My first year not going home to mom and dad’s was also the first year that I lived in Maryland. I had just moved in with my boyfriend, and he took me home to Louisiana to meet his family. Thanksgiving in Louisiana is a lot different than Thanksgiving in New York and it was a lot of fun for me to experience it. I’d never had smoked turkey or cornbread dressing or even a Thanksgiving with weather warm enough to go outside in short sleeves. I was a little homesick, but his family welcomed me and that made things easier.
Unfortunately, the airline industry is hemorrhaging money and likes to try to make up their losses during holiday weekends. After that first year together, we never went anywhere for Thanksgiving because it was simply too expensive.
I couldn’t go without Thanksgiving, though, so I decided to make my own dinner.
That first year, I cheated. I bought a tiny turkey breast to roast and bought gravy in jars. After all, it was just the two of us. But I did make pumpkin bread, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, and I think it turned out well.
The following year, I think I got a little more adventurous, but not a whole lot. I did stumble across an amazing recipe for apple crumb pie, but I apparently didn’t think it was picture-worthy, because this picture of my dog playing with his buddy is all I have from that year.
The year after that, I got serious. I had a friend who was experiencing her first American Thanksgiving, and I took it upon myself to have her over and feed her until she couldn’t eat anymore. So I roasted my first turkey, made gravy from scratch, added cranberry sauce to the menu, and baked my own pies.
I didn’t take too many pictures, though, because we’d just adopted this little furball and I was occupied with compulsively taking pictures of her.
Somewhere along the way, I was starting to feel a bit less homesick. I still miss being with my family on Thanksgiving, but honestly, I love doing this. I love planning out my dishes, spending all day in the kitchen, and making a giant mess.
This year, I’m changing up my turkey technique, adding a few recipes, and letting my husband do a few things in the kitchen, too. I’ll definitely be posting with some updates.