Gobble up those Thanksgiving dinner traditions

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By Lee Scott

There was a recent talk show on television where the host introduced his mother, who was going to prepare their traditional Thanksgiving dessert. 

The mother began by melting two cups of chocolate chips and mixing them with a couple of eggs and powdered sugar. Then she folded a quart of softened chocolate mint ice cream into the chocolate mixture and poured the combination over a graham cracker crust which she had already pressed into a Pyrex dish. Then she placed the dish in the refrigerator.  

She explained that on Thanksgiving morning she always prepared it early so it would be ready for that afternoon’s dessert.

As we sat there watching this program, I said to my spouse, “I don’t recall the pilgrims having chocolate chips available.”

To which he replied, “I was actually wondering where they stored the chocolate mint ice cream.”

This prompted a conversation regarding the dishes we considered traditional for a Thanksgiving dinner. 

We agreed on the nice fat turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, cranberry sauce and of course, pumpkin pie. But if you look back into history, some of those items were probably not served at the original feast back in 1621. 

Cranberry sauce as we know it now was not served until much later and it is presumed that there was probably a lot of shellfish served since it was so abundant at that time.  

The Wampanoag Indians who showed up for the celebratory meal loved to hunt deer. It would make sense that venison was part of the menu too. 

Then we started to explore some of the non-traditional foods incorporated into our own Thanksgiving dinner over the years. My mother-in-law served sauerkraut with their turkey, which was something I had never heard of before. And I like to cook up some mild Italian sausage to mix in with the turkey stuffing. And both of our mothers would prepare whipped cream by beating the cream up in a cold metal bowl and adding a little vanilla extract. There is nothing like it when served over pumpkin pie.

We both love to eat crab dip as an appetizer before dinner, and he loves apple pie for dessert. We also have family members who smoke turkeys instead of roasting them in the oven. Which, when you think about it, is probably more traditional than putting it in an oven.    

This all led us to the conclusion that maybe the chocolate mint ice cream pie was not so unusual after all. It was a dish the family had embraced as part of their Thanksgiving tradition and that was all that mattered. 

So, bon appetit! Enjoy whatever is on your Thanksgiving table this year.