Editor's note: This is the first weekly installment in a three-part series about reinventing traditional Thanksgiving foods. This week, you can try recipes for acorn squash and pecan popovers, grilled corn and squash quesadillas, and roasted Delicata squash with quinoa salad.
Writing about food on a weekly schedule has its challenges, but writing about food that is under the umbrella of "traditional" is a genuine challenge. I know this just from preparing Thanksgiving here for three generations. Each generation has a defined food memory of what they consider tradition and from my personal experience there are huge disconnects among "The greatest generation" of World War II; Baby Boomers born in the late '40s and into Generation Joneses born in the mid to late '50s (we are now experiencing culinary middle-age); Generation X (born between 1965 and 1976) who have been experimenting in the kitchen with global ingredients for awhile; and Generation Y, born in the '80s, now top chefs who have had the entire world at their fingertips since birth, because they have never not known the Internet. Among these generations a traditional disconnect is not just about what they want for dinner, but what they think is tradition.
When I moved home to Natchez and Doug and I purchased Twin Oaks, the timing was perfect because it was time for my generation to take over the family holidays. My mother's generation had taken over holidays after World War II and had done a fine job, but the trends in the '50s and '60s were not like before the war and they introduced their share of Jell-O molds. I remember every shade and addition from mandarin oranges and marshmallow to bing cherries and pecans and vowed to never have one grace my table.