The Making Of A Turkey Day Outlier

I’m not a big fan of the traditional turkey Thanksgiving dinner.

It might be that because as a child we usually had steaks for Thanksgiving dinner. 

My father hated poultry.

My mother happily agreed to this break from tradition, knowing that roasting a turkey + making all the trimmings was WORK– while grilling steaks, making a salad, and mashing potatoes was about as EZPZ as a holiday meal could get.

Also, we never, ever had pumpkin pie.

My mother despised it so she usually made a lemon meringue pie.

That was her favorite pie.

And me, little Ally Bean?  I liked whatever the grown-ups decided to give me, so whatever Thanksgiving meal showed up was [and is] cool by me.

In fact, if you’re all about a traditional turkey-centric, carbohydrate-ful  Thanksgiving dinner every year, then enjoy.

But if you’re a little more loosey-goosey [so to speak] about what you have for Thanksgiving dinner, then you might be, like me, a Turkey Day Outlier.

Care to ‘fess up about your preferred Thanksgiving Day dinner in the comments below?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

78 thoughts on “The Making Of A Turkey Day Outlier”

  1. I’ve never been a fan of turkey so as soon as I was old enough (and the matriarchs had sadly, passed away) to have command of holiday feasting, I made Cornish Hens. There was so much push back from the remaining elders (didn’t stop them from carrying home to-go plates) that the next holiday, I left them to their own devices and started a new tradition of going out to eat instead. Eventually I moved to house hopping – visiting the various in-laws and feasting on what was offered. That gave way, after the divorce to cooking again for my daughter and I and since neither one of us is fond of turkey, we’d usually do a roast. And now, with my second husband being somewhat of a really good cook, and also, not a fan of turkey, we typically have either a lamb or beef rib roast for holiday dinner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dana, you are a woman after my own heart. I’ll eat turkey + the trimmings, but I don’t enjoy making it. Although when I do make it, I’m told it’s good, but that’s not enough to get me to make it often.

      I like Cornish Hens. I like lamb or beef roasts. I like going out to eat. I like mixing up what I do for holidays, never getting stuck in one rut. Sounds like you’re the same way.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan, I like your simple approach to Thanksgiving dinner. I can be happy with just about any meal, as long as the food is well-prepared and the people are cheerful. It’s about the gratitude, not the bird… imho.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have a very small group. One vegetarian one who is periodically fasting (religious) and me (a guy who will eat almost anything). It’s never really about the food.

        That Monopoly game after dinner, though. That’s serious 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Traditional all the way. That is, if and when we do celebrate the event – which hasn’t happened the last few years since we’ve stopped eating meat. Which is fine. As you say, a ton of work.

    But all this talk of roasted bird with stuffing and cranberries has me salivating, all the same.

    Enjoy your holiday, either way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maggie, I imagine that you can celebrate Thanksgiving on any day that you want, thereby allowing you to make your traditional feast. When you get around to it. I like roast turkey, and I adore cranberries, but I don’t NEED them to make for an enjoyable holiday.

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  3. I go traditional, even if it was just the two of us. Except for the year the raw turkey spoiled, and we went out and found Cornish hens late the night before T’day. I like the meal so much, I buy an extra frozen turkey and make it all in the middle of summer.
    For Christmas, I do mix it up…pork roast, rack of lamb, rib roast, seafood, etc. But Thanksgiving…we don’t stray much. When we were first married, we found a popular restaurant in Salt Lake City that served turkey dinner all year long. That was sweet.

    But you’re so right, what really matters is who is with you to share that meal. And be thankful for it all. Happy Day, Ally.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. vanbtheriver, most people go traditional on Thanksgiving, I realize this. I might be more inclined to do so if I’d grown up with that tradition. I occasionally hear people talk about having lasagna on Thanksgiving, but I don’t know if that’s because they’re vegetarian or cutting costs– or from an Italian family.

      I’d enjoy a restaurant that had a turkey dinner all year round. I do like the traditional meal occasionally. But when I want it, not when the calendar says I should want it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I try to eat mostly vegetarian, although as a kid and as an early adult with my own family it was always the traditional meal. This year I am eating with one of my daughters. We have a nice salad planned with things like roasted veg, pecans and blue cheese. We’re also doing an herbed bread pudding with butternut squash and pears. I do love pumpkin pie, but this is the first year I am skipping that. May have something to do with the fact that I just finished off some pumpkin ice cream that has been in my freezer. I’m kinda over pumpkin now… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Deb, you sound like you have a good handle on this meal. Make whatever meal is what you’re into right now, and don’t fret the traditional stuff. The salad that you’ve planned sounds delicious to me. I’ve never heard of an herbed bread pudding, so I’m intrigued. [Bread pudding with bourbon glaze, that I know about.]

      I’m not big on pumpkin either. Pumpkin ice cream is intense. I eat at least one piece of pumpkin pie around this time of year, and then usually step away from the flavor.

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  5. Growing up was traditional turkey day all the way; then my new mother-in-law introduced her annual tradition by adding lazagna (Italian!); then the vegetarians came and sent everyone into a tizzy. Then I noticed that the cook wound up with the clean up and it became covered-dish pot luck. Now I just go with the flow and ‘eat to live’ not live to eat, even on Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving!
    http://www.meinthemiddlewrites.com

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    1. Mary Lou, you sound like you’ve evolved in your Thanksgiving Day dinner ideas over the years. I think that’s a good thing. You sound like you’ve experienced all the approaches to the holiday, and have hit upon the one that works for you [and doesn’t keep you stuck in the kitchen]. I like your “eat to live” philosophy– especially at Thanksgiving. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Whoops. Not sure if my comment disappeared or whether I actually attached it elsewhere when I was going to say that buying an extra turkey now while they’re on sale is such a good idea! Turkey next spring or something….

    Anyway, eat what you like. The day is about being grateful – not about eating something you don’t like.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I would cook turkey more often if it were the size of a chicken. Hence I’ve made chicken or Cornish hens many a Thanksgiving. This year, I’m doing a breast, which costs about the same as a whole turkey and always seems a little silly to me. Years ago our family decided not to go crazy with all the sides, and not to stress out about the meal. I will make a few easy, favorite sides – sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce (mostly for leftover sandwiches). I’m all about the leftovers. I have a couple squash to stuff with leftovers and bake. And I definitely love me some pumpkin pie but honestly, Marie Callendar makes it just as well as I do so why stress out about trying to make a crust?

        There’s much to be thankful for despite all the challenges of the last few years. I hope you have a lovely holiday. Enjoy the feast, whatever it is.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Zazzy, you have this meal well in hand. I know what you mean about those little turkey breasts. You pay for the opportunity to have less! Your meal sounds delicious to me, even if I did grow up eating a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve never had Marie Callendar pies, only know of the name. But if they take the stress out of baking, then I’m onboard. You’ve certainly had your challenges these last few years, so I’m pleased to hear you say that you’re thankful despite it all. Have a happy day, my dear.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I love a turkey dinner, but my college son will only eat the turkey—no stuffing or potatoes—and my youngest won’t eat stuffing either, so it’s not worth making a big turkey dinner with all the accompaniments if it’s just the four of us. So this year we’ll be eating at a restaurant for a Thanksgiving buffet. No work at all for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My sister’s family is coming ~ all of us are vegetarians which makes fixing dinner a breeze. We do all the sides sans bird:

    Mashed potatoes ~ Broccoli or Green Beans ~ Stuffing (with onions & celery) ~ Sweet Potatoes ~ Carrots or Corn ~ Cranberry Sauce ~ Celery ~ Black Olives

    For dessert ~ Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Ice Cream or Chocolate Cream Pie

    Happy Gobble Gobble Day!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. BFF picked out the desserts since he’s got the sweet tooth ~> I picked out the Yellow Lentil Hummus and Chips to snack on before the main event!

        Have a FUN day, Ally Bean . . . whatever you choose to eat!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m all about the sides and not the turkey. I won’t actually eat turkey at dinner. BUT, the following days, I will eat dry turkey sammiches like it’s life!
    I’ve pretty much done the traditional thing, as a guest or a host. BUT one year, when it was just me, The Mister, and baby Sassy, I made fried chicken, mash, green beans, and cornbread, like it was Sunday dinner. He had to work, I was newly post-partum, and the older kids went off to Granny’s with his parents. No reason to fuss.
    The following year, I was expecting Moo, and suggested he take all the kids to Granny’s and let me stay home and eat raisin bran in peace. I was too far along to travel, and I legit do not remember what we did that year… It’s bothering me. I remember 2004 and 2005, but not 2003. Huh. In fact, I seem to remember every year but that one. Oh well. Maybe it will come to me later. Maybe I don’t want to recall?

    Enjoy your unusual but no doubt yummy Thanksgiving! It’s about more than the food, of course ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joey, I like the turkey sammies afterward, too; I like the turkey when it’s part of the traditional meal. I like turkey, but I don’t adore turkey so you can substitute just about any food other than turkey [fried chicken?] and I’m going to be happy with the meal.

      [I imagine that raisin bran would suit me just fine, especially under the circumstances you mention.]

      I’ve don’t remember all of my past Thanksgiving Day meals, so I wouldn’t feel bad about forgetting one. Chalk it up to pregnancy. Just have a happy one this year, ok?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We always have the traditional, but with salmon added for our pescatarians. I prefer pecan pie to pumpkin. I hate mashed potatoes but love stuffing. I make it my Thanksgiving tradition to never over eat since I don’t like the feeling of being full. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, so you’re on Team Traditional, except for the pie situation. Duly noted. 😉

      I like pecan pie, too. I like mashed potatoes, but I’m not all that crazy about stuffing or gravy. I don’t like to overeat, either. I’m not sure that I could do it even if I wanted to!

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  11. You do make a very convincing argument for being an outlier. I am lucky/unlucky enough to live close enough to my parents and my in-laws to be able to have two Thanksgiving dinners on the same day. Both will serve turkey. Dad will serve some random beef based stuffing dish his mom used to make. My MIW will serve a purple jello-ish concoction which I am still not sure what it contains.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Allie P, two Thanksgiving dinners in one day would do me in. You’re a strong and brave woman to face such a familial challenge.

      Stuffing & Jell-o concoctions can be a bit dodgy. I like the way I make my Southern cornbread stuffing, and I like the way I make my Jell-o-based cranberry relish, but other people might not like them. I always figure– oh well, more for me! 🙂

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  12. I’m good with just about anything… as long as I don’t have to make it. Having said that, we will be hosting another couple this year and the menu will be low-key but traditional… although those steaks are sounding pretty darn good. I’m not a pumpkin pie fan but my husband is so he’ll buy himself one of those GIANT Costco ones and eat it all by himself over the next week or so. I’d much prefer key lime pie (and, with 90-degree weather predicted here on Thanksgiving, it might be more appropriate).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, I used to make big meals with all the sides and I enjoyed doing it. But now it seems like too much work for the reward of eating too much food. I understand how my mother was quick to latch onto the idea of steaks and lemon meringue pie. I hope your Thanksgiving dinner is a success, no matter what you decide to serve. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You are right. I was in the kitchen with my mother from the time I can remember. Those women, of a certain generation, just intuitively knew how long things would take to cook/bake/broil/set/chill. And then all the food ended up on the table looking pretty, too. With the help of many timers I can get the food to the table, but my presentation is often lacking. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, a small turkey breast is easier to make than the whole turkey so that’s a step toward not having a traditional dinner. Just “forget” to make [buy] a pumpkin pie, and you’ll be well on your way to being from my family. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Just the turkey please. No fixins, no veggies, no nasty pie….. just leave the carved up bird in a pan somewhere and let me take what I want. Oh, and make sure there’s plenty of turkey skin. I don’t care if it takes five years off of my life, turkey skin is one of the few things worth dying for…

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    1. evilsquirrel13, none of the sides with your turkey? Boy, you’re missing the best part of the meal. That’s where the goodness is– as long as there are no giblets involved. [Obviously.] But if you want to binge eat turkey then who am I to stop you? Have a Happy Turkey Day!

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  14. I’m indulging in my favorite Thanksgiving dinner this year. I like the traditional one…turkey, stuffing, mashed taters, cranberry jelly (not the sauce..ick), and pumpkin or mince pie (I’m going with pumpkin). I’ll have home made rolls and real butter and perhaps some steamed carrots because one should eat something ‘healthy’ with all that excess, shouldn’t one? The best part about this Thanksgiving is that I’m having the feast, not trundling off to a relative’s house where (at least in my case) I always feel greedy if I take a second roll or ask for all the dark meat and a leg on the turkey. And the best gravy for all of it is solitude. But I did get roped into a dinner with an elderly friend and her son, which is at a nearby restaurant. I’ll still have plenty of left-overs to nosh on over the coming week though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Embeecee, you sound like you’ve got it going on with your Thanksgiving meal plans. Last year I made the whole traditional Thanksgiving shebang for us and it was good. There were leftovers, which do make for some fast meals later on in the week. I hope that your meal meets your expectations and that you don’t fill up on those healthy steamed carrots. Wouldn’t want that, now would we? 😉

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  15. I love having this day of gratitude. Although I am a fan of turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing…this year we shared Mexican Food with good friends. It was being with good friends that counted so we were happy with whatever we ate.

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    1. Donna, years ago, with friends, we went to a South American restaurant that had a Thanksgiving buffet. It was a delicious mix of traditional American dishes and other national cuisines. So fun.

      I agree with you that it’s being happy with who you are with, more than what you’re eating, that makes this day great.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Because we all can’t be together at the same time this year, we are starting tomorrow making a pork roast, fixings, and an ice cream birthday cake. Then going to some friends’ house Thursday for the traditional meal…contributing rolls, green bean casserole and pecan pie. Finally Friday we’ll be fixing baked ziti. So a big variety! Enjoy your Thanksgiving day, no matter what the menu is!

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    1. Beth, that’s a lot of cooking and planning going on there. You’re going to get the best of all worlds with that assortment. I’d forgotten about pork roasts… suddenly I have an idea. Enjoy your bounty and have a Happy Turkey Day. *gobble, gobble*

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  17. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes (for the husband) and corn are our staples for Thanksgiving. I keep it as simple as possible, using box stuffing, canned jellied cranberry sauce and pre-mashed potatoes. It is not about the food. It is about the one of two times a year that the whole family sits at the same table and eats the same food. For that we are grateful. Have a marvelous Thanksgiving, Ally. It has been great getting to know you this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet, I like your attitude about this holiday. If you listen to the advertisements and magazine articles it’s all about having the perfect food, wine, table settings, candles, flowers, music… no wonder so many people stress about Thanksgiving dinner. But in the end it’s just getting together and enjoying each other’s company. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you this year, too. I’m always grateful for bloggy friends.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. JT Twissel, I think you were an outlier, too. Succotash? We had oyster stew and [sometimes] mincemeat pie at Christmastime, but at Thanksgiving it was T-bone steaks with mashed potatoes. Which suddenly sound very tasty to me. Have a Happy Turkey Day!

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  18. I didn’t start off as American so I had a hard time with Thanksgiving dinner – not a big fan of turkey, can’t see the point of a stuffing cooked on the side and I loathe both pumpkin and pecan pies which I have, nonetheless, dutifully made for the last 15 years as the professional baker in the family. This year it will be the first time I will host it at my house, so here is the compromise: husband makes turkey. I will make cranberry sauce, stuffing (!!), mashed potatoes but also cauliflower with raisins. I got rid of the loathed pies and I will serve a giant apple pie with whipped cream. Have a happy one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. camparigirl, I like your menu. I could live forever without pumpkin pie, but I do like pecan pie. With freshly made whipped cream. HOWEVER. apple pie is made of my favorite food, apples, so I think your idea is vast improvement to the traditional pie of Thanksgiving. Have a Happy Turkey Day!

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    1. wakingup, I’m all about eating what makes you happy on this holiday. Doing the same thing each year would drive me bonkers, but if your mother likes to do that, then have at it. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, whatever it may be.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I agree: the meal itself isn’t important; it’s the Idea Behind It.

    That being said, we like the Traditional Meal, so we are happy to have it. I don’t care for pumpkin pie, however, so even though I bake two for the family, I just eat whipped cream with Hershey’s syrup and a few chopped walnuts.

    I think your mom’s Tgiving was very personalized. When she bucked Tradition, she really went for it! That may be me next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nance, i agree that it’s the getting together that counts, so eat what pleases you and yours. We get programmed early in life and to this day when anyone mentions Thanksgiving I flash to T-bone steaks with mushrooms sauted in butter. I like the traditional feast, but it’s not what I remember from early in life. Oh well.

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  20. We are turkey fans, so it’s the traditional meal for us. Growing up, we had most Thanksgivings at my Grandparents’ house, and my Grandma was not a very good cook, plus the cigarette smoke. Ugh. Add to that my Grandpa’s foul temper, and I grew up not caring for Thanksgiving at all. Thankfully, it is much better now, delicious food, good company, family and fun. Whew.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J, it’s not that I dislike turkey it’s that I like variety, so I’m open to any cuisine at Thanksgiving. Or even a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner in a French restaurant– which was quite good. I know that many people have lousy memories about family holiday dinners so I’m glad that you’ve put yours behind you and have made your own traditions. We live, we learn, eh?

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  21. I really miss the days of having a grown-up responsible for preparing holiday meals and all I had to do was show up – maybe set the table, and toss a salad.

    Being the one responsible for preparing the big feasts is not any fun at all, and I quickly lost any interest in cooking turkey and all its side dishes.

    I can’t remember the last time I cooked a turkey – and that’s just fine with me. Anyone who complains is welcome to take over the kitchen. Surprisingly, all voices have been very quiet 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joanne, you and me both. It’s a lovely traditional meal when someone else makes it, but my interest in making this meal has waned over the years.

      I made a turkey with all the trimmings for us last year, and came to despise the leftovers. But like you said, if someone else wants to wander into our kitchen to make this meal, then I’ll happily sit at the kitchen counter, watching– while sending good thoughts their way.

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      1. Last Christmas was the best. I had surgery on my collarbone and all my men pitched in to take care of the meals, including Christmas dinner. I have no recollection of what we had (it wasn’t turkey) – and that’s the whole point. In the end, the food isn’t the part that matters at all 🙂

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        1. Joanne, I believe that your solution to holiday cooking is inspired. HOWEVER, I don’t want to have surgery to make it happen, so I’ll just pass on it, ok? Like you said, it’s all about the people not the food. I’m sure whatever you ate was perfect.

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