Thanksgiving in Connecticut

December 6, 2010 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

Me, the author, Rachel Kassman, JMM photo archivistThis was an exciting year for me – I don’t usually like to travel around Thanksgiving (too many cars doing too many stupid things on the roads), but because of a backlog of vacation time I was able to take a whole week off and, avoiding holiday traffic, head up to my family in Connecticut to celebrate Thanksgiving in style!

Thanksgiving dinner is an early affair in my family – we all gather at my uncle and his wife’s for a 2:00pm sit-down! Dinner gets laid out buffet-style in the kitchen and all the traditional fixings are there – turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes.

But we also like to keep things lively and fresh, trying new things every year, like marinated veggie platters (one of my parents’ contribution to the meal) or butternut squash-apple soup (picked up at the deli where my uncle works). One of my favorite things is how well our family gets along; it’s always a pleasure to get together! We even get along with other families – Thanksgiving isn’t just a Kassman affair; the Browns (my uncle’s wife’s family) are also a part of the holiday celebration.

I love how the families blend together around the table!

I love how the families blend together around the table!

My plate, loaded with traditional Thanksgiving goodies!

My plate, loaded with traditional Thanksgiving goodies!

Digging in to Dessert!

Digging in to Dessert!

Brownie Ice Cream Pie - my contribution to Thanksgiving

Brownie Ice Cream Pie - my contribution to Thanksgiving

But every year my family gathers at my uncle’s for more than just a traditional dinner. No indeed, because after the traditional stuffing-of-our-faces it’s time to get down to business: a cross-family SET BACK TOURNAMENT!

Taking a Trick

Taking a Trick

We play for bragging rights…and cash for the winner’s favorite charity! With a $5 buy-in and 16 players this year there was a hefty prize to be had.

Set Back: Serious Business

Set Back: Serious Business

Making every trick count!

Making every trick count!

But this year there was a surprise! Apparently, with traditional dinner so long ago and the business of cards taking a lot of energy, it was decided that this year. halfway through the tournament there would be….

 

 

….a second dinner. Let me tell you, I was NOT prepared for another full-scale meal that day! But I did my best to enjoy the (second) delicious spread set before me!

Uncle Steven's Antipasto
Uncle Steven’s Antipasto
Aunt Cheryl's famous shrimp cocktail (with extra special helper)
Aunt Cheryl’s famous shrimp cocktail (with extra special helper)
Stuffed Shells
Stuffed Shells
Aunt Abby's Stuffed Pickled Hot Peppers
Aunt Abby’s Stuffed Pickled Hot Peppers (possibly my favorite part of second dinner)
My Plate Part II: The Reckoning
My Plate Part II: The Reckoning
Eating (again) made a nice break
Eating (again) made a nice break. But it was back to cards soon enough!

I am happy to report that I made a good showing at this year’s tournament, tying for second place!

My Set Back Score Card

My Set Back Score Card. Making the zeros into pictures made not getting any points a lot more cheerful!

But alas, I was beaten by a single point! Ah well, at least I was beaten by the reigning champ, three years running (although it is his house…and his cards…some of us are getting a little suspicious!).

Uncle Steven, set back extraordinaire!

Uncle Steven, set back extraordinaire!

All in all I was extremely happy to get home and enjoy a real Kassman Thanksgiving!

 

What about you? Do you have any special Thanksgiving traditions? Anything out-of-the-ordinary, extra-cool or just your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

 

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Cookbooks: An Addendum Calling for all things “Jewish food-ish”!

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