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Full disclosure: I love Thanksgiving. Always have.

Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of the massive (and I do mean massive) family gatherings that happened during my childhood. You have to understand – my father had 11 brothers and sisters, all of whom married and had kids of their own. Back in the day, when my Grammie Shirley – the matriarch of that side of the family – was still around, everyone would gather for a huge Thanksgiving feast.

And when I say everyone, that’s exactly what I mean.

The family would rent the grange hall in Levant – it was the only place in town that could accommodate the whole brood. And let me tell you, when a dozen people get married and start having kids, the numbers grow at an exponential rate. Throw in a bunch of cousins and assorted family friends, and all of a sudden you’re looking at over 100 people at a single Thanksgiving dinner. Long folding tables, gigantic vats of mashed potatoes and peas and stuffing, anywhere from 10-15 turkeys of varying sizes – it was chaos. Wonderful, loving chaos.

I do miss those days sometimes.

One thing that should be noted, however, is that the sheer scale of those meals meant that there wasn’t a lot of room for nuance. Ours was not a family that was particularly adventurous with regard to the types of food we ate. Simple, straightforward Thanksgiving fare.

But when those large gatherings faded away and more individualized Thanksgiving celebrations came to the forefront, some creativity – particularly when it comes to side dishes – began to bubble up.

I greatly enjoy writing about Thanksgiving in these pages, having done it a few different times over the course of tenure here. But one thing that I’ve never explored is the world of … let’s call them unconventional side dishes. The joy of having family traditions is that they differ from person to person; a dish that I think is perfectly normal on a Thanksgiving table might seem weird or out of place to you. But traditions they are.

In that spirit, I thought I might delve into some of the different types of sides that I’ve seen over the course of my holiday feasting career. Now, most of these are recipes that I vaguely recall having graced the table at this dinner or that one. I dug into some dusty cookbooks and ever dustier memories, trying to recollect some of the stuff that seemed so run-of-the-mill at the time and turned out to mystify those with whom I subsequently shared it.

Check out these recipes. You won’t find turkey or mashed potatoes or green bean casserole here, but rather a few things from off the beaten path. Some sweet, some savory, but all have their place in a Thanksgiving spread.

Published in Cover Story
Friday, 23 October 2020 15:09

Dinner with friends – ‘Friendsgiving’

Thanksgiving has always been a bit of a forgotten holiday when it comes to movies. Halloween’s got the horror genre on lockdown – not to mention its own named franchise – and Christmas, well … you don’t need to tell me that there are a lot of Christmas movies out there. But Thanksgiving has always been a bit adrift in terms of cinema – for whatever reason, it just doesn’t have the wider cultural relevance of its bookending holidays.

That doesn’t mean we don’t still see some Thanksgiving films, though. The latest entry into the genre is “Friendsgiving,” an indie comedy by first-time feature writer-director Nicol Paone. Featuring a star-studded cast, the film takes a look at two friends struggling to deal with the changes in their lives, dealing with their new realities in very different – and equally unhealthy – ways.

It’s also a very funny look at how the holidays have very different impacts on different people, as well as how our blood relations aren’t necessarily as close to us as the chosen families we assemble from our nearest and dearest friends. It’s goofy and light and occasionally poignant – all in service of the spirit of togetherness that is, at its core, the whole point of Thanksgiving.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 14:43

Three Pint Stance - What a brewer is thankful for

I know what you're probably thinking - 'Another Thanksgiving themed column?! Tim is really milking this holiday for content.'

Published in Style
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 13:37

Three Pint Stance - Giving thanks with a beer

The most gluttonous holiday of the year is swiftly approaching, and while most of the focus is usually on the side dishes and main courses, I want to talk a bit about the beverage options at the Thanksgiving table.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 13:03

A critic's Thanksgiving

Using the tools of the cultural critic during the holiday

Published in Cover Story
Tuesday, 24 November 2015 19:28

Finding Friendsgiving

For many people, Thanksgiving is a beloved tradition. It's a chance to come together with our families and express our gratitude for the good things in our lives. It's also a chance to jam as much delicious food into our faces as we can.

But while Thanksgiving is usually about being surrounded by relatives, what about our chosen family? What about those people who we have welcomed into our worlds of our own volition, those people whose presence we have deliberately sought out over the years?

Published in Style
Tuesday, 24 November 2015 19:26

Thanksgiving

Many people over the years have told us that we are blessed for having three kids at the same time. And it's true for all the craziness yelling, teasing, bickering and whining there is lots to be thankful for. Here's a few things.

Group hugs When I pick up the kids from school, there are raucous calls of 'Mama!' followed immediately by almost flying-tackle style hugs from the girls.

Published in Edge Staff Mom
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 12:39

The joy of Friendsgiving

For many of us, Thanksgiving is a beloved tradition. It's a chance to come together with our families and express our gratitude for the good things in our lives.

It's also a chance to jam as much delicious food into our faces as we can.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 11:56

Locally grown feasts

The holidays are just around the corner, with Thanksgiving leading the parade. Food, family and friends are our ways of keeping the dark and cold at bay during the long winter months. Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas treats and New Year's celebrations are fun, and typically filled with fancy foods of all kind. But from where?

Many local farms can provide you with the fixings for any of your favorite holiday traditions. Though you may think that buying farm-fresh is a summer activity, it's something you can incorporate easily into your holiday traditions.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 16:07

Giving thanks in the movies

A look at some films with Thanksgiving themes

As a rule, when we hear the term 'holiday movie,' we almost automatically equate it to 'Christmas movie.' It's understandable Christmas is by far the most cinematically celebrated holiday. But is that fair? There are other holidays after all including one right around the corner.

So in that spirit, here are a few 'holiday' favorites that revolve not around Christmas trees but rather turkey dinners. Thanksgiving, while vastly underrepresented in the world of Hollywood, has still managed to serve as the setting for a few great (and some not-so-great) film offerings.

Published in Buzz
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