Thanksgiving Traditions Get Redefined

By: Alice Currah
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When planning the same holiday year after year, how do you keep your celebration fresh and interesting while maintaining a sense of tradition? We asked our favorite bloggers and food people to share what's inspiring their Thanksgiving planning this year. From ancestor's recipes and falling leaves, to beautiful piles of ingredients and thoughtful home decor, there was no shortage of imagination. See what motivates some of the most creative minds we know, and then start planning your annual feast.

For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been a huge family affair.  It is a day when all of our family comes together – all 50 of us.

Typically, my aunts spend all day cooking both Korean and traditional American Thanksgiving dishes.  It is a really wonderful way to acknowledge their Korean ancestry and their children’s American upbringing. However, this Thanksgiving we are doing things a little differently. This will be the first year I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner in our new home, which we moved into in September. It will also be the first Thanksgiving we celebrate without my father, who passed away suddenly a few days after Christmas last year.

In preparation for this year’s feast, I am pulling inspiration from the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the architecture of our Cape Cod home. My philosophy about home decorating and cooking is straightforward: Keep it simple yet elegant, somewhat formal yet warm and inviting.

Our table will feature lots of candles with warm, burnt-orange accents against a slate-blue/gray backdrop, influenced by my obsession with all things Mad Men.

This year my mother, who lives with us, will prepare the customary Korean dishes such as kalbi (barbecued short ribs), a variety of kimchi, japchae (Korean vermicelli noodle dish) and traditional corn tea.  As for me, I will be preparing familiar American cuisine.

Because I am such a visual person, I love using pops of color when cooking.  I will make sure our Thanksgiving buffet is filled with vibrant-colored dishes such as homemade cranberry sauce, green beans with bacon and roasted squash with brown butter crispy sage. Served with a succulent brined turkey, creamy mashed potatoes and sweet potato pie, our Thanksgiving dinner is as much a visual feast as it is an actual one.

Finding inspiration isn’t very difficult when all I have to do is think about my wonderful family and friends, for which I am very thankful.

For more Thanksgiving ideas, visit our Thanksgiving Inspiration Board Gallery.

Alice Currah is the writer and photographer behind the popular food blog Savory Sweet Life.  Forbes.com listed her as one of Eight of the Very Best Food Bloggers, and in 2010 she won Saveur's first cover photography contest.  She is also a weekly contributor to PBS Parents and lives in Seattle with her husband and three kids.

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