Thanksgiving! Good or bad? It all depends on the company you keep. As I mentioned before, my husband always went deer hunting Thanksgiving week. Many of you are thinking how sad. The man asked for one week out of the whole year to himself. How could I possibly begrudge him that? Sometimes I stayed home enjoying my solitude. Sometimes I traveled to spend the holiday with friends. I have spent Thanksgiving in many different places. The most unusual place was Tanzania. I was hunting big game but only with a camera. There was no turkey and the day passed with no fanfare.
We all have our traditions for the day. Dinner in my family was a fairly formal affair. We were all seated at the dining room table with the good china. The menu was turkey, dressing ( not stuffing ), gravy, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry salad ( not the jellied glob from the can ), and rolls. Dessert was pumpkin pie with whipped cream. The television was not on. We spent the day being together and talking. After dark, we went for a drive to see the Christmas lights downtown. After Steve and I were married, we would go with his parents to a Christmas tree farm. We would search for the perfect tree, tag it, and come back at a later date to cut it down.
In Alabama, I was invited to spend Thanksgiving at my friend’s lake house. The immediate family numbered 17. Add friends and in-laws and this was a crowd! People were everywhere, inside and out. There was no good china only paper plates. The turkeys were fried. Yes, turkeys plural. Usually 5 turkeys with the first one coming out of the fryer before noon. This one was to “ snack “ on. They had perfected the timing and they were very moist. I did miss the drippings to be used for gravy. The oddest thing to me about the menu was the macaroni and cheese. In my family, this was not a dish for a special occasion. They all loved it no matter what the day. The most shocking thing was no pumpkin pie. I was craving that pie. Surely it was here somewhere. Not a single one! Their favorites were a chocolate pudding dessert & banana pudding. There was a bonfire and a game of horseshoes in the yard after dinner. The important thing was the time together.
When Scarlett and I reconnected, it was Thanksgiving. I am always thankful for her friendship. This year I am fortunate to be spending Thanksgiving with Scarlett and her husband. Plans have been made to dine out. Another new Thanksgiving experience in a new place. Ohhhh no! No leftovers. What to do? By the way, that year with no pumpkin pie, I came home and made my own. Knowing this story, Scarlett has promised to make a pumpkin pie, of which she hates but gets rave reviews every year from others…I can’t wait!
This is my grandmother’s cranberry salad. It is not a jello salad. It is a fruit salad with just enough gelatin to hold it together. If cranberry jello is not available, substitute raspberry. All fruit should be coarsely chopped.
2 boxes cranberry jello
1 cup boiling water
2 bags fresh cranberries
2 apples,a crisp apple such as McIntosh
2 oranges & zest
1 small can crushed pineapple
2 stalks celery
1 cup walnuts
1 ½ cup of sugar
Combine jello and boiling water in a bowl. Stir until dissolved. Refrigerate until thickened but not set. Place pineapple in a colander and press to drain. Zest oranges into bowl. Section and chop oranges in a food processor, add to bowl. Quarter apples and remove the core, chop in food processor and add to bowl. Chop cranberries, walnuts, and celery separately in food processor, add to bowl. Add sugar and pineapple to the bowl, stir to combine. Add the jello to the bowl, stir thoroughly to coat all fruit. Place in a 9×13 dish, cover, refrigerate overnight.
Leftovers? Probably not but, my friend used it as an ice cream topping.