It’s a family tradition since perhaps I was born, at least on my dad’s side of the family. The Thanksgiving menu would be divided up between my grandparents, his sister, our family and other guests who would be joining us. I don’t know when the tradition, but however it started, it’s a wonderful tradition I plan to keep going with our kids.
My grandparents would usually get the honor of making the turkey. We would walk into their house and the smell of the holidays would fill our hearts and our noses. Depending on the year they might take another side dish or two. The rest of the meal, the stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, scalloped corn, dinner rolls, traditional green bean casserole and desserts were divided for the rest of the clan to bring.
When I was a kid I always took this system for granted. It was the way things had always been done and I appreciated having them hot and ready. Now as an adult, I really appreciate this tradition. I cannot image expecting someone to purchase and prepare the whole Thanksgiving feast. Dividing up the various parts of the meal not only creates less work for everyone, it allows everyone to feel a part of the occasion.
Throughout the years we have also been able to sample a wide variety of ways to prepare the traditional dishes and add a few new ones for everyone to try.
Having everyone bring one or two of the side dishes allows for the hosting family to clean their house and get all of the preparations done without having the added stress of having to buy all of the groceries and prepare the meal. I would much rather have a host family well rested and ready to engage in conversation and games.
I am thankful for the frugal, thoughtful thinking of my family.