Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

LUCY BURDETTE: Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen! We're grateful for all of you mystery and food-loving fans! And we hope you're settling down with your favorite people, ready to tuck into your favorite Thanksgiving food.

At my house, we'll have the standard turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes, with my side of the family represented by mashed turnips and brussel sprouts from my hub's. If it was left up to me, I could skip the stuffing and save the calories for chocolate cream pie:). But other folks can't do without so I'll be making cornbread/sausage stuffing too. What's happening in your kitchens?

SHEILA CONNOLLY: My family traditions were incredibly trite--turkey, stuffing (Pepperidge Farm, from the bag), mashed potatoes, gravy (at least that was homemade!), and something green that I've blotted out (peas? frozen, of course).  And Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, straight from the can (which I actually like). But I will say that after I got married my husband became the Pumpkin Pie King--from scratch!

PEG COCHRAN: We always had the Ocean Spray from the can, too!  The jellied kind so it slid out intact onto this little crystal dish that I don't think my mother ever used for anything else.  My grandmother cooked and brought the turkey, which as my cousin pointed out, had been in the oven so long all you had to do was tap it, and it fell to pieces.  My mother did make really yummy candied sweet potatoes though! 

And every year, my grandmother would admonish my mother to "save the potato water" because she used it to thicken the gravy.  And as we sat down to eat she would say, "God sends the food, the devil sends the cook."

KRISTA DAVIS: We had a fairly traditional roast turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce (still one of my favorites), although we always had German red cabbage with chestnuts as a side dish. Dessert fluctuated between pecan pie and pumpkin pie and was sometimes a combination of the two, but there was never a shortage of the sweetened whipped cream that belonged on top! (The photo is Lucy's pies from last year--pumpkin/maple and chocolate cream.)

LUCY: Oh, I love red cabbage Krista--you'll have to post that recipe for us!

AVERY AAMES, A.K.A. DARYL WOOD GERBER: We always had the traditional roast turkey with stuffing dinner, too. Homemade cranberry sauce - so easy! (Though my husband still likes it out of a can.) I have to laugh, my stepson's son (I'm not a "grandmother" yet; I sleep with the grandfather. LOL)...anyway little Desmond discovered fresh cranberry sauce last year, at the age of 1 1/2, and he almost ate the entire bowlful! He adored it!!  Often we started with a yummy soup. So comforting during colder months. We also had traditional green beans smothered with cream of mushroom soup and onions rings. Now that I can't have that casserole (thanks to the gluten in it), I've switched to fresh green beans for my family...but I think this year I'm going to try a homemade version because I can still taste those yummy beans. Yams...never my thing but others adored them with the marshmallows. Pumpkin pie. I can eat pumpkin by for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And a good sauvignon blanc. (Okay, I didn't get that as a girl, but now...)

ANNIE KNOX, A.K.A. WENDY LYN WATSON:  To the extent my family has rituals, they revolved around the Thanksgiving table.  First, we always, always, always had dinner at 2:00 PM.  Always.

We invariably started the meal with green salad (which is actually a green gelatin-based concoction, with cream cheese, whipped topping, and pineapple tidbits).  We had to have a crystal dish with sweet gherkins and black olives (which all the kids ate off their fingers).  Brown-n-serve rolls (no fancy artisanal bread, thank you very much).   Green beans laced with bacon.  Turkey and stuffing (two kinds:  in the bird stuffing and out of the bird stuffing ... which was made with canned oysters).  My Gram's amazing gravy.  Pumpkin pie with whipped cream from a can. 
    And then there was the passing rule:  always pass the dishes clockwise.

Now that Mr. Wendy and I are vegetarian, we've had to put aside most of these rituals.  All of them, really, except for the black olives.  Black olives rule.

CLEO COYLE: Almost every Thanksgiving morning, when I was a little girl, I was woken by the muffled clanging of pots and pans and the savory smells of cooking coming from my family's kitchen. I would open my eyes to the first light of dawn and wander through the house in my pajamas, still yawning, eyes half-open, to find my mother and Aunt Mary already hard at work in the kitchen, getting the huge turkey ready for roasting. My mother would be at the stove, frying up the turkey innards in butter and olive oil, my aunt would be sitting at the kitchen table, slicing up Italian chestnuts. My favorite dish was their stuffing, too. In fact, I didn't even have to wait for dinner. Thanksgiving breakfast was always a bowl of that freshly made chestnut stuffing. It is one of the best foodie memories of my life and remains a tradition to this day. So here’s to old memories—and new ones. This and every year...May you all eat with Thanksgiving joy! ~ Cleo


~ Mystery Lovers' Kitchen


  1. Such fun stories! I miss having chestnuts. We always had them after holiday dinners--roasted in this old, tin pie plate my grandmother kept for just that purpose.

  2. Thank you all for sharing your stories. Happy thanksgiving to all of you.


  3. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We still eagerly anticipate the arrival of chestnuts at the grocery store. Shelling them -- not so eagerly anticipated! But they add a wonderful flavor that nothing else can match.

    ~ Krista