There’s still time to leave a comment and get my “thank you for reading” gift (please see previous post).

But with Thanksgiving only days away, I have a burning (could be literally) topic on which I need your advice, so I have to update my blog.

I am the youngest of four children in my family, so until I was about age 21 I was referred to as “The Baby”. Now that I’m months away from hitting a mid-life crisis, I think my big sisters and big brother are starting to see me as an adult. (Of course, I’m exaggerating… at least a little.)

They have actually agreed to allow ME to host Thanksgiving. I think I’ve only hosted one other major holiday when my family drove up here to the ‘burbs for Easter about eight years ago. My house isn’t the most conveniently located, so I always appreciate them coming to me.

Anyway, I’m not sure if it has anything to do with being the youngest in the bunch, but for some reason I always want everything to be just right. I love to host. Love to make the menu. Love to plan. And I also like to add a twist to the expected.

But with a holiday like Thanksgiving (which is one of my favorites, by the way), you also need to stick with lots of tradition. You really can’t suddenly suggest an Italian theme on Thanksgiving Day (and who would WANT to?!?)

For our family, tradition means cooking dinner with the sound of the Macy’s parade in the background, eating the big meal right at Noon and then sitting around the table working a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle together while we make each other laugh for hours on end. We’re not a big football family, but maybe my brother can sneak off to the basement and turn on the TV if the need arises.

Now for the food. I love all food related to Thanksgiving. I’m a BIG side-dish person, so, seriously, I don’t even care about the turkey. But I can’t let that slide, so I’m actually going to attempt to make mine in my hubby’s prized convection cooker. (He’ll be out of town on a business trip, so I’ll have to pull this off single-handedly.)

Hopefully, I’ll have lots of time to focus on the side dishes: sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, salad, corn casserole, green bean casserole and any other veggie I can add calories to by baking it with butter, sugar or something else to make it yummy. I also LOVE the cranberry element of Thanksgiving so I’m searching for a good recipes for a cranberry relish of some sort. I tried making it from scratch with whole cranberries a few years ago and it was way too sour. HELP!!

So, I’m wondering… What is your absolute, gotta-have-it, can’t-live-without-it, it’s-not-Thanksgiving-unless element of the Thanksgiving meal?

Tell me, please? Will you??

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