Other Thanksgiving Ideas

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We’re living in some interesting times with ridiculously high food prices and  supply chain disruptions.  Rosie lived through similar times herself. In her day, even with rationing, grocery shelves were empty and many items, such as sugar, were very difficult to come by.  So, if you’re having trouble finding the ingredients for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, or if you simply want to try something new, here are a few suggestions.


Ham has been a popular Thanksgiving option for as long as I can remember. Some families serve both ham and turkey. I also have friends whose kids who are allergic poultry, so ham is their traditional holiday meal. It goes well with sweet potatoes too, so bring on the candied yams.


For those families who are into hunting, venison, or even elk, could be served at Thanksgiving. In fact, I recall once reading an article about the first Thanksgiving feast, and they didn’t have turkey and stuffing.  Instead they had local cuisine, which included venison. Keep in mind, however, that wild game tends to have a, “gamey,” flavor which many people don’t like, so it might be a good idea to offer ham, or another dish, for those who don’t like venison.


The article I read also said lobster was another served at the first Thanksgiving. Makes sense, as we all know New England is famous for its lobster. You know, I could really, seriously, get into this one. I love lobster, so throw in some red potatoes and corn on the cob, and I’ll be a really happy camper. I may have to serve this myself sometime.


I’ve never been overly fond of turkey. It tends to be too dry for my taste, and it’s simply not that flavorful. So last year I began new Thanksgiving tradition. I roasted a chicken instead of a turkey, and it was so much better. Juicier, more flavorful, and I can serve with with stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy. There are also fewer leftovers. Roasted chicken works well for small gatherings, and for a bigger gathering you can probably get two chickens in your turkey roaster. Then, the following day, I make white chicken chili with the leftovers.

So, there you have it, and I’m sure you can come up with other favorite dishes yourselves. I know my favorite Thanksgiving memories aren’t about the food itself. They’re about the family, and friends, I shared it with.

Gayle Martin

The Rosie’s Riveting Recipes historic cookbook is available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble.com, and other online booksellers.

Ham and Sweet Potatoes

From the Rosie’s Riveting Recipes historic cookbook

I once had a friend who loved sweet potatoes. I mean seriously loved them. So much so that she would have done nothing short of grabbing a steak knife and telling you to back off if you got too close to her sweet potatoes. Now that’s a food devotion. However, she wasn’t much of a cook, and when I began testing recipes for Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, I passed this one along to her. It’s easy to prepare, even for those who are kitchen challenged. It’s also a nice dish for those who wax nostalgic for holiday meals over the course of the year.

Gayle Martin


  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced ham or shoulder
  • 3 cups raw, sliced sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon margarine

Cut the ham or shoulder into pieces for serving. If the meat is very salty, parboil it in water and drain. Brown the meat lightly on both sides and arrange the pieces to cover the bottom of a baking dish. Spread the sliced sweet potatoes over the meat, sprinkle with sugar. Add hot water to melted margarine and pour over the sweet potatoes and meat. Cover the dish and bake slowly until the meat and sweet potatoes are tender, basting the sweet potatoes occasionally with the gravy. Toward the last, remove the lid and let the top brown well. Yields 6 servings.

Modern adaptation: Heat oven to 350F. Butter may be used instead of margarine. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for approximately one hour, basting the sweet potatoes occasionally as directed in the original recipe. After baking for one hour remove foil and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes have browned. Turkey ham may also be used, and the sugar can be decreased to one teaspoon.

Cover photo by Robert Resetar.

Rosie’s Riveting Recipes is available on Amazon Barnesandnoble.com, and other online booksellers.


A Super Simple Holiday Side Dish

I love cooking full-course Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinners, even though it’s a lot of work. So much food to prepare in so little time. I have, however, figured out one quick little shortcut that helps save time, and confusion, in the kitchen.

I first discovered baked sweet potatoes at a buffet restaurant. The friend I was dining with pointed them out and raved about how delicious they were. I also noticed what an easy side dish it would be to prepare. Simply take a sweet potato, or a yam, quarter it, add a little butter, wrap it in foil, and bake it like a regular potato.

I tried it myself a couple of Thanksgivings ago, and it was a big hit. Much less prep time and less hassle than candied yams, with no added sugars or preservatives, no casserole dish to wash, and fewer calories to boot. Best of all, my guests loved them. No doubt Rosie, of the Rosie’s Riveting Recipes historic cookbook, would have approved.

Gayle Martin


Cover photo by Robert Resetar.

Rosie’s Riveting Recipes is available on Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.