This is the time of year when we probably have more traditions than any other time. I’m the type of person that enjoys rearranging rooms often and trying new recipes frequently. I like keeping things fresh! Which in the instance of traditions; can be outside of that box. But, my kids like the traditional Thanksgiving meal and I go with it. With that being said, I am here to enlighten you with the traditions we have and how I keep it fresh.
A tradition that I did start a few years back was to have each of my 3 boys choose whatever dish they would like and be in charge of making it. I love this because none of them can complain that there was a dish missing that they really wanted. Prior to establishing this tradition, I found I was making way too many dishes in hopes to satisfy every whim and craving we all had. In past years the task of them making a dish did often require that I help with most of the process but, my boys are now 15, 14, and 12 and I am expecting they will need little help. My oldest, Miles, (a self declared foodie), is taking on the task of skipping the turkey and attempting Cornish game hens instead. I am super excited about this as it is actually a tradition of a fellow CSA volunteer Paula. Paula had told me about this last year which sparked the ambition for Miles. Trey, my middle, is making cranberries, (mostly because he will end up eating most of them and in the past I would be in charge of them and have to make a second batch just for him). But I must admit that this cranberry recipe is a tradition as well as it is so good and I don’t think I would ever stray from it. My husband and I are beer nerds and I discovered this recipe many years back in a beer magazine and have never looked back. It’s made with lambic beer and is so simple and so satisfying! As for my youngest, Van, he will be in charge of mashed potatoes and gravy. I had him look through NYT recipes and he settled on Vermont Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, which I am excited for because, if you recall, I am from Wisconsin and I love cheese.
When I had began working at a CSA in Wisconsin, I started basing my Thanksgiving dishes on what was fresh, which is something I continue. Last week I brought home a white pumpkin from Tucson CSA and followed the Pumpkin Puree recipe on our website to make about 5 cups for recipes I will be making. Last year was the first that I made Pumpkin Maple Cornbread, and it was a huge hit! So some of the pumpkin puree will be going to that and some to pumpkin pie. Beyond those dishes, I have: sweet potatoes and butternut squash from my shares and that I would like to include in the Thanksgiving meal as well.
Looking forward to the rest of the holiday season, we have a few traditions to come in the next couple weeks. These are the ones that my boys think of when I asked them what traditions they like. After Thanksgiving, we decorate for Christmas and that means bringing out our Christmas vinyl albums. Miles is excited for them and looks forward to decorating the tree while listening to some Christmas jazz. Trey is excited for “dad’s hot chocolate”, which is so rich and naughty and delicious with marshmallows toasted on top. Last but not least, Van is excited for St Nick, (which is personally my favorite holiday!). St Nick comes the night of December 5th and puts an orange, candy, and games or books or toys in your stocking. This year I have a feeling that St Nick will be bringing yummy caramels and toffee from the CSA shop!
Cheer to the traditions you enjoy and new ones you make!