Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Cooking

Whether it's a party of six or 60, make Thanksgiving special

We like to think of Thanksgiving as a national north star, always on the fourth Thursday in November and always with certain foods that remind us of the first Thanksgiving in 1621 by the Pilgrims.

Thing is, many assumptions about Thanksgiving are either debatable or untrue. For example, until the mid-19th century, it was observed on varying dates by each state. Though President Abraham Lincoln authorized a standard date in 1863, it wasn't recognized by Southern states until the Civil War ended. As for the menu, the bounty that fills our tables today certainly didn't exist in the 17th century when the Pilgrims arrived in New England. And though custom has placed the year at 1621, historians don't agree on the exact who, when and where of the first Thanksgiving.

The point is that Thanksgiving through the centuries has evolved. Practically, it also evolves for many of us as our personal lives change. It can one year be a stuffed-to-the-rafters affair and in another, celebrated with only a few family or friends.

With Thanksgiving a week away, here is a look at both ends of the spectrum, knowing that most of us fall somewhere in between. We hope this gives you ideas for any kind of day blessed by the opportunity to gather together.

Related: The smaller Thanksgiving table is set with dishes familiar and new

Related: We asked the pros for their key to large-scale Thanksgiving success

Comments
Party like it’s Christmas in Narnia with these recipes perfect for tea time

Party like it’s Christmas in Narnia with these recipes perfect for tea time

As a kid, I always looked for doors into other worlds. I blame Narnia. In C.S. Lewis’ classic novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, four British children step through a magic wardrobe into Narnia, a world filled with talking animals and plenty ...
Published: 12/12/17
Lightened Shepherd’s Pie comforting, quick

Lightened Shepherd’s Pie comforting, quick

When the weather gets cooler, we want to tuck into comfort food in our home. Doing a recipe makeover on a tasty-but-less-than-healthy dish is one of my favorite challenges. Today, I’m taking on a wintertime classic with my Lightened Shepherd’s Pie. T...
Published: 12/08/17
Green Salad With Pumpkin Vinaigrette celebrates holiday season

Green Salad With Pumpkin Vinaigrette celebrates holiday season

By MELISSA D’ARABIANSummer may officially be the season of green salads, but wintertime versions have advantages that make them worth exploring. The cooler weather seasonable greens are hearty and darker green, which makes them nutrient-rich. And, th...
Published: 12/08/17
My holiday tradition: Making a whole bunch of beef Wellington

My holiday tradition: Making a whole bunch of beef Wellington

For the past 20 years, my family has looked forward to a boat parade party hosted by some of our dearest friends. The hostess provides cocktails, appetizers, dinner, desserts and a trombone choir to perform from a balcony overlooking her pool. My fav...
Published: 12/06/17
Tampa Bay Times readers share their treasured holiday food traditions

Tampa Bay Times readers share their treasured holiday food traditions

When we opened this year’s call for reader submissions to any treasured holiday food tradition, I had no idea what to expect. That was kind of the point. I wanted to see what such a wide gamut would inspire. And you delivered. The stories that reader...
Published: 12/06/17
Five ideas for slow cooker meals, from curries to cake

Five ideas for slow cooker meals, from curries to cake

Listen up. I know you and the slow cooker may have a tortured relationship. You chop, you season, you set the timer, hoping that a sultry, bubbling dish will greet you in 4 to 8 hours. What really happens is often more dry, more bland, more meh than ...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17
From the food editor: A weeknight dinner pork chop recipe perfect for this time of year

From the food editor: A weeknight dinner pork chop recipe perfect for this time of year

It was one of those divine cooking evenings. I didn’t have a plan for dinner, but I did miraculously have a number of ingredients on hand that work really well together: pork chops, sweet potatoes, apple cider leftover from a Thanksgiving gathering, ...
Published: 12/05/17
We tried pickle-flavored candy canes (w/video)

We tried pickle-flavored candy canes (w/video)

It is a bright December morning, and I am trying pickle-flavored candy canes. I eye the ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, water, citric acid, artificial dill flavor, FD&C Yellow, FD&C Blue 1. All very upstanding. All very appropriate for a classic holi...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Trouble with picky eaters at home? Here’s the solution

Trouble with picky eaters at home? Here’s the solution

The way to stop fighting about picky eating is to stop fighting. And a good way around that is the "participatory meal," where everyone makes their own combination of a noodle bowl or pizza or sandwich. Researchers think one of the reasons kids gravi...
Published: 11/29/17
Bake these skillet cookies for the holidays

Bake these skillet cookies for the holidays

Cookies are pretty perfect as they are, except when the only thing wrong with them is that there are so many.Of course, one of the best things about cookies is that they are individually sized treats that we don’t have to share or refrigerate or eat ...
Published: 11/29/17