Boxed vs Made-from-scratch: A Thanksgiving (horror) Story

As I was reading through all the posts on Thanksgiving preparations and shopping, along with the travels others are doing, it got me thinking on Thanksgivings past. I remember certain dishes, the lace tablecloth, the fancy china and real silver silverware (and hating the fact we had to polish it beforehand and hand wash it afterwards…) I remember candle light, beauty, warmth and contentment… perhaps, over contentment after the meal

and the food. Ohhhh the food. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday growing up because it was about chill, relaxing, family time. I remember a fire in the fireplace the the anticipation of Christmas but there was always a purity of Thanksgiving that stood out to me- no expectations and really no confusion about what the holiday was about.

We had a very traditional Thanksgiving meal in the evening, centered around the Turkey. In fancy dishes framing the Turkey were green bean casserole, crescent rolls, canned cranberry sliced into disks, stove top stuffing, marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole and buttery mashed potatoes. Pie was de-thawing on the counter and we eagerly anticipated dessert because we only occasionally had it. Yes, Thanksgiving was very special. A delicious, memory making meal where we smiled as we piled high our plates with joy. I loved sharing what we were thankful for as we went around the table.

Fast forward 10 years…

We spend Thanksgiving at my mother-in-laws house now, it’s already decorated for Christmas which gives an extra edge of anticipation. I love watching the twinkling lights as I eat her delicious feast. My parents often join us and the conversation and times have been amazing. I feel very, very thankful  to not only have had amazing Thanksgivings growing up, but also now as an adult. The after-Thanksgiving shopping has polluted the holiday a bit, for me, I’m not a shopper so ignore me if this is the highlight of the season for you. :) Like Ben. and his sisters… I love watching them pour over catalogues, dreaming and planning their crazy fun night of not sleeping adventure.

and the food… I remember the first year I spent with Ben’s family. I sat down, ready for a crescent roll and what the heck??? Where was my crescent rolls? my stove top stuffing? my green bean casserole? my slice of cranberry sauce and sweet ‘tater casserole?!

I sat in a confused stupor- and finally found something familiar- a Turkey. OK, there are some mashed potatoes… but with gravy? I tried to hide my horror when round, cranberry shaped REAL cranberries in a sauce were passed to me. What was this insanity? I knew Ben’s mom was from Minnesota so I realized this must be a cultural thing. It’s cool, I’ve traveled internationally and ate all sort of weird things before to avoid insulting the host… I think I can manage WHAT IS THIS?! Made-from-scratch … Stuffing? You can make that from scratch? It doesn’t always come from a bag?

I was awestruck and made a small plate of food, trying everything out of sheer curiosity. Made-from-scratch rolls? Corn casserole? GRAVY on my mashed potatoes? Wow. Just wow.  Ok, it’s not as bad as I thought, just like a foreigner prepared it without having any idea what to do- like the Kentucky Fried Chicken on a small island in Indonesia who only served rice- not a verymuchdesired biscuit. I’m still bitter over that disappointment… 


My mother-in-law won me over eventually; her Thanksgiving punch, made-from-scratch pies and made-from-scratch whipped topping were too good to hold out on … Oh my, I’m now salivating and eagerly anticipating tomorrow.

I’m so thankful for my family. I’m thankful for the differences, the acceptance, the love and constant support during hard times. I am truly blessed. I wish and hope that each and every one of you have an amazing day filled with good food and time with family and friends.

  • Sarea Clark

    I can’t WAIT for tomorrow now…I was kind of feeling ‘ho-hum’ about it, but you inspired me and reminded me why Thanksgiving is so great! Now for the BIG question….are you going straight or curly tomorrow? 😉

  • TheBusyNothings

    ha ha ha!!!! I’m thinking straight… ;))