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Tuzilla  (Level: 137.1 - Posts: 3789)
Fri, 9th Nov '07 9:12 PM


Most families have dishes that are mandatory. Thanksgiving, Christmas, whatever just wouldn't be correct without them.

Old days
Grandma's homemade noodles & gravy
A bowl of canned tomatoes and macaroni...heated
Perfection salad...which I hated like nothing else
Mom's vinegar cole slaw
Grandma's homemade pies...several varieties...they were all good.

Mom's vinegar cole slaw
My apple cole slaw
Pam's corn casserole
My pumpkin pie

Suzannec  (Level: 251.0 - Posts: 616)
Fri, 9th Nov '07 9:30 PM

We have the usual fare, turkey, stuffing, cranberries, corn bread etc. However my sister makes a wonderful Middle Eastern sauce called tahini that is great on the turkey. I would like to offer a pie-making secret to all of you. One year my mother demanded that all her daughters make a homemade pie. Since I had no intention of doing this, I purchased a frozen apple-cranberry pie and put in in the oven for 10 minutes. I then took it out of the oven and re-pinched the nice, even crust in a sloppy, rushed-like fashion. Then I put it back in the oven to finish baking. Wa-lah! The pie looked homemade. My mother and family never found out the truth and I still do this trick today.

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Fri, 9th Nov '07 9:44 PM

Standards for Thanksgiving. If I'm feeling adventurous and don't care if I sleep for 24 hours, I make turducken. Otherwise, just a turkey but it MUST have my mushroom & sausage stuffing. Other than the usual fare, my merlot cranberry sauce is now requested. Also the sweet potatoes made with butter & brown sugar and melted marshmallows on top. (I'm the only one that eats this).

Christmas Eve: I either make a mashed garlic & pepper encrusted prime rib or we have fresh seafood. I have found that a great place to get fresh seafood for special occasions is It makes for a fun & different Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day: We usually end up traveling to my inlaws. The only thing I can remember as standard fare is lots and lots of red wine, hot buttered rum, spiked eggnog, etc. I'm sure they have food but for some reason I can't remember.

Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 1:28 AM

Hm. Seems you'd remember something you saw twice.

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 2:56 AM

Smoke....will you p-lease stop lying around
like a chicken with it's head cut off!!!!

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 3:00 AM

Steve....just went back and read your post.
Sorry I missed that you've obviously lost
your Gandmother, and clearly miss her....
Holidays always emphasize our Losses....

Nsinuosblufyxn  (Level: 106.3 - Posts: 274)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 6:10 AM


We have oyster dressing, mirliton ('mellitawn') dressing, rice, giblet gravy, peas, cranberry sauce, broccoli & cauliflower w/cheese, turkey, garlic butter, warm buns or croissants, sometimes also a honey spiral ham which depends on how many'll be there, candied yams (brown sugar, marshmellows, pecans,...), green beans, rarely-macaroni & cheese, iced tea w/lemon, wine, soft drinks, dirty rice, salad, some different desserts that usually will include 2 different pies & a couple of sugar free items, plus a few other things.

Nsinuosblufyxn  (Level: 106.3 - Posts: 274)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 7:06 AM

For those 8-I 8-l who want to know -> merlitons:

"...a lime-green squash--the vivid lime green of paint chips, not limes--called chayote. Chuchu to Brazilians, christophene to the French, mirliton in Louisiana, chayote is simply foreign to most Americans, at least when they're pondering Thanksgiving" (John Hopkins Magazine Nov 1998: Matters of Taste By Dale Keiger, internet).

Here's a url for those of you that are curious about seeing a pic:

They grow very easily here with the proper amount of water & full sun. We usually let it grow on the fence but a trellis is good. It will provide a good deal of shade when on a trellis. The bigger mirlitons get, the worse they prick your hands & the tougher they get. Here they're also referred to as alligator pears, in a definition I saw while searching for a pic they called it a vegetable pear.
Some people like to cook them with some salt, pepper, & margarine like other squashes, but my preference is in a dressing that includes meat or seafood.

Nsinuosblufyxn  (Level: 106.3 - Posts: 274)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 7:09 AM

Tuzilla  (Level: 137.1 - Posts: 3789)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 9:41 AM

Yes, all of my grandparents are long since gone. Of course, I am 56. My two grandmothers passed away at 84 in 1984 and 92 or 93 in 1994. My grandfather passed much early, one in the 50s when I was quite young, and the other at 74, shortly after Kennedy was shot.

Since both families were highly concentrated in the Cadillac, MI area, even though we live about 3 hours away to the south, holidays meals were huge traditions with many rituals. My dad's mother had a large, farmhouse style layout. We would fill the place. Many dishes were there EVERY year. The turkey was always baking by the time we arrived. But there was watching my grandma and aunts making and baking pies, mixing, rolling and cutting noodles by hand, making mashed potatoes and squash. The Lions games was always on for the guys to watch while the ladies cleaned up on Thanksgiving. Then there the Nebraska-Oklahoma game, which was always great. Since Nebraska coach Bob Devaney came from Michigan State, we also could be as partisan as in the Lions game. At Christmas, it was presents, then ball games. And finally, dessert.

So, in the end, I think it is the family gatherings, traditions that I miss the most. Once we lost the anchors, we drifted apart. Christmas and Thanksgiving are now the 4 of us, my mom and step dad, and my brother's family of 4. It is always good, but never quite the same.

Anyway, back to the subject of the thread...dishes required on your holiday table.

I had forgotten we always had a real mince meat pie in the mix. I have made real mince meat, and it is a chore, but worth it.

Suzer22  (Level: 165.6 - Posts: 1982)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 10:22 AM

Steve - what is Perfection Salad? Is it like Ambrosia?

Lodi - PLEASE post the recipe for the Merlot Cranberry Sauce!!

My grandma or mom always made "candied yams" with brown sugar and marshmallow which I HATED! Either make a nice sweet potato pie or give me mashed sweet potatoes with butter.

I am particularly fond of the traditional green bean casserole, with cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions.

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 11:41 AM

Merlot Cranberries

1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 bag of frozen raspberries (unless you can find the equivalent amount of fresh) Thaw out the bag and drain off the excess liquid
1 cup of merlot (or any kind of red wine you prefer)
1 cup of sugar

Put everything in a pot on the stove and slow boil until the cranberries are soft enough to mash with a fork. Then, while its still cooking, take a fork and rake through the cranberries, crushing as many as you can. Once you've mashed them all to a nice pulp, pour into a bowl and chill to set.

Its amazing; not too sweet, not too tart. We end up using the leftovers for jam. You'll never have a nasty can of cranberry goo again.

Larefamiliaris  (Level: 135.2 - Posts: 877)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 1:10 PM

Fruit you can get drunk on! I knew I liked you for a reason!

Salzypat  (Level: 158.2 - Posts: 5353)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 1:51 PM

Tuzilla, my childhood memories are much the same as yours with the large family gatherings for holidays. My grandmother reigned over the festivities, although she was not the hostess to the big meals by the time I can remember. (I was a "surprise" and came along when everyone was quite a bit older than is usual!) But there would be aunts and uncles and cousins galore. My aunt would make candied grapefruit and orange peels, raspberry ice, make fancy butter patties (and for summer holidays she would put a fresh viola flower on each patty) and homemade peppermint ice cream (my favorite!).

Since I'm from Nebraska, everything at Thanksgiving time - meals, seating, etc. - revolved around the Nebraska-Oklahoma football game. Now I'm not sure anyone would bother turning on a Nebraska game. But never fear, the Cornhuskers shall rise again!

When my grandmother died, our family gatherings also began to dwindle down in size. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, my mother began baking holiday cookies - and hiding them. She had a special recipe for caramel popcorn that was absolutely the best and I wish I could find that recipe again. On Christmas Eve she would fix a pot of oyster stew and a pot of chicken noodle soup and we'd finally get to eat some of those wonderful cookies and caramel popcorn. Christmas Day was pretty traditional for us. Roast turkey, stuffing with onion and celery, oodles of yummy gravy to go over whipped potatoes (no, they hadn't been naughty!), several salads - almost always orange Jello with shredded carrots and pineapple tidbits in it, and a ribbon Jello salad with a red layer and a green layer with a lemon Jello and cream cheese layer separating them.

Oh gosh. You didn't ask for a recipe book. You were looking for the Reader's Digest Condensed Book versions. What memories it brings back.

Any more I might be alone on Thanksgiving or Christmas, depending on whether I have to work and where the rest of my family will be. One Christmas Eve I was alone and I cooked oyster stew -- and it was as though I really wasn't alone.

and now all this talk about food has made me hungry so I guess I'll head for KFC before going to work. Sorry for the length of this post. The memories just came flooding back.

Smoke20  (Level: 62.6 - Posts: 2815)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 2:33 PM

Two piles of books, 20 dead roses, a heap of stuff to get into the mail, a can of Deep Woods Off, phone book, cards, a Dunoon tea service on a mirrored tray, a menu from a tea shop in Waverly Station and a Halloween makeup kit.

Tuzilla  (Level: 137.1 - Posts: 3789)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 5:14 PM

Perfection Salad is a Jello-based salad. Grandma used lime Jello, but I guess it can be lemon, orange, etc. It has grated carrots, celery, onion and a few other things. Stuff could make you want to be an orphan.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 9:12 PM

Well, I think I'll be adding a few new recipes to the table, thanks to the above posts.
Our table is filled with tradition - but include mustard potato salad and Hope's Salad, which is the very simple cottage cheese, whipped cream, drained pineapple, and jello of favorite flavor - ours is always cherry.

Stone  (Level: 35.0 - Posts: 259)
Sat, 10th Nov '07 10:51 PM

Shrimp-mirliton casserole, green bean-artichoke casserole (olive oil, italian bread crumbs, garlic--no mushroom soup), candied and fresh baked sweet potatoes, baked mac and cheese, gumbo, oyster dressing, fried turkey, roasted turkey, home-made gravy, cauliflower, broccoli, cloverleaf rolls, white rice, pecan pie, pumpkin pie
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, good-----time for a nap and/or football watching!

Chyenn  (Level: 205.0 - Posts: 1332)
Sun, 11th Nov '07 12:06 AM

for Thanksgiving and Christmas, mother always made her dressing in the roasting pan the turkey cooked in. the one that held a 25 pound turkey!!! the drippings from the turkey were mixed with crumbled pones of fresh cornbread, a few slices of light bread, 4-6 raw eggs, a box or more of rubbed sage, black pepper and salt. my sis and i used to push each other out of the way to taste test it for correct seasoning before it was put in the oven to bake.

mother's giblet gravy was velvety smooth over daddy's mashed potatoes. he used at least a can of evaporated milk and 2 sticks of butter in those potatoes. rich and yummy!

i was in charge of the sweet potato casserole with a topping of orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.

and for dessert there was always my sister's fresh homemade pumpkin pie with a big dollop of whipped cream.

Missgeorge  (Level: 63.0 - Posts: 388)
Sat, 24th Nov '07 11:28 PM

My husband and I had crabmeat stew, and it was sensational.

Much to my surprise, my employer fed us turkey for thanksgiving. It was a nice change for the 3 am dinner break.

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