Wednesday, December 07, 2016

What's a "Relish" Dish?

Thanksgiving traditions are changing as time goes by, but we still gathered with the Horsman family the Saturday after Thanksgiving for a big feast. This time we gathered at Kathy's home, and our family planned to drive down and back in the same day, since Millie's house is no longer available to stay.

My sister-in-law Kathy did all the planning and most of the cooking. She asked everyone who came to bring a side dish -- the specific request for me was a "relish" dish.

A relish dish?
What to fill these with?
Now, I know what relish dishes looked like that my mother put together back in the 70's and 80's. They were small little glass dishes with partitions in them. She would fill them with things like black olives, pickled green beans or pickled beets and little tiny Gedney pickles that apparently weren't tiny enough, because she would also slice them in half.

The relish trays were dutifully passed around the table with the rest of the feast, and would come back to the kitchen with only the black olives missing. Turns out Kristi used to put a black olive on each finger, wave them around for a bit and then eat them off. I remember having to use the tiniest tongs I'd ever seen in my life to pick up the itty bitty pickles and put them back in the jar, because they were mostly untouched.

I always assumed that's what a relish tray was -- food you served with meals that didn't really belong with the meal that no one really ate.

But now I was being asked to bring a relish tray to my sister-in-law's, to feed 27 people. So I had to ask all the sisters-in-laws: how do you define a relish tray?!

I got back suggestions of carrots and celery and dip (isn't that a veggie tray?). There was a suggestion of pickled herring or olives. Does pickled herring go with anything? Although that response did confirm my initial suspicion that a relish tray is filled with food you don't actually eat.

I decided to bring a veggie tray, cranberry jelly and another traditional side dish from my childhood, spiced apple rings.

Most of the spiced apple rings went back in the jar, but some of the cranberry jelly went. And veggies are always a healthy nibble, so those stayed out long after the feast had been put away.

I also learned that "crudités" is the fancy French word for a veggie tray. So next time I can just tell people "I'm bringing the crudités" and they'll wonder what I'm bringing and who this fancy-pants sister-in-law of theirs is.

Cousins playing pass the creepy baby.

How old, Kayla?!

Bear proves that he can sleep anywhere, including between two talking adults.

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