Turkey, Gravy and Vegetable Juice?? Thanksgiving Traditions

By: Katherine Doble-Cannata

As kids, my brother, sister and I dreaded the beginning of Thanksgiving dinner, all because of the small glass of thick, red vegetable juice expectantly perched at each of our place settings.  Each year we were cruelly expected to drink it all (by Mami) before diving into the mashed potatoes and stuffing, whining and complaining through each sip

That is, until I reached Kindergarten. That year I remember being shocked when I learned that V8 wasn’t part of a “normal” Thanksgiving menu.  How could the Pilgrims not have had cans of vegetable juice?  When I eagerly questioned the tradition, I discovered that no one knew when or how it came to be in our family: it just was.  And so the pre-Thanksgiving meal mandate continued until my usually non-rebellious sister put her foot down at age 8, at which point it became optional and eventually dropped off the menu completely.

Now, years later…I miss it.  Call it nostalgia—a desire to return to my youth or homage to the older generation that has now passed—but this year vegetable juice is back on the menu.  Of course my kids are going to put up a fight.  I can already hear my Tween daughter complaining.  But one day she just might miss that glass of V8 and recall with fondness those memories of collective whining with her siblings.  And so, for better or for worse, the vegetable juice tradition returns to our family.

When it comes to testy tweens- should we push our past traditions like this or should we allow them to create new ones? Share your ideas!


Cristy Clavijo-Kish

Cristy is the founder and publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, as well as the co-CEO & partner of DiMe Media, based in Miami. Born to Cuban parents, she’s a ‘Jersey Girl’ who is the proud mom of twin teens and wife to her college sweetheart, a “gringo” with a Latino soul! Cristy is also a teen cancer survivor, lover of travel, tech, good food, all-things beauty related, family cooking and social sharing.

3 thoughts on “Turkey, Gravy and Vegetable Juice?? Thanksgiving Traditions

  1. My dear Katherine, coming from your parents side of the background, I think the traditions were fused not pushed. When I came to America almost 30 years ago, I was determined to know and learn everything American, including making the whole spread of Thanksgiving feast. My first born Elisa was just a year when I actually prepared and embraced the Thanksgiving tradition. I made sure that she was there with me in the kitchen. But you know what, like any other Filipino feast, unconsciously I made our traditional food like pansit (noodles with veges and meat), eggrolls, our own version of lechon and leche flan as well. We took so many pictures of the turkey and sent it to friends and family back in the Philippines and here in the US. After that, the turkey was carved but left untouched. However, I persevered all through this years, roasting that turkey and making all the trimmings. This year, everyone of my close family and friends- specially our children are coming for turkey dinner and I’m looking forward to the filipino foods they’ll be bringing. I’m hoping Elisa and Michelle will carry and pass on with our Fil-Am thanksgiving tradition.

    • Elsie, That is such a great story! I have to applaud you for keeping your traditions. I am sure Elisa and Michelle will carry on the tradition and look back with fond memories. Also, pansit is DELICIOUS!! I need a recipe!

  2. I remember my parents and my entire family always made sure that we spend holidays together, my fondest memories was celebrating the holidays with my older cousins. They were my bro and sister not just my cousin. It wasn’t so much about grandma’s signature dish or Dads famous turkey. Our family was all about family and prayer.

    I hope to continue this one day when I have my own family. Now that my cousins have married and have their own children, which I am the God-Father of one I already have a tight knit family to bring children into.

    And that is what I am thankful for…

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