For most of our married life DH, our two daughters and I would alternate between DH’s Parents’ celebrations for Thanksgiving and mine. My FIL would create the menu and cook for the crowd of some 20-people. The whole bird on the carcass was never seen as he pre-carved it and placed it in chafing dishes or on platters. Everything was served family or buffet style, depending on how many people were there. The turkey was always very juicy which probably was due to his superior cooking ability and that it was a Kosher bird. I loved his stuffing recipe although I have only a vague memory now of how it tasted. As the years went by, DH’s sister took over the cooking of the feast. And when she owned a seafood restaurant in South Jersey, she would have the gathering there. She would not only cook a turkey or turducken, but other meats as well like venison, elk, ostrich, shellfish and various fish. She was always trying something new. Unless, you actually cook such a feast as this, the average person doesn’t realize all of the expense involved. I have heard of some people charging attendees so they aren’t footing the whole bill which can run in the hundreds of dollars. There are mixed feelings about it for sure. In our families typically everyone brings something, usually a dessert. My DD#1 always makes a delicious deep dish pumpkin pie and I bake bread. Since DH’s sister and her DH have moved out to Arizona full-time, we now have two Thanksgiving celebrations, our own and at my Parent’s house. Since 1979, every other year we would celebrate the holiday with my Parents, Sister and her family and our daughters. Thanksgiving at my Parent’s house was and is very traditional with the bird carved at the table by my Dad, served on good china with crystal goblets. The feast is always the same, and if they dare change anything, the family traditionalists will squawk NO! Then they will lament about it all year. So with that said, changes to the menu never occur. Their menu is always turkey, stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, jellied cranberry sauce, either green bean casserole or broccoli drizzled with cheese sauce and cole-slaw. Pumpkin pie, chocolate cream pie, coconut custard pie or ice cream for dessert. I might also add that for the last 4 years we have celebrated Thanksgiving with them on Black Friday as my niece is a flag twirler at her high school in Central Jersey, and the school has a football game on Thanksgiving proper. As a result, DH, DD#1 and I often have our own Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving, and this year is no different.
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