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Oct 27, 2016 12:41PM

from the editor

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Gary Krambeck / Radish
Radish editor Laura Anderson Shaw
We have an ongoing joke in my family that Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be Thanksgiving dinner if we didn't have to cut the burned part off of the bottom of the dinner rolls.

Every year on Thanksgiving, my mother wakes up at the crack of dawn to start tidying up the house and preparing the family feast. There are dishes such as stuffing and mashed potatoes, and of course, a giant turkey. Other family members contribute to the meal, too. My aunt, for instance, brings the pumpkin and cherry pies, and a dessert salad my grandmother used to make. My mother-in-law brings her green bean casserole. And I bring my appetite. (I'm a lot better at vacuuming and setting the table than I am at cooking!)

We often have a handful of friends join us, too. If any friend or family member needs a place to go on Thanksgiving, they have a seat at one of our tables. The group of us gathers around a large, antique dining room table, a nearby card table which often gets dubbed "the kids' table," and around the table in the kitchen. A couple of stragglers might also take their plates into the living room, or attempt to eat at my niece's miniature princess folding table.

Last year, I sat halfway up the staircase that faces mom's dining room. By the time I had finished running around and doing this and that, most of the chairs were taken. But it was the best seat in the house. For a few moments, I got to take it all in.

As the meal went on, the room swelled with laughter. Giant bowls were passed from here and there, kids crawled underneath the table, and people reminisced about the time my mom dropped the infamous dessert salad all over the kitchen floor after my grandmother had spent hours hand-placing cherries and marshmallows, or the streak of time where it seemed as though we couldn't have a family gathering without someone breaking the chair they were sitting in.

As my family and friends filled their plates with the delicious, home-cooked food and buttered their potatoes, they sliced the burned parts off of the bottoms of their rolls, pulled them in half and buttered them, too. It didn't matter one bit if the rolls were burned because we were together. That's what the holidays are really all about, aren't they?

This month in Radish, we have a handful of stories to help you make the most of your time with your friends and family. On page 14, you'll find a story about an upcoming class the Milan Hy-Vee and the University of Illinois Extension are hosting to offer strategies to lighten up your holiday fare and stay active throughout the season, as well as a few recipes of dishes you can try at home. On page22, you'll find a host of games you can play with your friends and family around the table before or after a meal.

Wherever you find yourself this month, we're happy you've snagged a copy of Radish to spend a little time with us, too. Cheers to the month ahead!

— Laura Anderson Shaw

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