Leave it to the Montans to have cool Thanksgiving dinner traditions that don’t involve turkey. Or any typical ‘Thanksgiving dinner’ for that matter.
We chatted in the office about vacation plans, and the conversation navigated to Aunt Maggie’s crispy rice paper dumplings. (Of course, my brain immediately asked: If they’re crispy…are they still considered dumplings? But that’s not the point.)
the point is that we spent the next 15 minutes chatting about all the weird things our families served up for Thanksgiving that bear no relation to anything that is considered traditional. With this convo in hand, we definitely had to head downtown for one of our famous informal polls!
MOOSE STEAKS AND ANTELOPE RIBS: Well, these make perfect sense. Several people we spoke to mentioned that they have family traditions that run parallel to the hunting season. (FYI – Antelope ribs are lean but delicious. I’ve eaten them many times.) Venison for Thanksgiving is a common choice over turkey.
SUSHI MADE AT HOME: Once you have a few rolling utensils and some sushi rice making skills, rolling your own rice can be a blast. All the ingredients and supplies are easy to get locally these days, apart from really exotic stuff. Your guests can choose what they want in their buns and it keeps everyone a little busy. (As a host, it’s also cool to have a designated person who can roll the dice in case guests don’t want to make their own. I get that. It might be fun for some, uncomfortable for others.)
HUGE STARTER TABLE (not a real main course): Only one person said they did this, but I LOVE the idea. They generally had over a dozen people over for dinner and instead of having one or two people do all the work, they turned it into a potluck. Guests bring their absolute best appetizer, no matter what it is: wings, dip, meatballs, stuffed eggs, tea sandwiches, you name it. As long as it tastes good and you bring enough to share, it goes on the giant table.
BUILD YOUR OWN COBB SALAD BAR: Because you can cram so much good stuff in a Cobb Salad, the customization options are limitless. Everyone gets the perfect, tailor-made salad. Awesome, especially if you’re feeding a lot of people. Just imagine a real salad bar in someone’s living room…
Dungeness crab: This is actually a Wolfe family tradition, so I thought I’d throw it on the proposal pile. We were just a family of three so cooking a whole bird didn’t make sense unless we were guests at someone’s house. Dungeness crabs are a staple in San Francisco, so they became our holiday dinner to take home. A few crabs, a good loaf of sourdough bread, and some condiments… THAT is a great meal in my book.
GRILLED SALMON: Another popular answer was one of my favorites. Grilled salmon is a great option for anyone who has pescetarian guests. Quality salmon is easy to find and doesn’t require much prep or cooking time. That’s a bonus to an already busy holiday.
Montana Cookbooks by Montana Authors: Cooking and Recipes
Montana Chefs and Home Cooks offer award-winning recipes that are uniquely Montana. Cookbooks can be found on almost every culinary dish, from bison barbecues to extensive gourmet recipes. Good food and hearty recipes have been a Montana tradition for generations.