I’m shaking things up this year! Thanksgiving has always been a time for us to buck tradition a bit. For many years as young marrieds, we avoided the “whose family will we visit this year” dilemma by packing up our own growing family and going camping for Thanksgiving. Although the food was traditional fare, we cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner on a campsite. As years passed, I evolved into the default hostess for almost all major family celebrations, including Thanksgiving. And although I usually experiment with the menu a little, the food is still pretty predictable.
Bored with the prospect of all that work for the same old thing, for just a brief moment or two I flirted with the idea of going out for Thanksgiving dinner. I just wasn’t looking forward to the usual turkey and the same old side dishes. There’s nothing wrong with the traditional bird, it just doesn’t excite me. But why go out and still eat the same old stuff? Besides, I got a lot of flack from the kids when they got a mere whiff of “mom’s not cooking??” They promised to help cook so it was quickly on to an inspired Plan B.
Where’s the law that says Thanksgiving MUST include turkey? Sure, it’s tradition but what’s the point in carrying on a tradition no one is crazy about to begin with? I’ve been looking for a reason to do a standing rib roast and this seems like the perfect opportunity. I still got a little resistance from a kid or two. “What? No turkey? It can’t be Thanksgiving without turkey!” So I issued an ultimatum. Choose your tradition. You can have turkey for Thanksgiving or Italian for Christmas, but I’m doing a rib roast on one of those occasions. It took him about half a second to decide he wasn’t giving up sausage, meatballs and lasagna on Christmas.
The roast is the centerpiece, with a variety of fresh vegetable side dishes to suit a variety of palates. The bread pudding will make a tasty stand-in for dressing, although one kid might make a batch of dressing for tradition’s sake. Pretty (and easy) Hasselback potatoes are a lot less boring than plain old mashed. The carrots might lose the lavender as they gain a little honey. The mix of tried-and-true and new recipes will make cooking pretty easy.
Next year we might go back to Turkey and Dressing. But then again, this might be a big enough hit that it sticks around to become a new tradition.
Standing Rib Roast
Red Wine Gravy
Sourdough Sage Bread Pudding
Pumpkin Spice Cake topped with Whipped Cream and Ginger Pear Preserves