We asked, you answered!
I SENT each household in my family a set of those Pilgrim and turkey candles from the Vermont Country Store with a note saying something like “if we can’t all be around a table together at least we can all gather around the same creepy Pilgrims.” They’re so nostalgic from our youth, but I’m not sure why because as soon as you light them their faces start to melt and they look very creepy!
WE’RE PLANNING a meal with family and friends, each cooking in our respective kitchens, driving to exchange dishes on the doorsteps and making a toast on Zoom at 4 pm. Together apart.
ORDINARILY I’d be with one of my children, and my friend Steve would be in Brookline with his daughter and her family, but it definitely doesn’t seem wise this year. So I’m going to stay here. Steve and his dog will come here for a late afternoon meal (which I have actually ordered from Fresh Direct). My favorite side dish for turkey (or pork or game or even sausages)—is drained and well-rinsed sauerkraut braised with a sautéed sliced onion, grated apples (or even chunky applesauce), a little white pepper and white wine. It’s addictive. It’s my sole T-giving tradition.
WE ARE ONLY eating with our three college kids. Usually have parents and siblings here but abandoned that this year. Hoping to meet up with some friends for a distanced gathering in Rock Creek Park over the weekend.
THERE WILL be small gatherings. At our house, four at most. There will be menu items that involve traditional ingredients, but the small number of diners permits us to cook them in new ways. Maybe a stuffed turkey breast, some use of pumpkin in a savory like a soufflé, small elegant desserts, top-quality wine that we couldn’t afford for a crowd.
OUR QUARANTEAM will be celebrating separately out of caution so it will just be me and my husband on this probably rainy Thanksgiving. I scored a turkey breast, which we’ll bolster with acorn squash, wild rice (my mom’s recipe), a straight-from-the-’50s pineapple-cherry gelatin salad (in memory of my sweet, very Southern mother-in-law, and apple strudel (made in Germany) courtesy of the neighborhood Aldi’s.
I LIVE with my brother and sister and we’ll be doing the usual—turkey, stuffing, creamed onions, carrots and some other veggie, and cranberry sauce, plus, for dessert, pumpkin pie and my favorite, mince pie. My sister is the cook and pie maker. I clean up. We also make sure we have Beaujolais Nouveau to toast the season. We may “shake things up” by eating in the dining room and using the good china. We also usually eat at the normal dinner time. When I was young we always had a crowd for dinner and ate midday.
For the past few years, we’ve just gotten turkey pieces since the whole bird is too much for us. This year we got the last package of turkey thighs when we went shopping! (We make stuffing fritters since there’s nothing to stuff.) There were lots of whole birds. Seems like everyone is paring down.
We’ll be calling friends and relatives, but no Zooms are planned.
Queens, New York
OUR THANKSGIVING tradition is 30 family members gather at my sister-in-law’s house. When you marry into the family it is written in the ketubah that Thanksgivings are at Nancy’s. This tradition helps if the spouse is not Jewish because their family gets Christmas. Anyone can add a dish, but nothing can be taken away. My nieces make most of the side dishes, Nancy makes the sauerkraut (Baltimore thing [Ed. note: more sauerkraut!]). My twin nephews put the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes (although they are 40 now and I think they passed the tradition to the younger kids). [Husband] Marty bakes bread and cranberry sauce. He also spends the day outside frying turkey. Most of the family usually joins him because there is wine, homemade potato chips and anything else he can fry up. It is so much fun and loud.
This year he will fry the turkey probably alone. We have onion rings and French fries that he will fry up as well. My nieces will make the sides. There will be a drive-by exchange of the turkey and sides. My kids live out of town and I will miss them. If I have time I will organize a Zoom call with photos from the past Thanksgivings.
All I can say is 2021 at Nancy’s is going to be a real bash!
WE HAVEN’T SEEN our kids or 3-year-old grandson in a year. Everyone’s staying put for the holiday—and no one’s happy about it—but the risk of getting the virus is even scarier.
It feels less like Thanksgiving this year than just Thursday night dinner. I know I’m making a past fave for the two of us of seared duck breast with cherries and port sauce (yup, just a typical Thursday), but unsure about the rest. Pumpkin pie for dessert, the only thing my husband says is immutable. And rooting for the Cowboys.
MY HUSBAND and I are baking stuff for our two distant grown sons and sending it via priority mail [last Saturday]. We will make turkey and squash soup (at least) for the two of us—not eating with anyone else but will Zoom with our sons on the day and enjoy some of the baked goods together, I hope.
WE’D LOVE to have a full house on Thanksgiving, but this year it’s not what the CDC recommends. And . . . we still believe in science. So, we are going to my daughter’s house out in the country. It will be just us, Christine, Steve and the two boys. I’m bringing apple crumb pie, mashed potatoes, gravy and the sweet potato casserole. Christine and Steve are fixing the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and the green bean casserole. We won’t suffer for lack of food; however, I expect she will have a lot of leftovers. We are delaying having pumpkin pie until our Christmas celebration.
THIS YEAR there are plenty of things to worry about, but some things that have dropped off the list. Number 1 this week: I am not trying to juggle 10 different Thanksgiving-dinner wish lists. No need to make cranberry sauce for Uncle Lewie: He’ll be at his house this year, not mine. Deep-Dish Apple Pie is a goner too—my kids never ate it. And if we want ham, we’ll have it. The same goes for the mac-and-cheese my niece didn’t like—we truly can have it “our way.”
Don’t get me wrong: I bought the big dining room table so there would be room for everyone. I pride myself on making sure there is at least one “favorite” dish for every guest. Next year, I’ll be right back, taking requests and making memories with the whole family.
MY THANKSGIVING this year will be the same menu, but we have had some changes at home. My husband passed away from cancer on March 30; that and Covid are changing our normal table of guests—we had a rotating guest list every year (sometimes kids’ friends who couldn’t get home for the holiday), which we really enjoyed. My kids are local, but not sure we can all gather. My eldest daughter, Ariane, and husband are expecting a baby in six weeks, so they just decided to stay home (Rockville, Maryland). My middle child, Kara, lives in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington DC with a roommate and I’m hopeful she will come home. My son, Cullen, is at home with me right now and we are planning our traditional menu. We will be delivering our “family dinner” to my oldest and maybe my middle daughter in case she decides to stay at her home.
Silver Palate turkey, with the addition of brining the night before (kosher salt, fresh coarsely ground pepper, fresh rosemary and citrus [oranges]—husband’s recipe)
Silver Palate stuffing
Homemade turkey gravy (lots of wine and butter)
Garlic mashed potatoes with heavy cream
Broccoli-cauliflower casserole (cheddar cheese sauce w/breadcrumb topping)
Homemade cranberry orange relish
Carrot souffle (my kids call it carrot crack)
Mixed green salad with candied pecans/goat cheese
I have to admit that I always buy a big turkey, because the leftovers are the best.
I’VE BEEN going to the same multi-family feast for more than 30 years. A year ago we were 18 people spanning three generations. No banquet this year. [Friend] Donna and I just decided that each of the four family units would offer a specialty food at noon on Thanksgiving, outdoors and masked. Kind of like a restaurant pickup, with everything bagged up and ready to take.