What I love about Friendsgiving

It’s hard to believe that next week is already Thanksgiving. Last year when my family celebrated Thanksgiving we had an epic fail. Literally, the turkey never cooked! We are not sure what happened, but our oven never got hot enough to cook the turkey! So, we ate lots of appetizers and vegetables, and finally, a few hours later, when we got the oven heated up, we had (dry) turkey … to go with our pumpkin pie!

But honestly, that whole experience really demonstrated what I love most about Thanksgiving—and that is having my entire extended family and many close friends in our home, cooking and eating together. We can laugh about it (that we had a turkeyless Thanksgiving) now, but it really bonded us all.

This year, as we are planning our gathering for next weekend (we hold our family gathering on the Saturday after Thanksgiving), I realize what I am most grateful for are the special contributions each person makes to our all-day experience.

Part of our tradition is that my girls and I do most of the cooking and spend the entire morning cutting, chopping, cooking, and cleaning together. It is a special bonding experience for us that really brings us together as a family.

My daughter Sophia (who is gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free) makes “Sophia-friendly” deviled eggs and mashed potatoes. My daughter Alex makes her special roasted carrots and tomato pudding (like bread pudding but smothered in yummy fresh-cooked tomatoes). She lovingly makes two separate versions: one with gluten-free bread and non-dairy cheese, and another one with regular bread and cheese. There are plenty of food allergies in my family, so we accommodate all of them with no guilt!

I decided this year NOT to take a chance on cooking the turkey and am ordering pre-cooked turkey from our local supermarket. My specialties are an amazing green salad, roasted brussels sprouts, and steamed fresh haricots verts (thin green beans) with a shallot butter. And of course, I will be roasting cubed sweet potatoes, red and gold beets, and Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes.

My niece Heather and her husband Noah stop at Costco to purchase pumpkin and apple pies. My sister Jackie and a few of my friends pitch in by doing the dishes and clean up.

And of course, it is the one time of year that I make our signature Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato Pie. That purple-tinged pie, with homemade whipped cream, has become a family favorite!

Oh, and did I mention the wine we will be enjoying? That’s my partner Jack’s specialty. He brings out some of his special red wines for all of us to enjoy.

So, as you are gathering with your family and friends next week, I hope you will think about what a special memory you are creating. It is not about the flavor of the turkey. Or how stuffed you feel at the end of the day. Or how good the desserts are. It’s really about the memories you are creating together. Hopefully, you will not have the “fail” that we had last year with our turkey debacle, but even if you do, count it as a memory in the making.

And in case you are in the mood to try making a Purple Sweet Potato pie for your family gathering, please enjoy this recipe. It’s become our family favorite.

stokes purple® sweet potato pie with maple whipped cream

 Warm wishes for an enjoyable Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving holiday weekend!

Karen