The Thanksgiving IssueThanksgiving is only a few days away and most homemakers, parents and grandparents are prepping the side dishes that will accompany the turkey. When company comes, they never bring the bird, but always bring the side dishes or the dessert. Let’s face it, Thanksgiving dinner is all about the sides.

The variety of side dishes that go with the Thanksgiving meal is limitless, as turkey, the main course, is a rather bland meat, open to a wide course of flavors that will complement it, and indeed enhance the beauty of the turkey.

Perhaps it is a tradition laid down from the very first Thanksgiving meal, but since that time, our holiday table has always been set with many rich and bountiful side dishes that remind us that America is a nation full of undiscovered treasures, greatness and limitless resources. They remind us too that we have much to give thanks for, and that our holiday celebrates not only the diversity of our table, but our people.

Tradition calls for such dishes as Green Bean Casserole and Cranberry Jelly, Sausage or Chestnut Stuffing, or perhaps Apple and Sage Dressing. Sweet potatoes, candied yams, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy and hundreds of others offer each home an almost limitless choice of favorites to grace the meal.

Thanksgiving 321The range of desserts that follow, as if anyone really has room after all that food, are equally if not more diverse. At our tables we find pumpkin pies, cheesecakes, noodle puddings, bread puddings, pecan pies, chiffons, apple, pear, cranberry, and just about every possible pie, cake, pastry or pudding imaginable.

While every family has its own traditions and favorites, we urge every home cook reading this, to consider trying something new every year. Not because we want you to use more, and we do, but because adaptation and experimentation are just as much a part of what we give thanks for as the bounty of the nation.

America has been called the great experiment; a test to see whether peoples from all lands can make a single nation that is successful and long lasting. Our diverse population strengthens and empowers us as a collective people and gives our nation the chance to survive crisis like no other.

So through our vast collections of soups, pies, side dishes and turkey recipes, we give thanks to all who’ve come before us to make this land great, and to those who will follow us, with the prayer that they will carry on in the long traditions of both the holiday and the nation. This week, let’s remember that American bounty is symbolized not only by the cornucopia of foods, but by the American spirit and the bounty of its people.

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