Monday, November 24, 2014

To Turkey or Not

by Fran McNabb

With Thanksgiving this week, most of us turn our attention to getting together with family and friends and remembering Thanksgiving gatherings from years past.

Most families will celebrate with a traditional meal of turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie, but many families have started their own traditions over the years. Usually I bake a turkey and serve a rice dish called “dirty rice” instead of traditional dressing. “Dirty Rice” is made with lots of seasonings (onions, bell pepper, celery) and several ground meats (pork, beef, chicken gizzards). My family loves it and it doesn’t seem like the holidays without it.

Having said that, this year we aren’t having turkey, dressing or “dirty rice.” Since our boys and their families live away, we got together this past weekend and with only two days together, I didn’t want to give up an entire day in the kitchen. Instead on Saturday we ate grilled shrimp, cooked and eaten downstairs in an area overlooking the bayou. Along with the shrimp we also had grilled alligator wrapped in bacon (caught by my oldest son). On Sunday we had a sit-down dinner of “dobe macaroni” that I had prepared ahead of time, then in the afternoon we finished eating the shrimp by boiling them – not your typical Thanksgiving fare, but foods my boys loved while they were growing up.

After everyone leaves and my husband and I are alone on Thanksgiving Day, we’re not sure what we’ll do for lunch. Maybe we’ll share a traditional turkey meal with other family members in town or maybe we’ll simply spend a quiet day remembering the wonderful two days together with our boys, their wives and our grandsons.

Traditional holiday meals are wonderful, but any holiday spent with family is a good one no matter what is served.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Fran McNabb lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband. Her two sons and two grandsons live elsewhere, but getting together with family is important to her. Several of her books include children and their role in the family. Visit her website at


  1. Why I do beleive you have a tradition of your own!!
    Thanksgiving is any day the family gets together. Your Thanksgiving sounded beautiful.

  2. Couldn't agree more. Thanksgiving is about the family, not the food. Have to say, though, your mention of dirty rice reminded me of the two years we lived in S. Louisiana. Hope the rest of the holiday season is as meaningful for you as the days you described.

  3. Thanks Kathye and Sandy. I appreciate your dropping in. I hope your Thanksgiving is a great one.

  4. Gator, shrimp, and dirty rice? It don't get any better than that. Happy Thanksgiving!!