My first Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

It is my favorite time of the year!  This is the time of the year to be especially thankful for what we have, and to the extent we can, to spend time with the people we love, and like, most in the world.    Thanksgiving!!   Did it come up too fast on you?  It has for me. However, I am happy it is here, and I am looking forward to spending time with my family.

I am one of four children.  When my siblings and I were young, we were encouraged to each choose something to contribute to the Thanksgiving dinner.  Yes, I mean cook.   These choices persisted through the years and have come to be our known signature dishes.   I make the Pumpkin Pie, my brother makes the Waldorf salad, and my two sisters make Homemade Mashed Potatoes and a vegetable dish such as Green Bean Casserole.  My mother has always prepared the Turkey and stuffing.  Now we are all adults, and have our own children, however, we continue to come together every Thanksgiving.  (Don’t ask me why we haven’t required cooking from our kids yet!)  For the past few years Thanksgiving has been a celebration at my home.   My siblings travel from a couple hours away to spend the day together as a family with us.   When I say we celebrate Thanksgiving at my home, I don’t actually mean on Thanksgiving Day when everyone else celebrates …. I mean, well, the day after.  We have a nifty arrangement where we celebrate on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day so that we can spend Thanksgiving Day with the other side of each family.  This allows us to eat as if it were Thanksgiving Day for two days in a row!   Pretty awesome concept, huh?

Our menu will be pretty much the same this year, as last year, or the year before, or the year before…. ….except, this year is the first year that gluten will be a factor.  I will need to eat gluten-free.  It is unlikely that all of the items at Thanksgiving will end up being gluten-free for me (I would never want to deny the rest of my family my sister in law’s rolls or my mother’s stuffing), but the pumpkin pie will definitely be gluten-free, as will the pumpkin cheesecake (which I have been making for the past several years.)   With a few changes to the way we do things, most of the menu can be gluten-free, while keeping the Colonial spirit of the meal.

The pumpkin pie I have made for the past forty some years is a Colonial Pumpkin Pie.  I pulled out the recipe from the recipe box today (amazingly I have not memorized it), and decided that if I was going to write about it in this blog, I needed to provide the actual source of the recipe.  Fortunately there is an interesting story to tell for this one.  When my sister was in elementary school, and studying Colonial America, she saw a promotional mailing for a cookbook that she thought would be good to read about what people ate in Colonial times in America.  She decided that my mother would like it, and proceeded to order it by mailing in the promotional card unbeknownst to my mother.  This large history book on American Cooking, Better Homes and Gardens Heritage Cookbook arrived in the mail soon thereafter with a  bill.  My mother did decide she liked it, and decided to keep it, with the caveat that no other items be ordered without her knowledge.  And my sister used the cookbook to learn more about Colonial Life from a culinary perspective. The cookbook has lots of historical information about what the Colonists ate and what their life was like and American cooking through the years.  The Colonial Pumpkin Pie recipe is on page 26.   On page 26 we discover for instance that “for the early colonists pumpkin was often the difference between survival and starvation.  It was fit only for peasants, said Europe.  But the colonists soon overcame this prejudice, and pumpkin became an almost daily staple in the New World.”  I find it amazing that many of us only eat pumpkin at Thanksgiving or in the Fall.  It should be a staple.  It is a superfood!


As I reviewed the Colonial Pumpkin Pie recipe, I discovered that, other than the pie crust, the pie filling can easily be gluten-free.  So, I will make the same recipe as I have always made and either use a gluten-free pie crust purchased from Whole Foods Grocery Store, or attempt to make one.  I have actually already stocked up on gluten-free pie crusts as a precaution prior to the holidays.  I would like to try to make one though.

This week I have spent some time doing web searches for information about cooking gluten-free at Thanksgiving and I have been collecting recipes, video tips on how to shop for a gluten-free Thanksgiving meal, and even have purchased, and have been perusing, an iPad app that just was released this week by which provides information on cooking a gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner.  I have created a new board  on Pinterest for only Thanksgiving information which you can find here: Please follow me on Pinterest if you are looking for ideas for yourself, or family members who will be dining with you at Thanksgiving.  I will continue to collect information related to Thanksgiving for the next week before Thanksgiving, and would appreciate any comments from readers with information that would be helpful.  I am finding Pinterest to be very useful for searching for recipes and gathering cooking information.  If you find any deals on gluten-free items for the holidays, Madame Deals would love to hear about them, so please send them our way.

Check out Turkey Recipes!

Katherine: I am a Stay at Home Mom. I have been married to my husband for 11 years and have a son who just turned 10. I have recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and have started cooking gluten-free meals for my family, which has been an enormous adventure and learning experience and I am eager to share all of my discoveries and tips with other families. Our family is also living with autism. My son has autism and seizure disorder, and we have been very involved with the use of applied behavioral analysis teaching at his wonderful school, and at home, since he was two.

– Katherine writes a weekly column about gluten-free information for MadameDeals.

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