When I was young, we would all go to Ron and Pat’s house for Thanksgiving. They lived the next town over (a more affluent area) and had a basement with a pool table. For contrast, our basement had a dirt floor, spiders, walls made of random rock, a scary oil tank that you had to go down with a flashlight to see what the level was and on occasion, black snakes. My 10 year old brain thought there must be a zillion people there. With reflection, it was probably more around 20-30. Card tables were set up to eat upon and later sported puzzles the women and kids gathered around to put together (after cleaning up the kitchen), while the men folk went downstairs where football, pool and drink were to be had. I remember being so intrigued with their magical basement, yet knew my place was upstairs.
Time went on as time will do. Less people came to their Thanksgiving. Some had passed away; others had their own growing children and desire to go to their house for thanksgiving. Ron and Pat stopped hosting. And their kids moved to the West Coast so they frequently went there.
My brother, Donald, was three years younger than I and I think to him those Thanksgivings represented a special time pre-parents-divorce (not to mention he frequently snuck downstairs with the men folk). As he grew older, he started to host Thanksgiving at his house, maybe in an attempt to recreate that feeling. He cooked a great deal of food (he enjoyed cooking) and about 10-15 people showed up along with others just popping in for an hour or two for dessert and a to-go-plate. I went to these dinners for a while but then 1) I wanted to start my own traditions with the holiday and 2) I always got stuck washing all the dishes and the man had no dishwasher.
One year he called me in late September and told me I HAD to come to Thanksgiving this year as he was serving Turducken. I had learned at a young age not to admit ignorance to Donald as it resulted in a longwinded, more than slightly condescending soliloquy on the topic. I said, sounds fun. I will let you know and promptly looked it up.
A turducken is a chicken in a duck in a turkey, and stuffing might also be included. What in the world? Ok, I had to go even if it meant washing all the dishes. I went and it was … interesting. It tasted fine and I am ok with all three fowl, but it just seemed busy and dry to me (and to no ones surprise there were a ton of dishes) I enjoyed the chocolate chess pie more I have to say. So, I will leave you with that recipe: