Navigating the Holidays in a Pandemic

by Louise

I am thinking about this as I have two sets of seniors to consider and kids who are attending school in person.
My thought is to have the kids do remote school for a week and half (is that enough ?), so we make a sort of a bubble to enclose our family. I am not going to bubble for Thanksgiving, just make sure I visit my parents the day of and take them food. I’ll muddle through somehow and hope that I have taken enough precautions to come out of the holidays safely.
What are your plans for the holidays ? Is it going to be better or worse than years past ? DD has already given me her Christmas list !

Thanksgiving in a Pandemic Means Smaller Birds, Fewer Leftovers
Holiday season brings new challenges to grocers and food makers

The Hottest Ticket in Town This Year Is Your Family’s Covid-Constrained Thanksgiving
Cities and states around the country have capped gatherings at 10, creating angst for holiday hosts


76 thoughts on “Navigating the Holidays in a Pandemic

  1. This is the first Thanksgiving since DH and I became parents that it will be just us and the kids. For many years, we have hosted, and we have always had at least two additional people join us, and sometimes several more. I’m a little wistful thinking about Thanksgivings from earlier in our marriage, when both of our mothers and DH’s father were still alive, and when we sometimes had siblings and in-laws over as well. Oh well. Life stages.

    I mentioned before that I just wanted to get a little chicken to roast this year, but DH wanted the full-on turkey experience. The smallest one the butcher shop is offering is 12 pounds, so that’s what I ordered. They offered to brine it for us, which I find exciting — I have never brined a turkey, as it seemed like a big production to try to do at home. So that will be something new.

  2. Well, y’all know my mini-drama. I’m very happy that whoever does come, it will be without the drama and angst.* Added bonus that the group is now small enough that DH doesn’t need to spend a half-day today building a cover for the back deck.

    But really it just feels way more laid-back — less food, less cleaning/prep, more just homey. Which is awesome, because I have a summary judgment motion due next week, so I don’t need the extra stress of a big “thing.”

    *And with just the teeeeensiest bit of schadenfreude for SIL’s involuntary self-quarantine. Yes, I am not a good person.

  3. The meal will be the three of us, but my parents will come over in the morning for a masked & semi-distanced walk. We will have a fancy pie from a local restaurant, and are cooking duck; I’m excited to be adventurous with the meal!

    Who knows what Christmas will look like—hoping we can convince my ILs to truly quarantine before visiting so everyone feels comfortable being indoors together without masks.

  4. We’re having a family friend come over tomorrow, she’s already in our bubble. It’s usually just the four of us so this is a bonus. We’re doing the full meal as always – turkey and all the sides and three pies for dessert.

  5. It really isnt a dilemma in our extended Totebaggy family. The 3 primary school grandkids are still able to go 2 days a week F2F. Their parents prioritize this with the support of both sets of grandparents. So Txgiving was not a bone of contention. We will be 5 in our bubblet. DSS will come by separately on the weekend after DD2 goes back to NoVA. My DIL and her parents, who celebrate Xmas, are more fussy than her brothers nuclear family and large in law family, so their attendance at a big GTG was never going to happen. My strictures are somewhere in between the two. I watch the weather and pop out to them on porch suitable days. We can also sit in an area with full sliding doors inside masked on colder days. I think her parents might come in for a visit from Maine at the end of Xmas break and 10 days off from school. The MIL suite was an addition and has a separate HVAC system. Or just a day trip. Ancient great Grandpa on our side is still isolated by his (senior) children, part of the reason DD2 is returning home.

  6. It’s most likely just us. I invited one person who’s in the process of moving, but she plans on being at her destination by tomorrow. I also invited another who’s in my circle, but he may chill out at home.

    I’ve taken a very slow day at work, my kids are getting way too much tv, and we’re prepping what we can. We all need a break.

  7. We usually go to my sister’s Pocono weekend house for T-day. She usually has between 22 to 30 people and is a great day. My health is not the greatest so we bowed out along with my children. My son and his wife will not be coming because she has been reassigned to work the covid wards.

    My two daughters will join us for dinner. It is a truncated menu and my one daughter who ls a therapist at a school and is paranoid that she will bring the virus into the house and kill me. She has dictated that we all wear masks and she will eat in another room. What a bizarre holiday and
    Christmas will probably be the same.

    I have never had a holiday dinner under 12 people and most of the time 18 to close to 30. This seems so crazy and I hope this isn’t my last..

    A happy Thanksgiving to you all.

  8. It is just us for tomorrow. My mom was going to my brother’s house, but she doesn’t want to be inside. All of the cousins, aunts and uncles are staying home so we are doing a couple of Zooms with different parts of the family. I am going to time our meal around the Zoom because I don’t want to eat at the same time.

    We are not going away for the winter break. I thought we might rent a house in Vermont, but Vermont has VERY strict rules about people entering the state so we will probably just stay home. I know that DD isn’t happy about this, but it is safer. She was seeing her friends outside until last week since it was warm. We are fine with her seeing her friends in a backyard as long as they are outside.

    I know this is a first world problem, but this is the first time in over 20/25 years that I will spend the entire winter in cold weather. I always traveled at least one time for work or vacation to warmer places during the winter. I never went on a plane in 2020 because we returned on New Years day from our 2019 winter vacation. I think the last time that I didn’t fly in a calendar year was early 80s.

  9. My nuclear family by itself violates my governor’s gathering mandates. My parents, who are in our bubble, will come over for dinner. I’m not big on traveling in bad weather with babies, so there have been quite a few years where we’ve stayed home and had Thanksgiving just by ourselves.

    A couple of years ago I put together a timetable of what needs to be done when, and it makes getting dinner on the table pretty easy. I’ll make my cranberry salad tonight and will do some prep work, but Mom is bringing three pies tomorrow (pumpkin, chocolate, and apple), so that makes tonight pretty easy. Looking forward to having a long weekend at home!

  10. Usually I host two or three Thanksgiving meals (DH’s family, my extended family, our local family) for between 25 and 60 people total.

    This year we are going to eat semi-outdoors – a covered-porch sort of room – with a local friend, my parents who are here every day anyway, and my aunt who lives in town, at separate and distanced tables. And it’s catered and I don’t have to bring anything or clean up.

    The only other time I can remember not making a thanksgiving dinner since we got married was the year I delivered a baby the night before after forty hours of labor.

    Yesterday when I had to go to the store I still bought a little fourteen pound turkey and a duck, just in case I get bored.

  11. I think the last time that I didn’t fly in a calendar year was early 80s.

    I had to think about this, and I have to go back to 1976 as the last calendar year I didn’t get on plane.

  12. Wow — wonder if that explains why DS’s school was canceled today, because the whole county system was down.

    Now, why it couldn’t take down my *clients’* systems and leave me in peace, I don’t know. . . .

  13. @Lauren –

    I know it is a FWP, but I am sad about the same thing. The last time I did not spend at least a week in a warm place over the winter was 13 years ago when DS was an infant. “Never again!” we said. We just aren’t comfortable with leisure travel like that at this point.

    We don’t have an official “bubble” but are having BIL over since he is single & lives alone. It is a favor to MIL/FIL in a way so that they don’t have to worry about him or feel bad that they cancelled the traditional gathering and didn’t invite anyone over. (Everyone else is married or living in sin.). We love BIL – he is very close to DH, so it’s not really a “favor” but MIL was quite relieved when we said we would. We will likely do the same for Christmas.

    I don’t know when we will see my parents again, and that makes me sad. I’m glad we did some picnics over the summer even though it was a long drive for not much time together. They are just not comfortable with travel or visitors, especially after my brother’s bout with Covid.

  14. I hope there is a “heat wave” in December or Feb. It always seems to happen when I am in Florida or the Caribbean so maybe we will get lucky this year.

    This is also the first Thanksgiving in a long time that I am not making Ellie’s cranberry sauce. Our dinner comes with cranberry sauce so I am not going to make it since it is just the three. She is one poster that I think about this time of year because of her recipe. I wish that she was still with us on the Totebag.

  15. For the first time in over 30 years it will be just our nuclear family. Some years I’ve had as many as 19 people for TG, so cooking for our small group is a relative breeze. I’m making lots of my sausage stuffing because we like leftovers a lot. Our turkey is 13 lbs.

    I screwed up my praline pumpkin pie. Usually the crust does not pop up when I prebake it with the praline part, but this time it bubbled up and the sides shrunk down a little. So I had to prick and squish it down a bit. It won’t be pretty but it will probably taste fine. My D is making some pies for friends, but she will probably do that late tonight at the last minute.

    I’ve been reading about the “new” Libby pumpkin recipe that uses sweetened condensed milk, but I didn’t try it this year.

    I’m feeling a little sad for my single family member on the west coast. He hasn’t told me yet what he’s doing. Usually he spends holidays with friends, but I know during the pandemic he’s been more isolated.

  16. We’re having an outdoor Thanksgiving on my niece’s screened-in porch with separate tables for each household. I’m bringing some sides. They have some sort of heater but I still expect it to be chilly (mid 50’s) and rainy so our visit will probably be shorter than a typical Thanksgiving. I’m wearing my fleece leggings for sure. My mother is staying in her retirement community and celebrating Thanksgiving with friends. My Dad’s care facility is not allowing any visitors due to Covid but we’re going to Zoom with him on Friday. The last Zoom didn’t go too well as his dementia has really advanced. I just realized that this is the first time in my life I’m not celebrating Thanksgiving with my parents. What a strange year.

  17. I made Ina Garten’s Butternut Squash Soup with Curry Condiments, Martha Stewart’s Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, and we’re getting the Paleo T-day dinner from Whole Foods. My cranberry relish is just 12 ounces cranberries, I whole orange (with peel) washed and cut into chunks, 1 cup sugar, and 1 inch of ginger root, peeled. Puree in blender.

  18. We are having my in-laws over – they are staying here for a week. Everyone quarantined for 2 weeks before coming and we quizzed them on it last weekend.

    Today I made lemon meringue pie and apple pie, and candied sweet potatoes, and maple almond cranberry cake, and I have bread in the oven, and I may make some jam tarts later. Tomorrow is the turkey plus all the vegetables – my MIL is making the appetizers and the stuffing.

  19. We are doing a simple spread tomorrow–ham, green bean casserole, roasted broccoli, rolls, and pecan pie/ice cream. It will be the four of us. Lots of football and a jigsaw puzzle will complete the day. : )

  20. I literally just made cranberry sauce…like five minutes ago. Maybe I’ll make Ellie’s later this winter.

    We went to visit my parents. Spent a day there and then came home after getting a call that DD2 is a close contact. My parents were disappointed that we left, but our day of breathing on them is probably enough. Now home and it will just the four of us. Not a big deal for me, as I don’t like big gatherings.

  21. It is just the four of us. Normally my dad and DH’s parents, brother and nephew would also join – but we’re not doing that this year. I’m planning on taking my kids and meeting up with my dad for a walk in the morning. And we’ll do a Zoom call with my brother and his family who live on the east coast – so we never see them for Thanksgiving anyway. Thanksgiving is my least favorite time to travel.

    DH is looking forward to a smaller more relaxing thanksgiving as he tends to be on edge around his mom.

    Denver – I admire your pie to person ratio! We usually have a 1:2 pie to person ratio (which we are maintaining this year). But 3:5 is even better. I like pie.

    Lauren – we are going to drive 18 hours to Palm Springs in February because I decided the winter would be unbearable if I couldn’t get some sunshine at some point. Have you considered driving to Florida? And I hadn’t thought about it before – but 2020 is the first year in a long time that we haven’t flown somewhere.

    No internet outages here that I’m aware of. Knock on wood.

  22. This is my first time ever doing the Thanksgiving meal. OK, one year in college, I made spaghetti with my boyfriend. It is a little weird because my family never really did Thanksgiving either – when I was a kid my mother would make a perfunctory attempt for just our family, and a couple of times we got together with their friends for the meal. But we never had relatives come and we never went to the relatives. Our relatives were too far away and there wasn’t the money or time to fly to those places. The last year we did turkey was when I was in 8th grade. The next year, my mother rebelled because she said she was tired of everyone complaining that they hated turkey and since we weren’t really doing the big Thanksgiving thing, why bother. And we all looked at her and said “Thank you”. And that was that.
    Once I went to college, I never went home for Thanksgiving because I didn’t have the money to fly home for just 4 days, and since we didn’t really celebrate, no one cared. The Christmas break was just 3 weeks later, and that was far more important. I usually got invited to various celebrations, which were all weird in their own way. I had quite some stories from those! And then I met DH and started going to his family, and never stopped until this year. We will just have us – DS2 can only come for the afternoon because if he is away from his dorm for more than 24 hours he has to quarantine and get two separate COVID tests. DS1 came home last night and won’t go back until the end of January. There was a huge surge going on in the city where his school is, he got scared, and decided to get out. I think we are going to Zoom with my sister, and hopefully, with some of the ILs.
    We are also going to run our Tday race! They are doing it virtually, That is a huge tradition for us. DH is even going to wear his turkey hat while he runs the streets of our town. Those of you in Westchester, watch for the runner in the turkey hat tomorrow.

  23. Menu for tomorrow

    roast duck with jerk spices
    the traditional sweet and sour cabbage with bacon (kid’s request)
    wild rice and quinoa dressing
    chard with chile crisp (yes, from the jar with the picture of “old godmother”, Lao Gan Ma)

    I am trying to decide whether to do the thing where I leave the ducks uncovered overnight in the fridge so their skins dry out, in which case I will put jerk spices on but nothing else, or to marinate in jerk sauce overnight. I have seen recipes that go both ways. I am going to use Mark Bittman’s simple method for roasting, which involves blasting the ducks at 450. The recipe warns that there could be a lot of smoking and splattering, but the comments on the recipe indicate that the splatter can be minimized with a layer of sliced potatoes under the birds. Since potatoes in duck fat is one of the finest things on this planet, I am going to do that, and serve the potatoes the next day so we don’t die of duck fat overload on Thanksgiving.

  24. Mooshi I am so glad DS1 made it home!! We’re very happy to have our little bubble here (and DD’s pre-emptive Covid test also just came back negative — not that I was worried, because I know how cautious she is, but she worries about killing Grandpa and so is very relieved).

  25. I’ve mentioned that we are having a big party tomorrow, and I am pretty stressed about all the cooking. I’m not sure that there will be enough food. The turkeys are kind of symbolic – I have 2 x 8lb birds (which is $100 of turkey). Everyone will bring their own alcohol (and politely share if asked, but not actually offer it to anyone*), so people will have to be satisfied with tastes of many weird dishes (sweet potatoes with marshmallows!) and getting drunk.

    Culturally very weird to me. You bring your box of beers to a party. You take a bottle out, drink it, replace bottle in box, get another beer, repeat until all beers gone. I showed up at a housewarming with a bottle of hard alcohol. It turned out, that was what I was supposed to drink, because you drink your own alcohol. We’ve had peers who have a similar financial situation do the same thing – arrive with “their” bottle of wine when invited to dinner.

    We’ve been invited to neighborhood holiday party next week. On “the fanciest street in town”. Paper invite reminded you to bring a plate to pass, your own drinks and cups.

  26. Oh, and I’m sure my bragging about my fantastic non-distanced Thanksgiving is really annoying. I’m also heartbroken that I haven’t seen my parents in a year and don’t know when that will ever happen again. And guilt ridden for removing the grandkids from them.

  27. We had more traditional Thanksgiving when DH and I were by ourselves. We had friends over and I cooked. When the in laws joined us, they didn’t like the traditional Thanksgiving. I sometimes feel like it is the early days of Thanksgiving when I am rying to meld cultures.
    It’s a uniquely American holiday, so it’s not celebrated by any of our family who doesn’t live here. I understand JM and Ada’s efforts, and falling flat because it doesn’t translate as nicely as Christmas does.
    We have gotten together a few times with DH’s siblings to celebrate. It was part of their once a year meet and greet to see their parents so it didn’t develop into a long standing tradition. I have been saddest at this part but I am not willing to expand more emotional mileage keeping everyone happy.
    My birth family gatherings are joyful and my aunts are great cooks, so they would have had no trouble cooking a turkey with spicy stuffing.

  28. What do you all think of this idea from the article about the AWS failure that Rhett posted?

    Amazon should really be split into at least three companies: Amazon Retail (, Warehouses and Whole Foods, etc), Amazon technologies (Alexa/Echo, Kindle, Fire Devices, Ring, and maybe a few AWS data centers) and Amazon Software Services (half of the AWS Datacentres, Lumberyard, Twitch, Luna, and Amazon Game Studios). The rest of AWS could either be split off into separate companies (á la AT&T broken up into the “Baby Bells”, but then again, most of them remerged except Verizon) or sold to competitors like Microsoft or Google.

    Posted on Nov 25, 2020 | 12:38 PM
    David M 2
    Yes, they could call Amazon Software Services AS… oh never mind.

  29. Ada, I don’t think your updates are annoying. It is interesting to learn about other places. Are these traditions because of Covid? My friends are did some similar things in their backyards for some alcohol related stuff. I’ve been to NZ, but I don’t think I ever did an socializing at someone’s home.

  30. “ I’m also heartbroken that I haven’t seen my parents in a year and don’t know when that will ever happen again. And guilt ridden for removing the grandkids from them.”

    Same. But I’m also heart-broken from my son because after years of sacrificing our own traditions at my mother/family’s insistence, we don’t have any of our own. I don’t want to go into detail here about how, but it might be possible for us to go this year, but they don’t want us to come, claiming fear of Covid—but the sister who told me year after year that she would set things up differently with her in-laws the next year (but never did), her husband and kids are going to Disney, so the whole famdamily minus us are going to celebrate 2 days late. At this point I’d just as soon let them go, but I’m fighting for my son to be able to have one more Christmas with his grandpa. We don’t know how much longer he will live.

  31. Louise, if you ever innovate that stuffing recipe, please send it my way! I don’t eat turkey, but I love stuffing.

    I appreciate the posting of the cranberry relish recipe. I’d forgotten about it, and we can usually get frozen cranberries here in the winter.

    Ada, are there deposits on the bottles there? Here, people don’t put bottles in the trash, even if they are out and about. They place them neatly next to a trash can, so others can pick them up and take them in for the deposit.

  32. Definitely not a covid thing, and not a deposit thing either. I think just cultural. This is a heavy-drinking country and they have some different social norms around that. Perhaps to make it easier to drink heavily without inconveniencing your host.

    People are definitely generous, so that why it seems so weird. I went to a coworker’s halloween party and brought a few dozen popcorn balls that we made. Did not bring my own alcohol. Various people gave me one of their drinks, but I had to ask and it was awkward. (And I wasn’t going to be sober at a work halloween party)

    An acquaintance here went to a 50th party recently. It was fancy and catered. I’m going to need to ask her if she brought her own alcohol.

  33. Ada, according to my DH, that is how his parents and their friends did their parties – everyone brought their own alcohol. And lots of it. It is verydifferent from my parents parties, which usually involved the host providing a keg and cheap wine.

  34. I think the UK also has bring your own alcohol. It does seem to me, that it’s related to how much people drink when they socialize and expecting the host to have that much alcohol on hand is too much.

  35. “ expecting the host to have that much alcohol on hand is too much.”
    That’s what kegs are for. But I’m also reminded of grad school Happy Hours when I preferred one glass of something I liked, while others shared several pitchers of stuff they said they didn’t particularly enjoy.

  36. Ada,

    What are the rules in a bar? Does everyone buy their own drinks or is everyone obligated to buy a round?

  37. Most of my brothers and most of my nieces and nephews are coming. DH’s BFF and his son are coming. One nephew has covid and obviously can’t come. He is stuck in his college apartment with his also sick roommates. Another niece is an ER niece. We had a conversation about precautions, and then she decided not to come. We will miss her, but appreciate her consideration.

    Most the activities are outside, and there will be a table set up outside. We will have the windows open and the fans running.

    The menu:

    Regular turkey wrapped in bacon and grilled
    Halal turkey brined in herbs and roasted in the over
    sausage stuffing
    sausage stuffing with cornbread and no onions
    vegetarian stuffing
    yeast rolls

    brussel sprouts
    some unknown vegetable dish

    mashed potatoes
    mushroom gravy
    turkey gravy (if I have time)
    candied sweet potatoes

    apple, pecan and pumpkin pie

    skeet shooting
    golf game
    draw the turkey game
    Thanksgiving trivia

  38. Around here, it is normal to bring a bottle of wine or something to share with everyone. That obviates the need for the host to provide massive amounts of alcohol.

  39. “he “new” Libby pumpkin recipe that uses sweetened condensed milk”


    Just finished the stuffing – bread stuffing recipe, with sausage and apples – recipe from Joy of Cooking. I alway forget how long it takes to make the stuffing! Glad I did it today. Duck breasts are marinating. DS2 might make a pumpkin pie – Libbys with Carnation unsweetened evaporated milk, a classic – later tonight.

    Thanks for reminding me about the TB recipe page, Lauren! I do have the ingredients for Ellie’s recipe. Hmmm. RMS – ginger in the cranberry relish sounds good, but no way am I going to the store tonight! I’ll have to try in another year.

    Happy Thanksgiving all!

  40. “Today I made lemon meringue pie and apple pie”

    I am so envious!

    Lemon meringue is my favorite pie. My mom made a great lemon meringue pie.

  41. The weather is supposed to be warm tomorrow so my parents are coming over to our house for an turkey dinner on the patio. I don’t cook so we are picking up the cooked bird and all the the trimmings from Whole Foods in the morning. Parents bringing the pies. There I’ll probably be a three generations game of whiffle in the yard. It will be fun and low stress. We are Zooming my 92-yr old grandmother mid-afternoon.

    I hope everyone has an enjoyable Thanksgiving!

  42. “Amazon should really be split into at least three companies: Amazon Retail (, Warehouses and Whole Foods, etc), Amazon technologies (Alexa/Echo, Kindle, Fire Devices, Ring, and maybe a few AWS data centers) and Amazon Software Services”

    It seems to me that the razor blade model applies to a lot of the technologies products, i.e. they are sold cheap to facilitate the sale of services associated with them, creating a steady cash flow.

    E.g., Kindles encourage sale of meda and Unlimited subscriptions, Rings encourage sale of monitoring and video storage services. My guess is Alexa/Echo devices benefit Amazon Retail by providing data to help their marketing efforts.

  43. It’ll be just four of us tomorrow.

    For a while, we’d have BIL and his family over, but his kids left for college and he was with the same GF for a while and started spending T-day with his GF’s family, and we started going to DD’s BFF’s family’s home.

    DS had his own tradition of spending every T-day weekend in NYC with some of his close HS friends. He is bummed about missing that this year, but the two friends whose schools are in NYC are also here, so he’s been able to see them a few times this semester.

    We’ll probably do some sort of online session with BIL and family, and with DD’s BFF’s family. BFF got home on Sunday, and DD is looking forward to surfing with her once she completes quarantine.

  44. DS and friends evolved a tradition of hot pot sometime during the T-day weekend if not T-day itself, so we’re going to have hot pot for dinner tomorrow night.

    And pie. Our person:pie ratio was 0.8, but is now up to 1 because we already ate one pie. Three different types of apple pie, one blueberry cheese, and one pear.

    No turkey, no pumpkin pie tomorrow. We will, however, have stuffing. We like stovetop and will make a batch.

  45. “I have 2 x 8lb birds (which is $100 of turkey)”

    When DW checked out at the supermarket yesterday, she got a reward certificate from the frequent shopper program, redeemable for, among other things, 200 airline miles (which are worth around $2) or a turkey.

    DW decided to get the turkey, and ended up with a 13# hen, essentially for $2.

    It was frozen solid when she got home, so not enough time to thaw for tomorrow, and we’re having hot pot anyway. We decided we’d cook it on Saturday or Sunday. I’m looking forward to jook and turkey a la king next week.

  46. I’m laughing picturing Ada walking around at a party with a bottle of vodka. We sort of have that here When we moved here I was surprised that everyone brings there own booze and leaves with it. We have neighborhood parties and people will bring their own cooler, or a tumbler of lemonade and a bottle of vodka. Rarely is the host providing a cooler with an assortment of beer. We still do if we host, and then we watch as people leave with the beer they brought. This might just be a thing with my neighborhood.

  47. We got a PS5! At least we completed the order and got the confirmation email. It’s a walmart in-store pickup and they said it will be ready in 3 to 7 days. We’ll see if it works out.

  48. DD, who is an excellent baker, made the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this afternoon. Tonight at dinner, we all said to hell with waiting until tomorrow, and we proceeded to eat half of said pie. I guess one advantage of not having people over is that there won’t be any guests who would be scandalized at the vision of a half-eaten pie on the Thanksgiving table tomorrow.

  49. I am currently waiting for the pecan pie to finish up in the oven. I tried a variant on my usual crust. A pate sablee (so called by the blogger, but More like a cookie dough IMO) made with part almond flour. Apple is already done, as are mashed sweet potatoes with ginger, honey and garam masala. Spiced cran sauce. Tomorrow are bread Stuffing with apples and onions, braised pearl onions and sugar snap peas, the turkey, pan gravy. I bought rolls. DD2 informed me she is making parsnip and apple soup. And mulled wine. I decided not to have an opinion.

    I ordinarily never get to make T day dinner with the in law obligations, and I am the best cook. So I am actually, not ironically, #blessed this year.

  50. DD and I made pumpkin and apple pies (apples from our tree) this afternoon as well as cranberry/orange fresh relish. I dropped some relish off with the friends we often share Thanksgiving with.

    Tomorrow, DH will fry a turkey (first time) and I’ll roast yams, open a can of black olives (two cans are backup) and bake the rolls. I am not the best cook, but I open a mean tube of Pillsbury crescent rolls.

  51. “apples from our tree”

    What kind of apples? How many trees?

    Back in our SV days, we planted a couple of garden delicious dwarf apple trees in our back yard. After a few years they started giving as a couple big bags each year of small apples, maybe 2″ to 2.5″ in diameter. They were quite sweet and tasty, but would’ve been a lot of work per volume to peel and core.

    We shared most of them with our co-workers.

  52. I baked pineapple upside down cakes. First time doing from scratch. I need to leave the cake in the pan to cool a bit more than the recipe recommends but not so much more that it sticks. Turned upside down fine but with a few cracks.

  53. @Lemon – I have never heard of such a thing in your area. Bring something to share – yes. But not like BYO and leave with it.

  54. @WCE – DH made sure I picked up the traditional can of black olives to go with the other appetizers. They always have black olives at any family party!

  55. Finn, we have a semi-dwarf Melrose (19 years old) and a Granny Smith that didn’t produce well this year. The Melrose produces a distribution of apples similar to those at the grocery store (3-4″ in diameter?) and I used my new Norpro apple peeler to peel/core several quarts that I froze and canned. We aren’t diligent sprayers so some blight/worms. Kids don’t like applesauce. I canned apples for the first time this year, using the instructions in my 1956-1974 Ruralite cookbook, from before fresh produce was common/affordable in rural Oregon and Alaska.

    I would have had more useful apples if I had dealt with them a few weeks ago. I picked these a few weeks ago, before the first frost, and kept them in the shop. My paid work went from 2 shifts to 1 shift at the beginning of November, which reduced the need for engineering coverage, DH went elk hunting and the boys finished up first quarter, all of which occupied me till recently.

  56. You guys are making me hungry for pie! My son doesn’t like it, so if I made some, it would be just for me. Wonder if I can find canned pumpkin here. Maybe I’ll try sweet potato pie.

    Denver, does DS know how hard you’ve been working to get the PS?

    Mooshi, so glad to hear DS2 will not be sitting alone in his dorm!

    Rhett, I didn’t click through, but told DS the headline. Now he has lots of 1-liners about public schools not having money so this is one step above raiding a homeless shelter, was the person trying to get their grades changed, etc.

  57. “I’m also heartbroken that I haven’t seen my parents in a year and don’t know when that will ever happen again. And guilt ridden for removing the grandkids from them.”

    Same. Every time DD talks to my parents she asks, “When are you coming to see me?” We haven’t seen any of our family in a year. In our world this is a bug, not a feature.

    All these posts are making me homesick! We will Zoom with both grandparents tonight (our time). I plan to stream football and drink delicious French wine to soothe my soul tonight. Also, our pie to person ratio will be 1:1.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!!

  58. J-M, sweet post. Happy Thanksgiving to your small family, and hugs to your daughter. We will also be watching football, and I may try to coordinate with the other sister who isn’t with our parents and third sister to Videochat with them at some point.

  59. I find Ada’s experience with her country’s variant of BYOB quite novel. I’ve never experienced that anyplace I’ve lived or visited in the US. Whatever you bring is up for grabs by any guest, except in rare cases for special reasons like allergies. If a guest brings a bottle of wine, it may not be opened but saved for future enjoyment.

    My recent teetotaler status has been an adjustment. I’m allowing myself a very occasional wine spritzer, but sometimes I just want a nice stiff drink or a good wine to enjoy while reading or socializing before dinner.

    Yesterday there were long lines both for Covid tests and for pies from the local favorite bakery.

    I didn’t realize duck was so easy to prepare. I’ll try it out.

  60. In the home country my parents always had good quality hard liquor on hand for guests. During the holiday season, it was customary for friends and acquaintances to visit and greet us. Problem was if it was later in the evening they would have to be served with some snack and many would expect wine or a shot of liquor. However, some overstayed their welcome and forgot to take their leave after one glass of wine or one shot of liquor.

  61. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Our pie to people ratio is 1:4. Only one pie. I have *finally* gotten over the fact that we will not be hosting our traditional large gathering. Looking forward to today.

  62. Happy Thanksgiving!!! I have my can of olives ready for this afternoon. My grandmother always served black olives from a can when we met for any holiday. DD and DH don’t get it, but there are plenty of olives for me.

    For those of you that feel guilty about the grandparents…we live a short car ride from my parents and we rarely them in person. I saw my parents every week during the Spring because I was shopping for them and they would meet me at my car to pick up their groceries. They did see us more during the summer because we could sit in the driveway/backyard when rates were lower. One silver lining is that my parents use FaceTime and text to communicate directly with DD and their other grandchildren. They never used FaceTime or Zoom before the pandemic. I know it isn’t the same, but we talk to them more than we did before the make sure that they aren’t lonely.

  63. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    The BYOB variations are so interesting. Here if people BYOB to a party, they may open it or not, or someone else may open it, and then at the end of the party the host gets all of the leftover alcohol. Last year at our Xmas party, our rich friends brought a really expensive bottle of wine ($90!) and one of our other friends found it and brought it to us and asked if it was OK for us to share. It was very good!

  64. Happy turkey day all!
    Bird stuffed and in the oven by 9. Hopefully the timing on everything works out and we can eat at 4!

  65. Denver, does DS know how hard you’ve been working to get the PS?

    Yes. He was working just as hard. He was the one who actually got it.

  66. Having a really nice Thanksgiving with just our immediate family. I was afraid it would feel like a ton of work and chaotic since we have a toddler and preschooler, but it’s actually been great. DH has played with the kids all day so I can cook in peace. The pie is in the oven, and I’m making sauteed green beans, roast carrots with goat cheese, and mashed potatoes. And we got a pre-roasted duck from Costco. We’ll do Zoom game nights with our siblings across the country.

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