Greedy Girl Cooks for Thanksgiving - Food writer shares favourite recipes
From detailed meal preparation to indulging in turkey, stuffing and other delightful dishes, Thanksgiving, for many, is a long-standing tradition of celebrating love and food with family and friends who are like family. One person who looks forward to that special occasion is Chantay Campbell Neil.
“I make a really good sausage and cornbread stuffing. I love it because it’s sweet, full of sage, thyme; it has loads of carrots, celery, onion and garlic; it is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. It goes great with turkey and roasted chicken, and it tastes even better [as a] leftover,” the foodie extraordinaire reminisced, noting that there is another dish that is also a must-have on her table.
“[Curried] seafood and dumpling; my cousin in New York mandates that it’s on the Thanksgiving dinner table. It has boiled dumplings in there, along with whatever seafood we decide on; shrimp, lobster, crab and fish. It is amazing with mac and cheese,” she shared.
Her typical Thanksgiving spread includes four to five different types of meats ranging from turkey, chicken, pork, oxtail to curried seafood and dumpling, sometimes escoveitched fish, and another four to five side dishes, such as rice and peas, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, biscuits, salad and steam vegetables.
“I generally think of the flavours I enjoy and let the ingredients take the lead. So I will go to the grocery store and see potatoes and just go from there, or get inspired by some apples and herbs and go from there,” Campbell Neil disclosed of her recipe inspirations.
Going by the name Greedy Girl Cooks, her family has a long history of Thanksgiving celebrations.
“My late grandmother was the turkey and green bean casserole queen. My mother’s siblings live in the States, so Thanksgiving dinner has always been a long-standing tradition for them,” she said,
The food writer, recipes creator and photographer, who was born and raised in Jamaica, explained further that when she went on to study abroad in college, it became customary for her and her siblings to go to the family home in New York for the short Thanksgiving break, instead of flying to Jamaica.
When she returned to Jamaica, with her family still abroad, a new foodie tradition was born, with everyone making a trip to New York just for Thanksgiving.
But with the new normal restricting travel movements around the world, she was faced with no choice but to veto this year’s celebrations. Better to stay put and keep safe than travel, be sick and sorry.
“We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving if we are in Jamaica, but pre-COVID we would travel to New York during the season to spend it with family. It’s pretty much [like] Christmas Day, without the gifts. We cook all the same things, the only addition to the menu would be a turkey. The day is full of laughter and family and food.”
The mother of one, eager to have her daughter partake in this timeless tradition, was all too happy for that opportunity last year.
“Lizzie is just a year and a half, so she doesn’t really understand the concept of Thanksgiving; however, she does love food. Last year was her first Thanksgiving. We were in Canada. She had stuffing, turkey and squash, and loved it. When COVID gives us a break, we will get back to our travel for Thanksgiving dinner tradition,” she revealed.