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                                                                    GO A LITTLE ROGUE FOR A MORE
gratifyingT hanksgiving
When we think of Thanksgiving, our thoughts naturally drift to traditional roast turkey, pumpkin pie and family gatherings. But if the holiday feels more like a tired list of ho-hum obligations rather than an energizing way to revel in your blessings, maybe this is the year to revolutionize your Thanksgiving.
                                                           EAT THIS, NOT THAT
“Thanksgiving is absolutely one of our favorite holidays, especially in terms of food,” says Caroline King, mom of six kids, ranging from 4
to 16.
But, no one in the family really liked turkey all that much.
“We spent years making the traditional feast, but always had a second or third ‘main side’ for the kids, and that was just silly,” she says.
King says her husband, Rich, does most of the cooking and decided one year to punt the turkey and try a roast pork tenderloin with chipotle wine sauce instead.
“Everyone loved it – the adults and the kids. Now, it’s our go-to for Thanksgiving,” she says.
Jocelyn Chilvers says she and her husband, Jim, enjoy being spontaneous and creative with the holiday.
“It also helps that we like all kinds of food and find no appeal in eating the same dishes year after year,”
she says.
With families more far-flung than ever, not everyone is able to get together with extended family for
the holiday. That’s one reason the Chilvers’ family chooses to surround themselves with good friends instead.
For more than 10 years, they’ve invited friends and neighbors over for a “Turkey Fry Open House” in their backyard from 9:30 am to 3 pm on Thanksgiving Day.
“We set up a turkey fryer on our lawn or driveway, away from any structures, and use a piece of drywall – pro tip! – as a base to catch any spills,” Jocelyn says.
The couple sends out invitations two to three weeks in advance and friends can select a time when they’d like to fry their turkey – or, in some cases, their chicken, game hen
or duck.
Many guests just show up to socialize and enjoy beverages and
light appetizers – often bringing their own foods to share.
“This varies from cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit in the morning to stuffed jalapeños and bruschetta in the afternoon,” Joceylyn says. “It’s a very fluid event with folks coming and going throughout the day.”
Some friendly competition in the form of board games and card games can bring generations of family members together.
Anita Smith, mom of two, says
she and her family like to play Texas Hold’em each year after the big meal.
Among the roughly 30 guests
who attend the family’s annual Thanksgiving, around 10 like to circle around the card table to play a few hours of low-stakes poker. “The big pot might be $3, but we act like it’s $500,” says Anita with a laugh.
The conversation and camaraderie make the game extra special.
                                                                                 By Christa Melnyk Hines

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