Posts Tagged ‘Red Cabbage’

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most people think of Thanksgiving dinner as the ultimate American meal.  After all, wasn’t it first celebrated with Native Americans and the Pilgrims?  Well that’s what I was told in grammar (age-related term) school.

However, this country is a melting pot, a diverse population made up of so many different ethnicities, I wouldn’t begin to try to number them.  I grew up in an Italian family (more about the German side later).  My first husband was also from an Italian family so for the first half of my life, Thanksgiving was tweaked to keep all the paisans happy.  When we celebrated Thanksgiving with my grandparents, the cry at the table was, “When do we eat the turkey”?   I wonder how many of you had to eat your way through several courses BEFORE the turkey made it to the table?  When you walk into most homes on Thanksgiving Day, the savory odor of roasting turkey greets you, or the sweet aroma of an apple pie baking in the oven.  When you entered my grandmother’s apartment, it was the rich simmering smell of tomato sauce that assaulted your nose.  The meal started with Baccala, a dried codfish served with greens.  I think it was served like a salad.  Then we had ravioli; big fat pasta puffs filled with cheese and a bowl of meatballs and sausages on the side.  I guess at some point the turkey came out but I really don’t remember it much.  

Once I was married, the Italian Thanksgiving took on another level of ethnicity.  Now there were side dishes that only would appear on an Italian table.  The stuffing was heavily flavored with grated Parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic.  We had stuffed mushrooms and stuffed artichokes right along with candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and salad with Italian dressing!  

Then came the period in my life where I spent Thanksgiving with my Aunt Marian and my cousins in New Jersey.  Aunt Marian was married to Uncle Henny who was German and so Red Cabbage was always a side dish on Thanksgiving.  The creamed onions, turnips and candied sweets were there and because my cousins and myself were all adults, we made culinary contributions.  Peter insisted on a green vegetable and in those days, the only green vegetable he acknowledged was broccoli so I always steamed or sautéed some.  My cousin Marian liked to bring a lentil salad, cousin Janet baked pies.  I have five girl cousins, all with spouses and some with children.  Thanksgiving dinner was a BIG deal at Aunt Marian’s with about 20 people!

I’m actually half Italian and half German so I fit in wherever we went!  As for my own Thanksgiving meals, I often went for something different, whether it be various stuffings or the  year I tried brining the bird.  I’ve made seasonal soups and  lots of sides.  Earlier today I posted one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes and decided that for the count down to turkey day, I’d post a recipe a day.  I hope you enjoy them and would love it if my readers would send in comments about their favorite Thanksgiving side dish or dessert or ethnic accompaniment.  

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