{ 346 comments… read them below }

  1. Blossom Fowler*

    Happy Thanksgiving to all! Thank you to Alison for all of the great holiday stories this week, and for this blog all the time!!

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      Yes, Alison, the AAM commenters are folks for whom I am deeply thankful.
      I hope you get lots of rest despite running open threads over the holiday and weekend.

    1. PeanutButter*

      I’m alone for T-day this year (honestly how I like it) and I’m sooooo looking forward to being able to bake+eat my favorites without ever getting out of my yoga pants.

      1. Pikachu*

        When I moved away from my family, I stopped traveling for Thanksgiving. Everyone still worries about me being alone on a holiday but I’ll be damned if it’s not the most blissful, quiet four day weekend ever. I look forward to it every year. Kinda feels bad admitting how much I love it.

        1. Princesss Sparklepony*

          Nice to know I’m not the only one. And especially not missing the travel. Also, forced comradery of Friendsgiving with acquaintances or orphan attendee.

    2. Anonybonnie*

      I’m aiming to hide my pregnancy for 5 more weeks. I’ve been eating really healthy, but tomorrow I’m going to gorge in front of my in-laws so any weight gain will seem like a result of gluttony. I’m kind of excited. Potatoes and gravy, and soooo much poultry, here I come!

  2. theythemtheirs*

    Thanks so much for this community, Allison :) Anyone got any good gluten-free stuffing recipes?

    1. Thursdaysgeek*

      I made a really good rice stuffing last week. I started with a rice/wild rice/dried veggie mix I found. While that was cooking, I cooked some sausage, onions, and celery. When the rice was a bit runny, I mixed them all together, topped with some sliced apples, and baked it until it was done. I don’t ‘stuff’ my turkey anyway, but this could probably be added to a turkey, if you do it that way.

      Also, I’m thankful for Alison and the commenters; for the fun, interesting, and horrifying stories.

    2. Sovawanea*

      I don’t have a specific recipe, but I suspect a lot of cornbread stuffing recipes might be accidentally gluten-free, unless your condition is one that cornmeal that does not come from a dedicated gluten-free processing plant would be a problem for you.

      1. Coenobita*

        I don’t have a specific recipe either, but my boss’s wife has celiac and he (my boss) was bragging to us all yesterday about his famous cornbread stuffing. Like Sovawanea says, you just have to use gluten-free corn ingredients.

        When we used to have a big family Thanksgiving, my aunt always used to make multiple stuffings and one was wild rice with chestnuts. I’m not a big stuffing person generally and that one was my favorite (though I think I liked it because it didn’t taste very stuffing-ish so YMMV).

        1. Kt*

          Sean Sherman (the Sioux Chef) has a great wild rice, chestnut, mushroom “pilaf”. Thanks for the reminder! I don’t have stuffing ingredients, I need to stick with gluten free, and I have made (and really enjoyed) this recipe of his. Putting it on the menu for tomorrow.

    3. bratschegirl*

      I made an alternative stuffing one year. I don’t have a link, alas, I’m sure it was a clipping from a magazine, but it was based on brown and wild rice and had dried fruits of various types, especially apricots, in addition to the usual onions and celery. If you have any dried mushrooms like porcini or shiitake, those would be good in there too.

    4. Stitch*

      I’m doing a gluten free stuffing. I simply made my own cornbread substituting cup for cup for the flour (and buying gluten free certified cornmeal). The rest is naturally gluten free (onions, celery, apple, butter, spices, and chicken stock).

    5. YetAnotherAnalyst*

      I learned about skirlie last year, and it’s now my gluten-free default stuffing, and so absurdly simple – butter or drippings, onions, oatmeal, and maybe 15 minutes on the stove.

  3. LadyWhistledown*

    What’s you favorite way to catch your breath when you’re around extended family/wider social circle/strangers? Like, as a shy person, I can only handle so much People (TM) before I need to disappear for a bit.
    – Bathroom
    – Kitchen for water/snack
    – Find the household pet(s)
    – Walk around the block

    I am avoiding family this Thanksgiving but trying to get ahead of Christmas and life after COVID!

    1. Just a person (wearing pants)*

      Smoke a cigarette/excuse yourself for some fresh air. Volunteer to take out the trash/go to the store for whatever it is someone inevitably forgot.

    2. Tiffany Aching*

      I like to go refill my water/drink, and then because I’m drinking so much liquid, I end up needing to go to the bathroom frequently, which serves as another break from Peopling.

      1. LadyWhistledown*

        (Just read the Wee Free Men – Tiffany Aching is wise indeed!). “Peopling” is being stolen immediately.

    3. Edwina*

      –Take a nap
      –Drive to the store–it’s really good to get out in civilization and get perspective. Something is always open.
      –A walk is always good
      –If you’re visiting in another location, stay in a hotel–it’s amazing the difference it makes to your sanity.

      1. allathian*

        I’m so grateful that I live in the same metropolitan area as my parents, sister, and in-laws, so whether we’re hosting or visiting on a holiday, we can always sleep at home. In spite of having a 5-bedroom house, we don’t have a spare bedroom. Hosting overnight guests just isn’t something we’re willing to do, and I’m not particularly interested in being an overnight guest either. Hotels all the way!

      2. LadyWhistledown*

        A nap would be the height of luxury but alas there aren’t enough rooms and someone would track me down fairly quickly. Wholeheartedly agree on staying in hotels when traveling – I’m aggressive about ensuring I have my own transportation too!

      1. Jackalope*

        I found that reading helped a lot too! Plus I have a much younger cousin who also decided to use this as an excuse; I don’t know if she got it from me or not, but I like to think that I at least smoothed the way out for her.

      2. LadyWhistledown*

        This worked exceptionally well when I was younger but with my husband’s family no one is a big reader so this gets interpreted as rude/aloof (which I already struggle with because I’m not from the South like they are *and* I struggle to find safe conversation topics that don’t veer into problematic political territory. Food and kids can only get me so far before casual racism somehow rears its head.)

        1. Salymander*

          I have the same problem with my in-laws a bit, but even more with their extended family and friends. I would prefer to hide away and read, or sit in a corner while everyone is chatting and do some knitting. There are so many of them in the family that there isn’t much room in the house that is quiet or people free, and reading and knitting both seem to irritate them. It is very tiring, and I get really cranky with all the horrid things I overhear. At least they have stopped saying awful things to me after I had a quiet word with one or two of them. But even so, it is just too much for me.

          I started taking a walk to look at the beautiful autumn leaves and enjoy the crisp weather, because of course where I live has neither of those things. Well, actually we do, but it makes a nice way to say something pleasant about their state while bouncing on out the door. They are happy I am enjoying their lovely crisp weather and saying pleasant things, I am out of the house and blissfully alone, and everyone gets along reasonably well. It helps if I do a lot of the cleanup after dinner and help with the meal. It works fairly well, but I must admit that I am glad that we have stayed home for the last 6 or 7 years instead. It is so much quieter at my house.

    4. Yea okay*

      I always had a hard time at parties because I have sensory issues and get very overwhelmed by the amount of noise and then I started following the smokers! I’d have a nice chat with just the one or two people who smoked, and then I’d feel more recharged and able to deal with the chaos of everyone for a little while.

      1. LadyWhistledown*

        This is a perfect description. I just get… overwhelmed and kind of shut down a bit. I think part of the stress is being on guard for subtle rude comments or some kind of political landmine to poke “fun” at the non-Fox-news-watching-Yankee. I’m going to make a mental list of all the house chores that I can pivot to!

    5. GoryDetails*

      If there’s a quiet out-of-the-way place I’ll go sit and read for a while. Going out for a walk is also good. Luckily my family has always tended towards being introverts AND great readers, and nobody minded if someone had to sneak off for a little recharge time. [Side note: the charming 1980s TV series “A Fine Romance” opened with its heroine, played by Judi Dench, sneaking away from a crowded party to read; in-story this was presented as odd, such that she was astonished when her new love-interest wasn’t put off by it, but for me that moment made me want to shout “Kinsman!”]

      If I’m in company in a place where it isn’t really “done” to sneak off for very long, I might glue myself to a family pet or show rapt fascination for the contents of the bookshelves or (if, gulp, there aren’t any bookshelves) any photographs or objets d’art that are lying around. And when I really have to go socialize – I don’t really hate it *that* much if I don’t have to do it for too long at a time – I might try to find a kid with an active hobby that she or he can explain to me at length, so I can “socialize” without having to think of anything to say {wry grin}.

    6. Fellow Traveller*

      So the first time my then boyfriend/ now husband took me to his Friendsgiving, I fell asleep on the couch in the middle of a very loud and raucous game of Taboo. His friends to this day joke that I was just pretending to sleep so that I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. But really, I just have this ability to sleep anywhere if I’m tired enough. It was actually a sign that I was super comfortable with them.

    7. Not A Manager*

      Bathroom, for short breaks
      “Being helpful” for longer breaks – you can clear glasses and then wash up in the kitchen and you don’t have to talk to a single soul

    8. Arya Parya*

      My mom and I both can’t handle people for too long. So we usually give eachother ‘the look’ and go to the kitchen to do the dishes. We tend to do them without talking.

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      For an informal gathering like my family dors, i bring knitting or crochet project. Preferably at the ‘same stitch for hours’ stage. They know I can listen & chat while I do it…and I have not mentioned how I can also use it to tune out the world.
      Ball-throwing for a retriever is excellent for both of us.

      1. BethDH*

        Crosswords are good for this. You can sit off to the side or even in an adjacent room and mostly tune out, but you can ask for help with a clue just often enough to make people feel like you’re “present.”

    10. RagingADHD*

      Not for everyone, but if there are any babies or very small kids I find that hanging with them can be a good break. Especially if they need to be rocked in a quiet room and put down for a nap.

  4. New Job So Much Better*

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m low carb so not having any cheap-ass rolls this year.

        1. Chaordic One*

          Maybe you could make some cheap-ass rolls out of ornament dough, varnish them and then you’d have some (more or less) permanent cheap ass rolls you could use as a trophy. Or jewelry. Or bring them to the office potluck.

  5. Louisa*

    Happy thanksgiving! Anyone got tips for handling relatives who have made misanthropy their personality?

    1. theythemtheirs*

      assuming I’m reading it right and not reading your sentence wrong, I stay as cheerful as possible around those people, drives them bonkers.

    2. PollyQ*

      For the misanthrope who specializes in tone of voice & subtext, ruthlessly & determinedly ignore it! Respond only to the most positive interpretation of what they said. Sample dialogue:

      Misanthrope: “That’s a dress you wear to a hooker’s wedding.”
      You: “Thanks! I love how bright & cheerful it is!”

    3. atgo*

      I like to cheerfully say “thank you!” with a big, warm smile when people say something that’s a bummer/rude to me. Really throws them for a loop and takes the wind out of the negativity.

    4. The things we do. . .*

      Alternatively, respond to the thing you WISH they said and watch the confusion reign!
      “Are you still working that dead-end job?”
      [In your head, “Hey, what’s happening at work?? That place sounds amazing and they’re so lucky to have you!”]
      “Oh, it’s incredible – we’re rolling out a new TPS report I helped design and my boss has really been bragging to everyone about it. It’s great to be working somewhere where you really feel valued.”
      This works even better if your response is also a complete fiction. It makes you feel like a spy. Or a fiction writer. Or someone who’s completely lost touch with reality in the best way possible. Plus it annoys the shit out of the other person when they realize what you’re doing. And yes, I’ve tried this. : )

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      Take everything they say as a fabulous compliment. (To you, all mankind, or whatever target is appropriate.) If you can carry it off you will be happier, and they will be between happy and baffled.

    6. Invisible Fish*

      Ummm… are you also going to Thanksgiving with my parents? Is this why you’re asking? I didn’t know we’d invited someone else to lunch with us.

      1. Cass*

        I’m just imagining a plot twist where you accidentally discover this person is your sibling or cousin and y’all both frequent AAM and have something to bond over at Thanksgiving

  6. Free Meerkats*

    Way back when, when I was in the Navy during the Carter administration, I went home for Thanksgiving. The arrangement was that girlfriend and I would have Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’, then go to her parents’ for dessert, then back to her apartment to “get reacquainted”. So I picked her up at her apartment, we went to my parents’ and had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat. Sat and socialized for a bit, then headed to her parents’. Got there and discovered that her mother couldn’t stand the thought of us just having dessert, so she delayed dinner until we arrived. Being young and subject to pressure (plus, her mom was an awesome cook), we settled into Second Dinner, followed by dessert.

    When we went back to her apartment, we just quietly digested with occasional groans of satiety until the next morning.

      1. Free Meerkats*

        Not that I know of, but we separated a couple of years later, early in the Reagan years. If her mom is still around, she’d be well into her 90s.

    1. Evan Þ.*

      For a more planned variation of that – One time several years ago, my sister and I had Thanksgiving dinner at lunchtime with some mutual friends and their family; and then headed over to our grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner with her and our uncle and cousins. They were both delicious.

      (Now, the friends are my sister’s in-laws; we’re both going there again tomorrow.)

    2. sara*

      My friend and her now-husband did this for years on Christmas, but on purpose. Lunch at her parents, dinner at his parents (both meals being the main Christmas Dinner for the rest of the family). I think now that they have kids and a big enough place to host (and they don’t have any of their own grandparents who were also invited to their parents’ meals), they finally just do one big family meal. But they did this for at least 10 years because their parents lived close enough that it was feasible.

      1. Lady Danbury*

        My family did this when I was growing up and still does, covid permitting. Brunch with my dad’s side (mix of brunch dishes and Christmas favs like turkey/ham), then dinner with my mom’s side. I don’t stuff myself at brunch so that there’s room to eat a full dinner later. Most of my dad’s siblings tend to follow the same pattern, spending the evening with the other side of their family, so brunch isn’t expected to be the only Christmas meal.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Thank you for the reminder…I am going to play that today whether or not the teenager wants to leave the room.
        (Although maybe it’ll be a hit this time–we went to Stockbridge since the last time I played it.)

    3. londonedit*

      This reminds me of the classic BBC sitcom The Vicar of Dibley – there’s a Christmas episode where the vicar is invited round to several of the parishioners’ houses on Christmas Day, and doesn’t feel she can say no to anyone, so she ends up eating about seven full Christmas dinners and pretty much literally rolls home at the end of it all.

  7. BonzaSonza*

    It’s my 14th wedding anniversary today. It’s going great so far.

    I was up six times during the night because one child wet the bed – twice – another child was inconsolable because of bad dreams, and our third child vomited three times. All at different times.

    Hubby and I took the day off work but we’ve cancelled our plans to care for said child.

    Our milk was curdled so we couldn’t have coffee this morning, but no big deal as we had planned a nice morning cafe brunch (it’s spring where I live). That’s not happening any more.

    We also planned an anniversary dinner tonight with my mum to babysit but she broke her foot and can’t drive over here or babysit (nor would we ask!).

    So yeah, dealing with a sick child on no sleep without caffeine is not exactly how I’d planned my day haha. At least the internet is working fine and we all got a laugh out of holiday potluck stories!

    Here’s to the next 14 years of mayhem together!

    1. Thursdaysgeek*

      Happy Anniversary! In 14 years, you’ll be well into the teenager years, with different mayhem, hopefully not has chaotic as today has been for you.

    2. Daffodilly*

      Oh man, I’ve had nights like that before when my kids were little. I remember one where I did 5 loads of laundry between when I went to bed and when my alarm went off because of all the….ahem… bodily fluids that kept spewing.
      But none of those nights was on my anniversary!
      I hope you manage a healthy and less exhausted celebration another time!

    3. PollyQ*

      Aww, that’s an awful lot of suck to be squished into one day! I’m sorry you’re all having a tough time, but Happy Anniversary! anyway, and someday, this will be one of those funny stories you tell: “Remember that Anniversary/Thanksgiving when…?”

      1. Gingerblue*

        In case it makes you laugh, I’ll note that I initially mis-parsed “we’ve cancelled our plans to care for said child” as meaning “we’ve decided not to take care of this kid any more”.

        1. Siege*

          It did in fact make me laugh. I’m considering cancelling my plans to take care of the cat who has a major flea infestation and a flea allergy.

    4. WoodswomanWrites*

      Sending my best to you on a crazy anniversary! Down the road, tThis will definitely be a great story that will make others laugh.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      In all sincerity, the image that sums up marriage to me is from Sex and the City. Harry and Charlotte go out for a fabulous anniversary meal, roll back in for a romantic evening… and the food poisoning hits like a semi. They wind up lying on the floor of the bathroom, facing each other, in old clothes.

    6. allathian*

      Happy Anniversary!
      I hope you can do something really special next year, for your 15th. But I bet this will be one of the Thanksgivings you’ll remember when your kids have all grown up and moved out.

    7. Cards Fan*

      Happy Anniversary! Embrace the mayhem, it makes for great stories later. But I’m sincerely sorry about the caffeine.

    1. Booth Tarkington*

      And who are already enjoying (if participating) holiday lights and other decor as the dark descends upon us all! I’ really looking forward to putting up my lights this Friday.

      1. AGD*

        I’m in Ontario and really need to find my winter boots. Didn’t wear them last winter because I was working from home so I spent the winter inside, or only very briefly outside. Time to dig through some boxes…

    2. sara*

      Works going to be quiet for me this week – head office is here in Canada but all our clients and about 1/2 our staff are in the US so off the rest of the week. So I’m planning on putting up christmas lights and catching up on some back-burner tasks the next couple days, and it’s going to be glorious.

    3. Nessun*

      LOL It’s funny to work through when everyone I’m chatting with is taking off Thursday and Friday at the least. I’ll just enjoy the quiet and hope Alberta doesn’t get colder.

      1. Whynot*

        As a Yank who lived in the UK for several years, I unilaterally moved Thanksgiving to Saturday and invited a mix of US/Canada/UK friends over. The rule? Bring 2 bottles of wine or 1 dish that works for a family-style meal. It worked brilliantly; also I’m vegetarian, so it was a great way to get someone else to deal with the turkey (usually a turkey breast from M&S, I’m not a monster). Over the years I introduced several people to the concept of pumpkin pie, many of whom were surprised that it wasn’t a savory pie with chunks of pumpkin in it (it’s actually more like a thick pumpkin custard, flavored with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg). And thanks to Brits I learned that brandy butter is an excellent pumpkin pie topping.

        Now, to get the US to adopt Boxing Day…

  8. Anonononononymous*

    Why why why when the mother-out-law says “don’t bring anything to Thanksgiving this year” do I find out at the very last second that the sister-out-law is bringing a pie.

    She knows I love to bake. But there’s also a pandemic on and I’m having all my groceries delivered. I would have been delighted to bake something, but didn’t have any time to think about what and make sure I had ingredients. I miss baking with my own mom. I feel the NEEEEEEEEEEED to make a pie or a cake or…something. (I’ve been doing small batch just for two recipes, and they’re nice, but not quite the same. I want to do something grand that requires my giant purple Kitchenaid mixer dammit.)

    I’m taking booze.

    1. Edwina*

      Think of it as your secret gift to your competitive sister in law. She gets to have the glory of the pie.

    2. Rebecca Stewart*

      I have something the reverse of that.
      I am a control freak, and I admit it, but it comes from trusting other people to do X and then they blow it off, and it doesn’t bother them, but it messes me up.
      So I’m bringing the turkey, the gravy, the dressing (2 kinds) the cranberry sauce, the cranberry apple chutney, the broccoli and the mac and cheese. Also a plate of five kinds of homemade cookies for dessert. Mom is making the green bean casserole and hosting. Sister is bringing rolls and a pumpkin pie.

      I am not worried that Sister will bring bad rolls. Sister is slightly better at bread than I am. I am worried that Sister will not bring anything because of emotional reasons (first Thanksgiving as a widow) and will therefore leave me without any bread whatsoever on Thanksgiving.

      To that end I’ll be making refrigerator-rise rolls tonight. If we don’t need them tomorrow, I guess we’ll just have to eat a dozen rolls ourselves. (Oh horrid fate…lol)

    3. The things we do. . .*

      Knock out a nice batch of whatever for your favorite helpers and drop it off – we usually visit the firefighters with Christmas cookies, but this year they got some delicious Halloween cookies after someone bumped the wiggly knobs on the gas burner and filled the house with natural gas after the cookies were done. The firefighters were very happy to chow down after they pushed all of the gas out of the house. And we were happy to be not blown up. We also hit up the pharmacy, the library, and the mail mailfolks at various times. They were all pretty psyched and you won’t be stuck eating the whole baked extravaganza by yourself.

    4. I take tea*

      I want a purple Kitchenaid mixer as well! Or maybe a red. Instead we have a (very good and perfectly working) boring white Braun. But we splurged on a red Kitchenaid water kettle a couple of years ago. I just love it. So pretty, and makes water in different temperatures…

    5. Not Today Satan*

      My former MIL was like this. She’d tell me not to bring anything but then my SIL’s and the brother’s girlfriends would ALL bring dishes. I was the only one who didn’t. It was frustrating. She knew I could bake like the devil but it was her passive aggressiveness. Her way to say “SHE never brings anything”. My husband would tell me to shrug it off but it was difficult. A couple times I brought a dessert anyway.

  9. Hotdog not dog*

    As usual, I planned the menu way ahead of time, then over the past week or so started second guessing myself. First I added an extra dessert, “just in case”. Then picked up an extra bottle of wine. Then overrode my previous decision to only have regular potatoes, and bought a few sweet potatoes, remembered that my brother won’t eat anything with seeds, so I had to buy more crackers, but the cheese I already bought doesn’t go well with plain crackers….so now I am in the midst of preparing a meal that could probably feed 100 people. There will be four of us. (Do you think 3 pies, plus ice cream will be enough dessert, or should I whip up a cake?) I think this is getting out of hand….am I the only one who does this?
    The upside is that we’ll have leftovers for days, and if we end up with an extra guest or two (or 17) I’m ready!

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      This happened to me when we lived in a different state than family and did Thanksgiving on our own. 3 adults, one of them vegan, and we’d have a whole mini-ham, a whole vegan roast, a million sides and multiple pies (because pumpkin is expected but I prefer berry). At a certain point you just don’t have small enough pans to scale down the recipes to a reasonable amount!

      1. Rebecca Stewart*

        I was very sad last year to not have enough leftovers. I bought a bigger turkey this year.

        And then Eldest Son (who lives with the three of us) brought home a 17 pound turkey from work. So I’ll be thawing and roasting that one AFTER Thanksgiving, so that we have turkey and dressing several times this winter. (Also some turkey pies, as everyone likes my meat pies.)

        1. Evan Þ.*

          That reminds me how my parents got a large turkey this year, so large that Mom couldn’t lift it up out of the chest freezer herself. It was going to be okay, since Dad could.

          Except now medical issues came up, and Dad isn’t allowed to lift it either.

          So, they’ve gotten a smaller turkey breast, and they’ll be having the large turkey sometime next month.

          1. Robin Ellacott*

            The one my mum got for Thanksgiving (in October here) was so heavy her car kept reminding her to put a seat belt on it as she drove it home.

            1. FreakInTheExcelSheets*

              That’s definitely happened in my family! My mom was in her new car (mid 2010s, previous car was from the late 80s) and didn’t know what the beeping was about so called my dad, who of course was like “this is a brand new car there can’t be anything wrong with it yet!” so he called the dealership ready to yell at them about selling my mom a lemon. They conferenced in my mom so she could put them on speakerphone to hear the beeping and the poor sales guy has to tell her it’s either warning her about a door being open or the seatbelt. She says she’s wearing her seatbelt, but gets out to open/close all the doors to make sure (mind you she’s still in the grocery store parking lot). Gets back in and of course it’s still beeping. Sales guy then asks if anything is on the seat because he’s known some sensors to be set off by large purses/laptop bags/backpacks and my mom is just silent. “There’s an 18lb turkey on the passenger seat…” They all had a good laugh and she buckled it in for the drive home. The next year she got an old car seat from her work (no longer up to code but still used to demonstrate how to install at new parent classes) and strapped the turkey into that in the backseat!

            2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

              Probably a good idea to buckle it up anyway. If you got in an accident, an unsecured turkey flying around wouldn’t improve matters.

              1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                “As God is my witness I thought turkeys could fly.” –Arthur Carlson, on “WKRP”

        2. allathian*

          Do you celebrate Christmas? Is your freezer big enough for the humongous turkey to stay there for a month?

    2. PollyQ*

      I think you’re probably set, but I’ll use this as a springboard for my story, which is that the daughter of the hosts for my usual Thanksgiving was actually born on Thanksgiving day, so in addition to apple pie, pumpkin pie, and trimmings, there’s always a birthday cake & ice cream as well. And then there was that one year where the hosts’s son’s friend’s mother dropped off a homemade tres leches cake as well. That was a good year!

    3. Windchime*

      Back in the days when we had 15 people gathering at my Mom’s house for Thanksgiving, we would always overdo it on the pie. Of course we had to have apple and pumpkin because Thanksgiving. And maybe a cream pie for Dad; he likes those. And I like mince, so I can bring that. Pretty soon we would have 8 or 9 pies for 15 people. Maybe 5 or 6 slices would be eaten total; we would have entire pies that were not cut. And this would happen year after year.

  10. Dark Macadamia*

    What’s your family’s best/worst/most interesting traditional food? This year I’m making the Crown Jewel Dessert, one of those retro jello “salad” monstrosities. My family serves it as a side with dinner despite dessert being right there in the name. I don’t particularly like it but it’s one of those “wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it” things and what I was asked to bring. 3 jellos in more jello! With whipped cream! Great for dinner.

    1. Thursdaysgeek*

      Best is the fruit salad, which seems pretty normal (mostly). It’s a mix of canned fruit cocktail, canned mandarin oranges, fresh apple, fresh banana, fresh whatever other fruit you want, mixed with whipped cream. And chocolate chips. It’s the chocolate chips that make it best.

      1. Booth Tarkington*

        Oh yes! We never had chocolate chips (my dad’s diabetic), but this was his signature desert. Only he used some strange shelf-stable whipped cream equivalent instead.

      2. Anonybonnie*

        I think this is basically my aunt’s fruit salad recipe, but she uses diced Snickers bars in place of the chocolate chips.

    2. Charlotte Lucas*

      My family makes corn pie. It’s meant as a side dish & really delicious. Because what a starchy vegetable needs is more starch!

    3. Rebecca Stewart*

      I think I inadvertently added one, because last year I had some cranberries left over and a couple stray apples and had been doing too much reading of Victorian cookbooks.
      The result is a cranberry-apple-onion salad/chutney type thing. It contains vinegar, sugar or Splenda, candied ginger, cinnamon, cassia, allspice and cloves, and is best made a few days ahead to let the flavors meld. It is definitely a savory side, not a dessert. Unless you think a sweet pickle is a dessert. (grin)

      I daresay it could be canned if you wanted to do so. It is highly popular, so much so that I wrote down what I did and did it again this year deliberately because everyone going said, “Oh, we have to have THAT!”

    4. Cleo*

      My grandmother on my dad’s side used to make a cranberry relish – it was kind of like a slaw, with sliced raw cranberries and citrus and other things. It’s a weird dish. But I’m always glad when my aunt brings it because it reminds me of my gram and it reminds of one her last thanksgivings, when my mom (her daughter-in-law) made and brought her recipe. My gram had dementia and she looked at the relish and asked – “how did you know how to make that?” and my mom teared up and said “you taught me” and I teared up just typing that.

      1. Owler*

        My family does a simple cranberry-orange relish. Raw berries, a whole orange (peel and all), and sugar that are grated together and left to sit overnight. The sugar pulls the juice out of the berries and orange and soften everything. I just walked the 14yo through how to use a food processor so she can make it. If she can make the relish, our family stuffing recipe, and a pie, I’ll consider I’ve done my best to prepare her for her own future Friendsgivings .

    5. Choggy*

      Mincemeat pie with hard sauce is always on the table at my brother’s house, it’s his in-laws tradition. I have never actually witnessed anyone eating it.

    6. Texas*

      I’m not doing a dinner this year so not making them, but my grandma’s family potato bun recipe! They’re the polar opposite of cheap-ass rolls :)

    7. Zona the Great*

      “Tradition” is lemon jello with walnuts, green olives, celery, peas, and any other thing lying around. New members of the family are served it like it’s a normal thing to have. We giggle-watch as they try to decide whether to put the tradition in their mouths and chew it and swallow it or whether they should just offend us all by rejecting it. It’s Gold!

      We can only assume this is some sort of depression-era food that has hung around into the present times.

      1. Thursdaysgeek*

        You know, I’ve heard of jello with fruits, vegetables, and olives in it, but I thought it was a joke, like Jone’s Soda Thanksgiving Sodas. Does anyone in your family actually like it? (I could see my dad liking it – I still remember the time he made mashed potato salad, and the zucchini gravy he also once made. He’s firmly in the ‘throw it all into a pan and heat it up’ type of cooking.)

        1. PeanutButter*

          Aspics were a very common way to preserve all sorts of food before widespread refrigeration. My grandmother who grew up in the Depression and didn’t live in a house with electricity until she married my grandfather, made a lot of savory aspics. I like them, but if you’re not used to them I imagine they’d be a shock to the palate.

          1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

            Also, granulated gelatin was only invented around 1900. Before then, if you wanted gelatin you had to extract it from bone yourself. It was a long and complicated process that really wasn’t worth it unless you wanted to be Very Fancy. Look up calf’s foot jelly if you’re interested in learning more.

            So gelatin was popular in part because it had that Very Fancy cachet, while still being super easy. Also, new foods tend to inspire experimentation.

            1. PeanutButter*

              Yeah, the aspics my grandmother learned to make as a child were basically whatever meat and vegetables were about that were starting to turn, boiled to death with a bunch of knuckle bones, skimming off the fat (usually the youngest child who could hold a spoon’s job) then cooled. She described the anxiety to me of waiting to see if the aspic would actually set with what the boiling got out of the bones! When she discovered Knox gelatin her world was changed ha ha.

          2. Clisby*

            I love tomato aspic (with celery, onion, and sliced green olives in it). My grandmother, and then my parents used to make it for special occasions. Nobody else in my immediate family cares for it, but I should make it just for me.

      2. Cleo*

        Oh man. My grandmother grew up in the depression and she used to make all sorts of fancy jello molds with various additions. My favorite was orange jello with orange juice and canned mandarin oranges. I also remember green jello with canned pears and I feel like there was an orange one with thinly slice carrots but I’m not sure.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Orange jello with shredded carrots and shredded celery! I inherited the copper jello mold and do plan to make that some time when I can find the recipe. I don’t remember the spices…maybe just Worcestshire sauce for all I know.

        2. CJM*

          Thanks for sharing your favorite! I mentioned it to my husband (“Doesn’t that sound good?”), and he presented me with a box of orange jello that I didn’t know we had. I just made it with orange juice, and I’ll add mandarin oranges soon. Yum! My mother-in-law made fancy jello dishes on holidays, so this will be a sentimental and delicious addition to our feast today.

    8. PeanutButter*

      Best is my mom’s hot cranberry sauce. She got it from an American Heritage article, apparently it was Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite. It also has almost half a bottle of Grand Marnier in it, and the cooking time can be adjusted to how smashed on cranberry sauce you want to get.

      I dislike turkey so if I’m in charge of the main dish I make a beef wellington…with gluten free puff pastry, which let me tell you is a multi day ordeal to make. But it was worth it when the person who had coeliac we were hosting took a bite and literally cried because he’d thought he’d never get to eat a dish like that again.

      1. FreakInTheExcelSheets*

        I’m the same not liking turkey, so previous years when I’ve hosted for friends I’ve done duck or pork tenderloin since cranberry sauce goes well with both. This year we’re going full traditional so I got a bone-in turkey breast (sucker’s still 10lbs!) and am attempting it en cocotte to hopefully be nice and tender. You are braver than I to make gluten-free puff! I’ve only gone to the trouble a couple times to make regular puff before deciding it was only worth it if the store-bought sheets weren’t big/long enough and I didn’t want a seam. I’ve purchased the gluten-free a couple times and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.

        1. pancakes*

          I’ve never tried to make it gluten-free, but the Gordon Ramsay recipe for rough puff pastry is a good one. I mostly make it rather than buy it because I’m a butter snob and the readymade ones are nearly always made with oil. Dufour is made with butter but expensive and not always easy to find.

          1. PeanutButter*

            I have someone in my family who can’t have potato, which quite a few gluten-free stuff has, and all the store-bought gluten free puff pastry had, so….handmade it was! It was more brittle than standard, but came out ok. I would probably just do a gluten free pie crust or something next time, as the real star of the show was the beef loin, sherry mushroom sauce, and duck liver mousse. The crust just kind of keeps it all together.

        2. PeanutButter*

          Multiple competing food intolerances in my family have made me the baking-substitution queen! (My mom can’t have potatoes, and most commercial GF stuff has potato starch in it.)

          Growing up I was often the cause of a lot of awkwardness when my family was over at someone’s house for Thanksgiving dinner and I passed the turkey platter on without taking any, and the host/ess asked why, and then got very concerned that “I wouldn’t have anything to eat” because I wasn’t eating the turkey. Meanwhile my plate is piled high with stuffing, potatoes, gravy, soups, deviled eggs, hor d’ouvres…like, I’m fine Aunt Bernice. I swear to god I will not go home hungry, you have done your job as a hostess by providing edible food it’s on me if I don’t eat ONE dish.

          Sometimes I just took the most unappetizing bit of turkey as garnish to stave off any questions.

          1. Loredena*

            I’m allergic to sage and my sister to yeast so most years I make soda bread and I’m use that with my personal blend poultry seasoning to make the stuffing. This year cousins are hosting me and my husband (we recently moved) so I’ll need to be careful. But that’s still not as bad as my mother’s corn allergy!

        1. PeanutButter*

          Nice! I got a tofurky roast since I do like fake turkey apparently (I’m the same with crab and lobster – dislike the real stuff, love the fake stuff), and it’s just me this year, so no point in getting something huge. I am looking forward to eating the leftovers (I’m also making parmesean garlic potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and carrots, and a salted caramel apple pie) for the rest of the week and not wearing anything other than yoga pants.

          1. Rainy*

            That reminds me, I need to do a load of laundry so I have fresh clean yoga pants for the weekend :D

            Enjoy your tofurky! I’m allergic so I’ve never had one but I hope it’s delicious! I am making way too much food for two people but we like it that way and we’ll have leftovers for the whole weekend.

      2. CalypsoSummer*

        I don’t know if this is Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite recipe, but it’s for hot cranberry sauce so that’s bound to count for something —

        Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce
        2 bags cranberries, fresh or frozen (12 oz each)
        1.5 cups cane sugar
        ½ cup orange juice
        4 Tbls Grand Marnier or Cognac
        1 Tbls zest of fresh orange

        In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, and orange juice.
        Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring often until syrupy, about 10 minutes.
        Add the Grand Mariner and orange zest. Continue to cook on low heat for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve with freshly grated orange zest.

        I don’t know if I can include the Web address, but it’s pretty easy to find, if you want it.

        Looks pretty darned tasty, doesn’t it?

        1. PeanutButter*

          That sounds exactly like the recipe my mom uses! Except as I said before, she puts in…more than 4TB of booze. ;) No idea if the American Heritage claim was accurate, and the magazine she’d copied it out of was long gone so no way to check their sources, ha ha.

        2. PeanutButter*

          Oh, and she also adds in pears and sometimes other fleshy fruits if she has any she needs to get rid of.

        3. Jen in Oregon*

          It does look tasty!! It also looks similar enough to the cranberry sauce I bought at Trader Joe’s that I might just heat *that* up and throw in a couple shots of GM and call it a day!

    9. California Girl*

      We do a carrot pineapple jello salad every year. It’s a beautiful orange color and adds a bit of tangy sweet to a very savory meal. We add walnuts to the top too. I didn’t realize it was weird until I served it to my in-laws one holiday. My husband loves it btw.

      1. PeanutButter*

        My grandmother used to make that! Personally I love jello dishes, they remind me of her. Even (especially!) the savory meat + vegetable aspics but I acknowledge that I am weird in that one.

    10. CatCat*

      I have a relative who makes a cranberry sauce with horseradish. Sounds weird, but is actually delicious.

        1. PollyQ*

          Also known as Mama Stamberg’s Cranberry Relish, where the “Mama” in question was the mother of longtime NPR journalist Susan Stamberg. I tried it one year and wasn’t much taken with it.

    11. WoodswomanWrites*

      I know I’m committing sacrilege here, but my entire life I have found cranberry sauce to be horrible. Although I like sweet food and savory food, I don’t like when they’re mixed together. Yuck.

    12. Piano Girl*

      Nothing for Thanksgiving, but I do enjoy Mincemeat pies at Christmas. I use my English grandmother’s recipe (except for the beef suet). It makes a huge amount, and I typically bottle it, so I can either enjoy it for a few years or give it away to family and friends. I inherited some of her handpie pans that she bought from England, so I use those for the pies. Yum!

    13. Jackalope*

      We also have a jello-based special dish. You take 6 oz. of strawberry jello and make it with half boiling water, half chilled ginger ale, and a can of whole berry cranberry sauce. Let it chill for awhile until it’s partly solidified, then add a small pared apple, an 8 1/2 oz. can of crushed pineapple, ground walnuts or pecans, a small mashed banana, and orange zest. Once it’s solidified make a topping that is half whipping cream and half cream cheese (1 cup whipping cream and 3 oz. cream cheese), then spread it on top. Sprinkle with ground walnuts or pecans.

      So incredibly good and one of the few jello salads I like!

    14. mreasy*

      Lol my family does a pink jello salad nightmare with strawberries, pineapple, banana, jello, and of course, cool whip. Served as a dinner side dish!

      1. Punk*

        We had something like this. Down below I was thinking it had marshmallow in it but now that I’m reading this I think it was actually cool whip.

    15. SwiftSunrise*

      I’m making not one, but TWO recipes handed down from the grandmother who notoriously could NOT cook, except for a handful of very specific dishes, including these.

      One is a squash-and-cheese casserole, and the other is the only thing I’ve found that makes jellied cranberry sauce edible: mash it up, then fold into whipping cream beaten until stiff with sugar and almond extract. Press ginger snap crumbs and sugar into a nine-inch pie plate to make the crust, then fill with alarmingly pink goop. Freeze for 24 hours and serve.

      We call it “Cranberry Stuff!”

    16. londonedit*

      We don’t have Thanksgiving, but for Christmas we sometimes still have a Bird’s packet trifle. My grandmother would always make a proper homemade sherry trifle for the adults every Christmas (homemade sponge cake liberally doused in sherry and spread with raspberry jam, topped with a layer of homemade custard, then whipped cream and toasted flaked almonds) and for us children she’d do the instant version – you can buy a trifle kit in a box, made by Bird’s (famous for their instant custard powder), which contains a pack of boudoir biscuits, a pack of jelly mix (like Jell-O), a pack of custard powder and a pack of a sort of cream ‘topping’ mix. And a little bag of sprinkles. It’s a mile away from the traditional homemade trifle and it’s objectively absolutely appalling but it’s still the taste of childhood Christmases!

    17. Punk*

      Growing up we always had a dish we just called Pink Stuff. Basically a fruit salad in this jello-marshmallow goo with pink food coloring, I think it also had shreds of coconut in it? Not sure where that tradition started.

      1. Tierrainney*

        Pink Stuff!

        except it was raspberry Jello, that you added cottage cheese, whipped cream and canned crushed pineapple, mix all together and cool. My spouse’s family made green stuff (lime jello other wise same). None of our children like it so haven’t made in years.

    18. small town*

      Mom always makes a jello thing. The orange slices in the orange, walnuts and marshmallows in the green, cottage cheese in the red. Odd but curiously tasty. My husband makes regular stuffing then a batch with jalapenos, andouille and chorizo sausage, and oysters. He and my father demolish it every year. Me, not so much. And the canned cranberry sauce! If you can’t see the rings, it is not Thanksgiving.

  11. PeanutButter*

    I got the last Tofurky roast in my bit of the Midwest by getting up at 6am and driving for an hour. Bonus: they also had a bunch of oyster mushrooms for sale, so I got all the stuff to make red wine braised mushrooms to go along with my roast not-beast.

    I also used WalMart’s pickup feature because I could NOT face going into the store today for some last minute supplies that included fresh rosemary. They ran out and substituted an actual potted rosemary plant. From the garden department. It’s not at all ready for harvesting, but I’m kind of delighted. Thank you anonymous shopper, that was actually pretty good thinking outside the box. We’ll see if I can get it to be ready by Christmas.

    1. Retired Prof*

      True confession – I always steal sprigs from my neighbor’s rosemary hedge. I figure it always looks like it could use some pruning, so I’m doing them a favor.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I got the last bag of pecans in the store…and it was the second store I’d tried. The expensive/upscale store. I am debating making a full pie instead of tassies because the halves are so perfect.
      I set up the crust dough last night, but will do the fillings today around everything else. Basically today will be dinner theater–3 of us in the kitchen cooking, cleaning, and snacking as we go.
      Repeat tomorrow as we turn the oversized bird into soup & freeze portions for later weekday meals

  12. Rebecca Stewart*

    The youngest cat has added to my work tonight by getting himself stuck in the suspended ceiling over the pantry/laundry room. (sigh) Jeoffrey is an explorer but this is a bit much.

    Still, it will go into the list of “Things Our Pets Did To Make The Holidays Interesting.” Other entrants include the time the cats ate the better part of the breast of the turkey (mom admitted it was her fault for leaving it where they could get it) and the time my cousin’s kitten somehow got himself trapped in the quarter panel of my mom’s car on Christmas.

    1. Pam Adams*

      We still talk about the year when we opened the refrigerator, and the cat was in there gnawing on the leftover turkey.

      1. Sc@rlettNZ*

        That is brilliant, I’m laughing my head off. I so love cats and their shennagians (but how could you not notice a cat in the fridge before you closed the door lol).

        1. CalypsoSummer*

          I had a cat whose Special Power was invisibility. Swear to God, he could hide behind air molecules, and you would *never* see him! Especially if he wanted to get out the door when you wanted him to stay inside.

          I have no problem believing that Pam’s cat managed the same sort of thing, somehow.

          1. PeanutButter*

            I have known multiple cats to get into closed refrigerators. They always just grabbed what they wanted and ran off to eat their ill-gotten gains, but I could see a cat deciding that staying put and eating a whole turkey was a reasonable action.

            Most memorable was my exes cat that got into the (CLOSED) fridge, then the (CLOSED) crisper drawer, and opened a tupperware container full of leftover chicken breasts and sauce that was made entirely of ingredients toxic to cats. (We found her in the morning covered in mustard/garlic/lemon sauce looking like she’d swallowed a cantaloupe.) She was fine. This was just one of the (many, many) incidents where she got into places we thought were cat proof ate stuff that was Not Good For Cats and shrugged it off.

      2. Dino*

        My cat tried this, then got freaked out when the light went off. I heard the cacophony and let him out. But the turkey was safe!

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      My aunt and uncle love telling the story of the year their cat sat too close to a candle and lit his tail on fire. It only got his fur so he was okay, but they had to catch him and put him out!

      One year my parents hosted Christmas dinner and our fat elderly beagle got to chew on a ham bone. It made her super thirsty and by the time she was done she was visibly fatter and kind of waddled when she walked.

    3. Pikachu*

      This was many many many years ago. My uncle had a rambunctious Siberian husky. He was the type to run wild through the neighborhood if he got out without a leash.

      He escaped one day on Christmas. Apparently, some neighbor had their Christmas ham sitting out in the garage and the garage door was not fully closed. He carried the whole ham back to our house and ate nearly all of it.

      1. Tessie Mae*

        This reminds me of my brother-in-law’s tale of the two hams which were in their detached garage. Dad let the dogs out and they were out in the yard a looooong time, apparently out of sight behind the garage. Finally, they came inside, and boy, were they thirsty! Drank a whole lot, and then some more. The family discovered why when they went out to the garage to get the hams for dinner.

    4. HerdingCatsWouldBeEasier*

      Oh, I have a Thanksgiving cat story! One year my sister’s cat got up on the counter while we were having Thanksgiving dinner. She didn’t just take samples- she got so far in the carcass that her collar got stuck on a rib. Then she panicked and backed herself off the counter and fell with the turkey still stuck on her head! We had five minutes of frantically trying to corner an absolutely hysterical cat/poultry hybrid monster. Needless to say, there were no leftovers that year, and we now have a family tradition where someone guards the turkey platter while someone else cuts up and secures the extra.

    5. A Girl Named Fred*

      Omg, I’m sorry you’re having to fish Jeoffrey out of the ceiling but thank you for the much-needed belly laugh today! Please give Jeoffrey a couple extra scritches from me (once he’s done being in trouble, lol)

    6. Free Meerkats*

      You mean like the time we did two turkeys and while we were eating turkey 1,the Basset Hound dragged turkey 2 across the kitchen floor and out the doggie door? Well, halfway out the doggie door; the drumsticks wedged on it.

    7. londonedit*

      Ha! Cats are amazing. Not a Christmas story but one of my favourites is the time I was staying with my parents and we’d all just finished dinner and were chatting around the table when we heard a strange noise from the kitchen. My mum went to investigate and found our then-19-year-old cat, who hadn’t so much as jumped up on to a sofa without help for about two years, on the kitchen counter happily gnawing away at the chicken carcass.

    8. Girasol*

      Stepmom served us a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner once and then we all went out for a drive to see the Christmas lights. She left the turkey out to cool briefly in the roaster pan. She forgot the cat was inside until we returned to find him nibbling at the turkey, up to his ankles in the warm drippings. He was a fine tall black cat with a long muzzle. He looked like he’d just stepped off an Egyptian tomb painting and had the perfect air of “I deserve whatever I want.”

  13. autumnal*

    My well-to-do brother & wife are once again hosting dinner at a lovely restaurant for the family. This consists of the two of them, my sister & her spouse, and my gang – our mother, plus my spouse and our adult daughter. I want nothing more than to stay home as I’m never, ever home alone. Plus my brother sets my teeth on edge.

    But the meal will be delish, he’ll order some excellent wine, and the location is nearby so barely any travel. Just before we depart I’ll get my annual “Thanks for taking care of mom” comment/hug, and then I won’t see or hear from him again until next Thanksgiving. I guess that vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard takes a lot out of a fellow.

    Seriously, I really really really just want to stay home. But a friend of mine who owns a restaurant is hosting an open house of sorts later in the day so I’m going to make her some holiday decor and go over there, hopefully by myself. Always something to be thankful for.

    Happy Thanksgiving all. For those with loving family, enjoy! And for those with something else, enjoy anyway – why let the turkeys get you down? ;)

    1. MoreFriesPlz*

      Ughhhh totally totally different situations and yet… same. My family is a whole mess, we lost someone to covid, and I have not been alone in my house in I have no idea how long.

      Maybe we have head aches?? Head aches too severe to drive?

      I feel like the ultimate thanksgiving Scrooge/thankless human but I just can’t.

    1. allathian*

      I’m in Finland and we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving at all, but reading some of these amazing stories, I wish we did.

      Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating!

    2. londonedit*

      Happy Thanksgiving from England where we also don’t celebrate (we just go all-out at Christmas instead!)

      1. Lady Danbury*

        I tell my American friends that Christmas in Bermuda is like American Christmas and Thanksgiving combined. Restaurant/takeout Thanksgiving dinners have become increasingly popular here, so that’s what we’ll be doing tonight.

  14. Remote*

    I love my family AND they are not very warm, accepting, loving, or nice to be around for long periods of time. I do not fit in on many levels.
    If I held them to the same standards I use for friends, we probably would have zero relationship, but it’s important to me to keep in touch and see them sometimes.
    Am I the worst most selfish person ever if I skip Thankgiving and say I’m being very cautious about COVID because I was recently potentially exposed?
    And then next year I can think of a way to be more upfront about not going, like booking a trip elsewhere?
    I don’t think my absence would have much of an impact on anyone else’s day. I didn’t sign up to help with anything specific this year and I’m just one of many of my mom’s invited guests.
    Any advice you can share?

    1. Booth Tarkington*

      No, you’re no being selfish. I think many of us have realized after Covid arrived that the traditional family get-together isn’t worth the damage to self-esteem, morale, etc. Mind you, it’s much easier said than done.

      1. Rainy*

        When my monster-in-law sent the email around about doing a “Thanksgiving zoom” I told husband that I was fine with sitting there like I’d been stuffed for an hour or so but I didn’t want her ruining our lovely Thanksgiving, so it needed to be another day. (He does all the communication with her now! It is much better this way!)

    2. Katie*

      I say lean into that good reason for not going! You were recently exposed (potentially!) and you don’t want to expose anyone else. If they say they don’t mind being exposed, you can say you really don’t want to risk it. Good luck!

    3. GoryDetails*

      Selfish or not, I think you’re perfectly justified in choosing not to go. Heck, my family was close, and I still opted out of Thanksgiving some years – especially when I was working – as I didn’t want to deal with the travel, airport backups, weather hazards, etc. when I could go visit some other, less fraught time. So I’d stay home, have a lovely 4-day weekend all to myself, making jigsaw puzzles while the MST3K “Turkey Day” marathon aired and the cats tried to eat the puzzle pieces. Sometimes I’d make a turkey for myself – I loved having near-infinite leftovers for sandwiches and turkey chili – and sometimes I’d just whip up a box of Stovetop Stuffing and have that with a glass or three of wine, and maybe some pumpkin pie for dessert.

    4. Invisible Fish*

      SKIP IT. Plan visits for times that are good for everyone and require less stress. Don’t do something because it’s “tradition.” Tradition is often just inertia born of laziness. Make the most of every day, every holiday, and every visit in a way that works for YOU.

    5. CJM*

      Do what you want! I wish I had for all those holidays I jumped through hoops to please everyone but myself. For decades I traveled or hosted to keep my mom and in-laws happy, and more recently I did it for one adult child who’s big on traditions.

      This year I put my foot down: I’m not traveling, and I’m not hosting. I’m doing Thanksgiving quietly at home with only the fuss I choose. So far it’s bliss.

    6. Dancing Otter*

      The time to opt out is NOT the day before the dinner. Certainly, you’re entitled to your feelings, and choosing not to attend is fine, but not at the last minute. It would be rude and inconsiderate for any dinner party, let alone one that’s as much work for the hostess as Thanksgiving.
      Next holiday, decline with thanks when first invited, but don’t just No Show No Notice.

  15. Little Miss Sunshine*

    This is how I usually roll for the holidays. This year, I ordered the complete meal and am doing zero cooking from scratch. I added an ice cream cake (the meal comes with pie) and anyone who is not thrilled is welcome to cook next year!

    1. cat socks*

      That’s what I’ve done the past couple of years. There’s an Amish restaurant that makes great food for the holidays. I picked everything up this morning and just need to heat it up in the oven.

    2. SpellingBee*

      I did this for Christmas dinner for the last several years I was working full-time – it was THE BEST. Every year I was exhausting myself cooking a huge holiday meal in basically a day and a half, and by the time I got it on the table I didn’t even want it (loved the leftovers though). Then one year our housemate suggested we buy a pre-done dinner from our local upscale grocery, and we did and it was glorious. Now that I’m retired I have more time to work at it over the course of several days and it’s not so intense, which helps.

    3. Public Sector Manager*

      This is our third year of doing exactly the same thing! I picked up everything today–the precooked turkey, all the fixings, and a bunch of pies from an amazing local pie store. All we need is 2 hours to heat everything and we’re in business. It’s so peaceful and it’s so nice, I think I won’t ever do a traditional Thanksgiving meal ever again.

    4. CalypsoSummer*

      I enjoy cooking, and I like making special meals — but work has been taking that out of me for the last several years, and I finally decided that I was going to buy it ready-made this year and see how that turns out.

    5. Generic Name*

      Not cooking is amazing! I’ve been under a lot of stress lately due to stuff I can’t control, so my husband said he’d cook thanksgiving day dinner this year. I don’t have to do a thing. My plan is to put together a giant puzzle.

  16. Gladiolus*

    Home due to lockdown last year, home due to recovering from surgery this year. Frustrated at how the timing worked out…my parents are elderly and frail, and I don’t know how many holidays we have left together. But I’m in no shape to travel, and my dad has a twice-broken hip and can’t handle long drives/flights. :(

    1. PollyQ*

      I’m sorry things aren’t working out for you, and for the 2nd year in a row. Perhaps you & your folks can do something like a “Thanksgiving in February,” to brighten up an otherwise blah month? Anyway, hope your recovery goes well, and I hope you’re able to find some pleasure on turkey day.

  17. Booth Tarkington*

    I’m just kinda over TG this year. Mom is deceased, from a country where TG isn’t celebrated. Dad’s side takes the fun out of dysfunctional, my brother is following in the paternal tradition, and I’m just kind of…over it. Like, I really wish we could be with my spouse’s family, but Covid and travel times makes that impossible. And I’m not looking forward to calling Dad on TG, but the world will end if I don’t. Sigh.
    We’re in a different city than usual, so don’t have friends…plus Covid. So I think we’ll just roast our turkey, get drunk, and watch the MST3K marathon.

    1. Retired Prof*

      Once, trapped in Thanksgiving traffic, my husband and I looked at all the traffic crawling in both directions and invented the Thanksgiving exchange. Instead of being stuck in traffic for hours to get to Large Urban Area where your family gets in the usual arguments, while people from Large Urban Area get stuck in traffic traveling to your Home Town to have arguments with their families, you just trade families. You go to their family in your town, and they go to your family in Large Urban Area. Everybody is on their best behavior with strangers, and everybody has a lovely time and gets home early.

    2. Jean (just Jean)*

      “takes the fun out of dysfunctional”
      LOL! But I’m also sorry that you have this nonsense in your family.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        My husband set up a Go Pro this year to prevent the arguments. It worked! Everyone knew they were on camera (sotto voice to certain guests was that we wanted video of our very elderly MIL) so were on their best behavior! No yelling, no nothing. It was WONDERFUL!

  18. WoodswomanWrites*

    It’s distracted driving central where I live. Yesterday someone in a truck, larger than my car, clipped my passenger side mirror. We were going slowly on a city thoroughfare, so I figured we could both pull over where it was convenient and talk. Nope, the driver sped up and kept going. This morning I merged into traffic on a freeway on-ramp, signaling and going at typical safe speed with traffic, and the driver had plenty of time to see me. Instead of either moving over to the next lane or slowing down, they zoomed forward until I had to slam on my brakes to avoid crashing either into their car or the guard rail as the road narrowed.

    Fortunately my mirror is on a hinge and easily fixed by hand and I didn’t collide with anything on the freeway. Drive safely, everyone!

  19. A different name than I usually use*

    I thought I would be out of town on a business trip, but didn’t have to go. I invited my parents over because I have allergies and I don’t trust my mother to make things I can eat. I am not really happy about having them over due to large family drama in September that was not resolved, just swept under the carpet by parents. I am still angry/hurt about it (involves sibling stealing an inheritance worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but somehow I’m the bad guy in all of it- even though I have stated that I will not go to court or try to fight it) I’m the one of my siblings that lives near my parents. I’m just tired of pretending I’m ok with everything and would like more than a superficial relationship w/my parents. Anyway, I’m making turkey breast, sauteed greens beans, homemade stuffing/dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and pudding pie.

    1. CalypsoSummer*

      That sounds like a delicious dinner, and I’m sorry about the side-order of drama and angst. I hope you have a peaceful evening and that everything goes well.

    2. Cat named Brian*

      Hugs to you. So awful!! My uncle stole a large sum of money and property from my Mom when my grandparents died. (They had made him executor) Then he proceeded to gamble it away and give it to his first x wife. When he died Mom refused to let him be buried in the family tomb. It’s caused hurt for years….

  20. The cat’s ass*

    Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, my fam went to my mom’s sister for thanksgiving. One year we sat and waited and waited and waited for the food to be done only to discover that the stove wasn’t functional ( my aunt had been drinking and somehow kicked the plug for the stove out of the socket).
    We ended up in Chinatown and has one of the most awesome thanksgivings in memory.
    Hope everyone’s thanksgiving is tasty and stress-free!

    1. ecnaseener*

      Oh nooooo!

      We faked a broken oven as a prank one year — it was the first time my mom was hosting instead of my grandma, and of course grandma was nervous about all the things that could go wrong without her at the helm. A relative got a turkey from his work, so we stuck the extra turkey in the oven, frozen solid, right before grandma arrived – knowing she’d go straight to the oven to check that the turkey was far enough along :)

    2. WellRed*

      My brother hosted one year and decided to attempt to deep fry the turkey (all the rage). We waited and waited until he announced “all right foljs, dinner us ready, there’s no turkey.” It never got hot enough. Luckily we had plenty of alcohol and sides so it wasn’t an issue.

  21. Anon Midwesterner*

    Someone in my close extended family doesn’t like cheese. I have been tasked with appetizers for tomorrow. I scrolled through SO MANY IDEAS for appetizers until I found 2 or 3 that do not involve any form of cheese. I am also from the cheesiest state, WI, so it’s personally painful haha

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      One side of my family has a lot of vegans and vegetarians so the green bean casserole I’m bringing to the other side has bacon AND cheese lol (I am making vegan pie and sweet potatoes for the veggie side)

    2. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I can’t trust people who don’t like cheese. Any kind. (i’m not gatekeeping cheese I promise)

        1. Hotdog not dog*

          I am lactose intolerant but every so often I decide that the suffering is worth it. Cheese free is no way to live!

      1. Cheeseaverse*

        As someone who also hates cheese it drives me crazy that people like to put cheese in and on everything! (What about vegans or lactose intolerant people too?)

        There are so many fun dips and things that aren’t cheese based! And you don’t have to make all the appetizers cheese free, just have 1-2 options.

        1. allathian*

          Lots of cured cheeses (especially blue cheese, Brie, and hard, pungent cheeses like Cheddar) are naturally low lactose (0-2%). Some people can tolerate low lactose dairy, especially if they take lactase with the meal, but others prefer to avoid it entirely, and that’s obviously up to them. But there are some options available for lactose intolerant cheese lovers.

          But if you’re allergic to milk protein, like my dad, it’s a different story, he can’t eat any dairy products at all. He used to be the cheese lover in our family, until he became allergic in his 50s. A tiny cube of salad cheese would send him to his bed for three days. He was stubborn about it, and it took a long time, and many bouts of stomach ache and diarrhea, before he finally accepted that he had to stop eating one of his favorite delicacies.

          1. Potatoes gonna potate*

            That sounds so rough to suddenly become allergic to a food you love! I’m finding I may have a slight intolerance to dairy. I’ve always gotten stomachaches when drinking milk straight or with coffee or in cereal, but can eat yogurt ice cream and most cheeses just fine.

      2. BuildMeUp*

        Maybe it’s a texture thing? I hate cottage cheese specifically because of the texture, but I do like regular cheese.

    3. Sunshine*

      Aww. Wi is my homeland and I miss it like crazy. I spend too much splurging on carr valley cheese for the Christmas cheese plate.
      Have a great thanksgiving.

  22. Double A*

    I have a cold and my 3 year old is going through a gnarly sleep regression (up at 3am every night!! Hysterics if we leave!) She’s been a really good sleeper since she was about 1 and is the world’s worst bed sharer so we don’t want to get in that habit. Any tips for getting through this is much appreciated.

    I’m realizing we should probably bail on Thanksgiving tomorrow. Both the kids are pretty much recovered but are still snotty. I feel bad because we haven’t seen that side of the family since pre-pandemic and none of them have met the new baby (who is sleeping pretty darn well most nights). But I’d hate to spread a cold around.

    1. RagingADHD*

      Aw, that stinks. I’m stuck at home with Youngest instead of going to the church pie social due to a lingering cold, also. Fingers crossed that she and yours are all better tomorrow.

      I made an awesome looking peach pie for the social, too. Dang.

      1. Double A*

        On the plus side…more pie for you! And peaches have, like, vitamins, and vitamins are good for colds. That is what I’d be telling myself anyway. Hope you’re all recovered soon as well!

        1. RagingADHD*

          Thanks! There was low turnout so half the pie came home. I’m about to “medicate” myself with those peachy vitamins while I make the side dishes for tonight.

    2. Imprudence*

      Any chance she would sleep on a mattress in your room? I ended up with one under our bed and the kids would sometimes drag it out, and go back to sleep, and we would hardly wake. Sometimes it’s jus knowing someone else is there.

      And it never became a habit.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Good for you who are choosing to stay home with a,cold. If we’ve learned nothing else in the last two years, it’s that different immune systems react differently to the same bug!

  23. Lizy*

    I just accepted a remote job at a 40% raise, that will allow us to make the move to our dream location. My first interview was literally a week ago – they moved FAST!

    I should be happy, right? And yet… none of this would have been necessary if my son hadn’t have done what he did. So instead of celebrating, I’m crying while giving my 2 littles a bath.

    1. Double A*

      Oof, I don’t think many “shoulds” apply to your life right now. It sounds like it’s a relative relief to have this job under the circumstances because it lightens some aspects of your load but…yeah, gratitude is not realy a relevant emotion at the moment. Feel whatever you feel. ​

      I hope you can find some moments of peace and warmth and togetherness with the family you can be with, and that you’re able to be gentle to yourself.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This is what grief does, it can numb us so we don’t feel joy or even momentary delight. Grief isn’t just for funerals, it for so many types of life events. You have had a huge life change. It’s a point in life that you will probably remember/feel in some form for the rest of your life.
      Ya know, we sometimes hit forks in the road of life and do not realize it. That’s one type of problem. But sometimes we hit forks in the road and we DO realize it and that seems to be a whole different level. There’s a rawness or starkness about it all. It’s in our face just how rotten life can be.

      May time be kind to you and yours. May you find peace or comfort in unexpected places.

  24. Wrench Turner*

    I do the majority of the cooking and shopping and there’s been so much going on lately (what year is it?) that I just don’t feel like cooking. So we’re getting Chinese takeout. And if the restaurant is closed (I called today to make sure and they were like “Mmmmmaybe. We don’t know. Check back tomorrow”) I have enough ingredients to make my own chicken fried rice and there’s buns and dumplings in the freezer I can steam in 15 minutes.

  25. WoodswomanWrites*

    In the spirit of Thanksgiving gratitude–Alison, thank you for your generosity with this site, and thank you to all who comment and share so much of yourselves! My life is richer because of all of you.

    I posted this last weekend in response to a post about nontraditional Thanksgiving things, but I’m just so excited that given the prompt about the holiday, I’m sharing it here also. I’m doing my annual tradition of a solo overnight nature trip to see some of the two million migratory ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, tundra swans, bald eagles, and other birds that winter in California’s Central Valley. I’m visiting wildlife refuges and the agricultural fields along the backroads, staying in a hotel with food I’m bringing from home, and going out at sunrise on Friday. I’ve figured out the nuances of the camera I got last year and hope to get photos.

    Except for my mom who lives in a local retirement community, my family is spread out across the country and I prefer to visit them when it’s less hectic. I see my mom all the time and it’s not a big deal to her.

    1. ecnaseener*

      That sounds absolutely delightful!

      And agreed, grateful for Alison’s advice and the lovely people she’s brought together :)

    2. osmoglossum*

      Have a wonderful time, Woodswoman! That sounds like an ideal way to celebrate and express gratitude for this gorgeous planet we live on.

      I’m in the Bay Area but originally from NYC, and my folks and sibling are still back there. I loathe going back during any holiday — between the insanity of travel and the traditional family dysfunction that increases exponentially during the holidays, I’m incredibly grateful to spend a quiet evening with a dear friend and the dog she’s caring for while his regular humans are away.

      Safe travels!!

    3. Double A*

      Have a great time! The best Thanksgiving I ever had was backpacking in Big Sur. Gorgeous weather and nobody around. Some year I’ll do it again…

  26. Chauncy Gardener*

    Thanks so much for creating this wonderful blog/entity/thing that has a life of it’s own, Alison!

    And I’m praying my in-laws aren’t TOO late this year…..

    And also grateful we both have our jobs and can afford to host.

  27. Tessie Mae*

    This is the first Thanksgiving in about 30 years that I am not hosting my family (I do not count 2020, because . . . well, it just doesn’t count). After a Zoom celebration last year, I realized that I hadn’t felt like being the hostess for a while. It just so happens that a couple family members from hubby’s side moved this year and are close enough to celebrate, and my sis-in-law has offered to host. Yay! I’m still making food (it’s family potluck), but it’s so much more relaxing being a guest than hostess.

  28. Missb*

    Other than getting into a bus accident yesterday, my Thanksgiving is going swell.

    We headed way way east to visit our oldest child. Youngest child flew in too. Together they are cooking dinner tomorrow. I raised some fine cooks with those two young men.

    (Bus: we were passengers on the city bus and a truck drove right into it. Other than a bit of a jolt we were unharmed. Strangely we were the only passengers willing to be witnesses.)

  29. Potatoes gonna potate*

    Anyone do Friendsgivings?

    It’s been a tradition in my friends group since 2012 I think, getting together each year. I’ve known them since I was in college (18 years, eek!). Some got together last year while a few of us sat it out and looks like that’s the case for this year as well. I used to love gathering with everyone but now I find it….exhausting? I think I get along great with each person individually but when we all get together it’s really just centered around 1 person, what’s going on in their life etc (they also happen to be the only one who’s single and childless and has a seemingly awesome life.) and everyone’s just outtalking each other, interrupting each other, as soon as I start talking I get interrupted and multiple conversations happen.

    1. PollyQ*

      Yes, my immediate family does a 2nd shebang on Saturday with another set of family friends, and it’s great. But if yours isn’t working for you anymore, then there’s nothing wrong taking a year off, or stopping altogether. There are plenty of other valid ways to be friends with people.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Part of why I’m so reluctant is because this is the only Thanksgiving I get to have. Never celebrated it as a kid, and last 5-6 years I’ve been going to visit in laws in Canada so I miss the family Thanksgiving as well. I like them, and I enjoy everyone’s company individually….but everyone is so busy that group gatherings is really the only way most of us can get together.

    2. Fellow Traveller*

      Sometimes I find that taking a year off from a Friendsgiving either renews my desire to go again the next year, or gives me the space to think about how I really want to gather with my friends, maybe try new things. I mean for me there will always be a little sense of FOMO not participating in big group things, but if what I value is the individual, then I should out effort into cultivating those relationships.

    3. allathian*

      I’m sorry your friends aren’t more accommodating.

      I’m from a culture where interrupting others is considered rude in most social situations. Heck, even our politicians mostly manage to let each other speak. But because I’ve lived in countries like Spain and France where you show you’re listening by actively interrupting others, I can deal with interruptions, and I’m also sometimes the interrupter. One of my best friends is an inveterate talker, and the only way I can get a word in edgewise with her is to interrupt her, so our communication style is very Continental.

      If you decide to go to the Friendsgiving, how about giving them some of their medicine? I know it’s easier said than done if you’re normally a reticent communicator, but sometimes you have to be the change you want to see in others. Someone interrupts you, try saying something like “hey, I’m not done talking yet”. See what happens. If they simply refuse to listen to anything you say, at least you’ll get the chance to reconsider if you really want to hang out with your friends as a group on those terms.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I used to. I stopped mostly because of a combination of drama around a friend breakup and the fact that I can’t stand my housemate’s girlfriend (though he would be fine not inviting her, he knows I’d rather drop a bowling ball on my foot than be around her for more than two minutes) and this is my third year of a new solo Thanksgiving tradition instead. But my Feast has historically been the one time a year I willingly host large groups of people in my home.

  30. Anon, good nurse*

    I’m excited for Thanksgiving! I’m poly and mostly closeted, but Thanksgiving is my secret jolly poly holiday. My boyfriend comes over and I feed him and my husband and our children and it’s just us and it’s really lovely. Good inoculation for the December holidays, when we all travel.

  31. Bah humbug*

    I haven’t felt like celebrating. I’ve hosted Friendsgiving for the last few years but I moved this summer and the logistics just don’t work. Plus I switched jobs and I’m just exhausted all the time. One of my friends called me crying because she doesn’t want to break our tradition. I don’t want to either, but I’m exhausted and don’t want to cook or drive 100+ miles just to please other people.

    I feel like a bad friend.

    1. Mazey's Mom*

      If your friend doesn’t want to break the tradition, why don’t they bring Friendsgiving to you? Let them drive and cook. Give yourself a break. Of course, there will be other times to celebrate. Skipping one event doesn’t mean it’ll never happen again.

      1. Moira Rose*

        Ehhhh it’s not really practical to ask someone to drive that far *and* bring all the food. (What, are they gonna roast a turkey and put it into one of those Dominos pizza delivery bags?) Try to make it up to your friend next year and Zoom with them this year.

        1. Invisible Fish*

          Oh, it is. If this person wants Friendsgiving so badly, she can make it happen. A lot of times what people actually want is for YOU to put yourself out, and as soon as it turns out they’ll have to put forth the same amount of effort they expected of you, they suddenly are okay with *not* having this thing that seemed soooo important before.

          1. Generic Name*

            Yuuup. I’ve discovered that if something is really that important to a person, they will make it happen. If it’s too much effort, then it wasn’t that important after all.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      You’re not a bad friend for needing a break. You can always do “half Thanksgiving” in May or just a casual get-together later or any number of ways to connect that aren’t exhausting and aren’t right now.

    3. Invisible Fish*

      Saying “I’m not up for that this year – sorry” is not being a bad friend. Pushing yourself to do something you’re not up for and becoming resentful or angry and ultimately not wanting to do it *at all* would be being a bad friend. If getting together with friends is important, y’all can work together to come up with a plan that allows everyone to get together at a time good for everyone. A good friend isn’t going to do things to make you feel guilty when you’re not up for getting together.

    4. Katie*

      You’re not a bad friend. You’re an exhausted human with recent changes making life more complicated than before. You’re allowed to set boundaries and take care of yourself! That’s a good tradition, any time of year.

    5. allathian*

      I’m so sorry. If you can’t do it this year, skip it. Don’t let your friend guilt you into either going or hosting, if you’re not feeling it this year.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      You’re exhausted and the friend is crying. hmm. Friend is a little tone deaf?

      It’s up to your friend to fix her own holiday. You have already fixed yours when you said you are too tired to drive or cook. This is what your needs are this holiday. Your friend needs something else so she will have to figure out how to address her own needs. It’s not up to you to fix HER needs.

  32. CatCat*

    If the jellied cranberry sauce (Ocean Spray or gtfo) doesn’t maintain the shape of the can when you plop it out onto a plate, what is even the point?

  33. KoiFeeder*

    Okay, question for Alison. Do all of Sophie’s pictures have that therapist gaze? Is she just a little feline therapist?

  34. Falling Diphthong*

    Thank you to The Cat’s Ass for suggesting dim sum for Thanksgiving.

    (I don’t like stuffing. Or most of the other traditional foods. So a day dedicated to laboriously making stuffing, 10 minutes of eating, and then sitting around digesting has never appealed.)

    I got some frozen dumplings and buns from my local dumpling shop and assembled a bunch of recipes for small bites from Ming Tsai (the dim sum cookbook my library had on hand). It’s so much nicer to go to the effort of planning and cooking an elaborate meal if it’s something I’m excited to eat.

    1. the cat's ass*

      You are most kindly welcome, and it sounds delicious, enjoy! It should always be something we are excited to eat, but i get why that’s not always the case (cue Tevye singing, “traditionnnnnnnn” ).

      I’m actually doing a fairly traditional Thxgiving this year having taken most of the week off by accident, and so able to cook the stuff, but Christmas is ALWAYS dim sum for brunch and Chinese takeout for dinner! That thanksgiving was a year with too much work and a hospitalization and i just couldn’t .

      Thank you Alison for creating such a great space and thank you commentariat for being generally awesome.

  35. Phil*

    Back when I was a kid my grandfather always carved the turkey on the sideboard with his back to the table. One year when he turned around to ask “Light or dark” our giant Persian cat jumped up, dragged the bird off the sideboard and was halfway out the door before anybody could do anything.
    That was a turkey less thanksgiving.

  36. Tired Queer*

    This year, my little friend-family decided to do something a little different since none of us actually like turkey: we’re making ostrich steaks! No idea how it’ll turn out, but we have three pies and plenty of sides in case we heck something up!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Hahaha, I told my husband two weeks ago that I would be happy to experiment with cooking ostrich but preferably not on thanksgiving :) (he ordered alligator instead, but I think we’re saving that for Christmas.)

  37. SparklingBlue*

    I plan to join the parents for a nice meal, then head home and finish up Pokemon Brilliant Diamond.

  38. Pipe Organ Guy*

    Tomorrow we go to the in-laws for a couple of days; there’s the obligatory feast tomorrow, with turkey, my husband’s mashed potatoes, homemade French bread from a friend, all kinds of other stuff, cranberries that I cooked this morning, and a bunch of pies: pumpkin, mincemeat, pecan, and chocolate cream. I’m thankful for 1) no choir rehearsal today, and 2) no Thanksgiving service tomorrow morning.

  39. Rainy*

    Oh my gosh, so. I did some precooking today, and one of the things I did was make a bay and cardamom infused simple syrup for one of the sides tomorrow. It was hot (you know how sugar water gets) so I left it in its saucepan on the stove to infuse more (and cool) before I tried to use it, and then we started watching a movie and I forgot about it. Well, husband is doing the dishes and I was like “oh right the syrup” and went to get it and…the stove had been cleaned off and all the pans were in the dishwasher.

    Husband tipped out my simple syrup. Well, I can make it again tomorrow!

      1. Rainy*

        It’s for cranberries. I’m trying something new this year. I think I got the wrong cranberries, though. Oh well. I’m sure it’ll be good anyway.

      2. Rainy*

        It was delicious, and when I remade the simple syrup I used more bay and cardamom and it was definitely the right call.

    1. Buni*

      Nothing to add except my brain speed-read that as ‘BABY and cardamom infused’, which made the whole thing much more interesting…

      1. Rainy*

        The neighbour has a young baby and judging by how she was scream-crying back at him yesterday, she might be happy for me to take him off her hands… :P

  40. Fair Guinevere*

    Do any Americans have cloth diaper recommendations for inserts, prefolds, or flats. Or favourite new born diaper brands. I’m helping a friend who’s due in January but I use cloth diapers in Australia so I don’t know the brands. She has 50 covers mostly mama kola or homemade ones but no inserts to go in them. Also taking wet bag recommendations

    1. No Name Yet*

      We stopped cloth diapering long enough ago that I don’t remember any brands, but I can recommend Planet Earth wet/dry bags. They were great for diapers, and since then we’ve used them for school/camp or traveling. They got a LOT of use because our day care was willing to cloth diaper if we provided the wet/dry bags every day, and they’re still in great shape.

    2. Fellow Traveller*

      My favorite source for cotton prefolds is Green Mountain Diapers. I’ve cloth diapered three kids with their prefolds and they are super durable – I had another brand too, and they are starting to develop holes, but the Green Mountain stuff is still going strong. I use them both in a cover and as a stuffer for pocket diapers.
      And I love that their website has pictures of real babies in their diapers so you can see what different sizes look like.

  41. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate?

    Perhaps someone could answer a question that’s been puzzling me: what is green bean casserole? It seems to be green beans with a can of mushroom soup poured over, then baked. Is that it? Are there any similar recipes? Is that what Americans mean when they say “casserole” more generally (in the UK the word is used fairly interchangeably with “stew”)?

    1. Asenath*

      In my English (Canadian with regional and US influences) casseroles are invariably baked, and are invariably the main part of the meal. It was years before I realized that some people though macaroni and cheese (which my mother always cooked in the oven) and baked beans were treated by some people as a side dishes. I’ve heard of the green bean casserole, it not actually existing in my world, and I think you’ve gotten it about right. I like green beans a lot, although we ate other vegetables much more often when I was growing up, and the normal way of serving them was boiled, with each diner adding butter, salt and pepper to taste to their serving.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      That’s mostly it – I also put bacon crumbles in mine – and traditionally you top it with crispy deep-fried onions. A casserole is mostly a one-pot dish.

    3. Colette*

      I’d use casserole for something that is baked in the oven, whereas stew is usually cooked on the stove or in a slow cooker. Casseroles typically also gel together – lasagne would be a casserole (but isn’t ususally referred to as one).

    4. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Thanks, all.

      (I remain baffled by its popularity, but at least I understand it better)

      1. Rainy*

        Green bean casserole was invented by Dorcas Reilly, who was one of the first members of the Campbell’s Test Kitchen. It was originally intended to be an easy weeknight side using seven ingredients that it was assumed most home cooks would have in their kitchens. The soy sauce is about the same amount as a takeout packet! It’s actually pretty fascinating, as many “modern convenience” foods from that era are. :)

      2. Batgirl*

        I’ve only had it once when visiting the states, and was not expecting it to be great because I don’t even like green beans, yet it was delicious. It was creamy in the way that potato salad or coleslaw is and it was just very tasty. I don’t know if it was that particular recipe which made it so good though and honestly wish I’d asked for it.

    5. RagingADHD*

      That is in fact prerty much what it is, with a few extra seasonings. The classic version uses canned green beans, so the result is exactly as slimy and revolting as it sounds.

      I have made a version with fresh green beans, a mushroom bechamel, and other homemade versions of the traditional elements, and it was quite nice. Not nice enough to make every year, but tolerable.

      I prefer to saute my green beans with summer squash, sweet corn, and herbs, simmer them a few minutes in chicken broth, and call it succotash. (The “three sisters” of corn, beans, and squash being indigenous foods).

    6. Green beeeeens*

      Yeah. That’s kind of it. It has to have the can of fried onion rings/pieces on top. For a crunchy texture??? Much better with fresh green beans (but has to cook a bit longer). I love it. But only once a year. And I’ve gradually cut the can of mushroom soup by half so it’s less gloppy.

    7. Vermont Green*

      A North American casserole is baked in an oven-proof dish that is wider than it is high. It consists of various vegetable and/or meat ingredients, mixed with a creamy sauce of some kind, and then, usually a topping such as chopped nuts, bread crumbs, or grated cheese.

  42. Kat*

    Thankful for my housemate, her friend, and my husband, who helped soothe a screaming baby and drove all around trying to get us children’s Tylenol after midnight. (Baby had some routine vaccines today and is now sleeping peacefully!)

  43. Dona Florinda*

    Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! I’m thankful for all the advice and for the laughs from Alison (and the commentariat!)

  44. Seeking Second Childhood*

    My husband surprised us with biscuits earlier this week — yay!
    Except he made them with the chicken fat I’d saved off the last TWO chicken soup to use in my first attempt at chopped chicken livers. Happily I found out before defrosting the pint of chicken livers.
    I’ll try again at Christmas. The timing would have tickled my Jewish stepgramma.

    1. Wicked Witch of the West*

      The perils of a husband who bakes.
      I know in my grocery store you can buy schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), in the same area as the lard. And it keeps in the freezer so you don’t have to use the whole thing at once.

  45. Goose*

    Before going to bed in my grandmothers guest room, I noticed the comforter was covered in a white sand like substance. Google is no help. Do I have bedbugs now?

    1. fueled by coffee*

      No clue what the white powder is, but the good news is that it doesn’t sound like bedbugs (typical signs of bedbugs are red dots on the sheets and bites on you. You can also occasionally lift up the mattress and see them underneath. Ask me how I unfortunately know).

      Does she use some kind of powdery laundry detergent that didn’t quite get washed off? Is plaster falling from the ceiling?

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