There are so many things I love about Thanksgiving. The food, the people, the relaxed atmosphere of the day…
Thanksgiving has been an evolution for Chuck and I. It didn’t start off as a merry, easy, fun day. At the start of our marriage we did as most young, married couples do. We relied on family to schedule our holidays for us. The only problem with that is that most of the family saw us only in their after thoughts. We had several years of realizing everyone was either out of town or not coming to visit only days or hours before the big day. Add to the mix awkward relations with other branches of the family tree (I’m sure no one else out there has that, right?) and we came quickly to the realization that we needed to set our own holiday schedule and tradition. We were married and had kids on the way so why not?
We decided to not wait on invitation any more from family or friends but to set our own plan in motion of how we wanted to celebrate. We set down the guideline that anyone can come as long as they enjoy eating and relaxing and don’t want to participate in drama or stuffiness. Thanksgiving is for giving thanks, not headaches.
We make way too much food every year. We start the day with Bloody Mary’s and move on to beer and wine after noon. We chop, slice, marinade, baste, saute, and fry until the house is full of the richest smells our noses and hearts can handle. We say Grace in a big circle, holding hands with whoever decided to join us. Sometimes that includes family. Sometimes it includes friends. Sometimes we have coworkers or neighbors show up. Sometimes it’s a grand mixture of all the above.
I never set the table – it’s all buffet style from the kitchen. We use the big, thick, sectioned paper plates because really, who wants to do dishes after all that eating and drinking? Not this girl! We talk about sports, religion, faith, politics…all the things you are supposed to avoid in mixed company. We share the ways God has showed up and surprised the socks off of us. We hug through the memories of aches when God had to carry us this year. We laugh at all the blessings and goodness.The kids run wild, high on too much cheese and pie and then crash hard early because the day has been filled with fun and very few boundaries.
The food is so much a part of the day but less because of it being food and more because of the relationships that swirl around the making and the prep and the eating and the clean up. It’s a day full of love and laughter and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would never be so bold to say that our way of doing Thanksgiving is better than anyone else’s. It’s just the way we figured out that it works for us. And I’m so thankful we figured it out.
Here’s something else I’ve figured out. It’s my corn casserole. I’ve tried several recipes over the years in hopes of recreating the magical version my mom used to make. This is pretty darn close.
15 oz can yellow and white sweet corn, whole kernel, drained
15 oz can cream style corn
8 oz box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 stick (half cup) of butter, melted
In a big bowl, stir all of the above ingredients together until just mixed. Pour into a greased casserole pan (8×8 for thicker casserole; 9×12 for thinner). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes, or until golden and firm in the middle. This recipe serves about six people. I usually double or triple it for Thanksgiving. You’ll probably have to adjust the baking time if you double it.