North America: The Presidential Turkey Pardon

President Obama Pardons a Lucky Turkey Photo © Alex Wong/Getty Images

The presidential pardoning of one lucky turkey is a fairly modern practice.  Although Abraham Lincoln could get  unofficial credit according to some historians.  Supposedly, their family had a pet turkey that Lincoln’s son viewed as a pet and asked to be spared.

President John F. Kennedy spontaneously spared a turkey on Nov. 19, 1963, just days before his assassination, but did not grant a “pardon.” The bird was wearing a sign reading, “Good Eatin’ Mr. President.” Kennedy responded, “Let’s just keep him.”

In 1989, George H.W. Bush became the first president to pardon a turkey. Before then, turkeys were presented to the president and consumed by the president.

The concept of a turkey pardoning was first mentioned by president Regan as a joke, but H.W. Bush made it all possible with the following words: “This fine Tom turkey, has been granted a presidential pardon as of right now.”

An Italian American Thanksgiving

The United States has a rich history of immigrants.  With each decade we can continue a culture of people born to immigrant parents.  This article takes a back to an Italian American story.  What I especially love about it is organic fusion various cultures bring to the table of their hyphenated American experience.- Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor

Excerpt from Memories of Italian American Thanksgiving

The women would prepare every conceivable dish that would depict the tradition of Thanksgiving. Many of them had never fixed a turkey or made gravy for the turkey. Some of the dishes, like mashed potatoes and stuffing, would have Italian seasonings added such as Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and homemade Italian sausage. You can see my Mom’s Italian Style Turkey Stuffing Recipe.

The meal would start with Antipasto (Italian appetizer), which is a salad mixture of Italian salami, cheeses, ham, artichokes, mushrooms served with a vinaigrette dressing. Because some of the older men in the family missed their Italian meals, the women would even fix a pasta dish with meat sauce and meatballs and then we would start on “the turkey meal”.

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Healthy Alternatives to a Traditional Holiday Feast

A vegetarian or vegan menu option could potentially cut the holiday calories in half, while pleasing non-meat and dairy eaters. Every holiday serves up traditional dishes such as turkey, ham, roast or anything dairy-based. An alternative holiday dinner offers the opportunity to tweak old traditions while creating new ones.

Meatless Alternatives

The first alternative that must be made is the meat dish—be it turkey, ham or beef. Certainly Tofurkey is the natural choice as a substitute. Tofurkey is a brand name substitution for turkey made from tofu and can be purchased at most grocery stores. A vegetarian meatloaf is also a great tasty option. Another alternative for meat can be stuffed squash. Here are some more suggestions for an alternative main dish: READ MORE

MCCN Quick Reference Holiday Sides Recipe Guide(American)

MCCN Editor’s Original Recipe- White Zinfandel Cranberry Sauce-Smashing, different tasty.  Our recipe for cranberry sauce is one of the most searched.

Southern Style Collard Greens – We have a few suggestions on how to prepare this favorite holiday side dish.

Macaroni & Cheese– MCCN’s Carla Crudup is a master at creating recipes.  Her recipes have been on major brands such as Lender’s bagels.  This recipe is among our most popular.

Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing–  I make this and it seems to be a show stopper.  Although the recipe can be easily searched the idea of it is slowly and steadily growing in popularity.

Chef Jay Jones: Cornbread Dressing Recipe

Depending on where you are from the term stuffing and dressing can be used interchangeably. No matter what you all its; its yummy

4 boxes of your favorite corn bread mix
2 packages of hot and sagey (yes that is a word) sausage
6 stalks of celery chopped
2 green peppers seeded and chopped
1 sweet large onion chopped
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
Olive oil
1 tbsp clove
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp allspice
4 cloves roasted garlic
4 cups chicken stock

Large Sheet Pan
Large Sauté pan
Large bowl
Casserole dish

Preheating 375

Prepare cornbread as per directions
Set aside and cool
Heat pan
Add oil and sauté onions
Add sausage and cook
Add green pepper, celery, clove, cinnamon, allspice and garlic
Cook for 10 minutes
Set aside and cool
In large bowl break up cornbread
Add in sausage mixture
Add chicken stock to moisten and bring mixture together
Put in casserole dish
Add some stock to top
Bake in over for 20 min until golden brown

*See Chef Jay Jones recipes and videos at:

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Oatmeal Cookie Topping

This is a great alternative to marshmallow topped sweet potatoes. Cutting the sweet potatoes into slices of even thickness is important in getting them to cook at the same rate. A potato masher will yield slightly lumpy sweet potatoes; a food mill will make a perfectly smooth puree.  You can also skip the cookie topping and just serve the sweet potatoes on their own.

6 large sweet potatoes (about 4 pounds)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 Tablespoons heavy cream

3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh gingerroot
2 teaspoons salt

For topping
fourteen 3-inch crisp oatmeal cookies,(like HobNobs) broken into pieces (about 3 cups)

½ cup toasted pecans

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1. Combine butter, cream, salt, sugar, and sweet potatoes in large pot; cook, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes fall apart when poked with fork, 45 to 55 minutes.

2. Off heat, mash sweet potatoes in saucepan with potato masher, then stir in marmalade and gingerroot .  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Spread potato mixture evenly in baking dish. Potato mixture may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring potato mixture to room temperature before proceeding.

Make topping:
In a food processor grind cookies fine. Add the pecans and pulse 3-4 times. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles soft cookie dough. Wrap topping in wax paper and chill until firm, about 2 hours. Topping may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Preheat oven to 400F. Crumble topping over potato mixture and bake in middle of oven until topping is browned lightly, about 25-35 minutes.

Recipe from the

Thanksgiving With An Asian Touch

This is a great excerpt from an article in the SF Gate written in 2004:

Article by Olivia Wu, Chronicle Staff Writer
Glutinous Rice as a stuffing option

Cotes du Rhone: A Wine Choice for Your Turkey Dinner

(photo credit:

Cotes du Rhone is right up there with the ideal choices for pairing with the myriad dishes that can and will be present at the Thanksgiving table.  Cotes du Rhones by nature are medium to light-bodied, elegant and fruity.

My top pick for a red Cotes du Rhone?  Chateau Mont-Redon. Period.  The wine’s appellation is from right near Tavel, a viticultural area known for its roses.  It sits on the right bank of the Rhone River.  Round, smooth stones comprise the ‘soil’ where the grapes are grown. (Grenache- 70%, Cinsault- 20%, Syrah- 10%)

The grapes for this wine are all hand-picked, providing the availability for creating wines of character and quality.  The climate is that of the Mediterananean, where humidity is dispersed by the Mistral wind.  With long, hot summers these conditions  provide an excellent climate for the vine’s cultivation.  The wine hails from one of France’s oldest wine producing estates.

Chateau Mont-Redon Cotes du Rhone ages well and show good tanninc structure.  “De-stemming at 100% followed by a maceration of 15 to 18 days which allows our Côtes-du-Rhônes’ to get a good tannic structure which will make them able to age well. After the malolactic fermentation, the wines are kept in vats in our cellars for a period of 8 to 10 months. Then they are bottled and stay for some months in our cellars before being shipped.”

For more info visit–an-ideal-match-for-a-Tdaywine-pairing-dinner

Article written by Leslie Cramer

History and Celebration of Thanksgiving in Canada

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day (Canadian French: Jour de l’Action de grâce), occurring on the second Monday in October, is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. Although the original act of Parliament references God and the holiday is celebrated in churches, the holiday is also celebrated in a secular manner.

On January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:

A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October. ”

About the Celebration:

As a liturgical festival, Thanksgiving corresponds to the English and continental European Harvest festival, with churches decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty, English and European harvest hymns sung on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and scriptural selections drawn from biblical stories relating to the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.[citation needed](Photo from

While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians might eat their Thanksgiving meal on any day of the three-day weekend, though Sunday and Monday are the most common. While Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with a large family meal, it is also often a time for weekend getaways.

Canada’s top professional football league, the Canadian Football League, holds a nationally televised doubleheader known as the “Thanksgiving Day Classic.” It is one of two weeks in which the league plays on Monday afternoons, the other being the Labour Day Classic. Unlike the Labour Day games, the teams that play on the Thanksgiving Day Classic rotate each year.


Various First Nations in Canada had long-standing traditions celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Canada’s First Nations and Native Americans throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Cree and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.[6]


Canadian troops attend a Thanksgiving service in a bombed-out cathedral in Cambrai, France in October 1918

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Frobisher’s Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations by Europeans in North America. Frobisher was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him — Frobisher Bay.

At the same time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, in 1604 onwards also held huge feasts of thanks.

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