Thanksgiving - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Submitted by Judy on Sat, 11/23/2013 - 10:19am.

I’m scared. I’ve been toying with the idea of making all new dishes for Thanksgiving this year, but I keep hearing that old mantra in my head: “You don’t mess with Thanksgiving!” Why fix something that’s not broken?

Former long-time Fullerton resident, Linda Gomberg, seconds the notion. The five Gomberg children and their four spouses, plus 12 grandchildren, will gather in the Gomberg home, as they do every year, to enjoy a menu that seldom varies.

“One time I switched out and bought a different kind of squash for my apple stuffed squash, and they went crazy,” she recalled. “I have so many people, and they all know what to expect.”

Daughter-in-law Glenda will bring the mashed potatoes. Daughter-in-law Carolyn will make her fat-free, sugar-free pumpkin pie. Linda will serve two kinds of stuffing with homemade croutons.

“I stuff the bird with giblet stuffing and make an extra vegetable stuffing with no drippings for my vegetarian granddaughter,” she added.

“(Husband) Ray likes candied sweet potatoes, and I love turkey, especially the wings. I buy extra wings and legs and have been making it the same way for forty years.” Green beans with almonds rounds out the menu.

“We’ve got one diabetic, one fat-watcher, various weight-conscious people and a vegetarian,” Linda noted.

The weight-conscious will need all their will power to resist the desserts: “I’ll make a chocolate fudge pie, pecan pie, key lime pie, and I always do a chocolate chip bundt cake. I buy a sugar-free apple or cherry pie.”

But Thanksgiving dinner is just the beginning of the Gomberg celebration. On Friday the whole gang (all 23 of them) will take off for Desert Springs, leftovers in coolers, as they have been doing for years, for a weekend of family fun. Full story with recipe

“We get eight rooms for the children and their families plus a hospitality suite,” she said. “Friday night we call the Gomberg Hanukkah and Casino Night. We have a big party in the hospitality suite, which is basically a room service buffet, and again the same menu every year. We eat the leftovers from this dinner and the Thanksgiving dinner all weekend.”

The Gombergs have been hosting this retreat for 25 years. “In all that time we have never had bad weather,” she recalled. “They’ve got pony rides on the lawn, apple bobbing and caramel apple making for the kids. There’s just so much to do.”

The Thanksgiving and early Hanukkah weekend celebration began when the first of the Gomberg children got married. “We bring out our Chicago kids, and everyone knows Thanksgiving is our holiday. It’s the one time all year when we know we will all be together.”

There is one holiday gift that never varies as well. “I give each one a calendar for the coming year with everyone’s birthday and anniversary as well as the special events we will be celebrating that year.” Linda uses a Hallmark program to create a personal family calendar filled with photos from the past year’s celebrations.

I asked Linda why she selected the squash recipe for this story. “It’s the only thing I know of that most people don’t do,” she told me. She adapted the recipe from an ancient community cookbook of at least 35 years’ vintage, and the copy she gave me sports the requisite splatter stains to prove its constant use!

From The Orange County Register/Fullerton News Tribune November 19, 2009


10 small acorn squash
8 to 10 apples, peeled and diced
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 to 2 1/2 cups orange juice
1 1/2 to 2 cups brown sugar

Streusel topping:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon, or to taste

1. Pierce squash with a fork and microwave (two at a time) on high until soft, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through. Let cool. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Combine apples, butter, orange juice and brown sugar. Fill squash halves. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes or until apples are soft.

4. Streusel: Cut butter into dry ingredients with pastry blender or fork. Sprinkle or pat streusel mixture over apple stuffing and bake, uncovered, until brown. Serves 20