Thanksgiving Traditions

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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.

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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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