Sunday, November 20, 2011

The traditional American Thanksgiving Meal

I was at the grocery this morning and when I am standing in the long lines, I like to look in others carts to see what they are buying for this "all-American" meal. Boy it seems, generations of wall street ads has affected the way we now prepare this traditional meal.

1 Butterball turkey
4 boxes of Stove-top turkey stuffing
2 cans of Ocean-Spray cranberries - Jelled
1 box of orange or green jello
2 Mrs. Smith's frozen pies
3 packages of Knorr turkey gravy mix
2 Cans of green beans
1 cream of mushroom soup
1 box of Durkee onion pieces
1 can of sweet potatoes
1 bag of marshmallows
1 bottle of Redi-whip whipped cream or cool whip 
 brown and serve rolls

I mean who am I to judge? But there just isn't anything traditional anymore that is "homemade" and why is that? Because the commercial brand names are cheaper. Everything was on sale this week.

My mom used to make her own old fashioned bread stuffing with sage. It was the best! Her own gravy. Now she did use the canned cranberries and one year when Ocean Spray got fancy and added the whole berries to their line, she bought one. No one liked them except her. My sister and I loved how the jelled cranberries would slide from the can, and she'd slice it. Now THAT'S Thanksgiving! I remember as a kid asking my mom if we were going to have the "real cranberries" for Thanksgiving one year.  "You know, the one that slides from the can".

One year my sons ate a turkey dinner at a friend's house and she used stove-top stuffing, which I never cared for. They loved it. They refused to eat my homemade stuffing so I switched over to Stove-top and it was never the same. Finally last year, I just told them. "You are adults now. I am stuffing the bird with my own homemade stuffing. I will make a side of stove-top for you". That seemed to work. 

Throughout the years I have made last minute adjustments - one year I was sick, so I had my husband go out and buy some frozen pies. You would of thought I had committed a major crime. They were fine plus no one was coming over so what's the big deal? Gravy? Now that's something I am quite proud of, I always make my own gravy BUT I always buy a packet or two just in case I blow it. Which I haven't after 35+ years. Then I just use those packets for leftovers. 

For years I avoided that classic "green bean casserole" like the plague. We'd go to someones home during Easter or around the holidays and it would be served and my family ranted and raved at how good it was. Sorry I just don't "feel the love". I like fresh veggies... So what does MOM know? Last year, I decided to make it and of course, they all loved it.

AS for rolls, mom and was a brown and serve gal. I like freshly baked sourdough bread and butter. Nothing fancy. I've done brown and serve, I've done the Pillsbury Crescent rolls, that I always forget to bake on time, and I've used Hawaiian bread rolls. 

One thing I will say - I hate food snobs. If you are invited to my house for dinner and I serve you stove-top or cranberries from a can, eat or or shut up. It's a free meal. Just as when I go to your house I am thankful to not have to cook. It's all food. 

Bottom line - It's Thanksgiving. Enjoy, be thankful and eat!

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