Thanksgiving: Thank you for the Family Tradition and the Gluten-Free Feast

The countdown is ON until it is time for delicious feasts shared with those who matter most.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and not just because of the copious amounts of my favorite foods that delightfully appear.

I am truly thankful for a wonderful family tradition.

In my family Thanksgiving is a potluck, and everyone brings their star dish…so you can imagine it is pretty impossible to narrow down a favorite…especially when you have 35 people around the Thanksgiving table.

Over the years my family has helped adapt many favorite dishes to be gluten-free…and here are just a few samples recipes of my top picks

Grammie T’s Mashed Potatoes (served at most family gatherings)
Gram M’s Cranberry Orange Relish (usually made by my sister Elinor these days)
Stuart (Dad’s) Wild Rice (which I plan to take a crack at making this year)
Aunt Sue’s Spinach/Artichoke Casserole (there have to be greens somewhere)

The Mason Family Thanksgiving  Tradition:
In my hometown of Minneapolis, MN, the weather on Thanksgiving day can range from balmy (45 degrees) to biting (5 degrees- which on some occasions might be generous). It doesn’t matter what the weather brings, our family tradition has weathered the years. My parents host both sides (Mom’s fam & Dad’s fam) at our house. “Family” is not strictly blood related and also includes some dear friends and now significant others of the younger generation with a count around 35

Wednesday: Gram M. arrives at our house. My sister and I help her finish baking her famous pecan pies. I say finish, because she arrives with her perfectly pre-made pie shells ready to go. We also help make her equally famous not too sweet, not too bitter cranberry-orange relish (it tastes best if the flavors have had time to meld overnight). Our dining room table is converted into an L shape using a long folding table, so we proceed to set it for 35 guests. Grammie T’s silver utensils have no doubt been delivered a week in advance, so we all feast with the finest. The tablescape features handmade place cards that date back to when I was learning to write, and antique linen tablecloths  handed down from my great grandma. My dad prepares the Bird for whatever creative preparation he has been planning all year so it is ready to go in the oven before anyone else is up on Thursday morning.

Thursday: Family begins to arrive around 11am. I always await the arrival of Uncle Earl’s homemade venison sausage, and sneak a few pieces before it gets put on the hors d’oeuvres tray.

The Neighborhood Thanksgiving Day Touch Football Game kicks off at 1:00 pm across from my parents house. Not only is this a chance to catch up with the crew we grew up with over a little healthy competition, but we have to work up an appetite for the upcoming feast. The game always ends in a tie (we keep playing until the score is such) and everyone heads back up to our house for celebratory champagne and hors d’oeuvres.
The Family Feast is scheduled to begin at 4:00pm, but punctuality is not a strong suit and there are always last minute preparations that leave us all with our mouths watering. My cousin Dan says a lovely grace, and then we feast!

Remember to be thankful year round

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