Gathering Around the Table: Thanksgiving

Last Updated on September 17, 2023

Each year, 46 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving Day. At ButcherBox, we begin selling turkeys at the end of September which means our team begins thinking about turkey and Thanksgiving nearly seven months in advance of the holiday.

This year, Thanksgiving table sizes are expected to grow across the U.S. and nearly 30% of Americans are celebrating more than on Thanksgiving (hello, Friendsgiving!). To continue our “Gathering Around the Table” series, we caught up with ButcherBox employees to dive into their Thanksgiving dinner traditions.

Traditions That Live On

“Growing up stuffing, or dressing if you prefer, was never boxed and didn’t include bread or meat. So, every year to honor my mom I make her ‘Irish Potato Stuffing’ with potatoes, butter, onions, poultry seasoning, and parsley, that’s it. Half is stuffed in the turkey and other baked in the oven (the flavor difference is amazing). I don’t have a recipe or measurements, just add everything until it tastes right.” Jeri P., traffic manager

“My childhood home was a 3 family where my oldest sister and her son lived in the first floor unit and we occupied the 2nd. The 3rd floor (the party floor) was left completely empty except for kitchen appliances and was used for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Some of my fondest memories growing up are centered around decorating the 3rd floor with my sisters and nephew and setting the table for guests.”  Kinesha D., executive producer

“Every Thanksgiving for the last six decades (or more), my family has had coffee cake for breakfast.  It was a tradition started by my great-grandmother that continues to this day with me and my children, and my brother and his family.  Even as adults with families of our own, some years, my brother and I go to my our parents’ house and make our coffee cakes together with our mom.  My now five-year old always reminds me that Thanksgiving means coffee cake for breakfast.  It is comforting to know that I am continuing traditions with my children that my Grandmother got to experience with her mother.” — Kathleen R., managing counsel 

Trying Something New

“Each year, my husband and I have tried to do something different. As odd of a year that 2020 was, we figured we’d try a new technique for cooking our turkey, so we gave spatchcocking a try. It was a technique we’d used for chicken quite a bit, but never turkey. Thankfully the bird cooked beautifully. This year, I’m planning on bringing some new dishes and flavor to our Thanksgiving spread by honoring and celebrating Indigenous traditions. This means shopping local, gathering ingredients that were grown and harvested in my hometown, and making a dish using a medley of corn, beans and squash, which have provided nutrition for Indigenous peoples for generations. These crops are referred to as ‘the three sisters’ because they nurture each other like family when planted together.”  Tory F., senior marketing strategy manager

Keeping the Family Secret (Shhh…)

“Down in Louisiana, every table has a variation of mirliton (pronounced in cajun country “millieton”) dressing.  A mirliton is a type of squash and you boil and peal it, then add seafood or ground meats, or both.  It is not Thanksgiving in our house unless mom has a big pan of mirliton dressing ready for us to fight over.  Mom puts shrimp, ground beef, or chicken and crabmeat in her dressing.  It’s SOOOO good!  I have been known to hide a third helping (for Friday) from family with no qualms whatsoever. Make sure you season with a good Louisiana cajun seasoning like Tony Cacheres.  This mirliton recipe is very close to mom’s, but I can’t give up the family secret.” Commelita M., procurement specialist 

“For three-decades my family was under the impression that the infamous sweet potato casserole my dad made every year for Thanksgiving was from a recipe handed down to him from my grandmother, however a few years ago we learned that he was just to humble to take credit for one of the most popular side dishes at the table. His twist on the Thanksgiving staple removes most all of the sweetness (think brown sugar, cinnamon, and marshmallow) from the dish and replace with tons of citrus. Now we joke every year about its origin story, but he isn’t too keen on sharing the recipe…yet.” Joe K., vice president of customer support & sales

All About the Leftovers

“Even though it was usually just me, my mom, and my brother around the table for Thanksgiving when I was growing up, for some reason, my mom would still get an enormous turkey. So, we would always have a ton of leftovers. Every Friday morning after Thanksgiving, we would wake up and get to work on making our famous leftover turkey salad. The first year we did it, it was pretty basic, just some shredded turkey, mayo and onion. Over the years, we kept adding in ingredients or trying out new spices and seasonings. Some leftover peas and corn now get thrown in too! The newest (and best) discovery was adding in some curry to the turkey salad creation. It has become a delicious tradition that we always look forward to every Thanksgiving holiday! And of course, we can’t forget the non-food tradition we have: the pre-dinner turkey trot.”  Audrey B., public relations manager

“One of my traditions is about THE NEXT DAY. I always have the carcass on the stove boiling all day to make my favorite turkey soup. Black Friday shopping, Christmas movie watching, and the comforting smell of that turkey soup. If I can have a bit of stuffing on the side that is a bonus.”  Karly E., creative director 

Leaving Room for Dessert

“Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling! My family is huge on tradition and they would riot if I didn’t make this for Thanksgiving dessert.”  Kaitlyn S., senior graphic designer 

Stay tuned for our next installment of Gathering Around the Table!

Kerin Norton is the Head of PR and Content Strategy at ButcherBox.