Non-traditional Thanksgiving Day menu

Being pescetarian and having been making-my-bed-on-the-bathroom-floor-ill for 17 of my now 28 Thanksgivings (don't ask), I generally don't get too psyched about this holiday. And for the last ten years, it really hasn't been that family-oriented for me.

I'm from Chicago, and that's where my parents, plus most of my close family, still live. I moved south for college ten years ago and started working in a restaurant while I was studying, which meant that I could have either Thanksgiving or Christmas off...not both. My family does a huge Christmas and not a huge Thanksgiving, so generally I stayed at school in November so I could spend Christmas with my family.

I still live in the South, now with my husband (who is Southern), and his family doesn't really "do" a lot for the holidays. We see his parents regularly and we go to Chicago for Christmas every year, so this year for Thanksgiving, we're heading a few hours away to spend the long weekend with a good friend who also doesn't have the chance to spend the holiday with his family.

If we did spend Thanksgiving with either of the families, things would be pretty predictable. With my family, we'd have lasagne with my mom's 24-hour tomato sauce (SO YUM). With the in-laws, it'll be turkey, green bean casserole, corn bread, and whatever else people usually have for a traditional Southern Thanksgiving meal ( a non-meat-eating "alien", I'd pick at some sides and have frozen pizza when we got home).

Three Thanksgivings ago, my husband (then brand-new-boyfriend) and I spent the week in France. Our "Thanksgiving" meal took place on Wednesday, when we met with a professional chef at the market in Nice, shopped for our fresh ingredients, and returned to her apartment to spend the afternoon participating in a cooking class with three middle-aged ladies (their husbands were golfing). We made artichauts à la barigoule (artichokes in white wine), magret avec panisses (duck breast with polenta-like fritters), and tarte au citron (lemon tart). We drank local French wine, nibbled fresh, locally baked French bread, and nommed on local French cheeses between le plat principal and le dessert.

Best. Thanksgiving. Ever.

We've tried to recreate this meal once or twice since then, but hubs' parents are so traditional that we haven't forced the issue for Thanksgiving dinner, and we've not yet made it back to Chicago to try it with my family.

The friend that we're visiting also has very traditional tastes, but is adventurous enough to try whatever "weird Frenchie food" we put in front of him, so we're going to try to incorporate some of that amazing Provençal flavor with our Thanksgiving dinner.

Et voilà! Our Thanksgiving menu, à la français:

Artichauts à la barigoule
Turkey for the boys, poisson (fish) pour moi
Potatoes au gratin et panisses
Sweet potatoes and green beans
French cheeses and bread
Apple pie and pumpkin pie
Wine pour moi, beer pour hubs, and bourbon pour friend

What non-traditional Thanksgiving Day items are on your menu? 0nal08pf32cg.jpg


  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,562 Member
    edited November 2014
    Those are lovely photographs from your French trip and a fabulous Thanksgiving menu for this year.
  • Alatariel75
    Alatariel75 Posts: 17,939 Member
    That. Sounds. Divine.