Here at the Stiletto Gang, we’re a very close group, even though we all live in different parts of the country. I’ll speak for all of us when I say that we’re all very thankful to be together. I, for one, learn something new every year about one or more of our members, but I always want to learn more. Like, do you eat cranberry sauce out of a can, too? Or is there a difference between yams and sweet potatoes? These are the things that keep me up at night so I posed these and some other questions to the other members of our blog. See what they have to say below. Oh, and happy Thanksgiving. We are so grateful to have you all in our lives, too!
(My answers are in parentheses. Because that's how I roll.)
1. What are you thankful for this year? (My health, my great family, a new book [pubbed on Tuesday!], an everything else that makes me so, so happy.)
Marilyn: For my family and for all my blessings.
Rhonda: Thankful for my family, that my eye surgery is done, that Marian is well and we're writing like crazy again, and that the state agency I work for (my day job) survived the budget cuts of 2010.
Susan: I'm thankful that my mom is okay after her breast cancer diagnosis, and she's doing so well. I'm very grateful as ever for my friends who keep me propped up when I need it! And for my husband who's the best guy I've ever met in my life. Oh, and I'm a little happy, too, that I got one deadline met (two to go!).
Rachel: Healthy children and a steady paycheck.
Marian: I have so much for which to be thankful, good health (poo, poo), wonderful family, incredibly supportive friends, and now the most delightful grandchild, Ms. Riley Giselle.
2. Sweet potatoes or yams? Do you consider them the same thing? (I don't know the difference...that's why I asked.)
Marilyn: Sweet potatoes, don’t like yams nearly as well. We have baked sweet potatoes a lot during the year and candied sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving.
Rhonda: Yep - I consider them both "baaaad." Grin.
Susan: Aren't they the same?
Rachel: Yes, sweet potatoes. Yes, yams. Yes, call them whatever you want. Another helping, please.
Marian: I consider them the same thing and it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without them. On the other hand, except for Turkey Day, I can pass on sweet potatoes the rest of the year.
3. Is turnip included in the meal? Does anyone eat it? (Yes...and yes...but I make my mom make it because I don't know what a raw turnip looks like.)
Marilyn: No turnips.
Rhonda: Nope. No one in my family eats them.
Susan: Um, no. I had no idea turnips were part of Turkey Day until this minute.
Rachel: No turnips. Fast forward >>> to pumpkin pie.
Marian: Hey, don't knock the turnip. I love 'em…and so does my husband. But all offspring of ours think we're crazy. On the other hand (and how many do I have), those same offspring eat raw fish which is inconceivable to me.
4. Family culinary tradition that you must include? (Ours is canned cranberry sauce...if it doesn't have the lines from the can on it, it's not good.)
Marilyn: Most want the green bean casserole.
Rhonda: Stuffing - must have stuffing or you can forget the whole thing. My mother makes it in muffin tins - great for individual servings and reheating later as leftovers. We also have a cranberry, apple, cherry jello ring that is wonderful.
Susan: We do the canned cranberry sauce, too! Love cutting it along the ridges. Green bean casserole with french onions and cream of mushroom soup. "Corn crap," which is one of my mom's specialties (it's corn casserole). And always pumpkin and pecan pies.
Marian: The aforementioned sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top.
5. What secrets to a delicious holiday meal do you have? (I brine...trust me, it makes a difference.)
Marilyn: My secret this year is going to youngest daughter’s for the Thanksgiving feast.
Rhonda: Mom starts defrosting the turkey about 3 days ahead of time in an ice chest in the garage. She floats it in cold water and changes the water when it gets warm. Thanks to Mom none of us have gotten poisoned by bad turkey yet.
Susan: I'm not allowed to make anything except occasionally I'll do an organic take on the green bean casserole or do a broccoli crunch salad. Otherwise, my family is afraid to let me touch the turkey.
Rachel: Someone other than me should cook.
Marian: I don't brine, but my son does. I leave it in his good hands. Best secret of a holiday meal? Don't worry about the food, focus on the people around the table. I honestly wouldn't care if we ate bologna sandwiches as long as we are together. Well, together and there's something chocolate after the bologna.
6. Does anyone eat dark meat in your family? Are they considered an outcast? (I'm a dark meat eater and definitely not an outcast...if I'm not getting enough attention or it seems like I'm heading towards outcast land, I just throw up some jazz hands at the dinner table.)
Marilyn: White meat is the favorite, but the dark meat get eaten too, we always have to so many people.
Susan: I can't recall if we have any dark meat eaters. Sounds like Voldemort's gang in Harry Potter, doesn't it (the Dark Meat Eaters)?
Rachel: Dark meat is what kids are for. Keep the ruse up until they get wise to you. I guess that’s another thing I’m thankful for.
Marian: Again, with the assumptions. Yes, someone in my family eats dark meat, in fact prefers it…and that's me. As to whether I'm an outcast, don't forget who generally brings the chocolate.
7. Worst Thanksgiving ever? (Ours was when our eight-months pregnant mother fell down the stairs with the turkey. Now, I'm not sure why she was traversing the stairs...I think it had something to do with a broken oven and the use of the next-door neighbor's oven, but I can't remember. I'll have to find out.)
Marilyn: When we had to go out and eat because I was working.
Rhonda: I think the worst one was when we were at my grandmother's house when I was about 8 or 9. It was very cold outside. My dad's cousin showed up right after dinner and - unbeknownst to anyone else - let his dog stay in the enclosed back porch area while he visited in the main part of the house. My grandmother had the leftover from a 26 lb. turkey cooling in a roaster oven on a table in that porch area. Well, you can imagine what happened. Lots of yelling, an overstuffed dog, and no leftover turkey for us that year.
Susan: I'm sure I've blacked it out by now.
Marian: Can't think of any that were outstandingly bad. I know the first Thanksgiving after the deaths of my parents were harder than I could ever have imagined.
8. Best Thanksgiving ever? (I think it's going to be this year.)
Marilyn: Any where a lot of family can come.
Rhonda: Probably the same Thanksgiving. Grin. It was very exciting.
Susan: Every Thanksgiving since I met Ed. I love getting together with his family and mine. He has a BIG family, and it's so fun to see everyone, their spouses, and their kids and catch up.
Marian: Every year. This holiday is a lovely reminder to be thankful for the blessings in my life.