Thanksgivings of My Younger Years
My maternal grandfather always had to have his ambrosia at the holidays. Ambrosia, as I remember it, consisted of oranges and coconut flakes, with each serving topped by a maraschino cherry. We always had turkey and ham. Of course, we had southern cornbread dressing. There was some form of sweet potato, either a casserole or candied sweet potatoes. (I preferred the casserole.) Later, we often had a butternut squash casserole instead of or in addition to the sweet potatoes. There would be green beans and/or English peas. There would be a relish tray that had pickles, olives, and things like that. (I usually skipped that one.) We would have cranberry sauce. It was usually the canned variety. There would often be some sort of sweet salad such as a cranberry salad, "Tops" salad (which had pistachio pudding, cottage cheese, pineapples, and cool whip, I think), or maybe one that had an orange jello base to it. There might even be another vegetable or savory salad. There would be deviled eggs for those who wanted them. We all looked forward to Mom's homemade rolls at Thanksgiving. For dessert, there would be pecan pies and either pumpkin or sweet potato pies (sometimes both). There would usually be some sort of cake also.
We try to incorporate some of those traditional items in our holiday celebrations while adding a few things that my nieces and nephews will eat nowadays. It's almost impossible to find foods that everyone will eat so we have to offer more variety in many cases. This year we'll be having the turkey, ham, dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, green beans, rolls, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie from the traditional meal. We'll be substituting my sister-in-law's fruit salad for the ambrosia. We'll add a hash brown casserole to the mix. I haven't decided whether or not to add some English peas or not yet. It probably depends on how many actually show up and whether some would prefer them to the green beans.
Let me wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are celebrating with family.