Join us at everyone's favorite holiday feast.

Our Staff's Best Thanksgiving Menu
(serves 8)


The aromas of turkey, pork loins, dressing, and sweet potatoes announce magnificent Thanksgiving meals for taste testing as our Foods staff prepares for each November issue of Southern Living. We salivate at the feasts spread before us, and we share with each other our own holiday traditions.


Our own styles, we have found, are as varied as those of our readers. Some of us choose a casual approach, while others celebrate Thanksgiving as the most formal meal of the year. But we all agree that great food--and lots of it--is the must on this day of days.

Jan Moon of our Test Kitchens staff says formality sets the tone for her family's celebration. "We all get dressed up, and Mother uses linen napkins, china, crystal, and silver. All the family members bring the dishes, assuring that the meal will be bountiful. It's the one time of year we can count on everyone being there," she says. "We're always together on Thanksgiving, no matter what."

The family of Vie Warshaw, another Test Kitchens staff member, has always enjoyed a casual feast. Now Vie gathers with her children, often traveling up North to her daughter's home where there might be beef tenderloin in addition to the turkey. "As in most families, food is the focus of this very special day," she says. "We eat, put it away, relax for a while, then pull it out again."

Taking a cue from Vie and others, we devised a meal served in a casual setting. Pork loin offers a flavorful alternative or addition to turkey. And serve dinner on china with silver utensils if you prefer; it will taste wonderful either way. 


Staples on Hand

  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried thyme
  • Rubbed sage
  • Ground allspice
  • Ground ginger
  • Lemon pepper
  • Self-rising flour
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Dijon mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Grocery




  • 8 large garlic cloves
  • 1 (1-pound) bag parsnip
  • 6 large turnips
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 large rutabaga
  • 6 large beets
  • 2 pounds green beans
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 6 medium-size sweet onions
  • 3 bunches green onions
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 12 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons lemon juice




  • 2 (12-ounce) jars orange marmalade
  • 1 (16-ounce) package herb-seasoned stuffing mix
  • 5 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup bourbon




  • 6 sticks butter or margarine
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • 1 pint buttermilk
  • 1 (3-ounce) package shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts




  • 1(4- to 5-pound) rolled boneless pork loin roast
  • 2 bacon slices (optional 2 tablespoons butter)




  • 2 pints homemade-style vanilla ice cream