Happy Thanksgiving Contest

While I miss many things about America, the last Thursday of November holds a special place in my heart. Thanksgiving is such a generous and happy tradition and even though I do my best to recreate it across the Atlantic, it’s never quite the same.

Because my mother isn’t American, our family’s Thanksgiving has never been exactly by-the-book. We eat lingonberries, which are very popular in Scandinavia, instead of cranberry sauce. My mother also isn’t a huge fan of turkey so she usually serves pheasant or another type of game.

The one stalwart American tradition is wild rice served with sauteed mushrooms. My father was born and raised in Wisconsin, and this delicious grain is harvested all over the Upper Midwest. Many children think its earthy taste is too strong, but I’ve always loved it.

This Thanksgiving I’m sad that won’t be with my young nieces and nephew. But it makes me happy to know that they’ll be wearing the dresses and Spanish shorts I picked out for them.

What are your family’s Thanksgiving traditions? Please share them in the comments section. The email address of every poster will be put in a hat and one winner will be selected at random. The prize is a children’s cashmere sweater in the size and color of the winner’s choice (inventory permitting). The winner will be announced on Monday, November 30th.

Have a warm and festive Holiday.


18 Responses to “Happy Thanksgiving Contest”

  1. 1 Elizabeth November 23, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    My family always has creamed pearl onions. When we were young, my mother made a delicious stuffing with chicken livers that her own mother served. The next generation hasn’t taken to it so she’s modified it. Still delicious, but not as unique. My mother-in-law is a great pie baker and my children get together with her the Wednesday before to make them together.

  2. 2 Rebecca Gacek November 23, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    I love your family Thanksgivin memeories. our favorite one to date was when we decided to visit our in-laws in England and have Thanksgiving there. The whole town seemed to know we were coming! We had the whole meal planned and we made everyone coming to feast read a childrens book on the first Thanksgiving. The English relatives kept wanting to add “English bits” to the feast-which we did not allow-and we all had a fantastic time-all the turkey and trimmings! The fun part to add for you is our Christmas dinner was always Swedish as my Grandfather was born in Stockholm…. my husband is English-so even in America on Thanksgiving we have bacon wrapped sausages and smoked salmon-so holidays are fun-but ALWAYS Thanksgiving in England where they had no holiday was our favorite-sincerely Mrs. Gacek

  3. 3 Elise Mosse November 23, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    My father’s family was born in Greece, and at Thanksgiving time, I look forward to a Greek-style stuffing of minced lamb, chestnuts, rice, pine nuts, and apple. Since my father died, I’ve carried on the Thanksgiving stuffing tradition in my home. When we’re invited to friends and other family, I bring this Greek-style stuffing along. For me, it doesn’t feel isn’t Thanksgiving without it!

  4. 4 Amie November 24, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I always enjoy reading your blog and thoroughly enjoy the way your words so skillfully capture your true feelings and memories. It makes me long to have better memories of my first few years spent in Europe where I was born…I hope to return some day and visit some of the special places I traveled as a toddler. My favorite memories and traditions associated with Thanksgiving are not so much the food (although there is plenty!), but the time spent with family. I always dress my children in matching outfits and we have a family photo taken. It is a day where I try and relax and really enjoy myself. It is often too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of cooking, cleaning and preparing for such a large meal. We always have a fire in the fireplace and we sit and read books, chat with company, etc…It is a wonderful way to truly remember what we have to be thankful for during the holiday season ahead!

  5. 5 Kim Pedersen November 24, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    My family is originally from New England. My grandmother, who is now 95, had parents who were born in England. My grandmother has passed down two special dishes that we always ate at Thanksgiving. One was a “dressing” made of mild Italian sausage and Ritz crackers. She said she got the recipe from her best friend from kindergarten, who is also 95. My grandmother claims that the recipe came from her friend’s father who was a cook in the English Army during the Boer War and served the dressing to Winston Churchill. The other receipe is an unusual dish to non-New Englanders but is my absolute favorite for its mixture of sweet and tart. It is carrot and turnip – all mixed up and orange-y! Eating those foods bring back the best childhood memories. I don’t get to eat them that often b/c my husband from Idaho does not care for the carrots and turnip. I am hoping to turn my two young children into believers!

  6. 6 Linda November 24, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Growing up with a family that has always been very involved with horses and the sport of polo in particular, I used to travel to Argentina right before Thanksgiving for the Argentine Open. With so many other American’s also traveling there, we started a tradition by flying down a few turkeys, wild rice, pies, and other traditional Thanksgiving foods for a giant feast at the Alvear Hotel in Buenos Aires. All the American’s would gather for a lovely dinner celebrating our love America and sharing in our childhood traditions.

  7. 7 Betsy November 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I grew up in Alaska and I always loved going out with my mother and grandmother to pick High Bush Cranberries. These cranberries always ended up on our Thanksgiving table and I love that we had to work so hard to get these amazing morsels on the table. Just being with our family is great. I do not live in Alaska any more, but this year we are back for my grandmother’s 90th birthday and Thanksgiving. There will be thirty people at the table and of course cranberries.

  8. 8 Suzanne November 24, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    As a child, my Thanksgiving traditions were very traditional…big family gatherings with lots of cousins running around, women in the kitchen, men watching foorball, etc. As an adult however, my husband’s work has taken us all over the world and I have had to adopt my family’s Thanksgiving celebrations to wherever we are. Thanksgiving day can be one of the lonliest days for an expat family as the absence of extended family and familiar foods can be sorely felt. Thanks to SKYPE, a bit of creative cookery and advance planning we always managed to have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever our travels have taken us. It has been an especially enriching experience for my children as they have shared the American Thanksgiving story and foods with friends from other cultures. For me as well. I have very fond memories, for example, of sharing the story of the first Thanksgiving with a classroom full of children in China. This year we will be all at home in the USA. I will not have to forage foreign shops for imported cransberries or ask friend at home to send me canned pumpkin!

  9. 10 Ana Madeira November 24, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I always heard about Thanksgiving, however only after I joined Papo d’Anjo team I realized how important this day is for all the Americans. As a customer service representative, it is a great pleasure to help clients to look for the best outfit and the perfect accessories. There is also very pleasant to listen about their plans for the this day where their children will be wearing Papo d’Anjo clothes. That is why sometimes we ask our clients to send us some pictures. We have a big board here at the office, that makes us feel proud and inspire us. In some point this make me feel part of the American spirit even though, here in Portugal we do not have this traditions. Around here, I would say that all this sparkling spirit comes with Christmas. Hopefully on day I will be able to experience this special occasion. Until there I would like to wish you all a lovely and bright Thanksgiving day.

  10. 11 Joyce Solberg November 25, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I love your idea, I am cooking now but will read all of these later when I have time. My family is big into tradition. We have 36ish people and my children request the EXACT same meal every year. We have Mexican apetisers (one aunt lived there for 10 years) consisting of quacamole and roasted salsa to die for. These go with bloodies that another aunt brings with homemade tomatoe juice. We cook 2 turkeys, one in the oven stuffed with dressing and one on the grill stuffed with root vegetables. We have mashed potatoes with leeks, sweet potatoes, beans with almonds and great croissants and pecan rolls from a patiserie nearby. This is all accompanied by a great Zin. Then we drink a shot of homemade obstler before desert. Homemade apple and pecan pies and mollasses cookies are next. It is truely a feast to be thankful for. Then we all head out for a long walk.
    One year we were living in Germany and I had to try and find a turkey. We have five kids and the biggest one I could find was 8 pounds. That was a little challenge but at least we didn’t have all the troops like we do here. This is my husbands favorite holiday! Happy Thanksgiving – I just found out aboout you fairly recently – your catalog found me just as my first grandchild was born. Good timing on your part! I love your line, hope to be a good customer.

  11. 12 Janine November 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it allows to me to take stock in all the blessings my family and I have received over the past year and is a great “excuse” to give back to others. Now that my children are no longer infants, we will incorporate working at our local food bank/soup kitchen in to our Thanksgiving day festivities.

    We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  12. 13 Silvia November 26, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Our Thanksgiving memories started 20 years ago when our family first came to America.
    We were imigrants and we incorporated Latin flavors to the table. Who else would make a turkey with pinapple garnishings?
    Thanksgiving became forever special with the birth of our daughter, who gives us everyday reasons to be thankful.

  13. 14 Katica November 26, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Thanksgiving is my all-time favorite American holiday. I was born in Canada and my husband is from Spain. Thanksgiving was only a “day off” to us until our two children were born here in New York. Through them (they are now 8 and 11),we started to understand the beauty of this holiday. We now make a traditional turkey every year and also invite all of our friends and ask that they bring a special dish which reminds them of their own culture… This year our Thanksgiving feast will include Spanish tortilla, empanadas, lasagna, sheppard’s pie… We are happy to share this day with our friends and celebrate America’s diversity through good food and frienship.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!
    Katica, Pablo, Andreas & Alessandra

  14. 15 Pecci Rodger November 27, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Hey everybody, it is Thanksgiving Day! I’m enjoying my extra day off, and I am planning to make something fun that will probably involve a car trip and seeing something new in Greenville I haven’t seen yet.
    You write new post at Thanksgiving?

  15. 16 Susan O'Brien Lyons November 29, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Now that I am reflecting on Thanksgiving and the traditions my husband and I are combining to pass on to our children, the one thing I hope they will continue (apart from special family recipes for stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes and dessert) is a long walk before the meal.

    When I was growing up outside of Boston, as soon as my mother put the bird in the oven we would drive up to the north shore to take a long walk along the beach at Manchester by the Sea. Since we have lived in Chicago, we get our family and guests out for a stroll along the lake.

    This year, we explored Graceland Cemetery, the resting place for many Chicago luminaries and a veritable outdoor museum for late 20th and 21st century architecture. Once inside this walled oasis, we strolled the rolling paths, felt awed by the serenity of the man-made lake, and wondered what the variety of trees and plants would look like on a warm Spring day.

    After this breath of fresh air, we all felt even more thankful for the lives we are living and our traditional Thanksgiving feast.

  16. 17 Jennifer November 29, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    My birthday falls around thanksgiving and part of our family’s tradition was my mother giving me the wishbone from the turkey so that I could make an extra birthday wish. Now that I have two children of my own, I have started doing the wishbone with them. This year, my son did the pulled the largest part – hope wish comes true!

  17. 18 Lucy Murchison November 30, 2009 at 3:29 am

    Growing up, we always shared Thanksgiving with our great grandmother. Every year we would switch off between going to her home and having her come stay with us. I remember spending time with “gaga” in the kitchen while we prepared the turkey and sides. Those were some of the most precious moments, and I feel like I got to know her and her story on Thanksgiving day over the years. Looking back, I feel so blessed to have those memories with my great grandmother.

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