Thanksgiving or Grocery Derby??

 It’s Thanksgiving time … or is it more like grocery store roller-derby?


You know what I mean, that special time before a major holiday when the masses become possessed.  When there is no greater accomplishment than to out-maneuver that little old lady with the cane to fling yourself on that 24-pound butterball.  In fact, you suspect the cane is fake, brought along to increase her chances of hedging you out of the way of the canned cranberries.

I don’t know about you but I find shopping during this pre-holiday mania kind of fun.


What’s curious about this is that at any other time, if someone so much as pauses in front of the diced tomatoes I’m muttering, “Don’t you know what you want? Have a plan woman … let’s keep movin’!” And Holy-Heavens-to-Betsy on the person with bags and bags of frozen peas-n-carrots and they’re rummaging for more, their cart blocking my way to the brussel sprouts.  I just want to tell him, “Dude, I’m sure they’ll restock by spring and you have enough to last you at least that long.”

So you’d think that the aisles jammed with people and their holiday meal lists would annoy me.  Nope.  I get swept up in the fun of it.  I check out peoples’ carts.  When I see cans of sweet potatoes and bags of marshmallows, I know what they’re bringing.  A cart loaded with bags of breadcrumbs and cans of chicken stock – she’s bringing the stuffing!  And oh my goodness, the excitement over that prize turkey!


My grocery store (HEB) rocks! They hand out samples all over the place … even gourmet cheese and wine. (I KNOW! Awesome right?)

Funny thing is, I’ve never made a turkey.  Thanksgiving has never been at my house.  It’s always been at my mom’s, or my mother-in-law’s, my grandma’s and now my sister’s.  I don’t host Thanksgiving, so I’ve never baked the turkey.  But like most families, we all bring stuff.  I’m always in charge of the mashed potatoes.  I tried to get out of it this year but my husband said my brother-in-law, Bill, would have a heart attack if I didn’t do the mashed taters.  So, fine, 10lbs of potatoes and a pound of butter went into my cart.  (Yeah, they’re that good!) I’m also in charge of the veggie tray because I always want fresh vegetables to nosh on.


My sister-in-law is bringing the canned cranberry because that’s what she likes, still in the shape of the can so she can see the ridges.  My husband’s uncle bakes pies so there are always at least two of those. My mom always brings the ‘party potatoes’ and the booze. (Yay Mom!!) My mother-in-law makes the most amazing chicken tamale stuffing.  I’ve heard that she’s not bringing it this year but is instead bringing potato salad (because Lord knows we don’t have enough potatoes coming!) and chopped liver.  (Um, not sure what short of madness this is but I’m trying to have a Thankful heart and I will not pout over the missing tamale dressing, not too much.)


We are doing something really fun this year. But I’m not going to tell you … yet!  I will save it for my post-Thanksgiving blog post and will promise lots of pictures!

So dish! Are you in charge of a specific recipe every year? Do you host the meal at your home?  Share what YOU’RE bringing to the Thanksgiving Feast!

Also I’d like to wish for all of you the most Blessed Thanksgiving!  I have met so many new people lately on the net that I want you all to know that I have such a full and grateful heart! I wish for abundant joy and laughter for all of you!

{Group Hug}



About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on November 21, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I hate crowded stores, so I’m thankful my husband does the grocery shopping! He also does the turkey – deep fried. My mom always brings the canned cranberry, still in the shape of the can, for me! My annual contributions, whether Thanksgiving is at my house or elsewhere, are green beans, biscuits, and skillet gravy, because I’m the only one who can make the beans and gravy just like my grandma used to. Thanks for the fun post, and here’s hoping your holiday is great!

  2. lynnkelleyauthor

    Wow, that’s a lot of taters! You must make really good mashed potatoes if they’re requesting that YOU have to make them. I hated mashed potatoes when I was a kid because if they were lumpy (and usually they were), I’d gag on the lumps. I got over that, so here’s to yummy mashed potatoes and all the other delicious food we have at our Thanksgiving feasts! Group hug, for sure. I feel the same way. Cheers!

    • Hi Lynn. I know 10lbs sound like a lot but there never seems to be any left no matter how many pounds I whip up. And NO lumps in my MPs, no way! Lots of butter, whole milk, garlic powder, s/p … fluffy goodness. I hardly ever eat potatoes but on Thanksgiving, you can be sure I’ll have my helping! Cheers to you my friend!

  3. Nice blog Ginger though I can’t say I love our HEB if it wasn’t quite as crowded I would totally love with it but the crowds really get to me and like you said the stopping in the middle of the isle for the peas lmbo ….. I do love hosting Thanksgiving and this year we will be hosting it again but it will be a little challenge for me. You know we are huge Packer fans and this year they are playing on Thanksgiving day so my challenge this year will be to master the timing with the game and make sure neither of them cross each others paths 🙂 Oh and then on to the Black Friday shopping an annual event with my daughter. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the Calem Clan ❤

    • Hi Dina. I know you’ll get your Packer time in!! 🙂 So many people do that annual Black Friday shopping. We’ve never done that in my family and I’m always intrigued with it. One of these years. I’ll need tips! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  4. My kids don’t care for most Thanksgiving foods,a nd my hubby likes them but it’s a foodie like me, so we’ll probabloy do pies, and pizza if I stop coughing long enough to handle cheese. I’ll make my Thanksgivning favs one by one over the following weeks instead of all at once.

  5. The turkey used to panic me but, now I’m not so worried. It’s actually pretty easy. I love all the sides that go with Thanksgiving feasting! I’m so excited about our special twist this year and can’t wait to see the post you write for it!!

    • I’ll need to take pictures! Don’t let me forgot. Oh and we need to talk about that special drink that can be hot or cold. Found a recipe that I think looks good. *hiccup* 😉

  6. I never do Thanksgiving because I always get Christmas since I’m the only one with kids and a Santa delivery. I hate planning the meal for our family because there are too many diets to consider. For one seriously culinary challenged, that is too much stress! I have vegetarians, diabetics and gluten issues all to consider. I don’t even want to think about the coming meal at my house next month. Ugh! But I will be heading to my mother’s in a couple days with some wine in hand! Yay. Let’s hear it for the wine.

    • Debra, my night is Christmas Eve. I do a huge pot of chicken tortilla soup and we have tamales, chips and homemade salsa, fresh margaritas … Ole!! 🙂 You know, we take our dietary issues for big holidays. I eat pretty specifically and I’ll either make exceptions on a major holiday or I’ll always be able to find something. I say you cook what you want and let them bring a dish to share that THEY can eat!

      And always, ALWAYS have wine in hand.

      Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!! *hug*

  7. I’ve been working on a post about this very thing. I’m totally adding the “roller derby” to it. So far I’m pretty excited about my idea of putting all coupon items in a ball-pit.

    • Oh my gosh, that would be AWESOME! I can totally picture it.

      I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a long time. We tucked into the egg case (who needs eggs on Thanksgiving?) You’d have thought we’d set up a police barricade … the line backed up 3 aisles … Rubberneckers!


  8. Another really fun post Ginger! I’m not bringing anything, not going anywhere, and cooking everything – tomorrow – for 2. My husband is a bartender so he works each and every holiday from sun up to sun down. How exciting for me! (not) Anyway, we have our little 12 pound turkey that the hubs will BBQ lovingly while I make everything else. Going to make the stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce and apple pie tonight.

    I already shopped (I’m one of those kinds of gals) so won’t have to battle the crowds at the store. We have no children and only 1 surviving parent between us, who doesn’t celebrate anything, 2 nieces who are visiting “the others” this year and 1 nephew who’s in Peru on a college exchange student program. Just me and the hubs a day early! Good stuff!

    But, like you, I do enjoy watching what others put in the carts and I too mutter to myself about how others shop while I’m at the store. It’s mild entertainment.

    Thanks for the fun post!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Hi Patricia. You know, you’re Thanksgiving sounds really nice and cozy. With our kids ages 15-13-11 and tons of relatives and cousins all near, we have a CLAN for any holiday. There are some years, as much as I love and adore the festivities, I can feel the allure of sitting cross-legged on the couch with a plate of yummy food, a glass of wine and my little brood.

      Enjoy your quite night with your honey!

  9. I love this post, Ginger — so funny 🙂

    My husband did all the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving, although I was in charge of the list. We always have Thanksgiving in our house and I’ve been roasting the turkey for years. I have a fantastic recipe that I’ve been tweaking, adding to, changing over the last 11 years. I make everything from scratch, including the cranberry sauce but the hubby always prepares mashed potatoes.

    Have a great, filled with love, laughter and happiness Thanksgiving.

    • Ah, I love that you’ve perfected your roasted turkey. You’ll have to give me your recipe and then when it’s finally my turn, I’ll WOW them all!! 😉

      Thanks for visiting my little cyber-hub and sharing a laugh with me.

      May you have a day of blessings and laughter — the BEST kind of day!

  10. Fabulous post! Can-shaped cranberries always make me giggle. I’m usually responsible for HBGs (healthy baked goods). Whole grain chock cookies baked & rearing to go. 😉

  11. sounds like a fabulous meal. what is a chicken tamale stuffing? sounds excellent. in my family we have started breaking all the traditions and going with new stuff to eat. always an interesting, exciting meal.

  12. Okay, you had me at the chicken tamale stuffing! I’ve never heard of such a thing. It’s sounds awesome! And I can’t imagine what your mashed potatoes taste like either.

    BTW. Thank you Ginger for visiting my post. Especially with everything you’ve had going on this week. I hope you enjoyed the time with your family and that your son is feeling much better. 🙂

    • Karen, my MIL’s stuffing is so good. She buys chicken tamales and just uses them all cut up with whatever other goodness she put in there. I don’t even want to know how to make it because it’s special that SHE makes it, you know? And thank you again for thinking of Grey. He is feeling better and I hope it continues. It’s been such a crazy, worrisome couple weeks that I’m fully enjoying the calm and quiet of the rest of this weekend.

  13. I wish I enjoyed shopping as much as you do (not really). I hate it. Especially this time of year. I want to go in with my list, grab everything as quickly as I can and get out in record time. 🙂

    But I do love the holidays. We’ve gone to my sister’s house the past couple of years. Last year I did the pies and mashed potatoes. This year just the pies. I guess the half hour drive, then the last minute details, gravy/rolls/etc…, affect the taste and texture of the spuds (???).

    Sounds like you have quite a crowd, Karen. And tamale stuffing….that sounds really interesting. 🙂

    • See, I shop like you every other time I shop. I have my list and I don’t want anyone in my way or annoying me. haha! Very true on the potatoes. You have to mash them there. In fact, I usually peel and cut them and have them soaking in water so I can boil/drain/mash at wherever we are. This year I did it all at my sister’s house.

  14. Too funny! I love the mania of the shopping, too. Grocery stores or early on Black Friday, it’s an adrenaline rush for me.

    Tamale stuffing? OMG. that sounds divine!

    If I’m going somewhere for Thanksgiving, I always try to bring this brownie thing I make (I’ll be posting the recipe on my blog in the next few weeks, it’s awesome). If we do go somewhere, then the next day I’ll make the whole spread at my house for just the four of us. I love it. Some people might think I’m nuts, but it’s what I like to do, so I do it. ; )

    Oh, and I love those canned cranberries, too. The ridges make them even better.

    • Those ridges are mighty popular! So many people are fascinated by the tamale dressing. I’ll have to get the recipe and share it. I LOVE that you redo the Thanksgiving feast for you family. What a fabulous idea. While I really love having the whole family together, I think it would be wonderful to scale it down to a more intimate meal for just our family too. In fact, that makes me think that I don’t cook that sort of meal very often, like with a main meat and all the sides/salads and desserts. I make soups and tacos and chilis more. I think I’m going to do that. What a great idea!

      Can’t wait for the brownie thing recipe! 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.

  15. Really enjoyed this. I do the turkey most years, and hubby is in charge of using the ricer to mash the potatoes. One year he didn’t rice them when they were hot. They got all starchy and the mash was just . . . icky. But usually very good. The one tradition I have to bring to gatherings is a Waldorf salad, purist-style: celery, apples, walnuts, mayo. NO RAISINS! It’s a maternal-line tradition, and one year my paternal grandmother decided to help and added bananas to the “fruit salad.” Aack! Hmm, may have to write about that and file it away for next year! Looking forward to your Christmas season posts, Jen

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer! I know I would LOVE your Waldorf salad because I do not like raisons and it usually has them. Do you toast your walnuts? I do Christmas Eve and it’s mexican fiesta time! But, Christmas shopping first, right!

  1. Pingback: Holiday Traditions Made Simple Mashup | Debra Kristi's Blog

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