What is your Thanksgiving Day tradition?

Volunteers pack up pumpkin pies. Julie Siple / MPR News

Thanksgiving is an American holiday, which means the ways of celebrating it are as diverse as the people living here. We want to hear about how you celebrate the holiday.

Today’s Question: What is your Thanksgiving Day tradition?

Val Barnes at Crave for last year's Thanksgiving meal. (Courtesy of Val Barnes)

Val Barnes of Minneapolis wrote:

“I used to buy lots of food and cook just for one. Then I was left with all that food after the one day. Food I couldn’t afford, it left me broke. So now I look for places that provide free meals for poor people. It’s a nice thing to be around others for the holiday and when the food is good and the place is nice its an extra added holiday bonus.”

She says she had a great meal at Crave last year in St. Louis Park and will be at Kieran’s Irish Pub this year. She appreciates the warm welcome from these establishments and the Thanksgiving love they share.

Rose McGee spoke with All Things Considered about her traditions:

My father passed away Tues Nov 18 (this week). For Thanksgiving, some foods are traditional in African American culture such as cornbread dressing (“stuffing” as some call it); sweet potato pie (pumpkin is just not…at all); collard greens (a green salad served by some). AND THEN there are “chitterlings” (hog intestines). We actually pronounce them as “chit-lins.” This is a delicacy among many African Americans. Chitterlings require lots of cleaning before cooking – oh the smell! They require long-time boiling in order to become nice and tender – then the whole house smells! And they are an an acquired taste – because they taste like the smell, but in a way that’s delectable!

Victor Manuel Macías González also spoke with All Things Considered:

The empanadas made by Victor Manuel Macias-Gonzalez for this year.

I am Mexican American and my husband is a Scandinavian Minnesotan. We bring to our table–at his parents’ house–both traditional Texan and Texan Mexican meals and side dishes (beef empanadas, picadillo (mince meat, fruits, and nuts) dressing, and cornbread dressing) that complement or expose them to my traditions and culture.

Jennelle Zarn of St. Peter shared this story and recipe:

My family is spread out from California to New Orleans to Washington State to Virginia and I live in Minnesota with my Minnesota-native husband, so we spend the holiday with his extended family. They rent a hall in the teeny-tiny town of Jasper, MN, just inside the MN/SD border and we do it up potluck-style.

My husband’s maternal grandmother always made prune pudding for Thanksgiving. It’s basically stewed prunes, angel food cake, and whipped topping and it tastes much better than it sounds! My husband’s mother took over the tradition of prune pudding after her mother died and would always bring it to Thanksgiving gatherings in a salmon pink plastic covered bowl with a lid. I’m not looking at it now, but the best way to describe it is Tupperware, but older. After Marvella died in 2010, the tradition fell to Scott.

Prune Pudding
Makes 6 cups

Mix together vanilla pudding, 1 T flour, ½ c. sugar, ½ tsp salt, 2 ½ T cornstarch. Stir into this gradually 3 cups milk. Cook gradually on med. heat, stir contstantly til thick and boils. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat – stir 1 cup of hot mixture into 3 beaten egg yolks (2 ok). Boil 1 min. Keep stirring. Remove from heat . Add 1 Tblsp butter, 1 ½ tsp vanilla – cool. Whip 1 cup real cream. Add 3 Tbsp sugar. Cook 15 oz pitted prunes with ½ c or more of water and ¼ c. sugar – to a smooth paste on low heat. Cool.

I use 2/3 of homemade angel food cake torn in pieces – layer cake in bowl first – then pudding – prunes and whipped cream – do again for 2 or 3 times (Can use any light cake or mix – Grandma didn’t use angel food) Any cook book should have angel food cake recipes.