Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To Each His (or Her) Own Thanksgiving

This month’s issue of Real Simple features a number of essays on memories around Thanksgiving. As I read them on the elliptical machine this morning I was struck by how different each memory. There are a million different nuances to celebrating this “traditional” holiday.

It seemed like the perfect read this morning because I had eaten my own Thanksgiving meal last night and needed to burn off a few extra calories. As we do every year, my cooking group holds our own Thanksgiving dinner in weeks leading up to the holiday. It gives us a chance to try out the recipes we may later make for our families or to bring a dish that might not be accepted at our home feast.

For my contribution I made Buttercup Squash and Apple Bake. I had been saving the buttercup squash I received in one of my fall CSA boxes. These squash, which look like something like miniature green-striped pumpkins, were new to me. I love squash and was excited to try out a new variety to my usual acorn, butternut and spaghetti.

Because our dinner was planned for after work on a Monday, I planned to make them in the slow cooker, doing all my prep on Sunday night. As I chopped the buttercup open I noticed the cavity inside was smaller than an acorn squash and the meat itself was more similar in consistency to a sweet potato. I worked up quite a sweat paring the thick green peel off with my butcher knife and was lucky I didn’t lose a finger in the process. By the time I was done my hands were stained yellow, I assume from all the healthy vitamins inside.

The recipe was simple, calling for two apples, butter, brown sugar and mace, besides two squash. I didn’t have mace, so I used nutmeg instead, which seemed to be a worthy substitute. After a day of cooking on low, everything had blended into a perfect side dish that I felt was worthy of serving to others.

As for the rest of the meal, everything else was perfect too. We had turkey breast, wild rice stuffing, cauliflower gratin, mashed potatoes, spicy Moroccan chickpeas, sweet potato rolls, and chocolate walnut torte.

It may not have been a traditional meal, but like every group that gets together to share a version of this feast, we created a flavor all our own. And, as with any good Thanksgiving dinner, it was just as tasty when I ate the leftovers today.


  1. I am now officially starving :-). Thanks for all the delicious food thoughts!

  2. Thanks, Dr. Cyndi. I spent my real Thanksgiving in Spain having tapas and sangria. I'm hoping to recreate some of what I ate there and write about it here.

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