Golden Thanksgiving Memories

As we head into this holiday season, it’s time to reflect on your golden memories of Thanksgiving. Butterball wants to know how you make your Thanksgiving Good as Gold – post your stories here or pin images on our Pinterest page.

How do you cook your turkey? Is your method a family tradition?

Growing up, my mother was very busy and didn’t have time to do a lot of cooking, but she always took pride in our Thanksgiving meal. I vividly remember waking up to the smell of celery and onions sauteing in butter. Sure, Coco Chanel will never bottle it, but whenever I cook anything that calls for Trinity (that’s Cajun mirepoix), I am instantly transported to those early Thanksgiving mornings, watching the parades while Mom began cooking for the day. She always oven roasted the biggest turkey she could find, so it had to go in the oven very early in the morning for our late afternoon feast.

Since there wasn’t always a lot of room in the oven and we didn’t have a big kitchen, some of her favorite side dishes were cold, like Waldorf Salad.

I like my side dishes, like I like my coffee. . . hot!

Which leads me to a confession: I’m a fried turkey fan.

Frying turkeys is a family tradition, it just wasn’t my family’s tradition. I’ve incorporated it into my own family’s celebration of Thanksgiving. I even enjoyed the Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer during Butterball University last year – easy, tastes great and uses less oil.

Later, in my young adulthood I was introduced to the fine art of turkey frying (Please remember to follow safety guidelines and recommendations if you choose to use this cooking method). I was dating a young man from Jacksonville, Florida and spent the holidays with his family. Since I’m incredibly socially awkward – read that as painfully shy – I spent the morning tagging along with his father who taught me the ins and outs of how to fry a turkey. That was a wonderful afternoon and one of the only ones I got to spend with him. Sure, his son and I eventually went our separate ways, but 16 years later I still smile and think of Daddy Hughes when I prep the turkey for its dip in the fryer.

Which brings me to the present day. . .

Since I’ve been writing my Countdown to Turkey Day series, I have learned that it is much easier to cook and photograph all of the  Thanksgiving recipes in one go. To keep this from being a dreaded afternoon, I have created a tradition of inviting friends over for the adventure. Everyone pitches in, my photography buddies all help by shooting pics throughout the day, and then, when all is said and done, we sit down and enjoy the fruits of our labor. My children are growing up to see Thanksgiving as a celebration, a reason to gather, work together, laugh, and then enjoy. How lucky are they to be blessed with two holidays!  I believe we have two families in this life, the ones we are given through biology and the ones we are blessed with through fate and happenstance. Treasure them both and share the holidays with those you love.

Before I began the pre-Turkey Day Tradition in my home, I would often celebrate Thanksgiving on a different date because of conflicting work schedules or because friends had familial obligations and couldn’t attend. Thanksgiving is a celebration of our blessings and while it technically has a specific date on the calendar, there is no reason you cannot celebrate on a day of your choosing, with those you most enjoy.

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