Thanksgiving — The In-Between Holiday

2014-11-28 15.35.19

Last year’s tree

I have found among my friends on social media that there are two camps of people: those who start their Christmas celebrations in early to mid-November, and those who wait until after Thanksgiving. Not only are there two different camps, the two groups have become openly contemptuous of the other side. Stores are running commercials now mocking other stores that are opening on thanksgiving, purporting that they are supporting family values by staying closed.

What are your thoughts? I sit on the fence. Some years we put up our tree a day or two before Thanksgiving, while other years we wait until the day after, also known as Black Friday. I refuse to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, despite the fact that my regular radio station switches to all Christmas songs on November 1. I promptly switch stations until after Christmas.

Here are some of my favorite traditions for Thanksgiving:

This is the only holiday that my family comes up from Georgia, so I spend extra time on the table. I use my good china and my grandmother’s “grape glasses.”

This year, I’m making a cheeseball for an appetizer, homemade cranberry sauce, and corn. My amazing husband will make the turkey, ham, and cornbread dressing (not stuffing). My daughter will make the deviled eggs (her specialty). (When we first started hosting thanksgiving for my family seventeen years ago, I said I would do it but I would not touch the turkey. That stipulation continues today.)

My mother brings sweet potato casserole and pecan pies. My sister brings hash brown casserole and this year is bringing green beans. Our cousin Barbara will bring macaroni pie, Veg-All casserole and grape salad.

I love a good casserole. Yes, I was raised in the eighties in the South, and I love casseroles. I would make a green bean casserole but my husband doesn’t like them. Sigh.

Sometimes we might add a dish here or there, or swap a vegetable, but I’m not interested in trying new dishes on Thanksgiving. Everyone wants their tried and true favorites. My mom sighed when I confirmed this morning that she planned to bring the sweet potatoes and pecan pies. She may be tired of fixing it, and bored, but we don’t care. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for us without them.

What are your family traditions for Thanksgiving? Do you go shopping on Friday? or on Thursday night? I don’t like crowds, so I avoid all of that mess on Friday, but my mother and sister meet and hit the stores early. More power to them. Whatever your traditions, Happy thanksgiving!!

 

The Cheese that Wouldn’t Melt (A Cooking Channel Fail)

Sometimes you get something in your head that you want, and today I wanted a nice home made cheese dip, you know the white cheese kind that you buy in a Mexican Restaurant. I had told my husband we would have quesadillas for lunch, and he made the chicken. I stopped by the store and picked up the white queso package that you melt to get cheese dip. I’ve never paid much attention, but I’ve seen it before, and I purchased it without a lot of thought.

No, I did not. I picked up a different white queso package (queso fresca) that is designed to not melt. It’s used in filling for stuffed peppers. Apparently I needed queso blanca. I got home, realized that I didn’t have as many tortillas as I thought, and ran back to the store, only ten minutes away. My husband said he would keep the cheese moving along in the melting process. I had already chopped it into smaller bits, and it just needed monitoring. Neither of us had ever heard of this horrible invention, cheese that does not melt.

Non-Melting Cheese

Non-Melting Cheese

 

By the time I came back, he had Googled “How to melt queso fresca.” The answer was that you do not. When they say it doesn’t melt, no amount of coaxing will get it to melt. We added different cheeses, milk, butter, taco sauce–ended up with a thin lumpy cheese dip that wasn’t very festive at all.

I won’t even talk about the fact that I caused a glass bowl to crack because I wanted to use it as a double boiler. Bobby Flay did it on Saturday, why couldn’t I?

I like to cook, and I like to experiment and try new things, and I’m not afraid to admit when I get it wrong. If you want to get a big laugh, check out my attempt at peanut butter balls here at Peanut Butter Hands of Death.

I will have to work in this whole non-melting cheese event into a book someday.

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