Looks like Thanksgiving is about more than simply giving thanks. We asked for your favorite Thanksgiving anecdotes and recipes and were tickled to hear that surprising guests, food disasters and family memories are shared Thanksgiving themes. Here are some of your stories.
So what are your most memorable holiday memories, recipes or snafus? Share with us.
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My parents had a smaller fridge and couldn't keep our turkey in there to defrost. My mom left it outside on the garbage can in the garage to defrost. The garage was cold enough to keep it from spoiling. My brother ran into the kitchen to tell me the neighbor's dog had run into the garage and pulled the frozen turkey off the garbage can and proceeded to chew through the plastic to get to it. It was a big dog and growled everytime we went near the turkey. My brother and I ran inside to let my Dad know what happened. He ran outside, chased the dog away. We got another turkey for dinner, but this story is one of our favorite!
My most memorable Thanksgiving meal was about 6 years ago when I had about 20 people over (including some relatives flying in from California) to Thanksgiving dinner at my house in SLC. The plans were made about a month in advance and I was really excited to be making everyone dinner. A couple weeks before Thanksgiving I had been sailing in the Great Salt Lake and in a freak accident broke my right index finger. My whole right hand was in a cast for the next two months...so I ended cooking up Thanksgiving dinner with one and a half hands! (And a lot of help from friend and family.)
Since we have moved to Utah from New York, we are no longer with a large group of family for Thanksgiving. The first few years some of us flew back east, and some of us cooked the token turkey dinner. Two years ago, we decided that it really wasn't necessary to make a turkey dinner for 6 people. We decided to make one of our favorites, my fathers specially: steak Au poivre which he now makes with Calvados. This was done when one night we found ourselves with out Cognac so we supplemented with Calvados. Amazing! Since then, our new traditional Thanksgiving dinner is Steak Au Poivre with Calvados with roasted fingerling potatoes and some seasonal vegetable. Not traditional, but now our tradition! Yum!
A Local Salt Lake City Radio Station ran a promotion in the late 1980's called Dinner on the "MayFlower". I called in to qualify without really paying much attention to the details of the contest. Later that week I get a call saying I was one of the winners. The Dinner was in a Mayflower Movng van in the parking lot of the Salt Lake Hilton Hotel. The food was fine, but, it seemed strange to be seated with 6-8 strangers inside this 40' moving trailer with turkey and all the trimmings. My ONLY sit down meal in a truck trailer!
Thanksgiving Mediterranean Lamb Shank (One of the best lamb dishes I have made or tasted):
a couple of lamb shanks (trim excess fat)
parsley finely chopped
mixed wild mushrooms
low-sodium soup stock (beef)
italian spice mix
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil (or butter if desired)
Preheat oven to 350.
Sauté/brown lamb shanks in a little olive oil on all sides on med heat. In a separate (oven safe) pan with lid, heat a little olive oil on med heat, add garlic and parsley, then wild mushrooms saute' until browned. Add mixed italian spices (a little extra rosemary and oregano if desired), salt and pepper to taste. Add red wine and reduce slightly, then lamb shanks and some stock to bring liquid level to about 1/4 inch. Cover tightly and place in oven. Cook for about 45 mins - 1hr. At this temp, there should still be some thickened liquid in the pan, and the shanks are braised and tendered in the wine with an incredible mediterranean garlic, herb, wild mushroom sauce. Delicious Enjoy.
All the Aunts and Uncles, kids and grandkids at Grandma and Grandpa's home in Idaho. Their dining room table with all the leaves and then a banquet table added onto it. Everyone dressed up like it was Sunday with a sort of reverence for the meal. A game of touch football before the meal, even if it snowed that morning. Food and food and then more food but never enough NOT to have a piece of pie, which was kept cold out on the back porch. I miss those years that seem so long ago, but I'm looking forward to everyone being at my home next Sunday to celebrate Thanksgiving a little early!
One year many years ago my sister, mom and I did a "Christmas Story" type Thanksgiving by eating at a chinese restaraunt. It was unconventional and at first seemed a little sad, but after some thought I was just happy to be with them and be laughing and having a good time with those I loved.
Check your burners. This was a few years back, and my wife and I were serving time as foster-parents to wayward youths. We had four of the little fellers on Thanksgiving, and of course I set out to make an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner single-handedly. Everything was nearly ready; I finished the from-scratch mashed potatoes and set them on the stove, then turned the burner next to them on high to make gravy or somesuch. I turned my back for a minute, and I hear “blam”. Horrified, I turned around to see the mashed potato container had vaporized; mashed potatoes and broken glass were everywhere, especially on the (wrong) burner I had turned on. Dinner was about to be served, and I had to act quickly, so I hurriedly cleaned the incredible mess up and reached for the instant mashed potatoes, the ones I normally shunned like the plague. I cooked them up and had everything ready just as the boys, linked together like common criminals, were brought up to enjoy the fruits of my labors. Just as I was about to serve this dish, I noticed the pure white of the potatoes marred by tiny beige specs. Well, on closer inspection the tiny beige specs proved to be cute little weevils, nicely boiled to a fine finish. It was too late for anything radical, so I just carefully took an ice pick and plucked the obvious critters from the surface of the potatoes. I’m certain there were more buried underneath, but no one noticed, and everyone got an extra dose of protein that night.
My best Thanksgiving happened about 9 years ago. Ever since then, my mother is very careful about who she invites to dinner. I have a cousin roughly the same age as me, close to 30. She started having children at 14 and now has 5. At the time, she only had 2 1/2. Each child has a different father so every Thanksgiving we get to meet someone new. So they showed up to the house making a big scene as if anyone cared that they were there, yet she was determined to introduce her new boyfriend to everyone even though he didn't speak english. So, after the rounds my aunt, her mother, came in and brought with her a new boyfriend as well. We now have a bunch of new people at dinner that we have never met and know nothing about when someone notices that my cousins youngest has a few bruises on him. My uncle, who I'm sure was on meth at the time, starts asking questions about where the bruises came from. My cousin plays it off like it's nothing when all of a sudden my aunts new boyfriend starts screaming at this poor mexican kid my cousin brought. Out of nowhere, the mexican kid jumps behind the big table all set up for dinner and miraculously learns english and starts screaming that he didn't do it. My uncle erupts and goes flying over the table, knocking it and all the fine china to the floor and after this kid. Before any of the normals there knew what was going on, there was a huge fight with kids screaming people hitting each other and my cousin trying to gather up her kids. It went from the basement to the upstairs where my cousin was able to round up the kids and her bf and get outside. The fight went all the way out the door to where all the neighbors could see. In the meantime, someone had called the police and had them on their way over when my cousin was able to get into the car and take off. The police came but my cousin was gone so we gave them her address and asked to have some officers go there and check things out. Well, the police did find her, they arrested him for child abuse and then found that he was making meth in his trailer. I've had some other fun ones but nothing that great.
As a foreign student, I was not even familiar with Thanksgiving at all. It was nice to learn more about how turkey is important for the tradition and specially that you can make it fried! I was invited once by an American family to spend the holiday at their house and I could not believe that the huge bird could fit in the pot and that actually would take hours to cook, even considering all the oil boiling in it! I know that is a simple story, probably so common for Americans and perhaps funny that could make a story for someone but for me it was a quite memorable experience.
Well, I'd have to say it was in Austin, Texas. While visiting family there for the week of Thanksgiving some years ago, I had the opportunity to taste my way through many of the Tex-Mex eateries and classic American diners, like the converted trailer park Shady Grove. We sipped on many cocktails in the cool old dive bars in and around 6th street, while listening to county, jazz and blues where the performers played from the gut. Doing what I could to participate in 'keeping Austin weird'. It was when Thanksgiving came, my vegan sister in-law prepared Tofurky! Let's just say, thank goodness that Bourbon doesn't come in tofu.
On Thanksgiving in 2003, my father came home on leave from Iraq. We had Christmas on Thanksgiving that year and we were very thankful that he had made it back to us for at least one holiday, considering that he had almost died of a virus in Iraq over the summer. Thanksgiving was a lot more meaningful that year because we had so much to be thankful for in spite of all the sacrifices we were making. We did the things we usually did, but we enjoyed and appreciated them a lot more. It was the Thanksgiving I remember the most, especially during years like this when I am away from my family during the holidays.