Our Thanksgiving Food Traditions

Come the fourth Thursday of November, households throughout the country will be celebrating Thanksgiving with all sorts of traditional dishes, from green bean casserole and cranberries to of course turkey and pumpkin pie. But chances are, your family also has some culinary traditions of their own come turkey day. Here are some of ours.

Thanksgiving turkey“Cranberry sauce with raspberries,” says Sharon Kurth, Financial Manager at The International Kitchen. For Thanksgivings past, her mom would boil the cranberries, and then toss in some home-grown raspberries. It was just one of the many ways they used raspberries, as her parents had raspberry bushes, and each year they’d freeze the fruit, and bring them back out for the holidays!

Spend Thanksgiving in Italy on a culinary tour!

Over in Tour Coordinator Adrian Hall’s household, his dad was known for making pommes dauphine, a.k.a., breaded mashed potatoes that were quickly dropped in a fryer. “It was like a mashed potato ball.” That’s definitely one way to enjoy your mashed potatoes!

Pumpkins for a cooking classAs for Dick Davis, President, every Thanksgiving growing up, his grandma would make a “date nut pudding” that looked like a cake with chopped dates and nuts. The recipe is really old, and the recipe lists things like “butter the size of a hickory nut.”

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Vice President Peg Kern too remembers a recipe her grandmother always made for Thanksgiving: German “hot slaw.” “It’s much like cole slaw, but dressed with a warm dressing (made from bacon grease – I kid you not – and vinegar). There is no written recipe, and no one can make it quite as good as my Grandma used to. Another interesting thing about it – Grandma always put what she called diced “mango” in it – but mango in that particular part of southern Ohio meant green pepper!”

As for my Thanksgivings as a kid, I was always a fan of the traditional sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows that my aunt always made, when we celebrated with my mom’s side. And for Thanksgivings with my dad’s side, there was the traditional spread…with a bit of an Italian influence. My Irish grandmother, taught the ways of Sicilian cooking by her mother in law, always made the best ravioli.

Learn about indigenous American foods. 

Toasting in a vineyard during a Tuscany wine tour.

While we all have fond memories of dishes from Thanksgivings past, perhaps Karen Herbst, founder of The International Kitchen, said it best. As much we love all the food — and helping to make and serve it — it’s more about who we spend it with. “My favorite family meal is when all of my family is together! It doesn’t happen every Thanksgiving, but it is this year.”

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

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By Liz Hall

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