Monday, November 23, 2015

What's Your Recipe for Thanksgiving?

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Today I'm packing, picking up the rental minivan, taking the dog to the kennel and girding my loins for the eleven-hour drive to Alexandria, VA. (That's eleven hours with stops but without traffic jams. It has been known to take up to 14 hours.) We're going to be sharing Thanksgiving with my sister and brother and their families and dogs. (We are all dog people, averaging 2 per household.)

We try to keep the holiday in Washington every third year or so. We love our visits. Ross and the kids and I stay in a suite hotel so everyone can retreat into their corners after a long, active day together, and we always do fun things in DC. There's a huge age spread among the cousins - from 26 to 2 - and one of the aspects of our visit Ross and I love is what we call "fake grandparent outing." That's when we take Max and Xavier, or baby Robbie (all of whom are young enough to easily be our grandkids instead of our nephews) to the zoo or the Air and Space Museum. Since we'll probably be in our seventies before we have actual grandchildren capable of enjoying tapas followed by a tour of the National Geographic headquarters, we're getting our time in now. 

There's always a football game at Uncle Pat and Aunt Julia's, the highlight of which is their dog, Dakota, who gives double high fives when anyone says, "Touchdown!" Truly amazing. We all eat at my sister's, where she never ceases to amaze everyone with her ability to pull a full-sized Thanksgiving Day feast out of a kitchen the size of a queen bed. The meal is always excellent, as is the one the next day we'll have at my brother's (he and his wife are gourmet cooks) but the food is never really the point. Instead, it's reconnecting with our far-flung family, giving the cousins time to know each other, and cracking jokes about events that happened in 1975.

How about you, Reds? What's the recipe for your Thanksgiving?

HALLIE EPHRON: That sounds like so much fun, Julia – it would almost get me in a car for an 11-hour drive. 

Usually we have Thanksgiving here with family and friends, but this year we’re going to our kids in NY rather than everyone coming here. Daughter #1 has the top floor of a brownstone in Brooklyn, Daughter #2 has the floor below her with her husband and adorable daughter. We’re getting there a day early so I can cook. With another grandbaby on the way, we’re looking to forge new traditions.


The food: Butternut squash soup, roast turkey, gravy, stuffing (Pepperidge Farm with celery and onions added), cranberry sauce (canned, whole berry, please), mashed potatoes, green beans, apple pie, and pumpkin pie. Champagne and sparkling cider. As a treat I’m making ahead and bringing frozen, ready to bake Regina’s Butter Biscuits.

LUCY BURDETTE: All those celebrations sound wonderful, especially Hallie's menu:). But travel on Thanksgiving weekend is so agonizing, we've kind of given up trying to force the family to meet up. (Many are coming to Key West for Christmas instead!) My mother and her sisters shared all the holidays, rotating who would host. But in those days, everyone lived within an hour of each other. Harder now with the family spread across the country. This year we will probably join a gang of John's tennis-playing friends for a potluck at the courts. It may sound odd, but it's very festive and the food is delicious!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  Thanksgiving was a command performance for my family every year--with two kinds of stuffing, and black cherry jello , and champagne and Oysters Rockefeller. Now we've dispersed across the country, but some things will never change. There are certain must-haves that--no matter where we are--make it be the real holiday. And now I just email my brother Chip and tease him about black cherry jello.


This year , we may be going to a friend's house for the actual day. But leftovers are so key, I'll make the whole spread myself, just for Jonathan and me. A turkey, because it smells SO good, with the butter-in-cheesecloth method. Pepperidge Farm stuffing with celery and onions. Cranberry sauce, with orange peel and real cranberries, easy and SO tart and wonderful! Mashed potatoes, my one time of eating them per year.  Champagne and Oysters Rockefeller, toasting my mom for beginning the tradition.


and then--leftovers! And I can make my special secret Turkey Tetrazzini. Turkey white meat, sauteed-in-buttery-garlic mushrooms, all in white sauce. Put in casserole with pasta. Bake, topped with toasted golden parmesan. Oh, my gosh. DEE-licious.


RHYS BOWEN: Every other year we have the big Thanksgiving in Arizona and the whole family comes. This year it will just be daughter Clare's family, maybe our daughter Anne from LA and us, along with our son-in-law's mother and sister. Clare always makes the most amazing stuffing, roasting french bread and vegetables then combining it with good stock. I have to make my mother's recipe apple crumble. We buy pumpkin pie (because I'm not keen on it so won't make it from scratch). We usually play bocce ball on the lawn, corn hole toss and ping pong before sitting down to dinner. In Arizona we can pretty much guarantee fine weather. 

I suppose because I didn't grow up with Thanksgiving it doesn't mean as much to me as Christmas. I would hate it if the family couldn't all get together for the Christmas holiday.

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Love, love, love Thanksgiving, which we'll be celebrating this year with a gaggle of puppeteers, a few odd Brits (in both senses of the word), an author, an actress, maybe a ballet dancer, and really anyone else who wants a place at the table (Hallie? Want to swing by for dessert?). We're in NYC for it, as Hubby is usually on the Sesame Street float for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as one of the muppets. This year he's going to be Big Bird.

The Sesame float is always one of the first out, so he's up by 4 a.m. and off to Macy's. Meanwhile, we've both prepped food the day before, so my job is basically to get everything in the oven at the right time. The menu includes turkey and gravy, homemade cranberry orange sauce, homemade cranberry-apple chutney, collard greens, corn soufflĂ©, biscuits, sweet potatoes, and Pinot Noir (I like it with turkey). For dessert, we let guests bring things — true fact, Broadway actors/actresses always bring Junior's Cheesecake — there's one in Times Square. So we tape the parade, puppeteers come over, lots of them have been up since four, so they nap where they can.... Then we watch the parade, and then there's dinner! Much to be thankful for....


DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oh, what fun, Julia! And Susan, how cool is it that Noel is in the Macy's parade. I'll be watching this year for sure. All this makes ours sound a bit dull, but still we are really looking forward to it. Many years we've done Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's, but my uncle passed away last year and the crowd is getting smaller. Things are changing in our family, too. With the grandbaby on the way, my daughter is wanting to establish her own traditions. So we're having Thanksgiving at my daughter and son-in-law's this year, just the four of us and our friend and neighbor. (Although I suspect that there will be open-door at their house after the meal with their crowd coming and going.) 

We're having honey-glazed ham and have ordered a smoked turkey from our local (terrific) barbecue place. I'm in charge of the dressing (Texas is the South in that regard, and it must be cornbread) and gravy. We're still planning the rest but there will be sweet potatoes, potatoes, broccoli/cheese casserole (from scratch), and my cranberry orange relish. And pies! As Susan says, much to be thankful for this year.

JULIA: When we watch the Macy's parade on Thanksgiving morning, we'll all be looking out for Noel! I may get extra cred with my young nephews when I tell them I know Big Bird's wife!

How about you, dear readers? Friends? Family? A restful day at home eating turkey breast and watching the National Dog show?


  1. Thanksgiving is generally the "standard" foods . . . I always make the cranberry sauce; turkey and the trimmings, potatoes, Mom's pumpkin pie.
    But the day starts with Mom's made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls and the Macy's parade [we'll definitely be watching for Big Bird this year!].
    The best part of the holiday, though, is everyone getting together. It's all about family . . . .

  2. I also think that is SO cool that he is Big Bird. I might watch the parade just for that! Both my sons will be in town (YAY!) and it's their father's year to have them on Thursday, so we'll do our Thanksgiving here on Friday, along with our good friends and their daughter, who is pretty much my boys' sister. I do roast turkey, (local organic) smashed potatoes with roasted garlic, and pies, and they bring all the rest. And what Joan said - the best part is being all together.

  3. What is it about Pepperidge Farm dressing mix? Even my grandmother started using it, back in the fifties, and it is sine qua non at our house too. I add sausage, crumbled and fried first, plus celery, onions and extra sage. Sometimes I toss in an apple and the turkey giblets. Our menu looks pretty much like everyone else's, turkey, dressing, mashed and sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry orange relish (homemade of course), and pumpkin pie, made with the secret ingredient, mais oui. Julie and I will be alone this year, and that is good. I am thankful my friends and famly in Paris and Brussels are safe today, and I pray that continues. I remember Thanksgive 1962 when the Russians had missles pointed at Florida and the next year when we mourned a president. I lived in Irving TX then, and now I see that was the beginning of the end for the world I knew. I wish all of you the happiest of feasts, especially my dear Deb. Hugs from Western NY

  4. Noel, not Neal. ; ) And yes, we use the Pepperidge Farm mix, too! Bux mix it with some buttered white bread toast and sausage....

  5. Yesterday my daughter visited us from Brooklyn and they drove home with a car *stuffed* with the makings for Thanksgiving dinner... I'll think of you all as we sit down to OUR Pepperidge Farm stuffing (hold the sausage).

    On a related subject: pie crust. Bottom pie crust to make it NOT taste have the texture of solidfying wallpaper paste. I take a shortcut these days, using the ready to unroll Pillsbury pie crust because it's actually quite good, and to get the bottom crust crispy I've started baking the glass pie pan on a cookie sheet. So the crust gets crisp on the bottom.

  6. Julia, we will be in Sterling, not far from Alexandria. My youngest daughter is so excited to be hosting her first family holiday, and in her first house. I've been asked to bring a pie: my chocolate bourbon pecan pie.

    We'll have two feasts. The first on Thanksgiving, with six people, including the daughter's boyfriend, my middle daughter, and the boyfriend's mother. Then on Saturday my other daughter and her family will join us for the weekend (they're driving down from Detroit!), plus the boyfriend's two kids. They're planning a second dinner for that night.

    This is only the second year in the last 30+ that I haven't cooked. In the past we invited anyone who didn't have other family, including some neighbors down the street. He played bass for the symphony for 30 years, and she taught piano and conducting at the College Conservatory of Music here, but neither had family close by. Having been alone and with nowhere to go on a holiday, I usually try to make sure we make space for friends who would otherwise be on their own. It does my heart good to know that all three of my kids are doing the same thing, when they can.

    We're also having Christmas this week for most of the family, so I've been insanely busy, trying to organize presents. Too early!

  7. For 25+ years, my mother-in-law came up to visit us at Thanksgiving. It's also my husband's birthday week, so more than once we had Thanksgiving spread followed by birthday cake. I pulled out all the stops on Turkey Day and we always had a blast. Then she and I went to the movies together. Two years ago, she had to stop traveling, so the last two Thanksgivings have been quiet. I refuse to be sad about it, though, because those 25 years were so grand.

    We still do the big meal, and my husband cooks the turkey while I drink Mimosas all morning.

  8. Yes, glass pan! ANd it's so interesting when the store-bought pre-fab stuff is actually GOOD.

    And we could do a whole blog on the sausage/no sausage. It's like when my mother told us there were no oysters in the stuffing, because we HATED them, the yucky slimy things. (We were kids.) Turns out, she revealed years later, she'd sneaked them in, but didn't tell us.

    Karen, chocolate bourbon pecan pie???? Will you send me the recipe for me to feature on one of our SUndays? Send to my email…if you can let the secret out. If not, we will just swoon.

    Susan, is the Big Bird suit--uncomfortable? Or is that classified? xoxo

  9. SO Ramona and I may be the only ones eating cornbread stuffing--homemade, with or without sausage, it's so much better:). Even though my mother was Pepperidge Farm all the way. And I swear I'm going to do a video tutoral for JRW on my father's easiest pie crust ever. Really, really easy.

    I'll be watching Big Bird now too!

  10. Can't wait to tell the grandkids that I (sort of) "know" Big Bird!!

    I am in the Pepperidge Farm with onions and celery camp (although I usually tuck in some giblets). With one gluten-free daughter who loves stuffing, I am making another version, and I am thinking that I will put that one in the bird.

    I ordered pies this year -- have a wonderful pie shop right down the street. Trying to pace my aging self! Remember, if everyone comes to your house, it's not just dinner -- there are other meals, beginning with supper Wednesday night!!!

    Our oldest daughter is planning to make dinner rolls and cranberry relish. She is a terrific (but messy) & enthusiastic cook. She'll do another meal over the weekend. Last year she made tamales!

    I love Thanksgiving -- the whole idea of gratitude. Every holiday should be based in saying thank you.

  11. When the kids were small, we hosted Thanksgiving (after getting stuck on the NYS Thruway for four hours with a baby and a dog, I said no way). And after Mom died, my dad didn't much feel like hosting for the holidays. But now I don't think my stepmom likes all the driving plus she wants to play hostess, so we will be heading to Buffalo. Of course, we have to leave Friday morning because The Boy has a basketball tournament this weekend.

    When I hosted, the menu was pretty traditional: turkey (brined), garlic mashed potatoes, dressing (with Granny Smith apples and sausage), green beans with pancetta and shallots, biscuits, pumpkin pie and one other kind of pie (because my brother-in-law doesn't like pumpkin). This year, I'm only doing the pies: pumpkin and chocolate cream. I do homemade crust and I've never had the soggy crust problem. Last year I wasn't "allowed" to do anything, and I was pretty upset.

    Bourbon pecan pie? Yum. I made my first pecan pie last year for Christmas. That one sounds like a winner for this year.

  12. Wish I could pop in at all of these celebrations!! I will be going to my daughter's were I don't have to cook. Just be entertained. My grand dog and cat will also be there!!
    Hank-I so miss my Mom's oyster dressing. I've tried to make it but it just doesn't taste the same.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

  13. With our daughter/s-i-l/grandson in northern Ohio near Hubby's parents and my mother (we're in the SW end of the state), our son in Chicago, and my dad in Florida, getting everyone in one place is nigh well impossible.

    As has become our tradition, we'll be spending Thanksgiving with 300 or so of our fellow villagers at the community dinner uptown. Donations buy the free-range, organic turkeys that are roasted by volunteers (who also make the gravy and stuffing), and all the side dishes are carry-in. Lots of vegetarian/vegan options, too. I'm trying a new roasted butternut squash/Brussels sprout dish this year, along with my standard pumpkin bread.

    Our family will save the turkey dinner for Christmas weekend with the kids/grandson, with visits to our parents on off-days when we can catch up without the holiday crush.

  14. Everybody's celebrations sound great. We will do our usual. A bit more special this year because daughter #1 is staying with us for a while to get well. Deep fried turkeys, my mother's special made from scratch stuffing, loaded mashed white and creamy, rich mashed sweet potatoes, black olives for granddaughter to eat off her fingers. Watch the parade while getting everything going and tape it for those who aren't up yet. After dinner we always watch "Miracle on 34th Street" and the dog show - although those judges don't like Pugs as much as we think they should.

    And pretty cool to know who Big Bird is this year.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. A bittersweet Thanksgiving this year--dinner will be at my baby brother's--the boys and I are taking a small turkey and broccoli with bacon as a side, rolls courtesy of my BIL, and baby brother and his dear wife will go all out with everything else. Why bittersweet? It's his last Thanksgiving in Ohio, as he is moving to Florida at the end of the year. His sisters are already planning our road-trip, but we are going to miss him and his wife something awful!

  16. So much fun reading about all the different celebrations the Reds and others are having. Susan, I love watching the parade on Thanksgiving morning, and now I'm really excited that Noel will be Big Bird, and I get to watch for that.

    Growing up and being the youngest of four children, we always had a large gathering for the holiday meals. I was twelve when my older sister had her first child, so it kept expanding after that. The food was just amazing that my mother fixed, and the best part was always leftover dressing balls warmed up in gravy. I miss that, as I don't usually do the dressing. My brother has perfected my mother's dressing balls, corn pudding, scalloped oysters, country ham, and so on.

    This year will be a somewhat small gathering with my husband, mother-in-law, daughter and her family, and me. My mother-in-law wants to have it at her house one more time (her words), and we will all bring dishes. I always bring the scalloped oysters. My family requires them, and they are easy to fix. I like the cracker filling a bit more than the oysters, but they all love the oysters. Like Debs, my turkey breasts are getting smoked at a wonderful local barbecue place, but I had to buy and take the turkey breasts there for them to smoke. I'll probably make mashed potatoes, too, although my MIL says we don't need them. Today my husband and I are traveling to Lexington, KY to see our son and almost DIL and take out to eat, since they can't come home. We're also going to a reunion for his University of Kentucky rifle team tomorrow, out to eat, and to a UK basketball game tomorrow night. Since it's my alma mater too, I'm looking forward to that.

    So, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  17. Hank, I'd be glad to share! Will send it later today. I'm positive I still have your email address.

  18. Fixed it, Susan! I swear, every time I search for your husband to retweet him, I type Neal MacNoel.

    FChurch, that is bittersweet! Hopefully, your baby brother's moving to one of the warmer parts of Florida, which will give you a great excuse to visit for New Year's or Valentines Day...

    Another Hugo-Vidal family tradition I just managed to save: watching the Iron Bowl, the end of the season game between long-time rivals Those People* and Alabama. We thought we'd make it home for the Saturday evening game, but they switched the time to 3:30, when I expect we'll be somewhere in Connecticut. Enterprise Rent-a-Car to the rescue! They switched my minivan reservation to a large SUV with Sirius XM, at the same rate as the original rental**. Now we can listen to the game on the road, with the added bonus that it will distract us from all the crazy drivers in Massachusetts.

    *Auburn, but I'm a Bama fan, so...
    **I really love Enterprise.

  19. Ramona, mimosas!! Why didn't I think of that???

    Lucy, cornbread dressing here. Lots of sage. No sausage. No bacon. I would put in the oysters except no one around now likes them but me...

    Looking forward to lots of fun, and my daughter's pleasure in hosting for the first time.

  20. Oh, Karen, please send me the chocolate bourbon pecan pie recipe, too!

    I love all these comments. Mimosas we save for Christmas morning, but there's nothing wrong with a glass or three of a nice sherry on Thanksgiving morning. What's cooking without a drink at hand, I say. I feel like I want to try cornbread stuffing, but I love my mother's bread stuffing too much to not make it annually: onion and celery sauteed in tons of butter, then shredded bread (whole wheat these days, but she used white) and walnuts. To die for.

  21. Happy Thanksgiving and safe travel to all. What fantastic plans and stories. Big bird, how cool is that?

    We are on our own this year (after many years of setting the table for 20) and plan to celebrate with stone crabs and champagne. Doesn't get more Florida than that.

  22. So fun reading everyone's traditions and plans! We are just 10 this year around the table.....only two out of six of our children and 4 out of our 11 grandchildren and one girlfriend. With a firecaptain, a paramedic, a police officer and a nurse.......they often work on the more thing to be thankful for.......they are proud professionals willing to do their part. We are the usual hosts each year....Turkey, gravy, stuffing (not Pepperidge farm :=),mashed potatoes,sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce (two kinds....can't give up the canned jellied). Our son will bring the vegetables and our daughter is contributing dessert......both will be a surprise....they aren't telling.

  23. We're going to be 14 this year with family in the Houston area, in-laws, future in-laws and family from Denver. Thank heaven it will be at my niece's house. The dinner will pretty much be an organized potluck. We'll have a smoked turkey and a roasted turkey. I'm supplying the cornbread dressing and baked sweet potatoes, plus some other things. No one should go hungry!

  24. As someone who in recent years has occasionally been that person who is alone, I appreciate families like Karen's in Ohio. I've been the guest of church friends or work friends. It's rather fun to see how other families celebrate the holidays, and to taste foods I wouldn't ordinarily associate with a particular holiday. This year I'll be at the home of another church friend. Then on Sunday I'm going to the home of one of my sisters who lives about an hour and fifteen minutes from me; she and hubby will be back from their daughter's by then, and she wants to do a mini-Thanksgiving celebration at home.

    I'll start Thanksgiving day by visiting my youngest sister who is in a nursing home in a nearby city. We usually watch the Macy's parade together, and I'll be sure to tell her to look out for Big Bird! Some years the nursing home lets residents invite a family member for dinner, but it looks like they are not doing that this year. No matter; I don't need an extra dinner!

  25. Rhys, your not liking pumpkin pie struck a chord with me. My first Thanksgiving across the country from home, I was invited by a new friend to share the feast. Would I bring a pumpkin pie please? Figuring saying "no, uck" would not only deprive me of a turkey but perhaps a true friendship, "sure, I will".
    Bought frozen crust, can of pumpkin pie filling, read the instructions on both. Voila! a pie...with no cracks in the custard.
    When dessert time came I made the "too full" excuse. The other 5 at the dinner ate the WHOLE thing. My pie was in demand each Thanksgiving, even after the new friend did become a true friend so that I could tell her the truth. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
    And all the Reds.

  26. Happy Thanksgiving to all, there is much to be thankful for. After some problems with my eyes early this year, I'm so thankful to be able to read! After my wife and I moved to Portland, OR, we're over 1,200 miles from our closest relative, and with flying such a hassle, we're on our own again this year. It's hard to make small portions of the traditional meal, but leftovers aren't a bad thing.

    So turkey, gravy, cornbread stuffing, Yukon a gold potatoes, mashed in skin with butter, garlic and rosemary, spinach-mushroom casserole (made with heavy cream), cranberry-orange sauce, and Dutch Apple pie. We've found the Marie Callendar pie to be plenty good enough for us, with some Hagen-Daz vanilla bean ice cream. Makes me full just listing it. I do the shopping, spinach casserole, cranberry sauce, brine the turkey and do the dishes and clean up the kitchen when it's all done, plus carve and put away the leftovers. My wife does the rest.

    Thanksgiving is better with lots of family, but there's always a lot to be thankful for, no matter how many or few.

  27. Hurray, we're due for a cool down here in So. Cal: temperatures in the sixties instead of eighties and that's something to be thankful for! Bringing out the sweaters!
    Most years we're part of a large multi-family group camping trip. We feed 40-50 usually and everyone signs up for a side dish to go with the delicious deep fried turkeys cooked by the guys. No, they're absolutely not greasy...I mean the turkeys; I can't vouch for the guys; they're camping, after all. This year saw changes for many of us and we never really got it organized, so it''s home for the holidays! The whole crew will be here, all four generations, and when we call my mom in Missouri it will make it five. With luck we'll get some good family photos, where no one looks deranged or like a Star Wars Wookie.
    My son is cooking the turkey on his Traeger grill and I have a small ham. I'll do the yams, Brussels sprouts (new recipe)and some homemade orange/cranberry sauce in addition to the canned stuff "with the lines in it" that both daughters insist on, Pepperidge Farm stuffing enhanced with onions, celery, apples, some long grain and wild rice, chopped walnuts, and mushrooms is apparently a must. Every year I want to try something different but the family has a fit if I try to change my dressing. That sounds a compliment, but give me a break...I've been making it the same old way for decades! Daughters are in charge of the corn casserole, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, and an apple crisp to go with the Costco pumpkin pie. Only a couple of us like pumpkin pie: I will single handedly eat much of it over a period of several days and be oh, so sorry next week. We round it all out with a couple of bottles of wine and sparking cider. Corn Hole, Ladder Ball, and Washers should help dull the effects of this caloric carb fest and the girls all like a hike in the hills at some point. My dishwasher is on the fritz so guess how I'll be working it off...

  28. Two things to add -- I keep thinking there is a mystery brewing in that Key West pot luck . . . who added the ingredient that killed off . . . And, I had one of those nifty stoves with two ovens like the one in the first photo. It was great.

  29. I'm making note of the glass pie pan on cookie sheet method, Hallie, thank you!

    My son is a musician, and has a standing gig Thanksgiving morning, so his dad will be taking him and his band-mates off to play at seven a.m. whilst I get the turkey in the oven. My sisters will be helping cook, as probably will be the Youngest Niece, who is in kindergarten. Help is sort of a relative term there (no pun intended), but the company is lovely!

    We'll record the parade and dog show, and I will absolutely mention Big Bird to Youngest Niece. She will, of course, insist I'm making it up. She's a cynical sort, for just-turned-six.

    No pumpkin pie, because we all prefer pumpkin cheesecake or apple pie (hey, why not both?), and bread pudding and my sister's chocolate trifle are musts. Yes, four desserts. Don't judge.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  30. I don't know!

    I wanted to go out for our traditional Chinese spread and general to do but somehow ended up being responsible for a Thanksgiving turkey dinner. It seems that in "himself's" family if a grandchild is present for dinner "himself's" ex assumes the role of honored guest, and "herself" must be indulged, because the grandchild will hate everybody if "herself" is disappointed, and I guess the whole world will collapse.

    When I cried foul, everyone said they'd help. Now they're saying, "I'll help as much as I can" or "We have to leave right after dinner" or worse "You're making toasted marshmallow on sweet potato casserole--aren't you?" NEVERRRRRRRR!!!! I'm a yankee. We don't do that.

    I'll be watching for Big Bird Noel while I eat my Chinese takeout.

  31. The first time I ever cooked a turkey, I was nervous and thought Id make it easier by using packaged stuffing. We liked it so much I've never made anything else! I can, and do, make pies from scratch, a few kinds of cranberry sauce, fancy sweet potatoes. I read the Nov issues of cooking magazines...but the stuffing still comes out of the bag. And my (quite grown) children still think a jello mold should be part of the menu, too. Nostalgia reigns. We will have 15 assorted relatives and in-laws including 2 small children. Everyone is bringing something (somethings). It will be crazy, noist, exhausting, lots of fun.

    Anyone know a good kitchen "job" for a 1 1/2 year old who wants to "do it
    myself?" We did have fun cleaning and cooking corn on the cob this summer.

    Happy holiday to all

  32. For the littles? I keep a can of Pillsbury crescent rolls handy and let them bash it against the counter to open, then do the rolling up after I separate them into triangles. They seem to love the rolling, and are quite proud of having made those lovely (if usually misshapen, but those things are pretty forgiving) rolls-- and one can will usually do, no matter how many people are at dinner.