Friday, November 17, 2006

Bucking Tradition

I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year. I must say, I am completely disappointed. I love Thanksgiving. I love planning the food. I love cooking. I love having a house full of family. But, our house is not exactly Thanksgiving worthy if the weather turns cold, if it rains, or if it gets hot. Houses like this take time. We don't have a dining room, yet.

Last year we took a risk. We invited the entire family for Thanksgiving and placed tables down the center of the dog trot. We had about 20 people and served buffet style from the kitchen. The day was a perfect 70 F. I thought everything worked well, but didn't want to risk it again.

So, this year we are having Thanksgiving at mother's house. I will still make a few dishes - the cranberry sauce, the sweet potatoes, and a couple of desserts. We have pecan trees with pecans, so I mentioned that I would probably bring a pecan pie made with ingredients from our farm - pecans, eggs, and honey. I told mother that I would use our honey, instead of corn syrup since Karo Corn Syrup, which is the staple of most Southern pecan pies, has succumbed to the high fructose corn syrup craze. Last year as I was getting ready for Thanksgiving, I happened to notice the ingredient list on the bottle clearly labeled corn syrup and there it was - another "pure" product adulterated with high fructose corn syrup.

Mother said that Thanksgiving is not the time to experiment with traditional recipes. I agree (sort of). I know that many foods are only served on Thanksgiving (pecan pie is not one of them here) and people salivate thinking of that meal and those dishes. I, also, know that I don't want to serve chemicals to my family. I would guess that the original pecan pie in this area was made with honey or cane syrup since corn syrup is a relatively modern sweetener (1902). Because so few people keep bees and grow cane here, Karo has become the mainstay of Southern pecan baking. So, even though I am bucking tradition with a non Karo pecan pie, I feel as if I am returning to the original rather than abandoning it. True, I may offend the guests by serving something other than what they are expecting, but I think most of my family will appreciate that they can eat something almost entirely produced on my farm.

BTW little sister, I am not changing the cranberries and I promise to make enough for you to have extra.


Jennifer said...

Good for you :-)

We're bucking tradition all over the place here, as you know, so you've got a pat on the back from me!

It's funny how I'm not wild about desserts and I was enlisted to bring pies! I'm going with the sweet potatoes as you suggested, partly because that way I can pass on the pie and just have a steamed sweet potato and feel 110% satisfied! I'm nuts about sweet potatoes!

JoVE said...

In my view, if you get a lot of family together you'd be lucky NOT to offend someone. Anyone that would be offended by a pie made of honey isn't worth keeping on the right side of :-)

wisteria said...

Sweet potatoes are so great for women. OK, they are great for men, too, but they have so many things women truly need. AND they are so good plain!! I'm glad you decided on sweet potatoes.

Unfortunately, there is no way to make a pecan pie healthy. We can only make it more healthy and concentrate on the antibiotic properties, allergy prevention properties, and ease of digestion of the honey and call it even. I know the pie will be better than with the Karo because it will have more flavor (This year's honey is unbelievably good).

My family is actually tolerate of my food experiments. I, usually, premiere a new dish each Christmas and Thanksgiving and any other time some unsuspecting person casts a shadow on kitchen door. There have been a few mistakes - food that just shouldn't have been.

wisteria said...

But!!!! I usually don't tamper with the traditional food - the sacred.

Mother Crone's Homeschool said...

I think it is exciting to try to turn take recipes and make them healthier. You are right though, some things aren't worth risking, like Grandma's Stuffing recipe. Others I don't mind trying to change up. Last Christmas, I made my traditional lasagna, and made the second with ground turkey, whole grain pasta, and cottage cheese. It was nice having a healthier option for those who wanted it.

Lady Tremaine said...

Pecans are very nutritious! Ain't nothin' wrong with honey, either. I wouldn't be monkeying with my pie recipes if anyone were going to find it offensive or weird. Birds of a feather, you know ... and we kind of get off on teaching each other new tricks.

What I stopped in to ask goes back to your mention of Karo now containing HFCS -- do you know of any other readily available brands of light corn syrup that do not contain it? Myrt's getting interested in expanding her candy-making repertoir, and she about flamed out over HFCS (which, honestly, seems a little overreactive to me since 1) it's CANDY and 2) it only gets made around this time of year and 3) I did not raise her to be such a perfectionist/purist!

wisteria said...

Gosh! You are so brilliant. Get my sunglasses. I had never thought about a natural corn syrup. I suppose I thought what is the point, but we do buy non HFCS chocolate syrup so the children won't feel totally deprived. I will call Rainbow as soon as they open. If they have it I will e-mail. I won't change my plans, though. I am excited about using my honey. Hubby took a feed sack full of pecans to get them cracked this morning. Tonight, I will light a fire and watch a movie while I pick pecans.