Traditional Thanksgiving Food Ideas - Dinner Menu Choices of Tradition
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Every family has their own Thanksgiving dinner menu and their own traditional Thanksgiving food, but the most traditional part of the meal is the turkey - so much so that many people refer to Thanksgiving as "Turkey Day".
Most Americans consider turkey to be the mainstay of the Thanksgiving meal, and of course, there are many ways to cook it. At our house, we separate the skin from the breast and legs, pour a little brandy under the skin and insert bay leaves in a decorative pattern. We then lovingly massage the bird with butter before baking it. Some people like to deep-fry or barbecue their turkeys, but that sounds a little too adventurous for this cook!
Of course, there are many traditional Thanksgiving foods besides turkey that are sometimes served for a Thanksgiving dinner. Traditional European birds such as goose or duck are sometimes eaten instead of the turkey, and some places on the west coast serve Dungeness crab.
In the northeastern states, venison might be served, while in Alaska, you might sit down to a dinner of whale meat.
Be in mind that you might have a vegetarian guest at your Thanksgiving dinner. You can be prepared with a Tofurky roast, or ask if the guest would prefer to eat just the vegetable side dishes. You can prepare the Tofurky in such a way that it smells and tastes like turkey - or so they say. Simply spread margarine or olive oil over the roast and sprinkle it with poultry seasoning, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Follow the package directions for cooking.
Some families like to bake a ham on Thanksgiving Day for those guests who don't like turkey, or simply prefer the ham - this is becoming more of a traditional Thanksgiving food.
The other traditional Thanksgiving food staple (and to my mind the most important!) is the stuffing, or dressing. Whether it's made with bread or potatoes, from scratch or a box, it's delicious, and it simply wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it.
Or the cranberry sauce. This, too, comes in many variations - straight from the can, plain homemade with fresh or frozen cranberries, or the gourmet variety with all kinds of additional ingredients.
Yams or sweet potatoes are another traditional item for the Thanksgiving Day menu. Like most other dishes, you have a choice of buying them canned, frozen (with the brown sugar already in the dish), or baking whole yams and serving them with butter. Let us not forget the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows!
When it comes to the traditional Thanksgiving Day vegetable dishes, the most obvious choice is sweet corn, preferably an ear of corn for each guest. Legend has it that this traditional Thanksgiving food was served at the very first Thanksgiving feast, along with cranberries.
In our house, we absolutely have to have green bean casserole on the menu, along with my son's garlic mashed potatoes. We usually add carrots and turnips mashed together for some more color on the plate; and if any of the guests bring their favorite vegetable dish, they are more than welcome to add it to the feast.
Traditional Thanksgiving desserts can be anything you want, as long as at least one of these traditional Thanksgiving foods includes pumpkin or pecans! A homemade apple or blueberry pie is a popular choice, too.
We usually like to have two or three desserts and try to ensure that one of them is a very light offering, such as a fruit plate, so as to ease our consciences after gorging ourselves on all the food we've already eaten.
These are just a few of the traditional Thanksgiving food ideas out there - I'm sure your family has their own traditions and favorites; enjoy them all, and Happy Thanksgiving!
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