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Holidays are not easy when there is an empty chair at the table. Families must learn how to “do” Thanksgiving, and sometimes it seems easier to abandon traditions rather than be reminded of what (who) is missing. But in 2014, our family finally got it right. The Dallas clan came to Corpus Christi, and I had many joyful weeks anticipating and planning our time together.


Because Thanksgiving is such an American holiday, I want to serve traditional American food, though not always prepared in traditional ways. So I poured through my traditional cookbooks for inspiration, turning first—as always—to those from Colonial Williamsburg. I ventured far afield, though, as I sought to appeal to both the healthy and the not-so-healthy eaters in the family, the vegetarian and those with diabetes and celiac disease. Here’s what I came up with.

Thanksgiving table close-up

Thanksgiving Dinner for 10, 2014

Wesleydale cheese with cranberries, grapes, salted pecans, crackers

Gingered Pumpkin Soup with Molasses Cream
Smoked Greenberg turkey
Spiral-cut Smithfield country ham
Yvonne’s traditional cornbread dressing
Tamale dressing
Green bean casserole
Sweet potato pone
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potato biscuits
Vegetarian mushroom sauce
Giblet gravy
Homemade cranberry sauce

Red-tip lettuce with sliced Harry & David pears, mandarin oranges, grapes, pecans, craisins, feta cheese
Variety of cheeses, toasted cranberry bread

Pecan and pumpkin pie squares, forgotten cookies

Throughout the Holiday season, I will continue to share menus and recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas favorites. And I hope you will share your menus and recipes with me.

Note about the table setting, a mixture of old and new: Simpich handmade character dolls of Pilgrims and Indians, bought in Colorado Springs about 1985; Simon Pearce handblown glass pumpkins.