"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Menu Planning > Special Events Planning & Holiday Cooking
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-30-2010, 11:30 PM   #1
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chicago
Posts: 333
Send a message via AIM to danpeikes
ISO ways to make my Thanksgiving menu a little more special.

I love traditional Thanksgiving food, but I am looking for a way to make things a little more special. What do you do to make your thanksgiving recipes a little more interesting?

__________________

danpeikes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2010, 11:41 PM   #2
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 45,746
I don't strive for interesting so much as I aim for best ever. I cook a traditional menu based on what I grew up eating. Of course, I make too many different foods but it always seems to get eaten.

You might try to add a different "new" dish to the menu each year in addition to or to replace one the traditional dishes.

If I could scare up enough family for a big Thanksgiving dinner, I'd make a turducken.
__________________

__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2010, 11:55 AM   #3
Master Chef
 
FrankZ's Avatar
Site Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Chesapeake Bay
Posts: 9,715
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
If I could scare up enough family for a big Thanksgiving dinner, I'd make a turducken.

Andy? Is that you, my long lost brother? What time is dinner?
__________________
"First you start with a pound of bologna..."
-My Grandmother on how to make ham salad.
FrankZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2010, 12:05 PM   #4
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Katie H's Avatar
Site Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: I live in the Heartland of the United States - Western Kentucky
Posts: 15,899
I do just about what Andy described, but usually try to add a "twist" to some of the traditional dishes, most usually some of the sides so as not to sacrifice everyone's anticipated traditional expectations.

I like to play with sweet potato and cranberry dishes and, as a result, have quite an assortment of variations for those.

One of my favorite ways to make my meal/menu more special is presentation and decor. Many years ago I was given a clear glass turkey-shaped lidded serving bowl (holds about 1 1/2 cups). I served my cranberry offering in it and, now, everyone expects to see it on the table. I've already been asked by one of my new family members if I'm going to have it on the table this year. Guess it made an impression on them last year.

Anyway, I think presentation goes a long way to making any menu special. We're having the big family meal at our house this year. The first one I'll prepare for my new family so I'm going to pull out all the stops and I'm really excited about it. Plus, I've never done this before because I've never had family close enough to be around for major holidays and I can't wait.
__________________
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
Katie H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2010, 12:07 PM   #5
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Uncle Bob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Small Town Mississippi
Posts: 17,514
Spicy 'Boiled' Shrimp...
Raw Oysters......
Shrimp Cocktail....
A Cup of Gumbo.....
Oyster Dressing.......
__________________
There is only one Quality worse than Hardness of Heart, and that is Softness of Head.

Kool-Aid...Think Before You Drink
Uncle Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2010, 12:42 PM   #6
Half Baked
 
4meandthem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Bay Area California
Posts: 2,018
I would pick a cuisine that you don't eat everyday and try to bend the meal to fit into that.You can still use traditinal ingredients but also some non-traditional ones as well.

Asian
Mexican
Italian
etc.
__________________
Just be yourself! Everyone else is taken.

My Flickr stuff!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/e_maxwell_photography/
4meandthem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 04:06 PM   #7
Assistant Cook
 
tmh425's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 27
I agree that while outstanding food is a must, presentation with some thought and detail put into it is also a must to make it truly special! I set a really beautiful table and try to make all my dishes that complement each other in some way. I know my extended family all think I'm "over the top" but I believe "God is in the details" and it is how I show my love.
tmh425 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 05:49 PM   #8
Traveling Welcome Wagon
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Somewhere, US
Posts: 15,716
When I prepare the Thanksgiving meal, my idea of perfection is for it to be like my mom's always was. We have always had a fairly plain but abundant menu, with the same foods every year. Sometimes in addition to the traditional pumpkin pie, the other pies might change, but that's pretty much it. My mom loved trying new things, and so do I, but Thanksgiving was not one we played around with much. Although it was never really voiced, Thanksgiving (for us) has always been about stability and family ties, and knowing that some things never change. Let the whole year be wild and unpredictable, but that one day when we know what to expect is something to be thankful for.

Barbara
Barbara L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 06:41 PM   #9
Executive Chef
 
bakechef's Avatar
Site Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,127
If you are having outside guests, you could always ask them if there is a dish that they love, something from their family's traditions. This is what I do on Thanksgiving. When the family is here for Christmas, we cook our own special side dishes, and some from our family's traditions, like my grandmother's pork stuffing, she is no longer with us, but we feel closer to her with that dish on the table.
bakechef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 06:45 PM   #10
Traveling Welcome Wagon
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Somewhere, US
Posts: 15,716
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakechef View Post
If you are having outside guests, you could always ask them if there is a dish that they love, something from their family's traditions. This is what I do on Thanksgiving. When the family is here for Christmas, we cook our own special side dishes, and some from our family's traditions, like my grandmother's pork stuffing, she is no longer with us, but we feel closer to her with that dish on the table.
Good idea. I remember when a vegetarian friend of ours came for a few Thanksgiving dinners, my mom always cooked the things we usually ate, but she added things that he liked.

Barbara
Barbara L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 07:25 PM   #11
Executive Chef
 
bakechef's Avatar
Site Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara L View Post
Good idea. I remember when a vegetarian friend of ours came for a few Thanksgiving dinners, my mom always cooked the things we usually ate, but she added things that he liked.

Barbara
When I first moved away, I was invited to co-worker's homes for Thanksgiving, it was nice, but it wasn't the same. I figure that if I can put something familiar on the table for my guests that they will feel more at "home". The different dishes usually become part of the conversation and we all reminisce about holidays growing up.

If the guest likes to cook, then I let them make the dish and bring it.
bakechef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 07:43 PM   #12
Head Chef
 
joesfolk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 1,737
Kids often feel like an afterthought at Thanksgiving. If there is a separate kids table you might take pains to decorate it just for them. Also individual dishes such as little pumkin pies are always a hit. If you really wanted to go the extra mile for the little crumb snatchers you could do individual rock cornish game hens. Just a thought.
joesfolk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 08:18 PM   #13
Chef Extraordinaire
 
babetoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: escondido, calif. near san diego
Posts: 14,341
what a sweet idea for the kids. the current crop of great grandchildren are to young to sit at a table alone. but will certainly keep it in mind. gotta have a dish of olives , for putting on the fingers, of course.
__________________
"life isn't about how to survive the storm but how to dance in the rain"
babetoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 08:20 PM   #14
Ogress Supreme
 
PrincessFiona60's Avatar
Site Administrator
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 37,880
Quote:
Originally Posted by babetoo View Post
what a sweet idea for the kids. the current crop of great grandchildren are to young to sit at a table alone. but will certainly keep it in mind. gotta have a dish of olives , for putting on the fingers, of course.
Do kids do that?
__________________
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein
PrincessFiona60 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 08:23 PM   #15
Head Chef
 
joesfolk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 1,737
" ET Phone Home!"
joesfolk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 10:28 PM   #16
Chef Extraordinaire
 
babetoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: escondido, calif. near san diego
Posts: 14,341
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 View Post
Do kids do that?
mine did as did all their cousins. my grandchildren did it. and my four year old great granddaughter does it. seems to be a family tradition.
__________________
"life isn't about how to survive the storm but how to dance in the rain"
babetoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 10:47 PM   #17
Ogress Supreme
 
PrincessFiona60's Avatar
Site Administrator
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 37,880
Quote:
Originally Posted by babetoo View Post
mine did as did all their cousins. my grandchildren did it. and my four year old great granddaughter does it. seems to be a family tradition.
We all did, too. We would try to find the biggest ones so Dad could play!
__________________
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein
PrincessFiona60 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 10:49 PM   #18
Traveling Welcome Wagon
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Somewhere, US
Posts: 15,716
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessFiona60 View Post
Do kids do that?
I remember the good old days when I used to do that. Wow, how time flies. How long ago was that, anyway? Oh yeah, last year.

Barbara
Barbara L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2010, 10:51 PM   #19
Ogress Supreme
 
PrincessFiona60's Avatar
Site Administrator
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 37,880
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara L View Post
I remember the good old days when I used to do that. Wow, how time flies. How long ago was that, anyway? Oh yeah, last year.

Barbara
Yeah, last year!
__________________
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein
PrincessFiona60 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2010, 07:05 AM   #20
Chef Extraordinaire
 
buckytom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: My mountain
Posts: 21,539
i'm 6 feet tall, roughly 230 pounds, and i still have to sit on the little fold up chairs at the kids table. that's what you get when you're the last of 6 kids.

the good part, though, is getting to teach all of the nieces and nephews, ranging in age from 6 to 28, how to steal uncle dickie's pumpkin pie, or tease aunt claire until she gets upset, or otherwise play with their food to make things fun.

i think i'll have to introduce the finger olives this year.

back on topic: we have the traditional meal every year, so the only thing that ends up being special is who gets the honour of saying grace, and what everyone adds on to the end of the standard prayer, followed by my dad.

btw, ours is "bless us oh lord for these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through christ our lord, amen... and may god bless you and keep you, may he let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, and may he look upon you kindly and give you peace"

then, everyone so inclined gets to add what they are thankful for, with my dad wrapping things up.

amen.
__________________

__________________
The past is gone it's all been said.
So here's to what the future brings,
I know tomorrow you'll find better things
buckytom is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:41 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
×