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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By JimAdam on November 24, 2011


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


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


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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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm