At the Schaibly house, Thanksgiving is and has always been one of our favorite holidays! As a youngster, I remember going to my Mema’s house. We didn’t have a HUGE family, but my love of cooking comes from spending time with her and all the smells and activities associated with any holiday! For thanksgiving, we always kept it fairly traditional. My younger cousin has a pretty severe dairy allergy, so we were always careful to read labels and make classic dishes sans the milk. My aunt and grandmother had to get creative, but honestly, I didn’t miss any of it and it taught me early on the importance of food safety and allergen awareness, which translated into my future career!
These days, Thanksgiving is always held at our house – I suppose that’s the joy of being the Chef in the family! Or maybe it has to do with the fact that we have the only grandchildren of my wife’s and my siblings. Either way, I am thankful for that because trying to travel all over the state to hit different households with two kids sounds like a lot of work. Each year, we make turkey and stuffing, and our guests bring all the other accompaniments!
The tradition of having everyone over to our house has also put some guarantees in place for my kids, especially my son Jack who is 7 this year. He KNOWS that we will be having turkey and that pies always go along with turkey, and he KNOWS we will make turkey noodle soup from our leftovers. (You can check out Yeah, it’s Fresh! – our new cookbook – for other ways to utilize your leftover turkey. I personally love the Turkey Dill Crepe!)
Jack and Olive have both gotten involved in the prep from an early age, so they’re always happy to get their hands a little dirty in the kitchen. My wife also gets very excited about Christmas, so every year since Jack was born, we’ve woken up the day after Thanksgiving for a little Black Friday Christmas tree shopping! Jack picks out our tree each year, and he and Olive know that they will be decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving… every year, without fail!
From a menu perspective, over the years we have strayed a bit from tradition on the entrée piece because to me, well, a plain roasted turkey is boring, and I like to have a little fun! We have whipped up Turducken, Porchetta, Duck, and even one year – Tuduckenator! What’s Turduckenator?! It’s basically turducken with alligator sausage in the center – A Chef Shane original! I know, but give me a break – We live in Florida after all. At the end of the day, Thanksgiving for us really boils down to family and having everyone under one roof truly celebrating the things we are thankful for – The list is endless.
From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!