“Actually, from Thanksgiving through the new year, the days and weeks seem to revolve around food. Our Christmas dinner is a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Recently, though, we asked our children what they would like on their plates for this special meal. Our second son, a college junior, surprised us when he requested meatballs! We have a recipe for sweet and sour meatballs that we’ve been making for years and it’s one of his favorite things. Every one of those meatballs disappeared last year.
We also host an open house on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We always bake a ham and a turkey and serve those along with ziti, broccoli casserole, corn pudding, marinated carrots and other favorites. Lastly, my wife and two sons (now both in their 20s) still bake cookies on Christmas Eve. They cut out the homemade sugar cookie dough in all kinds of shapes and spend hours decorating them with colored frosting and sprinkles. This delicious ritual precedes our annual family reading of ‘The Night Before Christmas.’ It wouldn’t be Christmas without the story or the cookies.”
—Kevin D’Onofrio, Director of Food Service, Culinary Group, U.S. Military Academy
“The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has always been a “reunion” of sorts for our family. It was traditionally the day when everyone came into town, reconvened for a holiday spirit, a little fire and then feasted on oysters. We had them every way possible, raw (my personal favorite), roasted over the fire, steamed, in a stew, fried, sautéed with way too much butter and so on. When we were done any oysters not consumed were then used in the stuffing for Thanksgiving. It is something we have done for years and it continues to this day.”
—Larry Altier, Systems Director, Food & Nutrition Services, Lee Memorial Health System
“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Not only do I get to do all the cooking, but I get to make all of the food that I really enjoy. It is a major undertaking from a food production standpoint in our house. Shopping for the biggest best turkey we can find along with fresh chestnuts are top on the list.
Preparation starts days before with the roasting and shelling of the chestnuts along with the baking of fresh cornbread, which gets turned into the best cornbread chestnut stuffing, that there never seems to be enough of.
I get up early on Thanksgiving to get the bird in the oven and then go about preparing the sweet potatoes, which is the recipe of my oldest childhood friend’s mom, who was a true southern cook. I have a secret recipe for the most creamy mashed potatoes. Round out the meal with oven roasted Brussels sprouts with fresh garlic and the only non freshly prepared item is canned cranberry sauce, which can’t be beat.
A new tradition to our Thanksgiving is to make something truly special for a light lunch, which is handled by my three boys, all of whom are real foodies. Last year it was a play on Luke’s lobster rolls and the year before homemade pizza made on the grill. Everything tastes better throughout the day thanks to the specially chosen bottles of wine!”
—Jay Silverstein, Vice President of Corporate Real Estate and Services for Credit Suisse