This article about a unique but traditional Thanksgiving repast was first posted during the 2012 holiday season. But Turkey Day is all about leftovers, right? So we thought you’d enjoy a second helping:
Every year around Thanksgiving, the beginning of what I like to call “the days of ritual engorgement” that commence with turkey day and move straight on through the New Year, we have a particular tradition in my family. Yes, yes, there’s turkey and dressing and stuffing and cranberries, crescent rolls and plenty of wine and pie, but it’s our meal the night before T-day that I find the most interesting.
Ever since I was a little boy, when my parents and brothers and I would drive all day to visit our extended family in Shreveport, we would enjoy the same meal every pre-turkey Wednesday: Fried chicken, spaghetti with meatballs, and an Italian salad.
It began through convenience; after all the preparations for the big feast, no one really felt like fixing supper, so we always had something relatively easy to procure. And for us kids, the best things to eat in Shreveport were the spaghetti and meatballs from Monjunis Italian Cafe, and the unbelievable fried chicken that my grandmother’s housekeeper, Willie Mae, was famous for. Why not have them on the same night? Even long after Willie Mae retired, the tradition lives on.
Sure, it’s a strange pairing, but for us, it wouldn’t be the holidays without this treasured meal. In fact, my older brother, who couldn’t be with us on Thanksgiving this year, demanded fried chicken and meatballs upon his return to New Orleans for Christmas. It just has to happen. Period.
I know I’m not alone in having strange food traditions in my family…what are yours?
Native New Orleans food writer Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore and a blog by the same name, has written for Gourmet, Edible Brooklyn, The Faster Times, and other publications. His Food Porn Friday column for NolaVie offers a weekly mouth-watering photo designed to start culinary conversations in the Big Easy. Catch his weekly food column for The Advocate here.