YOUR FRIENDS AT THE KEYS WEEKLY SHARE THEIR FAVORITE THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS

However you choose to celebrate, Thanksgiving is a time for being with family (or friends who feel like family) and chowing down on incredible food. In anticipation of 2022’s greatest day of glorious gluttony, we asked our Keys Weekly and Overseas Media Group staff about their favorite Thanksgiving memories, from TV traditions to favorite recipes, holiday oddities and more.

ANNIE BRIENING 

Favorite Memory: So many to name, but one of my favorites is when Shane and I went to Disney World with my family 11 years ago. My oldest sister was very pregnant with my nephew. My niece was nearly 3 and at the cutest age to watch with all the Disney characters. This trip was also when Shane asked my dad for his “blessing” to marry me and we got to tell everyone in person our exciting news together. 

When it comes to food traditions in my family, there’s always “The Bobbie” Thanksgiving sandwich after the main-event meal  — no matter how full I am.

I don’t know if this is just a Philly thing, but “The Bobbie” is basically Thanksgiving between two slices of bread with layers of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. (Pro tip: Mix the cranberry sauce and some mayo and warm it in the microwave.)

What do you watch over Thanksgiving weekend? “Planes, Trains & Automobiles”

STEPHANIE MITCHELL

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday (not a gift in sight) so when I started dating a Canadian in 2004 my new favorite tradition began. Not one, but TWO separate Thanksgivings every year: American in November and Canadian Thanksgiving in October. 

We begin Thanksgiving morning with cinnamon rolls and mimosas while we get the turkey ready for the oven with the Macy’s parade on in the background.

The Mitchells love to party, so we host a big dinner every year with a rotating cast of characters and my mashed potatoes are legendary, for many different reasons (if you know, you know).

And if you happen to be the first one to “fall asleep” on the couch you’ll wake up draped in a fur coat, just for giggles.

What do you watch over Thanksgiving weekend?

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” goes on once the Thanksgiving dinner table is cleared. This is our official transition into Christmas.

IRENE DE BRUIJN

Being from the Netherlands, I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving. So my first Thanksgiving wasn’t until I was in my 20s when I visited a friend in Ohio. We celebrated Thanksgiving with her family in the small town of East Sparta. 

What a surprise that Thanksgiving “dinner” was at 1 p.m. It sounded more like a lunch to me, but I didn’t realize the meal kept on going through dinner time. My friend is from an Italian family, so our Thanksgiving dinner/lunch included the best pasta and meatballs I’ve ever had! And after that, the boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations came out to move straight into the next holiday. A big thank you to the Parianos for my first Thanksgiving!

MANDY MILES

One of my favorite memories is the scent of my dad’s Thanksgiving stuffing cooking on the stovetop. Those perfectly seasoned little cubes of bread were the perfect snack every time I passed through the kitchen — usually to make a drink.

My favorite memories are from the giant family reunions that would fill my parents’ guest house at the South Jersey Shore for the holiday weekend, with relatives and friends in every nook and cranny of the century-old house “down the Shore.”

ALEX RICKERT

Our Thanksgiving traditions are pretty fluid, but by far my most memorable turkey day was a gathering with my dad’s side of the family in Connecticut. After a big dinner, we all went for a walk to try and work out our food babies, and at one point in the walk I was shocked – putting it lightly – to turn around and find an emu following us down the road. Yes, a literal emu. As we found out the next day, it had escaped from a zoo earlier that day and was making its rounds through the town.

I’m sure my parents will want to watch the Macy’s parade in the morning this year, but after that … it’s football time.

MIKE HOWIE

My mother grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where men would carry pasties into the iron and copper mines of the region. Pasty rhymes with nasty, but it has nothing to do with strippers. It’s a meat-and-potato pie that is easy to make and, in a mine, can be eaten without utensils. Nothing in the world smells as good as a kitchen where pasties are baking. It was the special meal of my childhood and remains the perfect comfort food to this day. 

Our kitchen in Marathon is going to smell amazing on Thanksgiving.

CHAR HRUSKA

Growing up, big family Thanksgiving dinners were the best when grandparents and cousins would squeeze into our little house to have a huge dinner. Once I was older, it was all about preparing dinner for my family and having the guys all leave the house to check their tree stands for deer hunting the next day. Today, I love decorating like a kid and preparing a dinner for two.  I thank God for my daily life, my children and grandchildren and all the blessings that I have.

MANUELA CARRILLO MOBLEY

I love the holiday season. For me everything starts November 1st. There’s something in the air… It’s Thanksgiving, it’s Christmas, it’s just the season! Weather starts getting colder and the cozyness of the family gatherings kick in. My favorite part is preparing the food and sharing stories while we watch the Thanksgiving parade on TV followed by “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” – a must watch! Then later in the afternoon, after dinner, we all pass out on the couch from all the food.

JILL MIRANDA BAKER

My parents hosted our extended family for Thanksgiving for many years during my childhood. These gatherings could be for 40-50 people – grandparents, aunts, uncles, and so many cousins and second cousins. We’d rent tables and chairs and clear out our garage or expand from the dining room into the living room, moving out furniture. My job was to set the tables, and still today I love setting a beautiful table. And the food was endless, from the traditional American fare to the Italian family favorites. 

JIM MCCARTHY

A McCarthy Thanksgiving in western New York began with a pancake breakfast my dad made during the early morning before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Once the parade was over, we’d flip the channel to some Thanksgiving Day football. Most games weren’t that great besides the one year the Bills beat the Cowboys. The day progressed and the smells of turkey and stuffing would fill the house as my grandpa, uncle, aunt and cousins came over for the feast. By nighttime, it was video games and sleep.

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