Thanksgiving Food Traditions

Thanksgiving Food Traditions

Tue 25 Nov 2014

Story by Jade Rosenberg

Thanksgiving is the time of year when family and friends come together, sit around the table, and drool over the festive meal that awaits them. For a long time, I celebrated Thanksgiving with my whole family, but as the years went by, my family grew and naturally moved around. So inevitably, Thanksgiving started to come with options: I could go to my sister’s in-laws place and spend it with my boyfriend’s family, or go home to see my parents.

For a couple of years, I followed my lifelong tradition and spent Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. But as my relationship evolved and my three sisters moved elsewhere in the country, I started thinking about spending the holidays with them instead. This decision - and similar decisions in subsequent years - turned my Thanksgiving world upside down.

You see, I had a very specific mindset about Thanksgiving, having followed the same traditions every year since childhood. In our house, you cook a little the day before Thanksgiving and then all day on Thursday. At around 5:30 PM, you finally sit down, and eat, eat some more, and then rest on the couch and eventually go to bed. For a long time, I didn’t even there was a football game on Thanksgiving Day.

And the food, of course, was amazing. We had staples on the table, such as my aunt’s noodle kugel, my grandma’s cranberry sauce, and my mom’s sweet potato marshmallow casserole. And along for the ride were always roasted vegetables, fresh salads, and other yummy greens, like sautéed spinach.

Then I decided to spend Thanksgiving at my boyfriend’s parents’ home and was suddenly transported to another Thanksgiving universe. A variety of appetizers were served before the main meal, such as cheeses, crackers, chips and dips, and shrimp cocktail. The main meal was served in the middle of the day (way before my usual 5:30 PM slot) and it consisted of many Thanksgiving foods that were not part of my original celebrations. We ate and ate some mroe - this part sounded familiar - and then watched the football game together. Later in the evening, those who were still hungry could sneak in the kitchen for some leftovers.

Although I continue to celebrate Thanksgiving, it feels a totally different holdait from the one I spent with my family in my childhood home. Not a bad different, just different. And that’s when I realized how special Thanksgiving truly is. To each family, it comes with its own personal traditions, and no Thanksgiving is truly the same. The beauty of this holiday is that you can continue your own childhood traditions while, at the same time, creating new ones. Each year I spend Thanksgiving at my in-laws’ house, I bring my mom’s sweet potato marshmallow casserole - so a piece of my family’s tradition is on the table too.

About the author
Jade Rosenberg is a recipe developer, food stylist, and culinary instructor in New York City. Jade established her skills through working in the restaurant industry, The Chew on ABC, and for celebrity chefs. She is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston and Northeastern University with a degree in Communications. She is passionate about healthy, easy, and empowering foods.


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