Thanksgiving Traditions

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Thanksgiving Traditions

By Julia Sayers

With my family, preparation for Thanksgiving begins weeks in advance. When my mom and I aren’t planning the menu, we’re brainstorming homemade centerpiece ideas and coming up with funny nicknames to put on the place setting cards. When the week of Thanksgiving hits, the cooking begins. We prepare as much as we can in advance and freeze it.

My favorite part of the preparation happens the night before Thanksgiving: the desserts. Growing up, my mom would always recruit my sister and I to help out with the pies. One of us would make the pecan while the other made the pumpkin (I usually fought for the latter—I didn’t like nuts when I was younger). It became a tradition when I was in college. I would drive home after my classes Wednesday and we’d have a baking party with family and friends. We would sometimes be up until 1 a.m. baking pies, laughing because I messed up the rum measurements for the pie or because my mom mutilated an apple trying to use her new apple corer.

The morning of Thanksgiving, we’re all summoned to duty where my mom and dad give us a military-style rundown of who’s in charge of what. After we’ve figured out the Rubik’s cube of how long each dish needs to cook for and which dishes can be baked at the same temperature, my dad carves the turkey and we finally sit down to the delicious result of our weeks worth of work.

I love our family pie recipes, but after working on this November’s issue of Cooking with Paula Deen, I’ve learned some new ways to make them even more delicious. I’ll definitely be making our Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie and will encourage my sister to try her hand at our Bourbon Pecan Pie—and yes, I do eat pecan pie now! There are so many great ways to update your classic pies. If you’re a fan of French Silk Pies, you’ll love the Chocolate Cream Pie with Peanut Butter Topping. And why not throw some pears in with your apple pie for added sweetness? That’s what we did for our Double-Crust Apple-Pear Pie! Check out all of our pies and other Thanksgiving recipes in our November issue, or click here to get a sweet taste of what we have to offer!

Julia Sayers grew up with a love and appreciation for good food, instilled in her by her Italian family. She learned to cook from family recipes, passed down from her mother and grandmother. As she grew older, she decided to pursue a career in journalism to express her passion for food through writing. After working for newspapers, a travel magazine, a cookbook publisher, and even as a dolphin photographer in the Florida Keys, Julia came on board with Cooking with Paula Deen as the Associate Editor. She loves that she gets to work with food everyday, whether it be writing about it, tasting delicious goodies in the test kitchen, or overseeing photoshoots.

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