Over The River and Through The Woods

Or the new, modern version:  Over the river and down I-81…

Before we were married, my husband and I decided we would alternate holidays between his parents and mine.  This has worked well for twelve years.  And this year it’s my parents’ turn to have us for Thanksgiving.

I love going home to Virginia for Thanksgiving.  (Yes, I still call my mom’s house “home”.)  My mom is a fabulous cook.  And Thanksgiving is nothing if not about the food.  Yeah, there’s all that thankfulness jazz, but truly, Thanksgiving without a huge spread of traditional comfort food is hardly Thanksgiving at all.  Do I hear an amen?

Just to give you a taste of Thanksgiving at my house (taste, get it!?  ha!) let me share a story.

Exactly thirteen years ago, my husband (my then-fiance) came to Virginia to have Thanksgiving for the first time with his future in-laws.  My mom was expecting, in addition to her two children and her future son-in-law, her niece’s family of five.  It was going to be a full house.

Now, my mom is known for her pies.  Everything is from scratch, even the crust, no exceptions, EV-ER.  Don’t EVEN try to pass one of them frozen imitations over on us.  And the cardboard crust in the foil pan they sell in the baking isle?  I have no words.

Expecting a group of ten for Thanksgiving, my mom prepared six pies.  Now, let me pause for a second so you can do the math.  That is more than a half a pie for each person.  And yall, that was a LIGHT year.

When my then-fiance arrived at my house the day before Thanksgiving, he was greeted by six homemade pies smiling at him from the counter.  He took one look at the pies, his eyes wide and said, “That’s some serious pie.”

I probably said something like, “Welcome to the family”

If there had been any doubt as to the future of our relationship, that spread of pies sealed our fate.  For better or for worse, as long as there’s pie — I’m pretty sure that was in our wedding vows somewhere.

In addition to the Festival of Pies, we always have the traditional holiday fare of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberries (notice I said “cranberries” — not to be confused with that congealed “cranberry sauce” you buy in a can, of which, I have to admit, I am quite fond, but would never make it to the table at my mom’s house).

A couple less traditional dishes that are always on our Thanksgiving table are the “sweet potato casserole” which, I admit, might be a tad misleading (this is more of a sweet potato pudding complete with mini-marshmallows on top) and the “broccoli casserole” which basically consists of croutons and cheese sauce with a side of broccoli.  In other words, the broccoli is nothing more than a vehicle with which to transport the cheese sauce and croutons to our mouths.

Then come, of course, the pies.

And there is usually an assortment of other treats, such as fudge, peanut butter balls, pumpkin roll, lemon bread and lots of cheese and crackers and crab dip to snack on throughout the day while we are waiting for dinner to be ready.

It’s basically an Ode to Gluttony, plain and simple.  ‘Cause nothing says “Thank you God for your bountiful provision” better than celebrating one of the seven deadly sins.

Seriously, though, we have MUCH to be thankful for this year.  My health issues seem to be diagnosed and under control.  We have all the necessities and so much more.  Most importantly, we have a loving, happy family with whom I am very excited to spend my holidays this year!

So.  What’s gonna be on YOUR Thanksgiving table?

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12 Responses

  1. mmmm Fried Turkey, dressing, gravy, homemade mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, asparagus casserole, deviled eggs, also known as the ugly dish, desserts galore and blessings from God!!!

  2. I’ve no idea, as I don’t make the meal regardless of where we are. This year we are spending the day with Husband’s side of the family and they never ask me to bring anything for the main meal. I am taking Big Mama’s Mississippi Sin Dip, some sugar cookies, some mint-topped chocolate cupcake bites (or something like that, from the Hershey’s bag), and fruit salad. The fruit salad is my staple apparently. I brought it once to make sure my kids would eat something other than chips and junk and ever since they ask me to bring it. When I say fruit salad, I mean fruit cut up in a bowl. Nothing special. Have a great trip!

  3. Amen to the food. It’s a holiday!!!

    I don’t know what will be served at my MIL’s although I know there will be turkey and turducken yum!

    I made two pumpkin pies (because I don’t trust anyone else’s family to make them right) and an apple mincemeat pie. My husband makes the crusts his way (I long ago gave into his anal tendencies with pie crust) and also I made cranberry orange relish, which I love.

    Happy Turkey Day!!

  4. i posted mine in my LJ, but….

    maple-glazed turkey with apple cider gravy (a la Rachel Ray)

    merita oven-ready rolls

    stuffing (wanted it to be homemade, but haven’t decided yet)

    Bruce’s Sweet Potatoes (with marshmallows on top, duh)

    pumpkin-swirl cheesecake (a la Rachel Ray), with vanilla whip cream (a la Martha)

    also haven’t decided if i’ll go with mashed potatoes or not….my boyfriend doesn’t eat them, but it would be SO worth it with the gravy. lol.

    i have a 14-lb turkey for 2 people. lol. oops.

  5. Let me start by saying, I have much to be thankful for…We will be spending Tgiving with my MIL. Can I just say here that she is the worlds worst cook. She will be doing unspeakable things to perfectly good food…It is just sad. I will be cooking our own bird on Sun;)

  6. Scribbit’s Cranberry Onion Sauce
    Pioneer Woman’s Mashed Potatoes
    Heavenly Ham’s turkey
    FriedOkra’s dressing
    Campbell’s Greenbean Casserole
    Blog-in-My-Eye’s Corn Pudding and Sweet Potato Casserole
    FriedOkra’s rolls
    Sweet Tea
    Pumpkin Crunch
    Shameful, I Can’t Say It Outloud Gravy (Because I didn’t get to cook a turkey, see?)

    But all told, very bloggy Thanksgiving. Hee hee.

  7. Lots of the same things, actually. Mushroom Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Broccoli and Mushroom Bake, REAL cranberries, corn, five fruit salad, rolls, pumpkin and custard pies. Can’t wait! Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. We do two dinners, one with my fam and one with his. Neither family has a tradition of doing mashed potatoes, mine doesn’t even bother with any sort of potatoes. MIL usually does a turkey, but this year we’re doing her meal on Saturday and everyone there will have been at a turkey dinner on Thursday, so she’s taking a year off and making a beef roast instead. Other than that it will be her traditional meal:sweet potato casserole, a cheesy potato dish, southern style green beans, sqash casserole, a cranberry jello salad (better than it sounds) and to-die-for dressing and A pie. I’m going to bring a second pie, even though I know it will piss her off. But we don’t all want pumpkin pie, and one isn’t enough for the group. We’ll do a ham and a turkey at my mom’s, plus dressing (I bring that, and use my mil’s recipe. OMG, that stuff is good enough to be the entire Thanksgiving dinner!), seasoned rice, green bean casserole, homemade rolls, cranberry sauce, buttered broccoli and cauliflower, sweet potato casserole and a couple of pies with ice cream. This year it will be pecan and an apple/pear/cranberry one I just put in the oven. Yummm!

  9. “‘Cause nothing says “Thank you God for your bountiful provision” better than celebrating one of the seven deadly sins.”


    We have a deep fried turkey! (which is actually not as unhealthy as it sounds.

    My favorite thing is my grandmother’s recipe for Italian Sausage Dressing (Stuffing-the stuffing)

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