’s broccoli rice casserole (I don’t either!) so we are also having beans. (They’ll eat the turkey, stuffing and rolls.)

The desert is where I did really take them into consideration. I knew I was going to make my mother-in-law’s pecan tarts (because they are super tasty and easy). The kids like them OK but I wanted to also make a desert that the kids would go nuts for so I am making a chocolate hazelnut tart – basically Neutella in pie-form.

But should I feel guilty if I am not forming things into turkeys and putting soup into adorable baby pumpkins? (Would those cute pumpkins really make your kids eat the soup?)

Is the Babble web site thinking too hard about making this meal not just kid-friendly but kid-focused or am I not thinking enough?

What’s on your menu that will appeal to kids? What did you add just for the kids? How much did you take into consideration making the meal whimsical for your kids?

- by Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, Momania blog

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November 23rd, 2010
3:57 am

to me, Thanksgiving is one of the holidays that is not specifically kid-focused. While I think having a variety of dishes to please all palates is a good idea; trying too hard to make the food “fun” for the kids is not necessary. They’ll eat plenty and whatever they don’t eat just means more for the adults. :-)

The main thing I want my kids to focus on at Thanksgiving is remembering to be thankful for what they have (whether or not the food is in fun-shapes).


November 23rd, 2010
6:16 am

Guilty? I don’t think so!! At what point do kids learn that there is something that doesn’t revolve around them? Sure, make sure there’s some food there that everyone — including kids — will enjoy, but feeling guilty because some website is trying to increase hits by posting oh-so-cute little Thanksgiving do-dads is a bit much!


November 23rd, 2010
6:23 am

I don’t really focus on how “kid-friendly” the food is, just how healthy I can make it without anyone knowing. I know that must sound just awful, but I generally eat a very low fat, low processed food diet and would rather “hid” how the food was cooked rather than be sick all night as it has been in the past at family dinners. BTW, tried the bringing my own food and it just wasn’t worth the fight that insued. My little one asks for fruit and veggies most days and I think it’s because I serve them as they are with a touch of sea salt. Keep it simple and they will taste food as it should be tasted.

As for making things fun for the kids (and adults) I always put out art and craft stuff on the table. This year they are going to be turkeys to cut out with space to write what you are thankful for with feathers and what not to adorn. Might be kind of goofy, but I think people will enjoy it more than they let on. Then it will be board games, cards, movies and a walk after dinner. All in all it should be lots of fun for everyone. Don’t feel like you are leaving the kids out if your food isn’t in a fun shape or in crazy bowls or dishes. The only people who care about stuff like that are the one’s doing it in the first place. Been there, done that and got over it fast.


November 23rd, 2010
6:33 am

Theresa, it’s dessert! A desert is filled with sand! ;)


November 23rd, 2010
7:22 am

my gosh who would have time to do all that? thanksgiving is for giving thanks….having the family’s traditional food, ballgames or walks or whatever…its a traditional thing…i cant imagine having time to make turkey shaped anytthing with all the other cooking that goes on.

mom of 3

November 23rd, 2010
7:22 am

Thanksgiving is family focus not specifically kid focused. With my 3 they each got to pick one food that they wanted me to cook for Thanksgiving, it didn’t matter what it was. So 31 years later I still make dumplings, which is not a traditional food but it’s a family tradition. It’s about everyone. I think we focus too much on making so much kid friendly.


November 23rd, 2010
7:55 am

I like the slideshow. It doesn’t make me feel guilty for not being Martha Stewart for kids. Instead it just inspires me — it’s amazing what art you can make with food! I doubt I’d ever make all of those things at one dinner, but I’d certainly try them with different meals as time allowed. I think kids should learn how to appreciate all that’s possible with food — from building mash potato forts to eating cranberry turkeys.

new mom

November 23rd, 2010
7:56 am

Guilty? no way. We do plenty of fun crafty things around here, and plan to do some turkey crafts, but we rarely/never fix either girl, ages 3 and 1, anything different from what the family eats. (with the very occasional exception of a birthday) Otherwise, they each eat exactly what the family eats. They aren’t picky eaters and I plan to keep it that way. ;) That being said, I did let our 3 yr old pick out a sweet potato casserole recipe and we’ll make it together for the family. I don’t know if it will be any good, but she chose it, it’s always fun to cook with her, and she will feel like she contributed toward the family meal.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! :)


November 23rd, 2010
8:00 am

The only thing we do is make sure there are a few dishes in there just for them. I am making macaroni and cheese and both sweet potato casserole and mashed potatoes. They won’t eat the sweet potatoes (more for me!) Otherwise, they eat what’s on the table. Also, we have a one bite rule. Have to try one bite of everything!


November 23rd, 2010
8:03 am

Good points all. IMHO many children think the world revolves around them and many parents let it happen. A hard attitude to break when they get older and have to get a job working for someone else!

I LOVE children but so many have been coddled and eat about 6 foods:

chicken nuggets, pancakes, fries, pizza, cereal, mac& cheese and pudding

If anyone wants to have those for Thanksgiving…be my guest…;)

I just finished an entire month sharing different kinds of foods with kids in my foods program.
I mentioned it yesterday. One gift you can give your children is broad taste buds. Do this by introducing new foods and not letting your kitchen become a short order grill. I am quite impressed with the parents whose kids tell me they like:

caesar salad, couscous, mushrooms, olives, etc.

It is doubtful the kids chose these items themselves but the parents took time to introduce them and cultivate their child’s taste buds.

I went shopping yesterday with my 18 year old daughter. She is directing and cooking our meal, as she did last year. One dish we are having is brussels sprouts with a reduction sauce on it that she is concocting. There will be lots of other choices too but I am thrilled that she is excited to try new things.

Many will wrinkle their noses up and that is fine….it reminds me of the kids who do so….LOL.
I will politely taste them and praise her for her efforts, even if I am not in love with them. I remind the children I work with to use their manners when food is passed and always say:

YES please or NO thank you…

Teachers get such a kick out of this as so many kids have no idea what to say.

I do not care for pumpkin pie but we still serve it as others here do. To me, it is about balance and we think of some things that each person will like. It is fun, to me, to hear what folks eat at Thanksgiving. The variety in other areas is neat.

Once, a teacher came to me and said, “my sister in law is from the south…do you know what they served us on Thanksgiving…MACARONI AND CHEESE!” I replied, “well I am sure it was not Kraft…”

She, “Oh no it was homemade but that is not a Thanksgiving dish…is it?” In the south….perhaps!

My mom always served tomato juice and beets…not so much here :0.

Holiday traditions are a fun way to celebrate your family . @madmommy I think the thankful turkeys are fun!


November 23rd, 2010
8:15 am

Guilty??? Pssst…. Guess what…. Not everything in life revolves around the children. If it all revolves around “the children” wait until age 18 when they move out and you’re forced to speak with your spouse and realize you have nothing in common. Perhaps Thanksgiving might revolve around giving thanks for whatever one might have???? It’s not always about “the kids” for crying out loud.


November 23rd, 2010
8:17 am

Bah HumBug, are there no more workhouses? Are there no more jails. Let the little rats eat what you put on the table or eat nothing at all.

mom of 3

November 23rd, 2010
8:19 am

@motherjanegoose – i applaude your response. Too many children order mom and dad around because they have been taught they are the sun and the rest of us revolve around them. I am really worried about how these children will react when they are told, “sorry, you don’t get the job.” Will they just retreat back home to mom and dad?
I think that balance isn’t taught that much anymore and that’s sad. Thanksgiving is a time of family, acceptance, and love.
This is my first without any parent so a little sad but I am thankful for the memories. My thanksgiving memories aren’t filled with what we ate but the atmosphere in which we ate. The laughter, the conversations, the hugs, and the kisses. Who care if little pumpkins are floating in the soup, as long as mom is there and smiling because her family is all together and for an hour – PEACE within the walls of the home.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Lady Strange

November 23rd, 2010
8:28 am

We usually cook the same things every year. This year I have to do almost all the cooking since my mom has to work both of her jobs on Thanksgiving Day!!! It’s stupid that retailers are even open on Thanksgiving, give the poor people time to spend with their families. But no, I am not going to cater dinner to what my son would eat. He can eat what’s offered if he’s hungry.


November 23rd, 2010
8:38 am

@ ladystrange…I agree that it is stupid and guess what: I put my money where my mouth is and stay home from W night until Saturday. I do not even go out for Black Friday. We live 3 miles from the Mall of Georgia and YOU WILL NOT catch me in that mess! Bottom line…folks will shop if things are open and there are sales.. I worked at Wal Mart in HS on Thanksgiving…are they still open now?

@ mom of …thank you! Your points were wonderful.

There are those here who think many of my comments are nuts. There are also those who are hiring me to share a parenting seminar. Who knows…perhaps I am crazy? Typically those who are 180 degrees out from me are the ones who are upset at me. That is their right as I am responsible for my kids and they are responsible for theirs…thank goodness! So far, mine are doing fairly well.
We have had a few upsets but my husband and I are thankful for our kids who we now enjoy as adults….most of the time :)


November 23rd, 2010
8:39 am

NOPE! No guilt here! It’s hard enough trying to get the meal together! I make what a BUNCH of stuff for Thanksgiving. Usually, the little guys like a majority of it! If not, he’ll be hungry! :o)


November 23rd, 2010
8:46 am

I think it is nice to have something that each person enjoys, regardless of he or she is an adult or a child, within reason of course. For example, sweet potato souflee is my absolute favorite thing so when I go to my daddy’s, my bonus mother makes some for me (EVERYBODY else eats A LOT of it too so I start with that before everybody else gets their spoons into the dish!). She also makes a bunch of stuff I don’t eat so I pass right by that. Yes I am picky but I also know that I cannot dictate the whole menu. Everybody is accommodated in a small way and I like that. I don’t think the world revolves around me. I just think it’s nice that everyone at least has ONE thing they like to eat on the table.


November 23rd, 2010
8:52 am

We just add a box of Kraft mac-n-cheese to the menu. That makes the kids happy.


November 23rd, 2010
8:59 am

Well, for some reason, my oldest niece doesn’t like traditional turkey, so her mom makes her Turkey burgers and she brings them with her to my moms. What a slap in the face to the cook….

We do the traditional thanksgiving, always have, always will. My mom, at 80, still throws down the best Thanksgiving meal anyone would want. EVERYONE loves going to her house for Turkey Day. We will all get there around 1:00. We always put a puzzle together, we ordered one back in September. We watch football, help cook, and just spend the day relaxing as a family. We may spend the night, we may all go back home.

But it’s just a relaxing day, full of family, football and good food.


November 23rd, 2010
9:30 am

And then there is the reality Thanksgiving: bring a bunch of family members together with their spouses and children, put them in a house which is at full capacity, add alcohol, keep the people bottled up all day long making them realize they have nothing in common with their guests and BOOM! A nice holiday family argument!

There is a sizable percentage of people who hate the theatrics of Thanksgiving, men and women alike. How many spouses are dragged to the in-laws, forced to watch bad television, forced to carry on a conversation with people they have absolutely nothing in common with, eat at an off time and then have to drive home all in the spirit of “family tradition”. A lot of people would simply like to skip all the family members and their children, cook an agreeable meal at home, watch TV, relax and stop going through the charade of being with family and simply want to be left alone.


November 23rd, 2010
9:33 am

I think it’s nice to have something special for the kids, but mashed potatoes and chocolate hazelnut tarts that they’ll love is plenty. If they really love the tarts, it may become a favorite that they request every year — a new family Thanksgiving tradition! And while I don’t think it’s necessary, if they like broccoli, but not casserole, I’d probably go ahead and steam a handful of that too since it’s easy and already on hand to counteract all the starch and sweets they’ll be eating (and have some myself since I’m not a big fan of casseroles either!).


November 23rd, 2010
10:02 am

Here’s a novel idea -let your kid find something he or she will eat at the Thanksgiving table or buffet. If nothing else, they should be able to eat some turkey and dessert. I was extremely picky as a child and basically all I remember about Thanksgiving food in the enormous pot luck feast generated by my father’s side of the family was BBQ venison, mac and cheese, turkey and my grandmother’s chocolate pies. Even if you have a small, 4 or 5 person dinner at a table, your kid should be able to find something, unless your Thanksgiving meal consists solely of organ meats and Brussels sprouts. NO, you shouldn’t go out of your way to make cutesy kid dishes. There’s nothing wrong with asking your kids if they have a favorite homemade dish or dessert they would like for you to make (and chicken nuggets do not count), but this smacks of the whole “Let’s make everything kid-focused and kid-centric” movement that has become one of my biggest pet peeves.


November 23rd, 2010
10:11 am

Maybe it was my ex-MIL who ruined it for me, but every year it was awful. She had to host it, no I could not bring a dish. Then the whole time we were there she went on and on about how much work it was, how no one appreciated the work she put into it.

As much as I love the idea of a traditional Thanksgiving, I don’t think I have ever enjoyed it as an adult. There is a lot of stress about this holiday IMO.

On topic, no we didn’t make food just for the kids. However, tis year I am making a casserol to take to my friends, just because my daughter and I love it. BTW I got the receip from my ex-MIL lol.


November 23rd, 2010
10:12 am

@ JATL…thanks for sticking up for me yesterday….I almost fell off my chair….hugs to you!

@ HB…WOW something we agree on…I am not crazy about casseroles either. My mom fixed them all the time and I find that certain parts of the country are really big on them. We will do green bean casserole here as it is pretty much a tradition. Guess we can eat that if we do not like the brussels sprouts….:0

@ Photius…I have been forced to carry on a conversation with people I do not know many times and really, I have learned lots of things. I have even eaten dinner at restaurants with people I did not know. I walked in alone and saw another woman at the same venue ( name tag on in the hotel restaurant) and asked her if they would like to eat dinner with me. Sometimes, it has been laughable but sometimes it has been fascinating! Sometimes, it has been so wonderful that I bought them their dinner! It is always an adventure.

mom of 3

November 23rd, 2010
10:16 am

@Photius – I am sorry you have such bad memories that is if they are yours.
@JJ – that sounds wonderful.
@JATL – totally agree.


November 23rd, 2010
10:17 am

AH -so refreshing to read these answers!

@Ladystrange -it IS stupid. Unless you’re a hospital, airline or emergency worker who expects to have some holiday shifts here and there, you should be off on Thanksgiving (and other major holidays). People who are cruising Walmart or Kmart or any other store that’s open on Thanksgiving Day really need to sit back and evaluate their priorities. The crazy, mass-consumerism will hit full force on Friday, but everyone deserves the chance to sit back with their families and/or friends on Thursday and reflect on their lives and relationships. That 50% off toy WILL wait until Friday people -no need to ruin retail employees holidays so you can buy a bunch of plastic.


November 23rd, 2010
10:34 am

@MJG -hey, fair is fair! Miracles really do happen around the holidays! Your responses made sense and were intelligible and GTFSOH -whatever (I CANNOT remember it to save my life -guess my elevator doesn’t go to the top either) didn’t make a lot of sense in her arguments with you or with me. Happy Thanksgiving!


November 23rd, 2010
10:49 am

JATL…I told my husband about the comment yesterday referring to me running a multi million dollar business at dinner last night. He looked at me like …why am I working? We both got a laugh out of it.

Mrs. G

November 23rd, 2010
10:50 am

@JJ – Your niece reminds me of my cousin. He used to be very picky (fortunately, he seems to have grown out of it – he turns 18 this month) and, up until a few years ago, my aunt would bring pasta or chicken nuggets for him to holiday dinners (my dad always makes an incredible roast beef dinner for Christmas and, there he would be, eating fettucine alfredo that his mom had heated up for him at my parents’ house…). My mom and I have always had a field day with how much my aunt coddles him.


November 23rd, 2010
11:08 am

Theresa, there seems to be a running theme for you about feeling guilty because you didn’t bend over backwards for your kids.

Lookit, I’m a mom and NOTHING about my parenting is kid-focused. I am raising my son to be an adult, so he lives in an adult world. And no, adult =/= X-rated.

This doesn’t mean we NEVER consider him in any plans. But his opinion most assuredly carries less weight. He’s 9, if it’s up to him Thanksgiving dinner would be 5 courses of candy.


November 23rd, 2010
11:08 am

Photius – I’m sorry for you if that is your holiday. Fortunately, I have a very small family and we all like each other. There are no in-laws, as my brother is divorced and so am I, so we just take our kids down to our Moms. My dad passed away 17 years ago, and there are no aunts, uncles, or cousins, just the 6 of us. Unfortutuately, my nieces will not be with us this year. Their mom has them for Thanksgiving, and has made plans for them all day long. This will be our first year without them……

I’m not one for the shopping. I just like to enjoy a four day weekend and spend time getting my house decorated for Christmas, and enjoying my daughter for a few days, before she goes back to school for finals, then we are in the Christmas rush…..

I am thankful I have a lot to be thankful for…..

I am very thankful to have a small family.

I am very thankful I don’t have to fly anywhere for the holidays.

I am thankful I only have once place to go, one meal to eat on Thanksgiving.

I am very thankful for my Mother, who at 80, is still active and independant and is one of the greatest cooks on this earth.

I am very thankful for my brother, who is in law enforcement, and is out there keeping us all safe.

I am very thankful for the Men and Women of this country who chose to defend our freedom, and are not home to be with their families.

I am thankful that I still live in a free country.

I am thankful for my job.

I am thankful for my health.

I am thankful for each and every person on this blog, new and old, mean and nice, who have come to share their opinions.

I hope everyone has a nice holiday!!!!!


November 23rd, 2010
11:12 am

However, I will say that this year we’re going to NYC for Thanksgiving. So we will be eating out. Where we choose will be based on my husband and my tastes and my son will get to pick his own meal.

We will, however, take him to M&M World, at some point.

In past years, when I have cooked Thanksgiving dinner I have cooked cornish hens (1 per person) because we never have enough people for even the smallest turkey (which I like fried, anyway), stuffing, creamed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet-potato pie (yuck, by my husband likes it), cranberry salad (yum! – crushed fresh cranberries with pecans, orange marmelade, raspberry jello, and mini-marshmallows), and for dessert we do a key-lime pie.


November 23rd, 2010
11:15 am

@iRun -I completely agree with your post! Have you ever read the children’s book “Little Pea”? Your son is a bit old for it now, but the “5 courses of candy” reminded me of it. It’s one of my 4 year old’s favorite books. Evidently in “Pea world” little peas have to eat 5 pieces of candy for dinner before they can have their dessert of spinach ;-)


November 23rd, 2010
11:17 am

@ JJ…excellent points! Am I in the mean or nice group ;0

I too am thankful my daughter is home from college, although she is now at work. She sighed when she left for work yesterday and said, “most of my friends are just crashing all week and do not have to go to work…”

Oh well….I am thankful for my job and that all four of us here have one! Maybe I AM in the mean group LOL.

I am most thankful that I do not have to step into ATL Hartsfield tomorrow, which could be a hornet’s nest.


November 23rd, 2010
11:17 am

Wow. I think @Scrooge up there summed it up. Are all of you that jaded about parenting that a dish of turkey-shaped cranberry gelatin for one special holiday has your knickers in knots? It looks like the slideshow had ten dishes in it that everyone would like. I didn’t see anything so far off the traditional menu that anyone who makes them would be guilty of leading a kid-centric revolution. There were no hotdogs squished into spaghetti to mimic little octopi, for goodness’ sake.

While I agree that dinner should not cater to children’s endless desire for pizza and chicken nuggets, a holiday meal such as Thanksgiving should be presented with your guests in mind, as you would when entertaining anyone. If one of the guests you are entertaining is gluten-free, then you would be sure to serve plenty of dishes he or she could eat. If you are entertaining someone who is kosher, best not to slather the turkey in butter, and add pork sausage to the stuffing.

Likewise, if you will be entertaining lots of guests with children, a tiramisu spiked with rum and espresso should probably not be the only dessert on the table.

We only have our children for a very short time, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with thinking of what might be enjoyable to them for one holiday meal. It might be a great way to show them we are—dare I say it?—THANKFUL we have them in our families.

Lady Strange

November 23rd, 2010
11:27 am

@MJG – Yes Wal-Mart is open on Thanksgiving Day, all night long apparently cause of Black Friday. I don’t need anything that badly to fight crowds of nasty people for something I could buy later or get online.


November 23rd, 2010
11:27 am

With my multiple families – mom’s, dad’s, grandmother’s – it is hard to not feel stressed on holidays I travel home for. This is because Mama lives 30 minutes from my grandmother and 2 hours from Daddy. I try to coordinate visits between all 3 of them usually. (This year I had to make a Daddy-only trip and a Mama and Grandmother-only trip for my sanity.) It’s too much! This year I am staying in Atlanta for Thanksgiving and having dinner with my friends. In a way I’m sad but I’m happy to have so many options, even though I have to cook dressing and have to find a recipe. (Pray for us!) LOL! My friend has already reassured me that there will be sweet potatoes on the table so I’m good. :-)Hopefully a margarita or 2 will be mixed too. Maybe the margaritas will confuse people into thinking my dressing is the best they’ve ever had.

I am happy that I won’t have the “talking to people I don’t like” experience but I understand the stress of traveling and how it sometimes ruins the holiday.


November 23rd, 2010
11:29 am

Why is it a slap in the face to the cook when others cannot or will not eat the food cooked and brings their own? If someone wants to bring their food, let them that mean there is more for everyone else [me]. Over this year my sister was unable to eat at most of our family events due to a stomach condition. She could not eat red meats, citrus fruits, most veggies, and 99% of the seasonings available in the market, so it was understandable for her to bring her own food.

In my family there are no special foods for children. Once you are able to eat regular foods, you loose the special treatment. You either eat it now with everyone, or eat it later by yourself when you are hungry, or don’t eat until the next day. The only exceptions are birthdays, special dietary needs (provided by the pediatrician), and the random chance any adult wants to eat something different.

On Thanksgiving we usually say what we are thankful for before we eat, then later watch football and play spades.

mom of 3

November 23rd, 2010
12:02 pm

I am thankful for my 3 beautiful daughters and 2 wonderful sons-in-law. I am thankful my 3rd daughter has a career and is happy being a 20 something year old woman and seeing the world. I am thankful for the grandson that will be with us next holiday season and can’t wait to meet him in February. I am thankful for a loving husband and 14 acres of peace and tranquility with our home in the middle of it. I am thankful that everyone on this thread that can express their opinion free and honestly without threat of being thrown into prison so therefore I am thankful for our military. So thankful for the men and women that put their lives on the line hourly just so we can be free.
I am thankful that we get to see all our children on Thursday and that there will be laughter, talking, some arguing (you can’t get this many women together and not argue about something – even if it’s where the next baby shower will be), and a lot of things remembered and new memories made.
MotherJaneGoose – keep up the good work and TWG keep posting.


November 23rd, 2010
12:06 pm

Be thankful your food for your Thanksgiving dinner isn’t coming from either a soup kitchen or a food pantry. Be thankful if you’re employed, enjoy good health and have good relationships with your immediate and extended families and friends. The idea behind Thanksgiving Day is not about what constitutes “traditional foods,” cute food presentation or who eats what. It’s about giving thanks for a successful harvest; since we are no longer an agricultural society, our “harvest” is what we have in our lives – food, clothing, shelter and family. I’m not expressing this very well, so I’ll just say Happy Thanksgiving to all.


November 23rd, 2010
12:08 pm

@MyOpinion…Why does the menu change if there is “the random chance that any adult wants to eat something different” and not when kids do? If the idea is “eat what I give you”, shouldn’t that apply to everyone?


November 23rd, 2010
12:10 pm

@MJG, I am still in awe that your friend thought macaroni and cheese isn’t a traditional Thanksgiving food:)! I don’t think I’ve ever had a Thanksgiving without it.

@myopinion I agree. It’s known that my family doesn’t eat pork, so if someone cooks greens with pork in it, we won’t touch it. I don’t think that’s a slap in the face, it’s just our choice.

My kids are getting older so I don’t have to even think about catering to them, however I wouldn’t if they were younger. They should be appreciative of what they have to eat. It’s really that simple.


November 23rd, 2010
12:24 pm

Fix what you fix, let them (all) eat what they will eat, and don’t worry so much about pleasing ANY ONE person. Or 2 or 3. Kid-focused? Naw. Family focused, yes. Cook special things Michael’s family always had and special things your family always had and let your children like whatever they like. It is NOT healthy to live your life so totally around pleasing your children (John Rosemond would agree.)

Talk about weird stuff: I had a colleague at grad school from Colorado whose family ate olives at Thanksgiving! That seemed strange to me. Of course, my dad (a Yankee) liked oyster dressing so my mom would make him a special serving of it just crawling with those awful rubber boogers. (My job was to “feel them up” to check for grit or pearls before they were cooked–yuck.) Her thinking was that my dad had suffered during WWII as a POW for months without heat or enough food, and if he wanted oyster dressing (what every boy from Illinois loved–lol) we could certainly fix it for him!

Barring illness (there is a lot going around) I will have all three children and their spouses and my 3 grandchildren together for at least some of the time at a lovely home up on Lake Nottley in NC. If you see a ray of sunshine and doves descending and you hear a Heavenly choir, it will be the bliss I am experiencing!

To all here, Happy Thanksgiving and may you have those you love around you (or at least where you can call or email each other.) Thank you and God bless to all who are serving our country and are away from home this year! May you be home next year!


November 23rd, 2010
12:27 pm

I would NEVER serve boxed mac and cheese at Thanksgiving, homemade yes, but not from a box. I cannot stand mac and cheese from a box……

Our traditional foods are: Turkey, stuffing (not dressing, but actual stuffing my mom makes by hand, including drying the bread for four days); mashed potatos, candied sweet potatos, green bean casserole, broccolli cheese casserole and a salad. Pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream, and brownies for dessert.


Cynthia M

November 23rd, 2010
12:29 pm

I am 52 and it has NEVER occurred to me to plan the Thanksgiving menu around our children or our grandchildren. We always have a big variety and there is plenty for them to chose from. I think children are entirely too catered to when it comes to food. We were raised to eat what was on the table and be grateful for whatever we had,and there were some poor times when we did not have much. Thanksgiving would be a wonderful time to teach those “center of the universe children” – to truly be thankful. A thankful spirit is quickly disappearing as the “gimmes” are growing.


November 23rd, 2010
1:12 pm

Funny story – My oldest niece was a VERY fussy eater when she was younger. She refused to eat spaghetti unless it was Ragu Tradidional sauce. Well, once my mom made homemade spag sauce, but put a jar of Ragu on the counter for a visual. That was all my niece needed to see, and think the sauce was Ragu. She loved the spaghetti and now wont eat any unless Gramma makes it.. LOL


November 23rd, 2010
1:24 pm

My memories of childhood Thanksgiving are about the favorite family dishes made each year that were geared toward everyone, not just kids. And, as adults, my siblings and I still make those same dishes. Now, my 5 year old son eats them as well. He added a request for this year – carrots and green beans. Kids often enjoy eating what has been introduced to them frequently, starting at very early ages. I am glad that my son likes eating many cuisines besides typical American food (Greek, Japanese, vegetarian etc.). It makes it easier for me and more enjoyable when eating out. When he gets to pick the restaurant to eat at, it is never fast food. Why? Because we never introduced that in the early years, except for a rare occasion while traveling; so, he just never got used to it.

It is not hard to create broad eating tastes, if you are persistent and believe in healthy eating. The first time he had chicken nuggets at a restaurant, he wouldn’t even eat it and found it too crusty and crunchy. He was just used to baked or grilled chicken. He has tried french fries a few time, but does not like them, although he does like sweet potato fries. The first few times he ever had mac n cheese in a restaurant, he wouldn’t eat it, as he found it way too cheesy; because at home, we use whole wheat macaroni with only a little cheese to keep the sodium content down.

One problem is that parents often worry that, if there toddler doesn’t eat for a couple of meals, that they then have to provide chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, or pizza to make sure they eat. This perpetuates the cycle. Kids stomachs are not yet trained for 3 regular meals a day like adults. They can skip a couple of meals and will eat what’s offered when hungry enough. When doing this, you just have to make sure they don’t fill up with non-healthy snacks in between. We are doing kids no favors by providing these supposedly “kid friendly” foods all the time. Many restaurants also only have those choices on the kids menu, although many will provide grilled chicken when requested. This trend needs to subside to minimize obesity and other health problems these kids will have as adults, due to all the processed additives and sodium. Isn’t turkey and dressing and cranberry relish kid friendly enough anyway?


November 23rd, 2010
1:33 pm

Not sure how many of you will be around tomorrow so I’ll say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and have a safe holiday, today.

So… Have a happy, and safe, Thanksgiving!


November 23rd, 2010
1:37 pm

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Wayne! And Happy Thanksgiving to everyone else!