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From the food editor: Share your Thanksgiving food traditions, especially the weird ones

  Maple and Balsamic Roasted Vegetables photographed for #CookClub on Tuesday October 27, 2015, in Largo.


Maple and Balsamic Roasted Vegetables photographed for #CookClub on Tuesday October 27, 2015, in Largo.

If it feels too early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, well, you are a more chill person than I am.

I'm already planning what I will prepare this year, and considering how to walk that fine line between sticking to tradition and trying something new. This week's #CookClub recipe falls into the latter category. It's a simple assemblage of hearty vegetables, which get roasted in the oven for a while then glazed with a sweet and vinegary sauce.

Parsnips are making their way onto my table more and more lately, and they're a worthy addition to your vegetable rotation this fall. Parsnips are a root vegetable related to carrots and parsley, and the flavor is sort of like a mixture of both — sweet, yet with an earthy, nutty taste. They are also more starchy, which means they often get treated like potatoes and turned into a mash with lots of butter and cream. I find they are delightful simply roasted in the oven, like in the recipe below.

Now back to Thanksgiving. I try to have something new on the table each year, but the perennial classics are always there, too. And it's funny how, as we grow and our palates expand, we keep going back to the same dishes out of tradition, some of which we would never eat any other time of the year.

That got me thinking. Do you have a particular Thanksgiving main dish, side dish or dessert that is so strange, or unhealthy, or just plain weird, that you would never consider eating it outside of Turkey Day? We want to hear about it.

One of mine is the classic green bean casserole, made with canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup and fried onions — three ingredients I would balk at buying in April or August. But I know friends and family members who have far more, um, interesting Thanksgiving food traditions. Jell-O casserole, anyone?

Send us your traditions by Nov. 13, so we can work them into our annual Thanksgiving issue, which this year runs on Sunday, Nov. 22, instead of the usual Wednesday. Mail to Tampa Bay Times, Thanksgiving Traditions, 490 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 or email to and put THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS in the subject line. For all submissions, include your full name, city of residence and a phone number and/or email address in case we have questions.

Contact Michelle Stark at or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

From the food editor: Share your Thanksgiving food traditions, especially the weird ones 11/02/15 [Last modified: Monday, November 2, 2015 4:13pm]
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