I’ve never hosted Thanksgiving before. I’ve always headed to someone’s house for a potluck, bringing the Midwest staple of Green Bean Casserole and my family’s Texas Pecan Pie. Or I’ve actually gone to Texas to celebrate with family, lugging some vegetable from the PNW to cook up as my contribution.

This year will be no different – I’ll be headed to the immediate homestead of Cincinnati, Ohio, where the Vetrano Family reunion will be held, instead of Houston.

But as I was listening to a cooking segment on the radio this morning, I started thinking about all the amazing yummy things I’ve come across over the years that would make up an amazing Thanksgiving table, with a take on some traditional staples. Here is my list of what would be on my table:


My father’s smoked turkey: I won’t mess with this one. I have had the great fortune of growing up with Texas natives for parents. My father, for as long as I can remember, smokes his turkey for what seems like 18 hours, every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Inside the little dome, rusty black Weber, lined with years and years of drippings. It’s simply the most awesome thing in the world. I think the 2009 bird topped them all.

Cranberry/pomengranate relish:  The idea of eating the circular magenta blob from a can never appealed to me and thankfully, the parents never forced me. I tried a friend’s homemade cranberry dish a few years ago and was sold. This year, I saw a cranberry/pomengranate recipe on The Pioneer Woman’s web site; I may steal it and try to pass it off onto the family in Ohio.

Mashed acorn squash – I tried this a few years ago and tried to make it savory with garlic but that didn’t work. Brown sugar and spices, all the way.

Mashed baby red potatoes with rosemary and kosher salt and oodles of butter. Skins still on too.

Stuffed Savory and Spicy Pumpkin: I drooled on my steering wheel as I listened to the radio host interview the inventor of this one a few weeks back. Big pumpkin stuffed with various cheeses, heavy cream, chunks of bread, bacon and spices. Yet I can’t find anyone to make for and share with. Eating this alone will immediately result in lying on the couch for hours on end to digest plus an entire bottle of Tums. I can’t wait.

Varied Green Casserole – a take off the traditional green beans, but mix it up with broccoli. Maybe throw in sauteed kale, swiss chard, mustard greens with olive oil and mushrooms too.

My mother’s homemade stuffing – Another one I won’t mess with. From scratch – breadcrumbs, celery, turkey gravy… it is so amazing, even better the next day.


Mom’s Texas Pecan Pie – the 3rd staple I won’t mess with. Homemade crust or frozen.

Shannon Boldt’s Pumpkin Pie – I don’t like pumpkin pie. At least, apparently I don’t like Made-From-A-Can pumpkin pie. My coworker Shannon has made pumpkin pie using the squashes from her garden and I bow at her feet every time.

What would your Thanksgiving Feast look like?