AKA Get Stuffed
Six years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease just days before Thanksgiving — the most glorious, gluten-filled holiday on the calendar. While I was relived to know what had been making me so sick for so long, the timing couldn’t have been worse. In my family, Thanksgiving has always been all about the stuffing. Sure, we love turkey, mashed potatoes and the other obligatory vegetables, but stuffing is the centerpiece of our meal. It isn’t anything fancy or special, just simple Pennsylvania Dutch-style bread cubes, onions, celery, stock and herbs. Crisp on top, a little mushy inside. People like to offer advice on what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers, but that was one item on our dinner table that was never left over. We’d devour it and fight over the last bits of the crunchy edges.
Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Stuffing for Thanksgiving
AKA THE APPLE OF MY PIE
My great-uncle Richard used to own acres and acres of orchards in Pennsylvania, and I fondly remember picking apples for him after school. I’d climb up the rickety, old ladder, an apple basket in hand, and shimmy out onto a branch to pull ripe fruit from the tree limbs. Uncle Rich taught me at an early age the differences among all the varieties — which ones were used for baking or for cider, and which could be eaten right off the tree, crisp and sweet. Oddly enough, despite having an unlimited supply of fruit, we didn’t eat a lot of apple pie growing up. It wasn’t until I was graduating college and moving in with my boyfriend that I figured I should learn to make pie. I failed at it many times back then — forgetting the sugar, using the wrong apples, forgetting to add the top crust — it’s a wonder I didn’t set our apartment on fire. That boyfriend became an ex-husband, and as I got better at relationships, I also got better at baking pies.
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When planning the same holiday year after year, how do you keep your celebration fresh and interesting while maintaining a sense of tradition? We asked our favorite bloggers and food people to share what’s inspiring their Thanksgiving planning this year. From ancestor’s recipes and falling leaves, to beautiful piles of ingredients and thoughtful home decor, there was no shortage of imagination. See what motivates some of the most creative minds we know, and then start planning your annual feast.
I first discovered the traditions surrounding Thanksgiving when I moved from France to the United States fifteen years ago. I had come to teach at an American university, and my friend Margaret invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her family. I still remember how cozy and warm the holiday felt to me; how the food – though different – was similar to some of the dishes my family ate while I was growing up.
I come from a rural area in Northeastern France where in these months, we grow plenty of winter squash (red kuri squash being a favorite), as well as apples, pears and root vegetables like celeriac and parsnips. Our cooking is filled with walnuts, chestnuts and mushrooms. To me, these foods are reminiscent of France in the fall.
Continue Reading The Melding of Cultures on Thanksgiving