Hinsdalean Thanksgiving menus a bit incestuous


Last updated 11/22/2022 at 4:30pm | View PDF

My cell phone rang at 4:50 p.m. Saturday. It was Slonoff.

“It’s a little early,” I thought to myself. “But this has gotta be a call about Thanksgiving.”

I was right. Jim was searching for frozen cranberry juice cocktail to make his cranberry sauce — which is actually my cranberry sauce — for Thanksgiving dinner.

Then on Monday I heard this snippet of conversation:

“I make a sauce of brown sugar, vanilla and butter and then I pour that over the sweet potatoes,” Jim told his wife, Ilene.

He is abandoning another Thanksgiving recipe I gave him that he has used for years — sweet potato casserole with roasted bananas from Food Network’s Tyler Florence.

“I feel like people don’t eat it,” he said. “I think people are afraid of it. I don’t know why.”

Who is eating what where on Thanksgiving is a pretty regular topic of conversation in our office. Many of us are familiar with the dishes being served on other families’ tables.

Lisa Skrapka’s mom makes a sweet potato casserole using co-worker Tina Wisniowicz’s recipe. Lisa was just about to tell me what was in it when she got a call, so I asked Tina.

“I don’t make it anymore. People didn’t like it,” she said.

That could be why Lisa’s mom has tweaked the recipe, subtracting the nuts and adding some marshmallows. I am not a fan of marshmallows on sweet potatoes so I stopped my line of questioning.

Ken Knutson will be bringing the potatoes — sweet and mashed — to his brother-in-law’s Thanksgiving feast in LaGrange Highlands. I inquired about the preparation.

“It’s an old family secret that I really can’t reveal,” he said. Which means his wife, Shari, makes them — and my favorite kind of mashed potatoes with sour cream, heavy cream and lots of butter.

Other dishes gracing our tables Thursday will be White Castle stuffing (Jim’s curiosity got the best of him this year) and cornbread stuffing (Lisa’s specialty).

Becky Campbell isn’t making any changes to her holiday menu.

“I’m a traditional person, so I like to make my usual stuff for Thanksgiving,” she told me. “I don’t mind trying new recipes, but I don’t usually make them. I want someone else to make them.”

I asked if she uses any recipes from the office on Thanksgiving. (I use her pumpkin seed recipe every Halloween.) She doesn’t. But she was using one of my favorite recipes for dinner Monday night.

“Right this minute I’m making chicken satay with peanut sauce,” she said. “I haven’t made it in a long time and it’s kind of weird that I’m talking to you while I’m making it.”

Whatever you’re making this holiday season, I hope you enjoy it with loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving!

— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean


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