Tag Archives: Thanksgiving
January 20, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
A dish of sweet potatoes was special-occasion food in my family.
They made regular annual appearances at Thanksgiving. My mother was a working, single mom, so Thanksgiving was an endeavor best tackled in stages. Mommy would buy a big bag of sweet potatoes a week before the holiday to get ahead of the crowd. A few days later, she or my Uncle Bobby would scrub the spuds, pile them precariously into the biggest pot we had, covered them with water, and let them boil for hours on the electric stovetop. The pot of potatoes bubbled away beneath the TV and the phone ringing and my family’s normal volume that was always set to “Yell.” As the house settled into the evening, the phone calls more distant and the talk a little quieter, Mommy or Uncle Bobby drained the sweet potatoes, peeled off the skin with a butter knife, sliced them length wise, and arranged them like shingles in a baking dish. That night, or the next day depending on how her full schedule was looking in those scant days before Thanksgiving, Mommy would cloak the naked potato slices in a layer of brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg dotted with pats of butter. The dish baked until it bubbled and the brown sugar formed a crust on the once exposed sweet potato slices. The smell alone was justification for 365 days of waiting.
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November 26, 2014 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I’m thankful that I’ve never gone hungry.
Sure, I’ve chomped at the bit waiting for my next meal. I’ve even been hangry a time or three. Fortunately, there has always been food in my fridge and cabinets.
That’s not the case for many families in our community. In Jefferson County, 17.2% of people are food insecure, according to the non-profit Feeding America. That means that 127,320 people have at some point had inadequate or uncertain access to nutritious food.
Dare to Care, a food bank that serves the Kentuckiana region, has done a lot to address hunger in our community. Tonight, the organization will host a candlelight vigil to honor Bobby Ellis, the nine-year-old boy whose death from malnutrition on Thanksgiving Eve 1969 sparked the Dare to Care movement.
Before you dive headfirst into the Thanksgiving spread tomorrow, take some time to remember a little boy who went hungry in our own city and consider what you can do to stop hunger.
November 21, 2012 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Do you need some helping getting dinner together tomorrow?
I’m fresh out of miracles. Instead, I have a good dose of keepin’ it real.
We are delusional in the weeks before Thanksgiving. We convince ourselves that we can cook a 20-pound turkey because Alton Brown says it’s easy. We fill our grocery cart with pounds and pounds of potatoes because boxed mashed potatoes will just not do. We buy a rolling pin and a pastry blender because this will be the year we finally make that pie crust from scratch. And we sincerely believe that from our kitchens will emerge a display of culinary prowess that would make Martha Stewart throw her panties at our feet in adoration.
That fantasy is a few turkey trots away from our realities. For 364 days of the year, dinner is something simple enough to fix after an eight-hour workday, be it pasta with a homemade mushroom cream sauce, scrambled eggs or a bowl of cereal. Why do we think we can pull off a full Thanksgiving spread?
We can’t. No one can achieve the high expectation we set for ourselves. And that’s why you made it to the blog today, because the turkey is still frozen, the mountain of potatoes haven’t been peeled and the butter just won’t blend with the flour for that pie crust.
I can’t save your disaster. But I have some tips to save your sanity.
- Stick with what you know. Do you have a killer chocolate chip cookie recipe? Do your friends rave about your fried corn? That’s what you need to cook for Thanksgiving. Everyone has a recipe that they have mastered over the years and made their own. Now is the time to whip it out of your recipe box (or iPad).
- Just make a salad. I can’t think of one Thanksgiving meal that included a salad. It’s not that my family is full of salad-haters; everyone’s just too busy with mashed potatoes and the like to put together some fresh greens. Buy a bag of pre-washed lettuce, toss it with sliced apples, dried cranberries, feta cheese, almond slivers, and a raspberry vinaigrette, and veg heads will be grateful.
- Think outside the casserole dish. There are lots of other items you can bring to the celebration besides food that your family and friends will appreciate. Run to your nearest dollar store and get some paper plates, napkins and cups.
- Never underestimate the power of a beverage. Be the cool cousin and bring a few bottles of wine. Is your family more conservative? Stop by a gas station and get some two-liters (bonus points if you get Coke Zero).
- Break it and bake it. Grab a pack of the ready-to-bake Nestlé Tollhouse cookie dough. No mixing and barely any work — you just separate the squares of dough, put on a baking sheet, and let cook in the oven. Dessert in less than an hour. What’s not to love?
- Be honest about your shortcomings. Just come right out and say you’re frazzled and can’t fulfill your culinary commitment. So what if the crust never came together? Your family and friends will love you anyway. And that’s what Thanksgiving is about.
December 2, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
I’m two turkey sandwiches, four slices of sweet potato pie and nearly a dozen Crescent Rolls into the holiday season. …
November 25, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
The turkey is sitting heavy in my belly, as is sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing and other goodness straight from …
November 24, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Each year, one lucky turkey escapes the dinner table, receives a Presidential pardon and lives a pretty cushy life in …
November 17, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
Thanksgiving is getting the shaft this year. Before I could even put away my orange Pumpkin Fairy tutu, retailers had …