TG Day Conversation: Paula Deen’s Smashed Potato, Parsnips & Rutabaga Goodness!

Thanksgiving Day should be a time of enjoyment with friends and family. I’ve had several questions come in from readers regarding mealtime conversation and relationships in general. Holidays can be hard or they can be easy, but I think it’s surprising how hard they are on most people. Many people have difficult family or friends in their lives and they’ve learned how to suck it up, even though it weighs heavily on their minds.

How do you keep conversation going and make sure that everyone is included?

Many people fear conversation. And as I share in a chapter on this topic in my new book, I believe pre-planning a few questions in advance can really help with the flow of conversation around the table.

For Thanksgiving Day, here are a few easy questions to ask your guests:

1. What are you thankful for?

2. Share an experience you had this past year where you felt truly grateful for something unusual?

3. Share a childhood Thanksgiving memory that you are fond of?

Here’s a question many of us ask: How do you deal with someone who’s always critical?

It’s true, sometimes there’s a “bad apple” in the group who’s always negative.

1. Learn to steer the conversation in a different direction.
2. Seat the negative person between 2 positive people.
3. Pull them aside and ask them to curtail their negative comments (for the day – purdy please?). Sometimes people just need to be made aware of their negativism.
4. Learn from their negative attitude and become a more positive person yourself.

I want to share one of my favorite Thanksgiving Day recipes with you today. It’s a bit “out of the box” from your traditional potatoes, but as an Irish Family, it’s perfect for our day.

Smashed Potato, Parsnips and Rutabaga
Recipe courtesy from Paula Deen

Prep Time:25 min Inactive Prep Time:– Cook Time:12 min
Serves: 10 to 12 servings

8 cups quartered red potatoes
4 cups chopped and peeled parsnip
1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons salt, divided
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large Dutch oven, combine potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, onion, and 2 tablespoons salt; add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Add remaining salt, cream cheese, butter, and a dash of pepper. Mash together.

I’d love to hear what typically happens around your table on Thanksgiving Day.

Do you put thought into your mealtime conversation, or does it just flow?

(Feel free to email me any questions that you may have and I will try to give you a personal email back.)

11 comments on “TG Day Conversation: Paula Deen’s Smashed Potato, Parsnips & Rutabaga Goodness!”

  1. My dear- those potatoes look divine! Yours seem to have a whipped quality to them- I know the recipe calls for mashed but do you think I could get away with a stand mixer on low (don’t want to interrupt the integrity of the other veggies)?

    • Oh, yes. Would totally work. That’s what I used … Nice and chunky and flavorful. Don’t you just love Paula Deen? :) Have a great TG Jessi!

  2. I love mashed potatoes with either sweet potatoes or turnips mixed in. Thanks for the conversation ideas. We are having our first Thanksgiving with my mother-in-law after losing both her parents this summer and these questions will help build new memories and traditions. My family always does a Thanksgiving tree with our thanksgivings written on paper leaves.

  3. can we just say YUM!!! They look AND sound divine!! Especially with the cream cheese (C:

    I think more often conversation just flows for us. Those who are difficult or negative often choose not to come and join us )C: which both saddens me, but is fine as well. It’s their choice.

  4. YUM!
    And…I just read about your Balcony Girls…How Awesome!

  5. Love your ideas for getting the conversation going around the Thanksgiving table. I’ve thought about investing in some of those “conversation starter cards” even just for our Sunday family dinners. You are always full of wisdom my dear……

  6. Oh my word those potatoes look amazing! I’m still in disbelief that Thanksgiving is next week! Great conversation ideas, I’m going to have to keep them in mind this year (although my family-or Chad’s, never seems to lack in communication) Ha!

  7. The recipe sounds so great… just enough of a change from the norm. I like the idea of having the conversation flow… but being prepared when/if needed to intervene. We are hosting this year for the first time and are looking forward to placing 5 kernels of corn on each plate & asking what 5 things each guest is thankul for.

  8. This recipe looks like a great alternative to mashed potatoes and I just sent it off to my mom to see what she thinks about us making this next week. We have cooked turnips, potatoes, and carrots together in the past which is also a very tasty combination but something to keep in mind is that despite the denser consistency of turnips they have more moisture than potatoes so less milk is usually in order.
    I’m fairly well prepared for hosting our Thanksgiving; cleaning will be the real chore coming up.
    Sandy, or anyone else who wants to answer this: I am wondering if suggestion 3 on curbing negativity at the table also can be used when it comes to game time after dinner? A adult member of my extended family tends to get loud and surly with us when things don’t go the way they think they should and its really uncomfortable, not to mention makes others upset when we’re supposed to be having a good time.

  9. Those vegetables mixed together look delicious. I’ve eaten rutabaga since I was little, I just love it! Rutabaga and potatoes together in a meal have become a comfort food/meal for me. I think there are so many people who are unfamiliar with rutabaga. But they don’t know what they’re missing!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! And to all the commenters here, too :)

  10. Pingback: Food Blog Holiday Recipes: Thanksgiving 2010 Round-Up & Fall Favorites — Family Fresh Cooking

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