The Basics of Holiday Preparation: Thanksgiving Menu

I’d  like to let you know that every post you see in the month of November is me taking off from National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should call your attention to the button in the sidebar referring to NaBloPoMo or National Blog Post Month.  It is a ministry of BlogHer.  I flew beneath the radar in September, by simply posting on a schedule which was like daily,  fudging when I fudged, and patting myself quietly on the back.  This time, I am determined to actually link my posts and participate at the BlogHer website, which will become more uncomfortable when I have to start smearing the ink where the dates ought to be to get a post per day.

Shut up.

Since I spend so much time with partially developed humans, I’m comfortable with telling you to shut up and moving directly into holidays and happiness and generosity and sharing.

In keeping with my  commitment to celebrate this year’s holiday’s with gusto, today we’ll discuss the simplest holiday preparation: Planning a Thanksgiving Menu.  I wrote on this topic a few years back.  I wondered then, as I do today, how someone could be big enough to read a blog and not have a Thanksgiving Menu locked in like a mig on Maverick.  I am older and wiser today.  While I’ve always known people grew up in all kind of different ways and some people have bad holiday memories.  Now, through blogging, I’ve discovered that there is a generation of adults who believe, “Turkey on Thanksgiving is soooo 5 centuries ago.”

That is correct, Little  Hipster. (Yes, I’m talking to you.) There aren’t a lot of traditions this old that we can duplicate so closely for exactly the same reasons today that they did back then.

Without further ado, I bring you:


1) The pilgrims didn’t have brie en croute (Well, it’s aged, rotten milk wrapped in pie crust, so maybe they did).  Neither did they get stumped over which wine to bring.  They didn’t trouble themselves over the perfect centerpiece to take them from “Now until New Years”.  The pilgrims had spent the better part of the preceding 12 months digging graves.  They were having a party with their friends to celebrate being alive.

Uh. Live.

2) Don’t say Thanksgiving isn’t limited to this the U.S. and that every culture has a Thanksgiving celebration and they can be celebrated a lot of different ways.  Grown people know that’s true, but the pilgrims weren’t celebrating any culture but their own, and I invite you to do the same. People in other cultures aren’t skipping theirs because you don’t do it like they do.  But of course, they also probably make $10/week and are deeply grateful for it. This is your culture and heritage.  This is one of the things that came together to make it possible for you to whine about a HOLIDAY. (see number 1)

3)  A lot of my menu could have been available to The Actual Pilgrims.  They had venison, probably fish.  You could make a strong case for nearly any meat, except maybe giraffe, because the same arrow that can fetch you a deer can probably bring down a wild pig or bison or whatever.

I don’t know why you’d bother with those or why someone would be “tired” of a menu they eat one time a year.  Well, yeah I do.  It’s the guilt over how much turkey is still on the carcass when it hits the garbage.  No carcass; no guilt.  But y’all didn’t make fish out of your handprints at school now, did ya?

~Make believe the photo of the giraffe is here.~

I made a tofurkey once.  The looks on the faces of the people to whom I served it changed me.  They didn’t expect to be able to enjoy protein with that meal and it is an expensive @#$%.  But they were…dare I say it?  Truly thankful.  Far more so, than the carnivores. (Plan ahead.  It’s supposed to thaw out for a long time.)

(see number 1: serve the protein you are thankful for.  Not giraffe. They are endangered.)

4)  I feel like an Actual Pilgrim when I am cooking dinner.  No.  I don’t.  I have electric lights, hot and cold running water indoors, a wide selection of small electrics and a refrigerator.  Stuff is tedious. Not difficult.  The pilgrims didn’t go through the drive through.  They were freaking happy to have food and not afraid to share.  A little work was all play, because…say it with me, “They were having a party with friends to celebrate being able to celebrate.”

5) This menu is a symbol of honor.  It has reached through the generations to my children.  Your menu should reflect the best of what made you. It should nourish your body and your heart.  (Charlie Brown learned a lesson, but those kids still needed to eat.)  Some people may not have a tradition.  Feel free to use  a magazine for simple, appropriate menu ideas.  I don’t know why you would when I’m over here giving it away, but it’s your day.  Remember.  You can do it. You can make the jell-o the day before and  follow the thawing instructions for the turkey explicitly. They don’t work.  But on the outside chance of bad bacteria, you’d rather tell it to the Butterball helpline than the ER doc.

The Actual Pilgrims Sample Thanksgiving Menu

Something To Snack On So I Don’t Become Cannibal’s Delight Before One



Mashed Potatoes

Homemade Noodles


Green Beans in Cream

Broccoli Rice & Cheese*

Carrot Jell-o*

Cranberry Relish*


Pumpkin Pie

Homemade Whipped Cream**

Iced Tea w/ The Good Ice From Sonic


Honestly, Little Hipster.  Do the thankfulness part.  Entitled whining is so last week.

* Due to the Cheez Wiz, Jell-o and an Orange.  This is a dish the Actual Pligrims probably didn’t enjoy.  I can’t even imagine how much gladder they would have been to be alive and two of them are fat-free.

**Don’t start.  It’s not hard to stand there with the mixer and stop before it turns to butter.  Add a drop of vanilla and a kiss of sugar. Cool Whip is made out of products that don’t start out as food.




  1. I love this post. For reals. (Says the lady that will be cooking vats of cornbread dressing.)

  2. There is nothing like real whipped cream.

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