Saturday, November 8, 2014

Thanksgiving Memories: It's All About the Food

The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, and it's one of my favorite celebrations. I began taking part in the big Turkey Day meal preparation a few years ago, and that's when Thanksgiving really started to mean something to me. It's not the eating of turkey and stuffing that I love; it's time spent in the kitchen with some of my favorite people -- cooking, talking, laughing and enjoying each other's company.  

Thanksgiving 2009
On my side of the family, my mom and aunts do all the cooking. My siblings, cousins and I (now in our late 20's and 30's) are still viewed as "the kids" and deemed incapable of contributing anything more than a relish tray. And since I'm traveling from out of town, I'm never asked to bring anything. I inquire, and my mom always responds with an, "I think I've got it!" which is considerate and so very much her way. My family holds traditional views of the holidays, and "the grown-ups" will always insist on hosting holidays in their homes. But, I not-so-secretly wish they'd let me help. My pie-in-the-sky dream is to host everyone for Thanksgiving at my house in Minnesota. Or, one better, at a beach house somewhere when Andi and I are traveling the world as a family. (Mind explosion! #theywouldnevergoforit)

With Andi's family, it's all hands on deck. His family is huge including his grandma, her seven children and their children ...and their children. That's four generations coming together for turkey and stuffing. Still, his family gatherings aren't quite the same as the ones I grew up attending. There's no Corny Macaroni for one, a Thanksgiving staple in my book. Though, there are Aunt Judy's pumpkin bars so we'll call it even-stevens.

My favorite Thanksgiving memory happened in 2009, the year Andi and I were married. (I looked back in my blog archives and did a double-take that this "favorite Thanksgiving" was five years ago! It seems like it was just yesterday.) That year, Andi's mom invited Andi's sister Lindsay and I to help cook the Thanksgiving meal for the very first time. Lindsay and I had no clue how to cook a turkey, and we rock-paper-scissored for who had to pull the neck out of the bird (Lindsay was the lucky recipient!). That Thanksgiving meal tasted that much better since we'd cooked it ourselves.

Thanksgiving 2012 stands out as a favorite memory as well. That year, Andi was hired to shoot aerial video and photography at a Turkey Day 5K in Minneapolis, and my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, friend Jodi and I decided to participate in the race. It was a beautiful fall morning on that day, and it was fun and different to do something aerobic on a day surrounded by food.  

This year, we plan to spend Thanksgiving with Andi's family and I hope to have the chance to help prepare the big meal again. I've already got my sights set on making this festive cheese ball to munch on while we do our thing in the kitchen. Then, we're planning to head to the lake cabin for the rest of the long weekend to spend time together as a family. Andi, Tory and Aden are truly my greatest blessings, and the chance to be anywhere with them makes me the most thankful.


  1. I have in the past said on my blog that I wish we could host Thanksgiving dinner, but some troll got on there to say I must want my MIL dead and I was a terrible person. So bah. But one day I can't wait to host - I love cooking all the parts of Thanksgiving. Right now we spend T-day with my husband's family and they do the major contributions (although sometimes they buy the turkey and have me brine it) but I make sausage stuffing because I always make sausage stuffing, and a veggie. I usually scour the internet to find the perfect veggie side. Not sure what I'm making this year. (I also sometimes bring cranberries, because I love real cranberries and I'm the only one who will make them)

    1. Seriously? That's horrible. I'd love to host Thanksgiving some day, too, but it's not lost on me how much work goes into hosting. My mom wakes up at the crack of dawn and bakes her tail off making a meal for all of us. We'll have our time someday, April!

  2. I love making Thanksgiving! When Chris and I were out in CO for uni and had no family around we'd do it all ourselves. It was awesome. He does the turkey though, because gross. But, we always have to do our own Thanksgiving, which is why doing it on Canadian Thanksgiving is so is like a friend-giving and then on Thanksgiving we just go enjoy somebody else's good eats. I like your idea of hosting on the beach, although I live by the beach and it is overrated around the holidays in my book!