By Heather Legg
Growing up, our Thanksgiving meal was very traditional. At least it was tradition for me. As I’ve gotten older and my life has changed, so has my Thanksgiving menu. Sometimes I get a little nostalgic for the foods that are no longer on the table, but new ones have replaced them, and the reasons are good.
Whereas on my childhood table, I had turkey with chestnut stuffing, pecan pie and a big bowl of nuts to crack after dinner, all that is gone. Of course, the turkey is there, but the chestnuts are out of the stuffing (I’m not even sure if my daughter is allergic to them, but who wants to risk it on Thanksgiving, or nay time). The pecan pie has been replaced with chocolate cake and no more bowls of whole nuts to crack.
I remember my grandfather would give me the best pieces of the nuts, it was always special to get a half of the nut still intact. One of the first desserts I baked was a pecan pie one Thanksgiving. Now I’ve become the baker of the family, but no pecan pie, not even my special chocolate chip one. However, my girls have new traditions of baking cookies with me.
Traditions shift anyway, as families merge. My Thanksgiving was very formal growing up, china, crystal, no football. Now the TV is on so the guys can watch football and the meal is a little more casual. Still special, but not quite so stiff. Some of the foods we had (besides the nutty ones) are gone, like my step grandmother’s white fluff salad. Some are my husband’s families traditions, like homemade rolls, butter beans and pound cake. For them, they’ve embraced some of our traditions, like brussel sprouts and shrimp hors d’oevres. If traditions never changed, we’d miss out the good new stuff – and more than food, but like new family members and children.
I am still fortunate that my husbands and my parents are still healthy enough (and willing) to alternate houses for Thanksgiving. My children have traditions at each house. I’m sure it’s not far off that the day will take place at our house, and then new traditions will form once again, but some of the best old ones will come to my house, too.
We can use my grandmother’s silver again when Thanksgiving makes the transition to my house, but it still won’t be cutting any pecan pie or scooping any nuts from their shells.
May your Thanksgiving be blessed. Enjoy all of it, the old and the new and all the people at your table.