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Top 10 Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff

November 9, 2011
Filed Under Entertaining 

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One of the top ten traditional thanksgiving dinner ideasContributed by Cindi Pearce, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru

Thanksgiving may be the most traditional American holiday of all.

If you suggested pizza or chicken for this occasion don’t be surprised if people gasp in horror in response. Here are the top ten traditional Thanksgiving dinner ideas:


10. Serve the right wine

One of the top ten traditional thanksgiving dinner ideas

If you are a teetotaler skip this step. On the other hand, if you enjoy your wine, you can incorporate it into your traditional Thanksgiving meal. The Pilgrims might object but they’re not around. Consumers buy more wine for the Thanksgiving Day meal than they do for any other meal of the year. Since it is an American holiday, consider serving American made wines. Because the Thanksgiving meal can sit heavy on the stomach, you should probably opt for a Thanksgiving-friendly wine that is light and not as complex or complicated as some wines are. Cabernet might be too rich in tannins and too tart to complement turkey so if you choose a red wine it should be of a lighter variety.

9. Table setting

One of the top ten traditional thanksgiving dinner ideas

This is up to you but there is such a wealth of autumn colors and decorations — horn of plenty, Indian corn, dried berries, apples, gourds, pumpkins – to work with and choose from that it shouldn’t be difficult to set a table that makes your guests smile in appreciation. Thanksgiving might not be as flashy as Christmas but that doesn’t mean that you can’t go all out when setting your table. Get the fireplace roaring and light the candles, which emit a sense of warmth, comfort, security, coziness and family. It’s cold outside but everyone’s warm in your house and ready to chow down. It’s more than okay to mix your tableware and seasonal accent china. Use your great-grandmother’s silver gravy boat and your granddaughter’s hand-made coffee cups and those mix-and-match plates that you picked up at an estate sale with the expensive wine glasses that you were given years ago at your wedding.

8. Feature cranberries

One of top ten traditional thanksgiving dinner ideas

Cranberries are native to America. The Native Americans discovered them long before the influx of Europeans into this country. The cranberry was used to dye fabric, treat wounds and preserve animal meat. Cranberry sauce, like turkey, is synonymous with Thanksgiving. It is a bitter tasting berry. Actually, it is a false berry or rather epigynous. The cranberry was an essential part of the Native American diet and is ever present at most Thanksgiving celebrations.

7. Serve great side dishes

One of the top ten traditional thanksgiving dinner ideas

Side dishes are not to be overlooked. Whether it is green beans mixed with onion rings and mushroom soup or some form of bean or another type of vegetable the side dish rounds out the meal. Side dishes are very important particularly if some of your family or friends are vegans.

6. Opt for ham

One of the top ten traditional thanksgiving dinner ideas

Some people prefer ham at Thanksgiving or serve both ham and the bird. Frankly, there’s nothing quite as tasty as a honey baked ham. Ham leftovers are a nice change from dealing with days of dried-out bird, too.

5. Make great gravy

One of the top ten traditional thanksgiving dinner ideas

If you can’t make it buy jars of ready-made gravy at the grocery store and no one will know the difference. Don’t hold up the Thanksgiving meal because you’re fighting with the gravy. Some cooks excel at making gravy while others never get it down pat.

4. Serve everyone’s favorites

One of the top ten tradtional thanksgiving dinner ideas

Sweet potatoes, with marshmallows and/or mashed potatoes are a must-have at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Naturally, you can serve and eat both. Some diners zero in on the buttery mashed potatoes while others prefer sweet potatoes baked and smothered in marshmallows.

3. Don’t forget the dressing

One of the top ten traditional thanksgiving dinner ideas

Dressing (with or without oysters): Thanksgiving may be the only time of the year that some people eat dressing. Perhaps that’s why it is so tasty. It’s a once-a-year treat and a perfect complement to mashed potatoes and turkey, and it’s very simple to make. All you need are dried bread crumbs, sage, celery butter, onion, peppers, chicken broth, eggs, milk, poultry seasoning and oysters, and you’re good to go.

2. Pumpkin pie

One of the top ten traditional thanksgiving dinner ideas

Pumpkin pie, with or without topping. (With!) Enough said. Do not forget the pumpkin pie under threat of being ousted from the house. If you’re not a baker, then order one – a really good one! And remember to save room for it. Don’t be such a glutton that you are too full for dessert.

1. Roast a turkey

One of the top ten traditional thanksgiving dinner ideas

Turkey is synonymous with Thanksgiving. It wouldn’t seem quite like Thanksgiving if the bird weren’t on the table. The reason the Pilgrims ate turkey is because wild turkeys were plentiful in the New World. Did you know that turkeys are considered mature when they boast 3,500 feathers? Who counts them to make sure? Males are “toms” and females are “hens.” Another strange fact: When a wild turkey mates, his head and neck turn blue. That waddle under the turkey’s neck is officially called a snood. If you have to chase down your turkey for your Thanksgiving meal, you’re probably out of luck. They can run like the wind, up to 55 mph. Now that’s fast!



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