And Then We Gave Thanks

There was nothing vegan about it. My boys planned the Thanksgiving menu. They took a somewhat traditional path; turkey, green chili cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry frappe, sweet potatoes, red cabbage and carrot salad, braised greens and pie. My husband took them shopping and I agreed to one convenience – the pies. I’ve never been much of a baker and with everything else I was asking them to do, ready-made pie might seem like a vacation.

This year with all the talk about kids not knowing where their food comes from, I told our boys that they were making our Thanksgiving dinner. And dinner it was, as I didn’t account for how long it might take. Still, there were only a couple of times that I intervened and truly my day was more about supervision and encouragement and education.

After a game of flag football in the park, the peeling and the chopping began. Within no time they were wielding kitchen knives like iron chefs arguing about the nuances of dicing versus mincing. We looked at the shallots and how they weren’t quite onions and definitely not garlic. I showed them how to strain the cranberries with a pestel to make it go quicker. And their ingenuity was present as my middle son ran to the garage to retrieve a pair of welding goggles that stopped the onion tears.

The big surprise for me and learning for them was the turkey. Stick your hand in where? After all the icks and eeews, my youngest drew the short straw and pulled out the neck and giblet bag. Like many people, they’d have a hard time not being vegetarian if they have to prepare their own meat. But what happened next could only erupt in a house of boys. They proceeded to play “pin the turkey neck on the brother”. I won’t tell you where.

They modified recipes to suit their tastes. “Can we please not put banana in the cranberry ice?” And they even amazed themselves, “I can’t believe how easy it is to make stuffing”. I added an appetizer of parsnip hummus and my husband sauteed a fabulous side dish of chanterelles.  At the close of the day it was us who were stuffed (sorry to my British readers) as we went around the table reciting the f-words. These things that we are thankful for; food, family and friends. And I’m thankful that we built a couple of skills and a lasting memory in the process.

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48 Comments

  1. Sounds like a great day. What fun to see them learn so much and gain such independence. Sounds like a great menu, too!

    Reply
  2. Bonnie

     /  November 29, 2010

    Wow. Incredible. Can we come next year?

    Reply
  3. Oh how awesome that your sons made Thanksgiving dinner! They sound like terrific kids! And what better way to spend the holiday than football in a park and then cooking together as a family.

    By the way, I would not be too keen on pulling out the neck and giblet bag either…But it sounds like they got over it quickly ;)

    Reply
  4. A wonderful family event Tammy.

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  5. Thanks, Tammy, I just had a Thanksgiving Day with a family in my neighbouring country. Many thanks. What a patient mom you must be!

    Reply
  6. Sally Mom

     /  November 29, 2010

    I am laughing and rolling with the love and humor of your day! So proud of the boys and always amazed with your patience and skills as parents. It brings great joy to my heart and your discription was clear. I could hear it and feel it. Thanks again for another wonderful blog, close to my heart.

    Reply
  7. Awesome post and pics! So glad that you’re teaching your kids to cook! :)

    Reply
  8. Anne G

     /  November 30, 2010

    What a joyful, light-hearted and memorable way to share the meaning of Thanksgiving with your boys. Bravo!

    Reply
  9. Félicitations to the men of the house ! and to the Mom who taught them so much and so well :) Your Thanksgiving meal was prepared with love and gratitude. What a wonderful day ! (Satchmo would have sung this)

    Reply
  10. Sounds great! Our boys did almost all the cooking this year – while Hubs recovered and my hand was encased. I did the turkey (my recipe) but Matt did the working part of that while I supervised. We had a blast!

    Reply
  11. Thanks for taking the time to read Cindy.

    Souldipper – I’m not sure I am patient but certainly willing.

    Hi Sally – we missed you.

    Nancy – I really want them to start doing more. I’m very motivated by what I have learned from blogging.

    Anne – Thanks for stopping by!

    Isa – You’re one of the model moms who seems to have raised boys who can cook.

    Paula – Good that they know how to pinch hit when they need to. Glad you’re on the road to recovery.

    Reply
  12. Diane D'Angelo

     /  November 30, 2010

    Parsnip hummus? Hmmmmm….

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  13. Lisa H

     /  November 30, 2010

    What a fabulous day! Great pictures and wonderful memories!

    Reply
  14. George Jurata

     /  November 30, 2010

    Tammie,
    Ann and I enjoy your blog very much. Keep up the good work.

    George

    Reply
  15. I thought this was a great idea when you first mentioned it. Glad to see it turned into some wonderful memories for all.

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  16. Judy

     /  November 30, 2010

    Looks like a fun time was had by all. Still appreciative of the knives John sharpened for me 2 years ago!!!

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  17. How wonderful that your boys helped out! I’ve been helping my mum with Christmas dinner since I was in primary school, and I can vouch for the fact that the kids get something out of contributing too :)

    Also, parsnip hummus? Recipe, pretty please? :D

    Reply
  18. What a great idea–to have your kids cook! Looks like a lot of learning happened, and also a lot of deliciouness! =)

    Reply
  19. cranberry frappes? parsnip hummus?
    please share the recipes!

    Reply
  20. What a wonderful post! Sounds like a great holiday. you have good kids –and clearly they have a good mom. No shame in store-bought anything–it’s hard to do everything from scratch!

    Reply
  21. Kath (Eating for Living)

     /  December 2, 2010

    Oh, it looks like you had a great day! And I love that it’s snowing on your blog! :D

    Reply
  22. Tanner

     /  December 4, 2010

    Dear Mom,
    this was the very funnest Thanksgiving dinner – especially when i whooped Gabe with the turkey neck.

    Reply
  23. aww great post. used to live in the states & i miss the thanksgiving festivities (black friday not so much).

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  24. Delicious, delightful & great pics, Tammy!

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  25. What a great dinner and I love that everyone was involved in the preparation. I bet they are more grateful for the food placed before them.

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  26. Tammy, I just had some time to actually sit down and read your recent posts. I love the educational aspect as well as the down to earth qualities you portray. There are not many families making the effort to actually be a “family” these days. Life just seems to take over. Yes, we have traditional things that we do, but reading your posts makes me want to try harder and I thank you for that!

    Was wondering if you might be able to add a RECIPE tab and share some of the great creations mentioned in your writings? You currently have home, about me, contact, and how about RECIPES? :-)

    Thanks for the great blog posts. They make me smile!

    Reply
    • thanks for reading. I have thought about adding a recipe section, a speaking section, a social experiments section, etc., etc.. I think people often read a blog post because it contains a recipe but not sure it’s my strength. Don’t know if you read the Bindweed, Creeping Spurge and Crabgrass post but that recipe has by far, been the most popular.

      Reply
  27. Tanner

     /  January 13, 2011

    I really love your work.

    Reply
  28. Tanner

     /  January 13, 2011

    your work is terrific

    Reply

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