Every year, a week or so before Thanksgiving, I poll my family:
What would you like for dessert next Thursday?
Surely the traditional pumpkin pie, apple cobbler, bread pudding and pecan tarts are on the list...
In my culinary dreams.
Chocolate cake. That's all they want.
And so each year I make a Thanksgiving Chocolate Cake. Because I'm thankful for my guys.
I'm thankful that my husband puts up with the crazy hours I work. I'm thankful that my older sons (ages 17 and 24) connect to me as "friends" on Facebook, even though it seems a little weird. And I'm thankful that James, 9, reads aloud to me, even if it's a Pokemon book.
Yesterday, I emailed our staff. I guess I should have asked them what they're thankful for this year. But instead I asked them what dish they most look forward to on Thanksgiving.
Incredibly, no one smarted off by replying "satellite dish." I may be clueless when it comes to sports, but there's surely some sort of game on Thursday, right?
Anyway, here are the responses:
Joe, IT: The dressing.
Eric, Admissions: My favorite dish is usually sweet potatoes. Last year I volunteered to bring sweet potato casserole. Sweetened with pineapple, I must say it is delicious. My oldest sister asked what was in it. She stopped mid bite when she learned that she was eating the one fruit that she is allergic to. I had no clue! Fortunately she didn't swell up and was able to finish her meal.
Jodie, Warehouse: Stuffing!
(So...is it "stuffing" or "dressing"? Is this a regional thing? They're the same thing, right? My family has always called it stuffing.)
Mrs. Koch: My favorite is my Mom, Isabelle Yellig’s dressing. It is the best. I had to stand and watch her make it because she did not have a written recipe. I remember she always asked a butcher to save chicken necks and backs and gizzards for the broth and she cooked them to make a rich broth and then put them through a hand grinder. The eggs had to be room temperature, not cold, because she said the dressing would not be fluffy if the eggs were too cold. The bread had to be broken and left out in the open air in a pan one or two days before making the dressing so it would be firm. I make it at Thanksgiving and Christmas and it is good.
Tori, Rides: Homemade noodles with mashed potatoes.
Lori, Splashin' Safari: My Grandmother’s Squash Pie! It is a spin off of the traditional pumpkin pie, but she makes it out of squash (usually butternut). One year, my Grandmother entered a pumpkin pie contest with her squash pie and won! Grandma will be 98 years old in a couple of months and I completely expect her have a pie waiting for me this Thursday!
Tim, Coaster Maintenance: My favorite dish is my Aunt’s seven layer salad and my favorite dessert is my mom’s pecan pie.
Andy, Marketing: I LOVE stuffing and peanut butter pie, but that's just me...
(Now, Andy ... have to ask: the stuffing and the pie are separate, right? The "that's just me" threw me...)
Matt, GM/Shared Services: Thanksgiving is about gluttony, so I cannot pick just one. Broccoli & Cheese Casserole, Pumpkin Cheesecake, 7 Layer Salad.
Andrea, Print Shop: The part of the meal I could never live without is the turkey and the pumpkin pie. It must be a family thing because my sister who lives in Geneva, Switzerland, feels the same way about the pumpkin pie. Even though she has dual citizenship Thanksgiving is the one American holiday she cannot live without. Every year she spends either the weekend before or after our Thanksgiving holiday with American friends in Germany (it is not a holiday in Switzerland or Germany therefore they don't have Thursday off). She makes the pumpkin pie which is a big ordeal. The Swiss don't have canned pumpkin. Apparently they only use small amounts of cubed pumpkin in some soups. She has to buy enough cubes bake them, remove the rind, and put the rest in the blender to make the pumpkin for the pie. In all my years of making pumpkin pie only once did I use a whole pumpkin to make the "guts" for the pie. It did have a little different taste, but not enough to go through the process every year when we are blessed with the presence of canned pumpkin. I am "thankful" for many things, but I suppose one of them is canned pumpkin. Happy Thanksgiving!