As both of our families gather together at Thanksgiving, and, really, no other time except maybe Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving will be the example that will be used to illustrate what I mean.
First, there are similarities that must be pointed out. Both of us have large extended families, and both of us see the members of the extended family on Thanksgiving. The food at these gatherings is traditional. Turkey, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, stuffing, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy. With her family, there is a pot-luck, where guests bring a dish, and typically the dishes are of the dessert variety. So, one year the gathering had carrot cake and fruit salad to go along with the other offerings, while somebody else brought a small casserole to serve. My family is much the same, although my mother makes all the main courses.
There is another difference, and that is that my family buys the processed and canned stuff, whereas her family does not. So, instead of real potatoes being used in the mashed potatoes, our mashed potatoes are from a box. Her mashed potatoes are actual potatoes which are put into a food processor with butter and sour cream to whip them up. Our gravy is from a jar; her gravy is made from scratch, from animal drippings, wine and flour. Our sweet potatoes are from a can; hers are made from actual sweet potatoes which are roasted and put through a food processor. Our cranberry sauce is from a can; hers are real cranberries, boiled and sweetened. Our pumpkin pie is made from canned pumpkin pie filling; hers is made from actual pumpkins. I used to think that her mother was Martha Stewart, but her mother insists that it is just as easy to make food homemade then to buy it from a can. At any rate, I spent one Thanksgiving with her, and I have to say, the difference in the two meals is amazing. I wish that my mother had as much ...