Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Has Thanksgiving Become Completely Homogenized Over Time

 This may be it, Ron.

Cookbook:Grotten Hans

Grotten Hans
Category Bread recipes
Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty Medium
Cookbook | Ingredients | Recipes
Grotten Hans is a recipe that has been called a big dumpling but is basically steamed sweet bread. The recipe was traditional in the German areas of Russia.[1]



  1. Cream lard, sugar and salt. Add eggs. Mix flour and baking powder.
  2. Add this flour mixture to the lard mixture alternatively with the milk. Mix well.
  3. Pour into a well-greased 2-pound coffee can. A piece of wax paper on the bottom of the can works well. Cover with foil, and tie this on with a string.
  4. Set this tin into a large kettle of hot water several (3) inches deep. This will steam the dumpling. Cook for 2 hours. The old way was to dip a towel in hot water, then cold water, then sprinkle with flour.
  5. Pour dumpling onto towel and tie up. Drop into boiling water and cook 2 hours.

A nice piece on Charles Portis in the LA REVIEW OF BOOKS.

Do we all eat the same six or seven things for Thanksgiving...turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes,  some vegetable that nobody touches, pumpkin pie.

Or is there one dish that is your family's own?

We always have cole slaw. Not sure if this came from my German ancestry or not? No one else seems to regard it as part of the Thanksgiving dinner. More like a summer salad or a barbecue go-with.
Also turnips were a staple-not a favorite with me since the year my Dad got sick in the serving dish.

What about your family? Anything new I should add to my repertoire?


Deb said...

We always have creamed spinach, which came from my husband's grandmother's recipe--although I add cream cheese to the sauce, so we've made it "ours." I'm originally from England, so Thanksgiving was a whole new thing for my family 40 years ago. I like the whole notion of "traditional American" Thanksgiving dinner.

Jerry House said...

Turnips. Creamed onions. Stuffing. Everything else took second place when I was a kid. When I was older, I added my sister's key lime pie to the list; that pie could make your mouth pucker for a week. Yum.

Randy Johnson said...

We usually have a squash casserole that's pretty tasty and a sweet potato casserole that's not to my taste but the rest of the family likes it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, like that cream cheese idea.
Love the lime pie idea too. Get tired of pumpkin pretty fast. Where I grew up mincemeat pie was big (raisins and apples, I think). And plum pudding.
I saw a great squash idea on Kieran Shea's blog. Pretty amazing.

Anonymous said...

Neither one of us likes pumpkin so we don't eat that. We used to have string bean casserole and sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, but since we don't have the big family dinners any more we cut those out too. And since Thanksgiving coincides with my birthday we go for a dessert I like, like the chocolate pudding pie.

As long as I have my turkey and stuffing anything else is negotiable.

Jeff M.

YA Sleuth said...

You know, I wondered the same thing as I planned the same ol' menu...

We just went to a potluck where someone brought a guacamole-type dip with cranberries in it. Delicious and brilliant. I think next year I'm going to shake up the menu. Sick of turkey.

Naomi Johnson said...

Before my sister abandoned Ohio for the wilds of South Dakota, she handled Thanksgiving every year, and she made a real extravaganza of it. She created magnificent tablescapes. Every year she made all the traditional dishes plus 2 or 3 new ones. Once we had a choice between turkey and veal piccata. The corn pudding was wonderful one year, and I stole her recipe for roasted red pepper soup one Thanksgiving. There was a pork loin stuffed with apples and raisins once.

Sadly, my own efforts fall far, far short of hers. Folks do well if I make the pie from scratch!

Rick Robinson said...

When I was growing up, our Thanksgiving was always at an Aunt-Uncle house and it was traditional down to the nut cups, jello andParker House rolls. Turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, etc.

All the years I lived alone I tried lots of things, including having waffles, bacon, eggs and blueberry muffins. I wanted something easy and tasty.

Now, if I weren't so overweight we'd probably have the whole nine yards, but instead we limit the meal.

We only eat turkey once a year and this is it., so that's a must for us, as is stuffing. We've cut out the potatoes and rolls (one starch is enough), green bean casserole, etc. Barbara loves pumpkin pie, so we have that, but I don't eat it. We used to also get a rhubarb pie but my favorite bakery for it closed and no one else has it except strawberry-rhubarb which is just...wrong. So this year it's apple. So t's turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry-pineapple gelatin that Barbara loves, and pie. It's just the two of us. We started brining our turkeys 3 years ago ad are sold on that. It's way better and more moist.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Me, too, Fleur, but I could not persuade Phil. Love the idea of avocado and cranberry. Going to try that one for Christmas for sure.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I don't make the pie from scratch. Did not grow up with pie makers or cooks at all.
I would love to trying brining. So sick of that same old taste. We had the green bean casserole all the time but not, I think for Thanksgiving. Maybe Christmas?

Ron Scheer said...

My German grandmother made something call "Hans," which I think is correct to say was a dumpling about the size of half a loaf of bread. Served in steaming hot slices. Her daughters (my aunts) were not inclined to keep up the traditions, so it's lost to history.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hans, huh? My family was about 75% German but maybe not from that region.

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

My mother always made two mousses for Thanksgiving, a salmon mousse appetizer and a chocolate mousse dessert--both fantastic, of course. I make the chocolate mousse myself, but the salmon mousse is too many steps for someone as lazy as me. (Also, I love to make sauteed leeks.)

Anonymous said...

I'm always surprised (don't know why I should be) when I read that someone doesn't like turkey or never eats it. I love turkey and would eat it all the time if possible. And stuffing is in my top 5 favorite foods. We have roasted red potatoes rather than mashed.

My mother used to make the string bean casserole and cauliflower au gratin (another favorite of mine) but Jackie doesn't eat cauliflower so we're not making it just for me.

Rick, for three years there after all our family moved away (the ones we were talking to) we decided to try going out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving rather than making it for just the two of us. You might be surprised how many other New Yorkers do the same (or maybe you wouldn't be). It wasn't sad or pathetic (well, maybe a little) but one big drawback was no leftovers.

The only thing as good as fresh stuffing is cold stuffing out of the refrigerator.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Cooking turkey and eating turkey are two different things. It is so greasy, unwieldy, and in the oven for so long. And then the carcass reminds you all too well of what you have done--killed the poor bird. And it dries out over night. Do you still have to eat it?
Love Anca's chocolate mousse but don't think I have had the salmon.

Deb said...

Patti--my husband always brines the turkey for about 24 hours. It doesn't so much change the flavor as keep it super moist. He boils water with equal parts kosher salt and sugar, plus bay leaves, peppercorns, bunches of thyme and rosemary, chopped lemons, and sliced onion. After simmering for about 20 minutes, strain the brine and cool in the fridge (or add a bunch of ice cubes to cool quickly). Add the turkey (my husband cuts it first to make the brining easier and to allow cooking dark and white meat separately at different times and temps) and brine 24 hours. Then remove, pat dry, and cook. My husband smokes the turkey (takes all day and has a wonderful ham-like flavor). I make all the sides. Tomorrow I'm making a pecan and a pumpkin pie, leaving Thursday free for time to make all the dinner sides.

Jerry House said...

One year when the girls were in high school, we had Thanksgiving at a Korean friend's house -- a Korean/American meal: turkey and jellyfish.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I am sure the turkey was a concession to their guests. Turkeys seem to be an American bird.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Brining doesn't sound as hard as brining and smoking. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Since Jackie doesn't eat the dark meat of turkey or chicken it is just easier to buy a turkey breast. It is definitely less greasy and I never have a problem with it drying out.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I can't talk Phil into it. He needs to have those darn turkey legs even though he never touches it. So I end up gnawing on them in the middle of the night.

Anonymous said...

I like turkey legs - in fact we used to buy just the wings for her and the legs for me.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Only in NY!

Erik Donald France said...

I like just about anything and everything, so am happy to sample . . .

Been talking with folks from Louisiana They are talking fried turkey; and ham slathered with glaze that *must* include pineapple garnish. Pecan pie. In PA I also remember Shoefly Pie, which even I could make as a kid (with molasses).

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, yes. Shoefly Pie is Pennsylvania Dutch.

J F Norris said...

I always eat the vegetable that no one touches because I usually made it!

When we were kids my Mom made turnips. Ugh. She would slather them with gravy to tempt us to eat them, but they still tasted like cooked candle wax. Don't miss them at all.

I used to experiment with unusual things. Spinach hot dish (basically creamed spinach with water chestnuts) and sweet potato quesdillas are two things that I was good at making. Too lazy now.