Growing up, we always went to my grandmother's house for an awkwardly formal meal. You could always hear the sound of cutlery on the plates and people swallowing. She'd make oyster dressing and because her husband was diabetic, there was no sugar in the whipped cream. Afterwards, we would head to my maternal uncle's house where things were more laid back, buffet style. My aunt always made corn (frozen) and served it in a ceramic dish shaped like corn. Here, nobody bothered with actually making whipped cream; they just bought Cool Whip. The food wasn't meticulously home made the way it was at my grandmother's, but it was more fun.For the past five years or so I've joined my boyfriend and his family and we'd all go out to eat. Yes, I said it. We went out to eat - in a restaurant. The Madonna Inn, in San Luis Obispo, California to be more precise. There we sit in booths the color of Pepto Bismol in the midst of a forest of fake Christmas trees and eat a "Tom Turkey" dinner that comes with all the fixings. After dinner we'd take home styrofoam containers of chocolate silk or pumpkin pie.
It seems a lot of people find making a traditional turkey dinner to be a chore and have no interest. Watching various food programming all week there were numerous shows promising the ultimate bird, the perfect side dishes, tips on how to get the entire meal made in one hour, suggestions on how to use help from the grocery store (just buy the pie and make the whipped cream). It made me wonder about all of our traditions. Where do you all spend the holidays, with friends or family or both? Do you actually design a menu and create an elaborate sit-down dinner for 12 or is it more of a pot luck buffet? Do you go out to eat? How many of us use frozen corn or boxed stuffing mix? Come on admit it. No one is judging. (Well, a few of us might judge) As food lovers, do we feel pressure to really put on show and make THE PERFECT Thanksgiving meal?