by Jenny Martin
When the Pilgrims first sat down with the Indians in what was to become America's annual smorgasbord known today as Thanksgiving Dinner, one can only be sure that a wide variety of meats and vegetables were offered much to the delight of those attending. Reports vary on what exactly was served-up, but it is widely accepted that they offered up a sampling of most items available at the time such as venison, duck, goose, fish, lobster, and the venerable turkey. Why the turkey has become the main-stay in a Thanksgiving dinner is perhaps as much a matter of excellent marketing as it is anything else, but most agree that the turkey, with its wonderful flavor, is certainly a good choice.
One of the wonderful things about Thanksgiving Dinner today is that at least in our house, much like the turkey has become a tradition, other dishes have stepped up to meet the test of time as well. People have come to name our family's traditional dishes by simple association to their creator and their unique recipes that have been shared at many a table. Feel free to use our humble family for a source of Thanksgiving dinner ideas.
Uncle Johnny's turkey, stuffing, and gravy
Not one to just clean up the bird, stuff it with bread crumbs, and to throw it into the oven, Uncle Johnny goes to great lengths to make a special turkey for Thanksgiving. Armed with a needle, experience, and a vivid imagination, Uncle Johnny is known to inject the turkey in different sections with a wide variety of different flavors such as teriyaki, ginger, and even cinnamon that create simply mouthwatering turkey with almost indescribable flavor bite after bite. And he doesn't stop there.
His stuffing with onion, celery, mushrooms, and Italian sausage mixed with a little sage and other spices (just thinking about it has my mouth watering) doesn't last long at the serving table! As if the turkey and stuffing were not enough, Uncle Johnny has a unique turkey gravy recipe that uses butter and white port wine that simply brings a whole new definition to "and the rest is all gravy!"
Uncle Mike's beef tenderloin
To offer a complementary addition, Uncle Mike's blackened beef tenderloins are barbequed every Thanksgiving outside on the charcoal grill come rain, sleet, or snow. Nobody knows how to sear a piece of meat to hold in the juices while making a "crunchy" outer coating on the meat yet having the inside come out a perfect medium rare like Uncle Mike.
Aunt Mary's mashed potatoes
To simply call them mashed potatoes is a bit of an insult, as these potatoes made with garlic, pearl onions, and a hint of rosemary are the only way one can do Uncle Johnny's gravy justice with a potato.
Uncle Scott's sweet potato pieces
Cooked to perfection with brown sugar/orange juice syrup these will just melt in your mouth.
Aunt Mary's (the other one's) spinach salad
A wonderfully crafted salad with spinach, red cabbage, red onion, walnuts and a raspberry-vinaigrette dressing with crouton's is a special annual treat.
Aunt Sarah's corn-poof
A soufflé of creamed corn, corn meal, egg, and mild cheddar cheese - just try to keep the kids away from this dish!
Other traditional dishes
* Green bean casserole
* Scalloped potatoes with broccoli and cheese sauce
* Cranberry sauce with real puréed cranberries and apple
* Squash with melted butter
* Somebody either forgetting the dinner roles or burning them in the oven!
Aunt Janie's dessert trays and traditional pumpkin pie
Nobody really knows what to call Aunt Janie's desserts except delicious! Offering a wide variety of fudges, desert squares, and pies, one always seems to be able to save enough room for a slice of her infamous pumpkin pie with whipped cream topping.
Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes
If you're looking for more dinner ideas and recipes for T-day, check out these great recipe sites: