Thanksgiving Traditions: From Blue Potatoes to Dime-Studded Stuffing | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Traditions: From Blue Potatoes to Dime-Studded Stuffing

Posted By on Tue, Nov 26, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Alice Levitt with the turkeys her family kept as pets.
  • Alice Levitt with the turkeys her family kept as pets.
Beneath all the turkey and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving is really about family traditions. Some rituals are simple — watching football or taking a long walk before dessert — but others, if you stop to think about them, are truly bizarre.

In my family, for example, we put dimes in the stuffing.

According to my mom, the tradition began with her great uncle George, a prominent banker in Salem, Mass., who used to hide silver dollars in his Thanksgiving stuffing. The ritual is similar to the English custom of tucking money into the Christmas pudding. 

Each Turkey Day when my grandfather, Jake, was growing up, he'd spend the meal scouring the stuffing for that lucky silver dollar. Unfortunately, though, Uncle George's loot-hiding practice came to an end when he lost all his money in the Great Depression.

When my mom was growing up, her grandmother, Roma, revived the tradition, sterilizing the coins in boiling water first. "Somewhere along the line," my mom recalls, "the silver dollars were downsized to dimes." But Roma made sure to sprinkle a whole bunch of them in the stuffing, "so everyone got a prize," mom says. 

The dimes continued all through my growing up. When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of warning our guests not to choke on their stuffing. And I remember the muffled clink of the coin, partially covered in cornbread, as my brother and I raced to make the biggest pile on the side of our plates.

Kids VT copublisher Colby Roberts and his family start off the Thanksgiving meal with a funny little ceremony. "We have a traditional simultaneous celebratory bite of turnip every year," he says. "We call it 'The Turnip Bite.'" Actually, the veggie they all chomp down on in unison is mashed rutabaga, but when Roberts was growing up his parents got the name wrong — and it stuck. Now Roberts says his three daughters can't wait to do the Turnip Bite each year.

Read on for some more weird and wonderful Thanksgiving traditions from the Kids VT and Seven Days staff. 

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About The Author

Megan James

Megan James

Megan James began writing for Seven Days in 2010, first as Associate Arts Editor. She later became an editor for Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT, and is currently a freelance contributor.

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