A Thanksgiving preview

By Katherine

The table is over ten feet long

Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. All you have to do is be thankful and eat great food. It’s hard not to be thankful when you’re eating great food. We have a few traditions in our house. I have to make the cornbread stuffing. Greg has to make the pie crusts. We break out the Christmas movies. There’s no football in our house, a point on which we both agree. We also agree on the following:

  • Sweet potatoes and marshmallows are never to mix.
  • Thou shalt not make green bean casserole.
  • Cranberries with can marks are an abomination.
  • They’re called mashed potatoes, not whipped, blended or pureed potatoes, for a reason.
  • White bread is for sandwiches, not stuffing. (OK, mainly a Katherine thing.)
  • Whatever shoots out of those Cheese Whiz-like canisters is not whipped cream.
  • Gravy does not start as a powder or come in a jar.
  • Lumps in potatoes are fine (see No. 4). Lumps in gravy are a no no.
  • The skin on the resting turkey is fair game. (Entirely a Greg thing.)
  • Giblets are good for you.

While we have our favorite dishes, we try something different each year. We have a few new recipes up our sleeves this year, like a chocolate bourbon pecan pie. The next two weeks will pretty much be all Thanksgiving all the time on the Rufus blog. We’ll be sharing recipes for a cranberry cocktail, one potent punch, pumpkin bisque, the perfect turkey and dressing, sweet potato pie, even a twist on succotash. In the meantime, here are some of our previous recipes fit for a holiday table.

Baked ham with molasses and bourbon:

Ham, it's not just for Easter

Nana’s Meatball Lasagna:

Hey, not everyone does the turkey thing.

Green beans with pancetta and mushrooms:

It's so colorful and vibrant.

Brandied cranberry sauce:

Where are the can indentations?

Spiced sweet potatoes with toasted pecans:

Not a marshmallow in sight

Roasted fennel:


Honey glazed Brussels sprouts:

I want some right now

Lemon chiffon pie with cranberry glaze:

Oh alright I'll have a fourth helping.

A little help from our friends: Linda over at Savoring Every Bite has a great Thanksgiving planner. Our favorite part, of course, is the pre-Thanksgiving wine tasting. Caroline over at Sweet Caroline’s Cooking has already rolled out her sweet potato-pecan casserole. And for those of you who hate choosing between desserts as much as we do, check out the Thanksgiving Pie Petir Fours over at Savory Simple.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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113 Responses to A Thanksgiving preview

  1. nrhatch says:

    Have FUN trying to fatten us up BEFORE Thanksgiving. {{gobble gobble}}

  2. Caroline says:

    What a great round-up. Thanks so much for the shout out! I agree re canned cranberry, but my dad requests it every year. For some reason, he prefers it. It pains my mom to even put it on the table. We often leave it in the kitchen and make him get it himself. That lemon pie….seriously, no words. Looks unreal!

  3. All that food made me hungry! Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated here in the DR but for the last 3 years I’ve celebrated it with my best friend, she flies home to be with her family and I always bring pie πŸ™‚

    • Katherine says:

      I’m not sure what your weather’s like in November, but I can imagine this being one meal not to cook in the tropics.Talk about heating up the kitchen.

  4. Love your “rules” and those Brussels sprouts look incredible!

  5. Christina says:

    Oh I totally agree about the green bean casserole…ugh! My mom insists on making it every year and she is the ONLY one that eats it! I am loving this roundup…everything looks so delicious…especially your sweet potato recipe…I am a sucker for anything sweet potato. πŸ™‚

  6. ChgoJohn says:

    What a great set of recipes! I must admit, however, it took me a few minutes to scroll past Nana’s Meatball lasagna — and I’ve gone back to it a few times since. Mmmmmm

  7. Kas says:

    Uh yea, can I come over?? And your rules made me laugh out loud. We had a mashed potato crisis last year, when my sister turned them into a paste … Literally almost ruined Thanksgiving! And your lemon pie is on my must-have list.

  8. BrainRants says:

    I like you guys more and more with every post. But: fennel? Eeew. Nonetheless, this goes in my keep file. Also, if you ever consider deep-frying a turkey (and I recommend it – Greg, you like crispy skin?) make sure you fry a pound of bacon in the oil first, then bring it back up to temperature before the turkey goes in. *Homer Simpson sounds*

    • If I deep fry a turkey I will do so in the garage and video tape it catching on fire and our mad scramble to push the flaming grease pit away from anything combustible. Actually, is that video already on your blog?

  9. Looking forward to it all! (and getting hungry…)

  10. #1 I couldn’t agree more with ever singe rule. Especially the green bean casserole – blech.
    #2 Is chocolate pecan bourbon pie the same as Kentucky Derby Pie? That has become my most-requested holiday dish – it’s amazing how few people never had it growing up!
    #3 I’m adding roasted fennel to my menu

  11. Kristy says:

    Beautiful round-up! I’m so with you on the cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. Oh if only my family would let me break from tradition with our meal…I suppose I do get to bring a real cranberry sauce (even if Mike, the kids and I will be the only ones to eat it!). πŸ˜‰

    • Katherine says:

      Aside from the stove top person, we once had a person bring canned cranberry. He then insulted my stuffing! (Yes, the story’s coming.) Anyway, I’m sure I gave him the can opener, a bowl and a serious eye roll.

  12. Jessica says:

    Totally agree with being against football and the mixing of sweet potatoes and marshmallows. Everything looks so good!

  13. Think I have gained some weight just reading about all of this magnificent food and can’t wait to read more about the chocolate bourbon pecan pie!
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

  14. Wonderful roundup! These recipes are mouthwatering.

  15. Love the commandments! However, green bean casserole has been making a yearly appearance at my table for about 3 years now. Totally my sister’s request!

  16. eva626 says:

    great. now i am craving the sweet potatoes!

  17. Great pictures. When is Thanksgiving? Looks like they’re already starting to gear up for Christmas here.

    • Katherine says:

      Nov. 25. And we still have all the Thanksgiving stuff out as well as Christmas stuff. The bakery even had Santa cookies. Who buys those before Thanksgiving? It wasn’t even something that would last until Christmas.

  18. Tandy says:

    I am looking forward to ‘sharing’ thanksgiving with you! It all looks great πŸ™‚

  19. Mel says:

    Happy thanksgiving, Greg and Katherine! All this looks delightful. I wish we celebrated thanksgiving in NZ!!

  20. Carolyn Chan says:

    Katherine your post makes me wish I celebrated Thanksgiving (well at your place anyway!) – happy Thanksgiving !

  21. ohhh wowwww its a mouthwatering superb dishes.:)

    best regards,
    Bloggeryenyen https://www.chikawithyeneyes.wordpress.com

  22. Oh Katherine, you are after my heart…I had Christmas in America last year and the sweet potatoes and marshmallows scared me, badly. You restore my faith. These photos look AMAZING! Spare seat at the table this year?? πŸ˜‰

    • Katherine says:

      Of course Aimee come on down. The good thing about the pairing is that marshmallows are always on sale around the holidays. They’re good in coco and fudge!

  23. Am getting worried that you didnΒ΄t manage to get my invitation in the post early enough as I keep checking my mail and no sign of it yet?!

  24. An excellent post that’s made me very hungry – even at 6:53 a.m.! The roasted fennel looks amazing – one of my personal favorites!

  25. Kelly says:

    Wow, what a preview! It’s barely 7 am over here yet your spread has me in the mood for dinner. I’m totally excited to discover all of these gorgeous dishes with you. Everything looks so tantalizing… Love the 10 foot table and your crisp, punchy writing Katherine. Fabulous post!

  26. Love this. “Lumps in gravy are a no no.” I’m posting about my mother-in-law’s lump free gravy on Sunday. I wonder what you all will think of it. Can’t wait to “study” what’s coming. The brussels sprouts look wonderful.

  27. I completely agree with all your house rules EXCEPT for the giblets rule but particularly the sweet potato rule. Sorry guys, I just can’t do it! The food looks awesome, though!!

  28. Looks like a fabulous meal at your place!
    But, what ELSE would one expect? πŸ˜€

  29. sallybr says:

    Wonderful, absolutely wonderful, and making me quite jealous… this year, second time in a row that we won’t be cooking. We’ll be back in Los Angeles, working, and invited over at dinner at the boss’ home.

    We usually do Thanksgiving almost exactly like you guys – Phil makes the pie crust and the turkey, I do the side dishes, without any of the abominations you listed.

    Have fun with all the planning and preparations!

  30. Judy says:

    We agree on most things and the rest is negotiable … what time did you say dinner will be? I promise I’ll bring something yummy πŸ˜€ We will be with family, at a long table like yours, very thankful and gathered around good food too. So much to be thankful for.

  31. This all looks wonderful and makes me want to start cooking right now. We love ham for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

  32. What a collection of recipes… and it’s not even Thanksgiving there yet! I love that yours is after ours in Canada… Now I have new recipes to try for next year:)

  33. spicegirlfla says:

    I love it!!! This is awesome…and oh my that pie!! I think that will be on my menu this year!! I’m so excited to see all your holiday recipes but mostly I thought your “tips” were great!! and I so heartedly agree with every one of them!!!

  34. There are now words other than WOW! : )

  35. egg me on says:

    Awesome stuff, guys. Love your list of turkey day rules. And that baked ham!! Can’t wait to see your new recipes.

  36. Karen says:

    I agree about no marshmallows on the sweetpotatoes but a lot of people love them that way. Katherine, your cut work tablecloth is beautiful and really dresses up your table.

    • Katherine says:

      I know they even sell them side by side at the store. The one time I didn’t use a tablecloth, thinking a runner would suffice I spent so much time giving people coasters.

  37. Courtney says:

    Wow, can’t wait for the next couple weeks – if they’re anything like your previous dishes, we’re in for a very Thankful holiday indeed.

  38. Pingback: Thanksgiving and Holiday prep « A Dash of Domestic

  39. Sissi says:

    Wonderful dishes, beautiful photos… I start regretting I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving πŸ˜‰
    I’m very curious about your cranberry cocktail (I love sour cocktails!).

    • Katherine says:

      I’ll be interested to see your take. It’s definitely a fall drink. It’ll go up Wednesday night our time, so Thursday morning for you.

  40. Joanne says:

    I LOVE this post, so funny. I agree with most of your rules, however I love marshmallows and sweet potatoes together, sorry! I blame nostalgia….that’s how my mom made it when we were growing up! I usually do half marshmallow and half pecans though. So excited for your thanksgiving posts!!!

    • Katherine says:

      I’m glad someone said that. I mean they really sell the things around Thanksgiving, someone has to be buying them. You’re doing your part to help marshmallow makers!

  41. Eva Taylor says:

    OMG! The preview is unbelievable! The only thing I need to know is what time we should be there???? I agree with ALL your points! I’m wishing for thanksgiving all over again.

  42. What?!?! No candied yams?!? Noooooo!!!!! lol… those green beands look mighty good, though. They’ll go on my list!

  43. Katherine.. are you trying to make me pass out from hunger over here? You can’t do this to me while I’m at work. All I had was salad.. I just don’t think this is fair LOL. But I have to say.. that ham.. DELICIOUS! I can’t stop looking at it. Okay I need to stop now lol

    • Katherine says:

      OK Kay, warning alert for the next two weeks look at the site on a full stomach! Oh you might like the drink post this week, BTW. Anyway, if it makes you feel better I’m catching up on some posts and starving. I sometimes hate those hours between lunch and dinner.

  44. Charles says:

    Haha, sweet potatoes and marshmallows? What? Am I missing something? I agree wholeheartedly on the other points though! I didn’t know ham was considered an Easter thing – in Sweden they have a special Christmas ham, called a “julskinka”. I’d always considered it a Decembery type of thing.

    • Katherine says:

      We just think sweet potatoes as a side dish are sweet enough. You can laugh at me when you see what I put in my pie. But that’s dessert! Lots of people have ham here on Thanksgiving, but it is more popular on Easter. I love ham, but I love my stuffing.

  45. ceciliag says:

    Oh I am sorry i am late, did you eat it all already? I LOVE your rules, especially the sweet potato one, i am so confused by the ‘salads’ that have brown sugar and cool whip in them! I love stuffing too, and I STUFF the bird with it.. call me weird. Though i am the foreigner and not allowed to TOUCH the holiday tradition food around here.. Which is a good thing as i just get to make the gravy (I am the gravy queen) and have a wee tipple!! or two!! c

  46. Everything looks so scrumptious! I can’t wait for the next recipes to start rollin’ out!

  47. Christy says:

    Thanksgiving is such a lovely holiday!!! Not to mention the lovely food spread you have there, everything just looks so good!:)
    I can’t take my eyes off the brandied cranberry sauce, the honey glazed brussel sprouts, the green beans with pancetta and mushrooms, the lemon chiffon pie, ohhh, everything looks so good πŸ˜€

  48. koshercorvid says:

    I agree with all of your rules save one: there shall be no lumps in my mashed potatoes! Although there are often greens in them (who can resist a serving of colcannon, really?) On the other hand, I adore Brussels sprouts. I’ll have to bring some of those to Thanksgiving this year. And eat them all by myself, since the in-laws don’t eat green food. I think they’ll forgiv me if I bring dessert, too.

  49. Wow!!! I am exhausted just looking at all of these beautiful recipes. What time is dinner? Save me a spot, I will be right over!

  50. Michelle says:

    Oh, is there a holiday coming up? Thanks for reminding, and giving such inspiration. Actually, being a member of the Calvin Trillin “Make Spaghetti Carbonara the National Dish for Thanksgiving” fan club, I loved your lasagna and ham photos!

  51. rsmacaalay says:

    Wow can I have thanksgiving at your place πŸ™‚

  52. I’m already married so I can’t get into your family that way… Do you perhaps have any young relatives (preferably college graduates so I don’t have to pay for that) who would like to be adopted in the next few weeks?

  53. Mama Lisa says:

    Hey you two. Fennel is my favorite vegetable (we actually count it as a ‘green’ in our house because of the tiny leaves at the top). We always do a themed Thanksgiving dinner at our house; it looks like it is going to be Cajun this year. My table never looks as pretty as yours (too many kids for that).

  54. peasepudding says:

    i like the Nana’s meatball lasagne looks a treat, i know hubby would love that dish

  55. spree says:

    What a f e a s t ! Love the Thanksgiving Commandments, all the thou-shalls and -nots – I think it’s time they were carved in stone – or at least posted on public buildings! Always love reading your blog – you two are adorable!

  56. niasunset says:

    WOW! This is so beautiful table… And all of them seems so delicious too. Have a nice Thanksgiving day, dear Katherine and dear Rufus, with your family. Your sharing is great with us, I loved the decoration of this table, Great. Thank you, with my love, nia

  57. I agree with your rules:-) What an amazing table and these photos are amazing. I wish Thanksgiving was tomorrow because these photos make me want to lick the computer screen…LOL

  58. Absolutely amazing! Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday. Everything pictures here looks to delicious.

  59. Can I place an order for all of thee above?

  60. I’m down with most of your bullet points above with this caveat: giblets are certainly good for you, but they are not allowed in our Thanksgiving dinners (We boil them in our stock and then feed them to the cats). White bread, however, makes the best stuffing — but it has to be good-quality white bread to begin with — no balloon bread. I’ll take those Brussels sprouts right now, too, please.

  61. Stef says:

    “Sweet potatoes and marshmallows are never to mix.” Amen sister.

    “They’re called mashed potatoes, not whipped, blended or pureed potatoes, for a reason.” You got it.

    “Whatever shoots out of those Cheese Whiz-like canisters is not whipped cream.” True – but it’s easy and immediate, so I do it. (Don’t hate me.) πŸ˜‰

  62. Looking forward to it!!!!

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