Impress your guests with a homemade - and edible - centerpiece.recipe and craft: Luci Stoddard
My whole family loves Thanksgiving, but it is definitely my husband’s favorite.
He always thought it was the best holiday, since it revolves around family and food (sometimes in that order, sometimes the other way around) and doesn’t require any gift giving. This may also be because for many years, his job for the holiday was carving the turkey - and watching football.In our family, my cousin and I take turns with Christmas dinner, but Thanksgiving has traditionally been at our house. This has presented a challenge, as I thoroughly enjoy cooking and baking and don’t want to have the entire menu the same year after year. Of course, some things must never change because, as my daughter says, “they are tradition!” So year after year, the stuffing, fresh cranberry sauce and the yams with the little marshmallows can never be altered. Dishes may be added, but never taken away. One year we wound up with three potato dishes because I wanted to try something new, but couldn’t take away the two we already had! We had a large crowd that year anyway.
When she was growing up, my daughter made the dinner special by designing homemade place cards for everyone. Each year they were different, ranging from cut out pictures of Disney characters, to drawings of pumpkins or turkeys, to construction paper frames with each person’s picture inside. They were always unique, and everyone enjoyed taking them home with them. It’s also a fun craft that will entertain the kids while you are cooking!
One year I made an eye-catching, edible cornucopia that I would like to share with you.
It isn’t hard to make, but it does take a little patience to get the aluminum form just right; however, as you can see from the photos, it's worth the extra effort to really wow the crowd with a homemade centerpiece. (See the finished product in the photo above!)
2 tube cans of refrigerated breadstick dough
Glaze – 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Filling, your choice: assorted vegetables, rolls and breadsticks, or fruit and nuts.
Start by heating your oven to 350. Lightly spray a large cookie sheet, or use non-stick foil to cover bottom.
Then, make a form for the cornucopia: tear off a large sheet of foil (approximately 30 inches) and fold it in half. Roll the foil diagonally to form a hollow cone. I find it helpful to use a bowl in the beginning to wrap the foil around to get started.
Add more foil to the end of the cone, wrapping it around to desired length. About 12 to 14 inches is a good size. It will then fit on a large platter for your display.
Fill in the opening of the form with crumpled up pieces of foil to keep it sturdy. When it is all ready, spray the form lightly with nonstick cooking spray and place it on the cookie sheet. Open one can of dough on work surface and separate the breadsticks. Leave 3 breadsticks aside for the braid. Starting at small end, begin wrapping the breadsticks around the form, brushing with the egg mixture to attach each one to the next. (Use as many cans as needed) Continue this spiral wrapping, slightly overlapping the breadsticks until the entire form is covered.
Braid the remaining 3 breadsticks. I have also cut each breadstick in half and made two braids, so it went all the way around the form. Brush around the opening with the egg mixture before attaching the braid, and then continue to brush the entire cornucopia with the glaze.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until bread is a rich brown. (Check at 30 minutes, if some parts are getting too brown, cover them with pieces of foil)
Remove from oven and let cool completely. Remove the foil (carefully) when it is cool.
This can be frozen – just leave it in the foil form, and then remove the foil when it has completely thawed.
This year is an especially trying time for many families. Many husbands and sons are fighting in Iraq, and the economy has everyone worried. But I hope we all have some things we can take joy in and be thankful for. For our freedom and our country, for being able to voice our opinions and votes, whatever they may be, and mostly, for our families and loved ones. Our children grow up so fast and our elders pass away. Let’s give thanks for our lives right now.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!