My grandmother was sick one Thanksgiving and someone else had to host the family dinner. My mother, in a flash of brilliance took over Thanksgiving. In that one act she saved us from eating two turkey dinners every Thanksgiving. Instead, both sides of the family came to our house, one meal, everyone we love all in one place and time to go to a movie afterwards. One giant meal instead of two. Win-win-win.
About ten years ago, a few years after the Thanksgiving takeover, my mother got a new oven. A really cool Jennair with the grill on top, gas range and convection oven. On that first Thanksgiving with the awesome new oven Mom put the turkey in as usual except this year it was supposed to take much less time on convection. The pop-up timer wasn't popping up and Grandma kept opening the oven (hmmm and you wonder why it wasn't getting done). About this time my father decides to break it to my mother that she should be using convection roast, not convection bake. If looks could kill. I am not sure which was more likely, Mom killing Dad or pushing Grandma into the oven. Eventually the turkey was done and we sat down to dinner. I don't remember anything about that particular turkey or that Thanksgiving outside of the turkey debate.
Thanksgiving at my parents house is pretty much the same. Mom and a mediocre turkey, never enough mashed potatoes, a debate about stuffing in the bird or out, a selection of pies, and grandma's cranberry salad. The few times we haven't been at my parents for Thanksgiving I have put together a few of the favorites and even come up with a few new ones (try out the strusseled sweet potato casserole from Cooking Light sometime). Besides the food, the thing that ties all those meals together is family, whether the one I was born into, married into, or just joined along the way.
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