My Thanksgiving Tradition

I’ve struggled with finding a Thanksgiving tradition that suits my family. We don’t have nearby relatives to share the day with, and after a few disastrous trips attempting to join siblings and cousins, have sworn to celebrate the holiday near home. We’ve tried going to inns, but, however homey,  it didn’t feel right to eat at a restaurant. We’ve been invited to the tables of friends, but, honestly, I want to be the one cooking! I tried making the turkey feast for my husband and sons, but they were less than enthusiastic, and, truly, a big meal like that for just four people falls flat.

Still, I love traditions, especially when it has to do with food and home, and I wanted a Thanksgiving one. About six years ago, I decided that what I loved best about the holiday was the pie, and so I started my “Sunday After Thanksgiving Pie Party.” I get to bake, and fill my house with friends. My guests get to come to a party that requires nothing of them. One rule is that no one brings pie!

I spend the year collecting pie recipes. About a week before the event, I’ll make and freeze a dozen crust. A few pies (like apple, and this year’s Pear-Cranberry) are made ahead and frozen. But, the majority of the pies are made the weekend of the party.

I’ve learned that when there is nothing else on the menu, that people can eat a lot of pie. I’ve also learned that the more types of pie that I serve, the more that people eat. I’m also learning, as my children get older, that teenage boys eat twice what anyone else does. That said, the average is that each person eats half a pie.

I had forty people over yesterday (and various smaller children that I don’t count.) I served 19 pies. There were no leftovers.

pie party (notice my vintage chicken apron!)

This is what I baked:

Lemon Pie with Pecans, Chocolate Chip Tollhouse Pie, Mint Chip Tollhouse Pie, Cranberry-Pear Tart in a Hazelnut Shortbread Crust, Apple Pie with a Ginger Streusel Topping, Chocolate Pudding Pie with a Creme Fraiche Whipped Topping, Blueberry-Cranberry Pie, Mango Chiffon Pie with a Toasted Coconut Crust, Apricot Cheesecake Tart in a Cream Cheese Crust, and Chocolate and Pine Nut Tart. There were also savory pies – Ricotta Tart with Saffron and Sage, Feta and Spinach Quiche (which used up the last of my garden’s greens), Onion and Olive Guyere Tart, and a Winter Squash Galette.

pie array

I wish there were leftovers. Next year I’ll have to make more.


  1. What a great idea!! Think of all the ways this could morph- potato/sweet potato receipes, stuffing recipes, cranberry recipes, bread receipes…

  2. Just the right kind of holiday celebration I would like. Love your site which was sent to me by my daughter the intown farmer. She has several chickens and 2 roller pigeons.

  3. How about some recipes, Terry? You cannot just put that scrumptious- sounding list out there without some recipes! (Please)