Since food is the focus of the holiday, special attention is paid to perfecting recipes and maintaining family or personal favorites. These favorites oftentimes are associated with specific individuals or places and carry special memories. They might not even be distinctive or stand out in quality; it is frequently the memories that turn them into favorites.
For example, one of my favorites is my mother’s green gelatin salad with pecans, cottage cheese, and pineapple, made with a recipe obtained from the back of a Jello box. She personalized it, though, by making it in a copper zodiac mold.
Another example is green bean casserole, made with cream of mushroom soup, green beans, and crunchy, fried onions. The recipe was invented in 1955 by Campbell Soup, but it has become a family tradition, especially in many parts of the Midwest. See the story about it here that mentions Lucy Long’s writings on the dish: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/24/456237098/green-bean-casserole-the-thanksgiving-staple-we-love-or-loathe?.
CONNECT: What is your favorite dish for Thanksgiving? What makes it special?