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  • Maria Frustaci Kennedy

Sharing in Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a special time for so many of us to share a meal filled with lots of food and drink. Yes, it's a lot of work and maybe a lot of travel, but a good time to gather and feel grateful for what we have for sure. It's not only a day I get to enjoy with my family, but we also celebrate my dad's birthday. My father absolutely loves his birthday like a 7 year old kid loves his birthday. No joke, he celebrates like a king for weeks, its hilarious and really great actually.


We have always shared traditional dishes on Thanksgiving and of course, adding our Italian favorites. No meal would be complete, or even exist in our family without an Italian dish of some kind. My Aunt Ann has always made her own version of stuffing, which is more like an amazingly light risotto without the breading and like all her dishes, it's incredible. Since I don't eat sausage anymore, I have tried to recreate it somewhat with a homemade tempeh "sausage" in fresh herbs and spices, lightly seasoned rice and sautéed mushrooms. It's definitely a savory, hearty side dish.


Now. Who doesn't love a Mac n' Cheese of any kind? Seriously, I try to create many different versions using nuts, pumpkin, veggies and smokey spices, all the time, to build many variations. I have three kids who are very happy to test and critique. You can make the sauce days before and just pour it over the pasta just before serving, easy. Love being able to prep before hand when there are so many things to cook for a holiday like this one.


My mom used to serve pasta before the main meal on Thanksgiving. Eventually, she was like um "this is Thanksgiving, we need a soup, enough with the pasta course". So began the era of chicken soup with little meatballs. Everyone loved it, everyone, except me. I adore food, lots of foods, but chicken soup has always been like a punishment to me. It sounds terrible since so many people are hungry and how dare me say eating is a punishment, but I love food so much it was awful to have to choke it down. Picture the kid at the table who wasn't allowed to leave until their dish was clean, yeah that was me when chicken soup was served. Finally, my mom realized that her food-loving daughter wasn't being a pain in the ass, she just didn't like the darn soup. Obviously, I don't need to worry about that anymore because I have thankfully ended my food relationship with chicken of any kind. Once I started to contribute to the cooking on holidays, I put a stop to the soup and brought in a creamy butternut squash puree, much more the speed of Thanksgiving.


This year, I am incredibly grateful to share meals outside of just my family and jar some of these treats for those who would like to add to their holiday with some vegan options. Maybe you have a family member coming to dinner and you don't know what to cook for them? Or maybe you don't have the time to cook something to bring to someone's home? Prepping for a holiday is a ton of work so either way, if you would like some help, let me know, and I would be happy to share.


The season of non-stop is coming, so enjoy the ride and hang in there friends!


xo,

Maria




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