Many years ago, while visiting a friend, we got to talking about the upcoming Christmas holiday. When I asked if she was planning a big holiday feast, she said not really, that she didn't think holidays "are just about the meal." It was at that moment that I realized I had the opposite opinion -- all holidays are just about the meal, and really, little else. Raising our family in a Jewish-Catholic home, we celebrate all the holidays -- Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Passover, etc. without ever setting foot into a church or temple. What distinguishes one holiday from another is the food.
Almost everyone would agree that Thanksgiving IS about the food. And it's all about tradition, but let's face it, tradition can get a bit monotonous. So today, I bring you a compendium of traditional-with-a-twist Thanksgiving recipes, almost all of them from handwritten recipe cards from the collections of early to mid-20th century American households. (Just click on the titles to access the recipes.)
A novel, but still traditional, apple pie alternative.
Pumpkin Pie Squares
For when you want the taste of pumpkin pie, but don't want to fuss with a crust. This recipe also serves about 20 (as opposed to eight, like a pie).
Pumpkin Pie with Cream
A light and custard-y take on pumpkin pie.
Southern Spoon Corn Bread
A truly delicious side dish for your Thanksgiving table.
Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread
A lovely hostess gift and wonderful repository for any leftover fresh (or frozen) cranberries.
Creole Praline Pecan Bars
The most delicious alternative to pecan pie. Not from a hand-written recipe, but it is old. And southern.
Perfect Pecan Pie
The best traditional pecan pie recipe out there. Modern, but delicious.