Tales from a Twenty-Something Turkey Day

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By Jonathan Able

As twenty-somethings, we quickly learn the art of making-do.

We make-do with hand-me-down furniture, and used cars. We make-do with tiny apartments and roommates.

And having not quite mastered the art of our mother’s mashed potatoes, our grandfather’s pecan pie, or our aunt’s sweet potatoes, we learn to make-do for Thanksgiving, as well.

So often, young adults, not quite settled into marriages or children, find themselves at a hodgepodge of holiday dinners, potlucks, and gatherings of merriment. Last year, for example, I was fortunate enough to visit my dear friend, Lindsay, and her now-fiancé on the other side of the country. Her friends, because most of them were not able to travel home for the holidays, decided to host their own Thanksgiving dinner.

But before images of Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving start racing through your mind, know that what resulted was one of the warmest holiday meals I’ve ever enjoyed. We may be young, flighty, addicted to smartphones, and every other criticism known about Generation Y, but we know how to have a good time.

So if you’re like we were: stretching dollars and resources, here are some hints for a successful Thanksgiving Day gathering you’re sure to enjoy, no matter how old you are!

Are You Feeling (Pot) Lucky?
Potluck dinners are, without a doubt, the way to go. Not only does this alleviate the pressure off of the host or hostess that has been gracious enough to lend his or her home; but what a better way to share a little piece of your own family with everyone else? Trust me, your mom will be proud when you call to tell her that your friends gobbled up her classic mac ‘n’ cheese bake!

Additionally, because each of us was from a different part of the country we had variations of recipes that we normally would have never had.

Game On!
Play games! When you’ve gathered a group of your friends, and a glass or two of wine, around the dinner, it’s always a great time to introduce a game to serve as an icebreaker, or add to your general merriment.

Sharing is Caring, or Something Like That.
It may sound silly, but one way to make you and your guests feel right at home is to go around the table and name ways that you’re thankful. Personally, I was thankful that my friend did most of the cooking, and I was merely responsible for a bottle of wine! (Okay, okay. I was thankful for the company and new friends, too.)

Wherever you wind up this holiday season, remember that even if you’re not at home, home is never very far when you’re surrounded by good food and good friends.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, y’all!

Jonathan Able, Online Editor for PaulaDeen.com, is a Savannah transplant and received a BFA in Theatre from Valdosta State University where he spent many hours memorizing scripts and working on his Meisner technique. Recently, he has decided to tackle single-handedly a formerly unknown territory...the kitchen...and he looks forward to sharing his adventures here. His favorite color is green and he's never met a carb he didn't like.
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Reader Comments:

54321

yummy

By JimAdam on November 24, 2011

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I once read on this Paula Deen series where either Bobby or Jamie talked about curing cast Iron pots and pans. Please repeat this for me. I have looked everywhere for this information. Many thanks, Johnnie Gail Anderson

By Johnnie Gail Anderson on November 22, 2011

54321

Or just go to Paula's Lady & Sons on Turkey Day. I mean, that's what I'm doing.

By Tyler on November 18, 2011

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Hello Paula, Its Thanksgiving time, my family is actually asking to make the Cornbread stuffing,again. I used your Southern Cornbread Dressing recipe years ago , they love it.. I love & have all your books & magazines. My Grannie taught me to cook East Texas Country way. My family & friends say I'm a good cook, but I have certain things I can't good like my Grannie God Bless you & your Family. Families are so very important, especially our children Thanks Sheri from Texas

By sheri merritt on November 18, 2011

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm