Creating Thanksgiving tradition

Staff Thanksgiving is wrapped in tradition and those traditions are related to food. Each November and December, professionally trained turkey experts assist more than 1 million cooks through the Turkey Talk-Line,, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Live Chats and emails in the United States and Canada.

More than any other holiday, Thanksgiving is wrapped in tradition. And generally, those traditions are related to food. Of course there's the turkey, but just think of all the side dishes that have to be on the table.

Personally, I love the cranberry sauce. I can't wait to make it every year, and look forward to putting in on leftover turkey sandwiches and even as a spread on toast the next morning.

For other family members it's the stuffing, and it has to be very moist and not too dry on top. We also have to make some sides that only my father will eat, such as creamed onions, mashed rutabaga and canned cranberry that's in the shape of a can.

Almost every food at the table has become a tradition. Even the dish that it's served in is as important as the food.

There must be marshmallows on the sweet potatoes, lumps in the gravy, rolls that no one has room to eat and mashed potatoes that are very creamy.

We must have Grandmother's meat platter, Grammy's crystal dish for the cranberry, and the wedding silver is polished and ready for its once-a-year use.

I love all the traditions but also try to introduce something new each year. Some additions have been a hit, while others flopped terribly. I don't get to make the stuffing anymore. As much as my friends and I love my stuffing recipes, for family, stuffing has to be the way my mother wants it made. I did manage to turn everyone onto a green bean recipe that has replaced green bean casserole. I'll take that as a large victory.

Some years we might skip the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes, but not if the grandchildren are in town. Usually any deviations from the menu require a family meeting and Dad always holds the trump cards.

I've been getting some great response from readers with stories and recipes from their families' Thanksgiving traditions. Next week in FLAVOR I will feature the submitted recipes and anecdotes that make it an important part of the meal.

You still have time to submit your favorite recipe. I would love to receive more stories and recipes to share. Send it to or 410 W. Erwin, Tyler, TX, 75702

Tomorrow afternoon, I will be at Sweet Gourmet in the French Quarter in Tyler helping people with ideas and tips for Thanksgiving and holiday entertaining. The store opens at 10 a.m. and there will be door prizes, demonstrations and discounts throughout the day. Representatives from Wusthof, Breville, Vitamix, Le Creuset and Now Designs will be on hand to demo their products and offer advice.


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