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Old 06-23-2012, 11:09 AM   #11
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I am from Wyoming and live in Montana. Typical starters are not that involved. Potato Crisps, Tortilla chips, platters of carrot and celery sticks with a ranch dip. Black and green olives and tiny sweet gerkins and dill pickles. These are set out while the main meal is being finished up.

Roast turkey with bread stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, candied sweet potatoes or yams. Yeast rolls with butter!!! I almost forgot those!

Desserts would be mostly fruit pies with a pumpkin pie as the star.
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:41 PM   #12
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Not sure where I'm from, but now call far western Kentucky home. My region has a heavy southern influence with its food.

I lived for some time in the upper northern part of Minnesota, near the Canadian border and enjoyed a different Thanksgiving meal experience than I do here in Kentucky and I like both.

One thing I've added over the years is, in addition to my savory sage turkey stuffing, a baked cornbread stuffing. It's traditional southern Thanksgiving fare and I love it.

It wasn't until about 4 years ago that I'd ever tasted "the" green bean casserole. It's pretty good, but seemed a bit too salty for me and I'm sure that's because the bulk of the ingredients are salt-laden.

As others have mentioned, we have pretty much the same thing from year to year, tradition, and the only changes I make are to add something new to the mix or prepare one of the standard dishes in a different way.

For example, there are members of our family who would think it a travesty if sweet potatoes weren't served for this holiday. By the time I was a young adult, I'd become so sick and tired of sweet potato casserole with browned marshmallows on top I nearly wretched at the thought of seeing a bowl of it on the table. So....I've almost made a quest of offering sweet potatoes in more creative and, to me, more delicious forms. And, hooray, everyone seems to have accepted that their dear orange veggie will appear on the table, but not dressed in marshmallows.

When it comes to stuffing, I prefer it in the turkey. The flavor that is imparted during the cooking process only enhances the flavor. At least, I think so. For those who prefer it otherwise I always have a separate casserole that is baked outside the bird. The recipe for the stuffing has been handed down from mother to daughter for generations in my family and I would be shot if I didn't make it.

It's pretty simple. Just dried bread, chopped onions, celery and green pepper, some milk and butter, a couple of eggs and seasoned with plenty of sage and salt and freshly ground black pepper. Oh, rats, now I want some stuffing!

I always serve mashed potatoes because I make copious amounts of gravy. I save the water from boiling the potatoes and the stock from cooking the giblets to add to the gravy when I make it.

When all the children were at home I had to make gravy by the vat and, finally, ended up serving it in a big pitcher. A gravy boat never made it around the table before it had to be refilled.

Dessert is almost a joke after one of our Thanksgiving/Christmas meals because everyone eats "a little of this and a little of that" and, by the time dessert arrived, there's not much room in our tummies for it.

I do make several desserts but we don't serve it immediately after the big meal. Dessert usually happens an hour or two later.

Pumpkin is quite the tradition on American Thanksgiving menus and one of the favorites with my family and guests is a pumpkin jellyroll I make that has a cream cheese icing. In spite of having the cream cheese frosting it's a light enough dessert to satisfy a sweet tooth and fill the need for a bit of dessert.

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned in the 45 or so Thanksgiving dinners I've prepared is...it is essential to do as much preparation ahead as possible. I greatly enjoy visiting with my family and guests and don't much like being tied to the kitchen. Experience is a wonderful teacher.

Good luck with your lovely surprise meal and you are wise to begin your planning now. You might consider preparing some of the dishes you plan to serve in the months prior to the event. This will give you the opportunity to critique it/them and get a preview of some of the wonderful flavors of our special holiday.
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:53 PM   #13
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Sweet Potatoes, sliced about 1/4" glazed with lemon juice and honey with chopped fresh rosemary. Makesure there is plenty of honey lemon to coat it, bake until potatoes are tender.
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:51 PM   #14
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Welcome Aboard

Buonasera,

Welcome aboard ...

Our true home is in Puglia, however, we rent a Loft in the Madrid Capital due to my profession.

Ciao, Kind regards.
Margi Cintrano.
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Old 06-23-2012, 02:03 PM   #15
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Thanksgiving is a very unique time of the year ... and we delight in celebrating it here in Madrid with Expat friends of ourīs and co-workers that we have become close to over the years ...

Thanksgiving: stuffed turkey ( stuffing changes yearly: chestnuts, bread with sage and / or dried fruits with pecans ) ... Then, there is Cranberry Sauce with citrus fruits, sweet potatoes or baked Jacks, parsnip cream, wild mushrooms and home made Apple Pie and Pecan Pie or Mince Meat Pie.
Then, there is always something Italian and something Swiss French and well chosen Red wines and Cava, Prosecco and Lambrusco ...

Ciao,
Margi Cintrano.
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:14 PM   #16
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Two dishes my family cannot stand. Sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping and the green bean casserole. The overly sweetness of the topping just doesn't go with the savory of the stuffing. YUK! YUK! YUK! There are plenty of recipes for sweet potatoes available. And the green bean casserole is a dish created in the Cambell Soup kitchens to increase sales of their Cream of Mushroom soup. It is way too salty. You need a gallon of water to get it down. And it calls for canned green beans. I prefer fresh ones.

For desserts, it is pies. Pumpkin is a definite. It is not Thanksgiving without the pumpkin pie. In October, families make a trip to a local farm for the sole purpose of getting their pumpkins right from the pumpkin patch for the pie. Blueberry, and apple are also favorites for Americans. You can use frozen blueberries. They also like whipped cream or ice cream with their pie.

You are going to need a 20-30 pound turkey. That sounds like a lot. But you have to remember that there is a lot of bone in the bird. I prefer a hen. I find it to be more tender. Some like the Tom turkey. He is bigger and has a fuller breast. Looks more impressive when brought to the table. I also prefer the stuffing inside the bird. With a side casserole. The bird's cavity really doesn't hold enough to feed the whole table. You will need to make quite a large amount. It too is also a favorite. Sage is the traditional seasoning. Cornbread dressing is a favorite for those that live in the South.

Prepare a menu and use it to compare against the recipes. Purchase all your non-perishables two weeks in advance. Make sure you have a shopping list with you. Everyone always forgets something. Look at your recipes to see what you will need. Check to see if you have some of the ingredients already. At the beginning of Thanksgiving week, purchase all your perishables. Again make sure you have a shopping list. You don't want to be running back and forth to the store for forgotten items. On Monday keeping the bird in the fridge, if you buy it frozen, start allowing it to thaw. Start your prep work on Tuesday. Cut up one cup of carrots, onions and celery each. You will use them for the dressing. Sage or cornbread. Wrap them securely til you need them. If you are going to make pies, Tuesday is the day to start. Leave the pumpkin for Wednesday. It is a custard pie and needs to be in the fridge. You probably won't have room for it. Blueberry and apple can sit out. I would suggest that you use prepared pie crust from your supermarket. It will be a time saver. And you need every one you can find.

Thanksgiving dinner is a LOT of work. And it is very expensive. But so worth it. For most families, two or three o'clock is about the time they plan on sitting down. Some families make it for the evening meal. There is no shame in buying your pies already made. You will need to plan on putting the bird in the oven no later than eight a.m. It takes a bit longer for the bird to cook if you put some dressing in the bird. And it has to sit for about 15-30 minutes to rest when you take it out. It allows the juices to redistribute.
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Old 06-23-2012, 04:31 PM   #17
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Heh. Some of us like green bean casserole, Addie! Use the low sodium soup and fresh or frozen green beans. The Durkee fried onions on top are a musgo!

I don't use carrots in my stuffing.

Have to agree about the candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows, could never stand them!
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