In my family, Thanksgiving is the Rodney Dangerfield of holidays. It gets no respect.
Take Christmas, for example. If someone in my family were to miss Christmas, you would hear about it for years, decades even. There is no conceivable excuse for missing Christmas, not even if you were hospitalized.
On Thanksgiving, however, you can get a pass. If there are in-laws to take into account, or if you have to work that day — as I did for too many years in the restaurant business — it is okay to skip Thanksgiving dinner.
In fact, I can think of once, maybe twice in the past 30 years when my entire family went full Rockwell, enjoying the holiday seated around the dining room table.
Instead, what usually happens is that those refugees who don’t have other commitments gather at a restaurant for a mid-afternoon feast. For example, I’ll be enjoying the holiday for the second year in a row at the wonderful Chuck’s Southern Comfort Barbeque with assorted family members. They serve an excellent traditional Thanksgiving spread with amazing Tex-Mex and Cajun flourishes. Highly recommended.
Despite all that, I still look forward to Thanksgiving, and the simple treasures it contains. And I’m not just talking about afternoon football on a Thursday!
Sure, there’s turkey and stuffing. Although they are a Thanksgiving tradition, you really could serve them almost anytime during the year and they wouldn’t seem out of place. No, I’m talking about those dishes that would freak my family out if I made them any day except Thanksgiving.
Dishes like green bean casserole.
Can you imagine bringing green bean casserole to a Fourth of July picnic, or serving it on Easter? My family probably would have me committed. At the very least, some smart aleck would say, “What is this, Thanksgiving?!”
Yet this simple recipe defines Thanksgiving for me. A fractured, schizophrenic Thanksgiving, perhaps. But Thanksgiving nonetheless.
Maybe that’s one of the things I love most about Thanksgiving. It never turns out the way it’s supposed to.
Green Bean Casserole
2 cans French-style green beans, drained
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
2 TBS Sour Cream
Two dashes of Worchestershire Sauce
Dash of Hot Sauce
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
2 oz can Fried Onions
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except fried onions and mix well. Go a little heavier on the pepper than you normally would. Pour into casserole dish and top with onions. Cover and bake at 350F for 35 minutes, then remove the cover and bake another 5 minutes so the onions toast a little.
What are some dishes that define Thanksgiving for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!