Thanksgiving is the ultimate eating holiday, but not necessarily the ultimate “foodie” holiday. Seriously, would you ever have another meal with both mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and bread-based stuffing together? Even if you aren’t avoiding carbs, that is just a crazy menu with too many side dishes. But here is the cool thing about Thanksgiving, it is one day of the year when the menu isn’t driven by perfect balance and elegance, it is driven by family and traditions and enjoyment and love. One can’t eat like that everyday, but it is a lot of fun to eat certain things once a year because they remind you of your grandmother or your family back in the South or that time when my sister made some gnarly cranberry sauce at school and brought it home in a dixie cup. No one wanted to eat it but we did anyway and now we laugh about it every year.

Here is our menu. I’ll update with some photos tomorrow night, but I really hope you’ll leave a comment sharing your must-have Thanksgiving dish. The kind of thing that really makes it feel like Thanksgiving. I won’t bore you with the details, but I assure you that I never would have chosen this menu on my own.  I love it anyway because each dish represents a dear family member or friend, even if they won’t be at my table.

place settings

Thanksgiving 2013

Mid-day snacking

Nyetimber Classic Cuvee & Classic Bloody Marys


Dinner, 4pm

Sausage, Sage and Cornbread Dressing (Bon Appétit)
Mashed Potatoes
Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Pomegranate Vinegar
Green Beans (plain, for the kids in case they don’t go for the pomegranate vinegar)
Cranberry Mostarda
Smoked Turkey (via Facebook advice from my US-based Friends-Who-Smoke-Meat)
Breaux Vineyards Viognier and Nebbiolo



Pumpkin Pie
Coconut Chess Pie (adapted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table)
Chocolate Coated Almonds
Monmouth Coffee

pumpkin pie


19 Thoughts on “The Menu

  1. Funny thing – the one item that I would be heartbroken to not eat on Thanksgiving is not on your menu! Sweet potato souffle! Mom and I aren’t having it this year but I got to make it for a Friends-Thanksgiving party on Sunday so I got my fix 🙂

    Our family recipe for it can be found here:

  2. First of all, I want your brussels sprouts recipe!

    I’m actually doing Thanksgiving in the city this year with a couple other “stranded” astronomers. So I won’t be controlling the menu much at all, but I am brining a brussels sprouts dish that I’m trying for the first time tomorrow – totally risky I know! I got it from the New York Times (

    I’ve made Thanksgiving dinner two or three times on my own, all while living overseas and it was blast each time to share the tradition with non-Americans. I’d say my must haves are mashed potatoes, gravy, and apple crisp (or some other yummy apple pastry dessert). But I am always open to new ideas and new flavors. I spent Thanksgiving 2010 in the city with my godparents and we went to one of those fancy clubs where they had a raw bar that went for miles. I was totally content to forgo turkey entirely for crab claws. 😉

    Happy Turkey Day to you guys! xox

    • I wish I had a recipe! I usually make it up. When it turns out well I promise myself I’ll write it down but then I never do. Kicking myself! But I am planning to slice/shred them. not quite as fine as that NYT recipe, but they are so nice that way!

      The raw bar sounds dreamy…

      Have a fun friendsgiving. x

  3. Without rice, it’s not Thanksgiving. That is all.

    • I know! I like rice so much more than spuds. But for my husband it isn’t Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes and I hate making both. Marriage + small kitchen = something has got to give.

      • Interesting factor in “traditional” American Thanksgiving. The menu changes as we add new people to the family. We had never had mashed potatoes until you married Steve. Now that’s part of the meal.
        We get some great new foods when we celebrate in Louisiana since your Uncle Bill married Von. She is always good for some delicious Vietnamese specialty to add to the turkey and oyster dressing.

  4. Laura hogan on November 28, 2013 at 1:27 am said:

    I totally agree it’s all about family. We have three sets of grandparents at our table tomorrow and the kids couldn’t be happier. Being in the pecan state eating pecan pie makes me pretty happy too. Yeay for lots of brown mushy food!

  5. Yum, Kate! If I had a dollar for every time I want ed to call you w a cooking question I’d be one rich gvt lawyer!

    I’m not a fan of turkey or stuffing, but I’m making both to keep my family (especially mom) close in spirit since they are 1,000 miles away and hubby likes them. Traditional giblets stuffing and gravy. I just made cranberry orange relish and the house smells like a nice, hot port cinnamon citrus and cloves!). I’ve asked my Pakistani mom-in-law to bring the pumpkin pie and a vegan friend is doing the Brussels sprouts.

    You’ve got me thinking about family traditions and next year I’m going to have to make Grana B’s oyster casserole and Aunt Teri’s pecan pie!

  6. Jean Thibodeaux (Aunt Jeannie) on November 28, 2013 at 2:21 am said:

    I agree-on Thanksgiving you should have whatever dish(es) make your heart sing! And it is usually whatever “ya mamma ‘n dem” gave you. Who cares about a “balanced” menu? it’s all about family and the wonderful memories we have from many holidays past!” Happy Turkey Day to all!!!

  7. I will keep my comments short & sweet:
    1) In addition the viognier, find a German Riesling (Kabinett or spatlese). Great with the turkey, cuts through high acid cranberries; the nebbiolo is an interesting red choice. I am quite curious how that turns out.
    2) Don’t let SMA close to the Bloodies … he always screws them up (just kidding lil bro).
    3) Find Jelly Bellies so SMA can pop them while watching “his” Dallas Cowboys. He would always bet them vs Jack Derington.
    4) Most importantly, wish we were in London with you. Carmel is beautiful, but I would rather have the cousins together.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • I’ll let you know. Our turkeys are gamier than US turkeys and I skip the cranberry sauce because it makes the wine pairing easier. 🙂

  8. Kate Swan on November 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm said:

    Mmm! Thanksgiving at your house sounds great! Our little family of three will be heading to Bryan’s uncle’s house for a gathering of 30 or so aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. My mom started making mini-cinnamon rolls (using Pillsbury crescent rolls) for Thanksgiving years ago (to go with the stuffing, potatoes, cornbread, and other carbs!), and I took them to Uncle Tom’s the first year we spent Thanksgiving with that side of the family. They went over so well that I now make them every year and send a huge batch even we’re doing Thanksgiving with my family and won’t be there.

    I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the blessings of the day!

  9. The Nebbiolo was great, went very well with smoked turkey. Kate also made one of the best pumpkin pies I’ve ever had, eaten with 3 fingers of course. Great meal!
    Hope you all have a great one too.

  10. I love a Holwill Thanksgiving! Maybe soon we will both be back in DC, and I can reinsert myself back into your celebration! I have no hard and fast TDay traditions, but this year I made a Brussels Sprout and Kale Hash that might become one. My only constant is WINE. Xo

  11. Bob albrechr on November 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm said:

    There is never a bd time for oysters. Rest of the meal looks great as well

  12. No homemade pasta???!!!

  13. Pingback: Celebrating Thanksgiving as an Expat

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