Thanksgiving dinner is a careful crafted affair and each component is of equal importance to me. I like a very herby turkey with thyme, rosemary and sage, mushroom gravy, glazed smoked ham, a spicy mulled wine cranberry compote, stuffing with italian sausage and peppers, mashed sweet potatoes, corn pudding, arugula salad with pommegranate, green apples and asiago, and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream.
Do you have family traditions? Koukou' gives a good example. (Actually, she leaves out the green bean casserole made with Campbell's mushroom soup and topped with canned fried onions, and the Brazil nuts in the dressing... or maybe I'm getting my family tradition mixed up with hers.) /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
If you're just starting to build a tradition, get any of the participants' favorite dishes Ideally, get them to prepare and bring them to show off; it worked for Tom Sawyer with his fence. If the family gathers early to prepare, you can also develop a traditional brunch. We always make Eggs Benedict and serve along with some Champagne to get the ball rolling.
We save our ham for Christmas, when we order a smoked, long-hung Country Ham for the Christmas dinner. It's similar to Prosciutto, but with slightly different spices. Your butcher will not have it (unless you live in the South) so we order one from almost any small, family-owned smokehouse in Missouri, Virginia , Tennessee, Kentucky, or most any state down thataway... The Smithfield product is the industrial variety of this, but we prefer an artisanal version. Despite what your butcher may tell you, there is no real substitute for this, Krakus included.
If you are starting a tradition, give it both thought and care, and it will last for generations./img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif