“I moved to the Bay Area from Arizona for college in 1982. I didn’t have the money to drive home for Thanksgiving, so I did my first Thanksgiving solo in the dorm kitchen. I called my grandma for advice and she explained how to use stale white bread for the filling. Well, sourdough bread was a revelation! I brought home a loaf of bread for Christmas and she has never looked back. For years I carried or sent home a loaf of sourdough. She even changed her recipe card! It’s long gone, but the card—and the filling—remain.” — Elizabeth Dahlhoff, San Francisco
“I forget every year how often the Californian weather gods treat us to a combination of bright sunshine, clear skies and invitingly warm temperatures on Thanksgiving. The added glow of fall foliage and just the right amount of freshness in the air has consistently inspired my family to leave home and hearth for a holiday picnic by the sea.
My favorite Thanksgiving memories are of food-laden, hand-hewn tables at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, where we not only celebrated as a family, but also among a sociable community of visitors who, like us, gravitate to the shore to give thanks. ” — Brandi Katz, Flavors
“Even though I was born in California, I’ve inherited a cosmopolitan international tradition for Thanksgiving dinners. Each year we choose a different country as our theme, a kind of homage that seems appropriate to this state with its vibrant immigrant culture and diversity. This year it’s the country of Turkey, with pomegranate and sumac glaze for the turkey and kabak tatlisi squash with walnuts for dessert. We’ve done Japan, Greece, Italy, Spain, India and many more. It’s great fun and I can assure everyone that tandoori turkey is amazing!” — Alexandra Devarenne, Petaluma
“My husband and I moved to Palm Springs from Wisconsin a few years ago. When we moved far away and our children were already grown, we started a new tradition:
Instead of preparing/eating a Thanksgiving dinner, we celebrate gratitude in other ways. Each year I send letters to about 10 friends and neighbors offering to bake them an apple pie for their Thanksgiving celebration. I make the pies from my grandmother’s recipe, which once won me first prize at the Dane County Farmers’ Market in Madison. I bake the cakes to show my gratitude for their year-round friendship and ask for two things in return: that they pass on the favor in some way (to friends, family, or strangers) and that they return my cake plate as Im I can do it all again next year.” — Robin Worth, Palm Springs