Thanksgiving is more than a just a family gathering for us–it is a jam-packed long weekend at my aunt and uncle’s lake house, including two days of choreographed cooking (we actually have to schedule stove time), drinking, decorating, and maybe even some (good and bad) singing. In the last few years, we have broken the turkey tradition and stirred things up with a thematic Thanksgiving! Each year, we all pick out of a hat and the winner picks next year’s theme. They are responsible for gathering everyone’s recipes, planning logistics, and providing thematic decor.
Past themes have been Recipes from a favorite 1950’s cookbook, Homemade pasta at least 8 ways, and last year, Foraging and local foods. Our invites came with a list of foraged foods to help us out. We could also use Midwest Native American foods as well as locally grown foods to highlight each dish.
My aunt Robbie went out and foraged morel mushrooms from a nearby State Park and picked apples from her apple tree. Morgan and I smoked the apples and used them in our mac and cheese. We also had stuffed acorn squash, morel stuffed ravioli, pork roast (hmmm, maybe acorn fed?), apple galette, and buckeyes for dessert. We always have buckeyes for dessert!
Insisting on a seat at the table, their cat Little Guy found a cozy chair and wouldn’t budge! Sadly, that was Little Guy’s last Thanksgiving. She had a very happy and long life and actually became a much nicer cat in her golden years. I am so glad I got these photos of her before she passed away.
There is one tradition my family has kept up ever since I learned to write–the Thanksgiving Thankful Book. Each year we write about what we are grateful for in our lives and it’s fun to re-read what each person has written, like the year I wrote in huge letters that I was thankful for FOOD or the year my brother wrote that he was thankful for “women” even though he was like 15. Although there have been some sad times, we usually can take a moment to appreciate our friends, our family, and special life events.
This year’s theme is Cajun/Creole food and we’re all pumped to “Laissez les Bons Temps Roulez”–Let the Good Times Roll!