Make It Yourself This Thanksgiving: Forget the box and prepare these four dishes from scratch

This might be the year you’re sick of eating food out of a box and are trying to cook more foods from scratch with whole (or mostly whole) ingredients. Forget the box, right? Prior to the explosion of food science in the mid-20th century, home cookers prepared dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, and stuffing from scratch.

Granted, they missed out on the unique delight of sliding out a jellied roll of cranberry sauce onto a gilded-edge tea saucer and slicing into it with a butter knife.

Also, because they didn’t have the convenience of prepared, packaged foods, they weren’t as aware of the self-satisfaction that acts as a reward for making foods from scratch. It was just the way it was done. Now? Cooking something from scratch makes your grandmother or mother proud, because they didn’t think “you had it in ya.”

If you’re unaccustomed to preparing multiple dishes at once, try preparing some of these dishes early, or only tackling one or two made-from-scratch dishes this time around.

Personally, I’m not a fancy or smart chef. I can barely follow a recipe. Because of this, I rely on cookbooks and web searches to get me around the kitchen (and, even with that guidance, I hurt myself and mess up food all the time).

Here are four recipes from some of my trusted sources:

Turkey Gravy from The Kitchn

Cranberry Sauce from A Less Processed Life

Dinner Rolls from The Pioneer Woman

Bread Stuffing from Betty Crocker

And to think! You have two weeks to pep-talk yourself into awesome homemade Thanksgiving mode.


Jenna Beaulieu

About Jenna Beaulieu

Jenna is a writer and fine art photographer who recently moved from the Saint John Valley region to Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island. She’s a fan of excellent music, homemade gravy, and colored pencils (also, short books and long books, good pens, flannel, and when the June bugs don’t really come out much that year). For more about Jenna and her work, visit her website at