Thanksgiving’s Greatest Hits

November 4, 2009 · 22 comments · Print This Post

in Appetizers, Dinner, Holidays / Entertaining

CK and I split the holidays. We spend Thanksgiving in Connecticut with the Kelly clan and then have Christmas in snowy Maine with my Family. The Kelly’s are Thanksgiving connoisseurs. The festivities at this day long celebration of football and food are an epic exercise in stamina. Below are a few rules and/or insights I’ve garnered over the years and have chosen to share so that you will survive the day should the opportunity ever be bestowed upon you.

Top Secret Artichoke Dip

Rule #1: Tread lightly through the Artichoke dip lest you ruin your appetite.

Go Green with Beaujolais Nouveau

Rule #2: Watch your intake of Beaujolais Nouveau. Over indulgence in delicious once-a-year wine may result in embarrassing stories told about you at next year’s soiree. Proceed with caution.

Light It Up

Rule #3: Wait your turn. Don’t reach across the table in search of that second roll or you may just catch your sweater on fire via some very pretty flaming fruit.

Aunt Kara's Ambrosia

Rule #4: You will absolutely put an enormous spoonful of Aunt Kara’s Ambrosia, that CK made all by himself, (yeah right…) on your plate and you will eat it AND like it or else.

Rule #5: Do have a piece of CK’s dad’s Toll House Pie. Even if you’re so full you feel like you’re going to explode. There’s always room for pie. Make sure to use your fork to even out the sides too. You don’t want to put the pie away uneven, right?

Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, and Stuffing. That's it!

Rule #6: Several short hours after the main dinner you’ll find yourself overwhelmingly compelled to join in when all of the Kelly’s inevitably start to make “Dirty Bird Sandwiches.” Don’t resist. Just go with the flow.

And that my friends is how you celebrate Thanksgiving with CK’s family. So do tell. What sort of shenanigans take place at your family gatherings?

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Liz Anderson November 4, 2009 at 9:06 pm

What? No nap?
On second thought, are the Kelly’s looking to adopt? I’m available. At least for Thanksgiving! They’re my kind of people.

We put on the feedbag for any of the families that aren’t feasting with in-laws. It can be as small as 10 people, or as large as 30 depending on everyone’s schedule. There’s no such thing as a Kid’s Table; if you get a chair you’re just plain happy with that. Mom make’s the City’s largest possible bird, potatoes and gravy. There are enough Other Women in the family to round out all the sides and desserts and let me tell you, it’s nothing short of magnificient. Even having two Type 2 diabetics in the family hasn’t slowed us one bit; thank you, Splenda. Thanksgiving is the BEST holiday: no gifts, all food, and family.


2 EB November 4, 2009 at 9:29 pm

I LOVE the flaming fruit!


3 Rachel November 4, 2009 at 11:33 pm

I already ate dinner tonight but this post is making me hungry . I am definitely trying out the artichoke dip.


4 Dani November 5, 2009 at 2:16 am

First of all, I didn’t know my favorite leftover turkey sandwich has a name – I look forward to being able to tell my family now to just leave me alone with my Dirty Bird Sandwich, please. (My daughter eats one food at a time and doesn’t even want them to touch!)

We used to have the kind of get-togethers with 20 to 30 family members plus whatever friends any of us would invite so they didn’t have to be alone. My mom put the ambrosia in a pineapple boat, and a fruit salad in a watermelon basket. Unfortunately, lots of family has moved away, and my mother passed away, so now it’s my daughter, her husband, their two kids and me. We make every dish that my mother made. My daughter will let me make additional desserts, but everything else has to be the exact recipes that my mom made every year. We’re lucky that they’re delicious. We all cook, including the kids. Even though there are only five of us, you’d think there were more, both because of how much food gets eaten, and how much laughter there is. It means so much to me that my grandchildren love these traditions as much as I do. (But I’m awfully tired of the green bean casserole every year!) Oh, since my son-in-law’s large family lives in Phoenix, too, we actually go there ON Thanksgiving, then cook our own turkey and trimmings for our dinner the next day. (Otherwise there wouldn’t be any leftovers. We must have leftovers!) I hope you and Chris have a really wonderful Thanksgiving.


5 Hanni November 5, 2009 at 8:21 am

Ooooooohh *drool* I’m still remembering my last slice I had of Papa CK’s Tollhouse Pie and it was goooood.


6 April in CT November 5, 2009 at 8:57 am

When I was growing up we always gathered at my grandmothers and had a HUGE meal with a big crowd. After she passed away and some of us (hubby is in the Coast Guard) moved away that dwindled. After buying our first house when stationed in FL I started a new tradition and my mother in law and her honey spend Thanksgiving with us and I do ALL the cooking. My first try at it really made me appreciate all the work my grandmother put into this event every year! I make everything vegetarian friendly for my MIL, but of course still do a turkey for the rest of us. It’s really quite easy to make all the sides vegetarian and she always has a plate full.

Now we live in CT (hey, can I come crash the Kelly’s because that looks like some fantastic food and I really miss a big gathering, truth be told) and they travel all the way from GA to be with us and spend several weeks. I’m so thankful they make that trip just for us! My MIL (thankfully!) loves my cooking so I guess it’s a little motivation. LOL They stayed almost a MONTH last year so this entire year I’ve been giving her grief about it and it’s been so much fun. What’s better than a free pass to tease your MIL?


7 Jade B November 5, 2009 at 9:18 am

YUM! The pineapple candle is such a great idea! I might have to do that for my family thanksgiving. Although there’s usually never any room on the table for a centerpiece with all the deliciousness going on.


8 wummy November 5, 2009 at 9:28 am

Do you remember when the cat went across the table and caught on fire on the tail at Grams house? Be careful of the boys with candles on the table. Love the Pineapple though!!


9 Kelly November 5, 2009 at 10:12 am

Great post. I love all the great memories associated with Thanksgiving. I don’t know that we have any shenangins, per se, but I remember always resenting sitting at the kids table since I’m the eldest of the kids and a good distance in age from my two youngest cousins. Your variation on the spinach artichoke dip sounds very interesting. I’ve never tried it with roasted red peppers.


10 [email protected] November 5, 2009 at 11:49 am

I love Thanksgiving. Almost as much as I love Halloween. For Thanksgiving we used to get together with my childhood best friend and her family, and we would have like 20 people and multiple turkeys (one for leftovers). Leftover would come out in the form of hot turkey sandwiches later in the evening.

Now we host Thanksgiving at my place here in Boston, and my family and my husband’s family comes. It’s much smaller (10 people) but we’re building our own traditions and memories.


11 Jelli November 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm

We usually have tv remote control war between the football fans and the anti television crew. I just want to tell you that the flaming fruit is incredibly funny!


12 [email protected] November 5, 2009 at 3:47 pm

My husband insists that we always host at our house because he refuses to have Thanksgiving out of the great state o’Maine.

Thanksgiving charades are fun. Ask a seven year old to act out “cranberry sauce” and see what you get.


13 Kerstin November 5, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Now I’m craving a Dirty Bird Sandwich! And my mom’s pumpkin pie, which we always eat for breakfast after Thanksgiving 🙂

We so have to go see the Jem movie together, maybe I’ll even wear my wig, hahaha 🙂


14 Shannon November 6, 2009 at 8:00 am

isn’t it funny how we always go back for that sandwich even though we’ve already eaten way to much? looks like you have a good day ahead 🙂


15 Bob November 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Sounds about right to me! I go to my brothers first thing in the morning and him, his wife and me cook for her family. Good times.


16 Mel November 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm

we wander in and out of the kitchen trying to help but getting yelled at until my mom screams about how she hates all holidays and then we eat and nap and everything is all better afterward. Dinner is actually lunch, usually, except last year when it was actually at dinner time.


17 jo November 6, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Thanksgiving is ALL ABOUT the turkey/stuffing/gravy/cranberry sauce sandwich the next day w/ boursin. Oh YES it is.
Luck you.


18 Bren November 6, 2009 at 10:43 pm

the sandwich reminds me of a stuffing i used to make with smoked turkey, celery, dried cranberries and other goodies! Looks good, girlfriend! 🙂


19 Nicole (dishin') November 9, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Oh yum! You’re making me hungry! I love love love Thanksgiving. We always have waayyy too much food. I always intend to pace myself but it doesn’t happen. Maybe this year 😉


20 Tabby K November 12, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Hi Erin,

That was a great post. I loved how every family has different traditions. Oh my all that food made me hungry it looked SO GOOD. I hope you are better today 🙂


21 Aunt Kara November 17, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Ahhhh the Beaujolais!!! I’ll never tell!!! I am honored to have a “namesake”! I am glad that you enjoy the traditions…They wouldn’t be the same without you both! See you for the “Bird Drop”!!!


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