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Since We're Talking Turkey...

Every year the turkey takes the spotlight at Thanksgiving dinners, leaving little to no room for sides to shine. This year, we’re dividing the turkey talk to shed light on other sides and drinks that make our holiday dinners special.


I LOVE holiday time. It’s my favorite time of the year because it includes two of my favorite things – family and food. I believe it goes back to my childhood. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, my family, including all my maternal aunts, uncles and cousins, would congregate at my Nana’s house. Nana loved to have her family together and to cook for them. To this day, I remember the smell of yeast rolls when you walked in her house. There Nana would be in the kitchen, only 5 ft. tall, with an apron on, standing over the stove with a cigarette in her mouth. The ash would be so long but somehow it never managed to fall off into the food. Everything she made was amazing but, on the table, would be her homemade rolls. She would let us have only one before dinner. With a little butter, they would melt in my mouth. Today, either my mom or I make yeast rolls for Thanksgiving and Christmas in honor of “Nana.” I love how the smell permeates the house. It takes me back to my childhood and the wonder of Nana. It wouldn’t be a holiday without it. Nana died when I was a teenager but her love for food and family remains with all of us. -- Alexis Davis Smith

Not many islands in the Caribbean observe Thanksgiving but most of us like to celebrate with food and libations whenever possible. Here is a traditional meal from my hometown. One of the most important parts of the festivities is to give thanks with not only the meal, but with the drinks. This bottle featured here can be served with all meals throughout the day. -- Tracey Bowen

Breakfast: add some condense milk.
Lunch: mix with refreshing coconut water.
Dinner: add punch!
*SN: can also be used for medicinal purposes when you add lime juice and honey. Cures everything!


Last year my husband and I purchased our first home and decided to host our very first Thanksgiving. Overwhelming is an understatement, but we were nonetheless excited and grateful to be able to host our family and close friends in our new home. My family is Haitian, so every American holiday always included a mix of haitian dishes. There is no holiday - Haitian or American - without Diri Djon Djon (Haitian Black Rice). We Haitians are very VERY particular about our rice - how it’s cooked, spiced, etc., and Djon Djon is the best of the best. My mother is the “Djon Djon Queen”, so I had big shoes to fill. BUT according to her feedback I think I did pretty good: “Tastes like Djon Djon to me.” -- Michelle Howard


Every Thanksgiving my family and I get together for some holiday fun, food and my special holiday punch. I started making my holiday drink about 5 years ago and it has been on the menu since. It doesn’t compare to my mom's mac and cheese or dressing but it makes my family smile in a way that makes my eyes glow. This drink take me through memory lane because of my grandma. She raved about the effort and patience I put into make this drink every year. And even though she is not with us anymore I honor her by continuing to make this drink.
My Jingle Juice is sweet, refreshing and delicious! Oh and I can’t forget...it’s beautiful! -- Amanda Sanford


Growing up as a hybrid child (half Puerto Rican, half Jamaican), my Thanksgivings changed flavors every year. Being a “mixed chic” there was no excuse for me not to be good in the kitchen. From as young as five, I would be watching, cleaning and/or prepping, imitating one of the lovely ladies in my family.
The older I got the more serious cooking became, especially on my Hispanic side. For them cooking was like being initiated into a Greek sorority, you were only considered a member of Perez Psi Phi Incorporated when you made a traditional dish with no bad reviews. The key word is “no” (nada, none, zip, zero, etc.). I am proud to announce that my chicken, shrimp, and jackfruit (vegetarian) empanadas have crossed into the organization! The good news is I haven’t had one bad review since I started. The bad news...I have a very greedy family. -- Nadia Felder

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