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The first Thanksgiving I ever hosted was a cooking obstacle course, except the stress had nothing to with the actual cooking task at hand. It was the fact that I knowingly tossed my family’s traditions out the window, in an effort to create new ones for my own growing family — I was four months pregnant with my first daughter.
The list of what I changed goes on and on (including the stuffing and cranberry sauce). Therein lies my biggest mistake that very first Thanksgiving: I changed too much, too fast. Rather than create the picture-perfect memory of a blissful family Thanksgiving, I was left feeling under-appreciated for all my hard work.
What does any of this have to do with your Thanksgiving plans this year, you may be wondering? It’s pretty simple, actually. Learn from my mistakes. Thanksgiving is first and foremost supposed to be about family and being grateful. People hold tight to their traditions, though, and making drastic changes to beloved family recipes is an invitation for disaster. This doesn’t mean you can’t chart your own course. It just means you should stick with familiar favorites, but give them your own twist.
Is apple pie an absolute must-have dessert? Go for it, but put your own spin on it. A few years ago I discovered the reason I never swooned over Auntie’s apple pie: I don’t like cinnamon and apples together (call me crazy!). I nixed the cinnamon in my recipe and tossed the apples with browned butter to add a toffee-like flavor to the filling. It was a simple change that turned out to be a win-win for everyone come dessert time.
More Twists on Apple Pie:
- Giada’s Apple and Cheese Pie
- Cheddar Cheese Apple Pie (the cheese melts into a flaky pie crust!)
- Tyler’s Ultimate Caramel Apple Pie
- Ree’s Flat Apple Pie with Perfect Pie Crust (pictured above)