Shannon’s Soapbox: Thanksgiving Traditions


As Thanksgiving nears, I have been thinking about my mom a lot. Growing up in South Elgin, IL we lived in the suburbs and houses were pretty close together leaving room for an extremely small backyard. However, my mother, who was born and raised in Cedar Grove, TN, found a way to get back to her farm roots even in the suburbs.

She planted a small garden every year and I can remember my mother always in the kitchen—cooking, canning, and freezing—all of her garden-fresh vegetables so that we would have food all year round. We weren’t rich by any means and money was tight so saving on food was one of her top priorities.

During Thanksgiving, all of our relatives would come to my moms for dinner because she was the best cook anyone knew. So every year, even to this day, my mom would start preparing for her feast weeks ahead of time and she would always be up cooking for three days prior to Thanksgiving.

Her feast would always include a Turkey, a ham, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, dressing, mac and cheese, green beans, cranberry sauce, and her famous dinner rolls. For dessert she would make an assortment of pies, several cheesecakes, brownies, and cookies. 

It’s fair to say that no one ever left my mom’s Thanksgiving dinner hungry. It has become a tradition, even after moving back to Tennessee, for all our relatives to gather at my mother’s home for Thanksgiving Day dinner. Nestled back on 80 acres of land in Palmersville, her cozy cabin atmosphere makes everyone feel right at home. 

Food has always been one of my mother’s favorite hobbies and she enjoys feeding people and knowing that when they are at her home that they are enjoying her food and feel right at home. Almost every memory I have of my mother involves food of some sort—she has taught me more than any cooking class ever could and to this day, the meals I prepare for own family have her touch on them—whether that be from a recipe she shared with me or a phone call I made to her to ask how to make something better.

The only struggle I have is when asking for ingredients from her, you have to know what a “pinch” or a “dash” is. She is never able to say the exact amounts she puts in things, but over the years, I’ve come to understand her terminology with repeated mistakes along the way to get there.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories and traditions? With the holiday season in full swing I have started a Food section in our paper in order to share local recipes with pictures and I invite anyone in the County to submit their favorites. Just shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to get them in. 

I hope that everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving this week and gets to enjoy and home cooked meal filled with love like my mother’s has always been.


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