Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Place cards on our Thanksgiving table

One of the most important elements of our Thanksgiving dinner is the personalized place cards for each guest. As a child, this was my responsibility. By the time Clara was four years old, she was ready to carry on the legacy. 

The format is usually the same. We fold in half a blank index card (or sometimes colored construction paper). On the front she draws a decorative Thanksgiving image, usually a cornucopia or turkey. Inside, we write why we are thankful for that person. Now, Clara can write the whole card herself. When she was younger, she would dictate what she wanted to say, and I would write it for her.

One of my favorite name tags of recent years was Clara's drawing of her grandparents as two sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. 

These place cards provide such a simple and yet nourishing tradition. We have hosted Thanksgiving in our home for many of the past ten years. I keep some of the name cards from year to year, and they serve as a reminder of that time and place as well as who our guests were around the table that year.

Besides enjoying the place cards, I do also like to eat on Thanksgiving. My favorite recipes remain those passed down by my grandmothers. My maternal grandma's pumpkin bread is always a great appetizer to have on hand although with the amount of sugar in it, it might better qualify as dessert. We often serve it with cream cheese on top to make it feel a bit more savory rather than sweet.

My paternal grandma's cranberry relish is the right combination of sweet and tart. My stepmother's sweet potato casserole was probably the inspiration for Clara's yam-focused place card from last year. I like this dish because it is easy to do most of the preparation the day before and just heat it up with the marshmallows and raisins right before sitting down for the Thanksgiving meal.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! 


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