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Dallasites Share Their Favorite Memories and Dishes of Thanksgiving

What is one of your most prominent Thanksgiving memories? Much like the Griswold’s, we host and invite the whole family, both my side and my wife Melissa’s. The parents-in-law could not be any more different. Mine are formal, timely, punctual and expect everyone else to value time in the same manner. Melissa’s are free and easy, not worried about start or ending times for anything, and go with the flow. My mom’s patience and tact run in shorter supply with each passing year, especially with concern to her ability to cope with the stress factors generated by the in-laws.

Cue scene: The family is nearing Thanksgiving dinner time. My mom’s blood pressure is rising consistently throughout the day as we near mealtime. Fluster and frustration abound as she painstakingly herds all family members together for the premeal blessing. At last, the family is gathered together and bow their heads to say thanks. Fifteen seconds into the blessing and bam … Tony Basil’s “Oh, Mickey” begins playing at full level on the phone of my father-in-law, who also happens to be named Mickey.

My father-in-law is hard of hearing, so the volume level was shockingly loud and in classic Mick fashion, he demonstrates zero initiative to move quickly to silence the phone. Or perhaps he didn’t know how, but it didn’t matter. With each passing note, my mom’s face became a deeper shade of red until she could no longer take it and yelled, “turn off the damn phone.” Her anger [was] only matched by the hilarity the rest of us saw in the moment. So tense. An instant classic Thanksgiving moment that many of us (barring my mom of course) have laughed about every year since.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Our family has had the same cranberry salad every Thanksgiving and Christmas since before I was born, and the tradition continues to this day. My mom put together a family cookbook late last century and included the recipe. Interesting notes: My mom spellchecked the entire book prior to publishing, except apparently the cover, and the cookbook became the stuff of legends. The recipe also references the origin of the recipe and includes my Thanksgiving/Christmas turkey cooking notes, including the uncomfortable tradition of naming our turkey. The salad is fantastic, looks amazing and is undoubtedly the dish that most represents the holidays for the Peticolas clan.