Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Breaking bread and sharing a meal sets the stage for conversation, greater understanding and appreciation of those with whom we dine. It’s more than food, but food is at its heart.
I had the privilege of having a rather large extended family of great aunts, uncles and cousins growing up. We were lucky in that, for the most part, we all got along. Thanksgiving for me was a time of excitement and anticipation. Often we celebrated at my Great Aunt’s farm or my maternal or paternal grandmothers’ who often got up at four in the morning to get that Thanksgiving turkey just right.
There were so many of us that we had to break into groups. There really wasn’t a “kids'” table. We had the pleasure of sitting with the adults and hearing the stories of Thanksgivings past, some during very hard times, others when things were good. As the years flew by, I watched the family ebb and flow, with marriages, births, relatives moving to distant cities and others coming home.
This year, I reached out to one of our Guest Chefs, Michael Mech, who’s known for honoring holidays traditions in the food he creates. It’s one of my favorite things about him. He’s nostalgic and a great cook, and his recipes reflect the love that went into every dish that sat on our Thanksgiving table.
Everyone brought their special dish: green bean casserole, candied yams, homemade dumplings and noodles, and the pies and cakes—all crafted with love. That table was where we shared ourselves, and learned the hopes, fears, triumphs and tragedies that created the fabric of our lives. And woven together, they created our family story.
Chef Mech is also know as The Bungalow Chef. His love for cooking started early in the Chicago suburb where he grew up surrounded by streets lined with homes built in the classic bungalow fashion. He grew up during a time when meals were made from scratch, from recipes that were passed down for generations. The kitchen and dining room were the heart of his home.
He’s graciously agreed to share recipes for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with us. He has a wonderful newsletter you can sign up for here. Be sure and visit his Facebook community here. You’ll find a wide variety of recipes, all honoring tradition with a contemporary spin.
This year, Chef Michael is sharing recipes to fill your Thanksgiving table with a sumptuous feast. You’ll find links to his recipes below. As Michael says, “May each of you gather around a family table and make some heartfelt memories that will last for years to come.”