This year we partnered with Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm to create a Thanksgiving menu inspired by new recipes and old rituals. The farm’s chefs and artisans brought inventive dishes to the table, each with a personal twist. We talked to each of them about their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, as well as the inspiration behind their dishes — read on to hear their stories.
As Blackberry Farm’s baker, Krissy Blauvelt creates the artisan breads and pastries served in the resort’s dining room. She works in The Barn, a 14,000-square foot dining venue with a state-of-the-art bakery, where she’s been producing mouthwatering treats since 2004. For our Thanksgiving menu, she created these beautiful Sage Popovers with Blackberry Farm’s own Smoked Onion Jam.
Tell us about your Thanksgiving family traditions: What’s on the menu? Who cooks what?
My husband is a chef, and since I usually work at the hotel on Thanksgiving, he makes everything. We don’t have family in the area so it’s usually just my two kids, my husband and myself. He works in the kitchen all day, preparing the meal for us to enjoy once I get home. Our most recent tradition is to invite other team members from Blackberry Farm that don’t have family close to come over and join us for dinner. Sometimes we have company and sometimes we don’t, but the meal is always wonderful.
What do you look forward to eating all year long? What’s the recipe that always has to be on the table?
I look forward to eating our sweet potato biscuits that we make at the hotel on Thanksgiving. At home, the recipe that is always on the table is a dessert “salad” called cherry salad. It is very sweet and something my mom made for my sister and me when we were little. It still makes an appearance at Thanksgiving or Christmas, usually whichever holiday my sister and mother and I are able to spend together.
How important is tradition to your holiday meal? How have your traditions changed over the years?
The only traditional things on our Thanksgiving table are the turkey and the wine. Even our turkey has changed over the years from roasted in the oven, to then frying, and the latest, which was smoked. It looked and tasted delicious!
What makes your Thanksgiving meal uniquely your own?
Our meals are unique because we never have the same things. My husband works in a research and development kitchen, so he is always trying a new recipe or technique. It also always changes by the company we have and the dishes they bring to share.
Do you have any highlights from past Thanksgivings? Most poignant moment, the biggest kitchen disaster, the substitution that saved the day, etc.?
My most fond memory from a recent Thanksgiving actually wasn’t about the food but the decorations. My kids set the table and thought we needed more festive decorations, so we made pilgrim and Indian hats and a big cardboard turkey. On the feathers, we wrote what we were thankful for. I thought my kids would write toys or candy, but instead they surprised us with really thoughtful comments.
What was the inspiration behind the Sage Popovers you created for the Williams-Sonoma/Blackberry Farm Thanksgiving menu? How does it compliment the philosophy of Blackberry Farm?
We took seasonal inspiration and it with some wonderful local ingredients to create the bread on the menu.
What are your top bread suggestions for the Thanksgiving meal?
In the past at Blackberry we have used a wild rice bread to make stuffing that we mix with cornbread, too. It seems to be a real crowd pleaser. My suggestions would be white bread, cranberry rye, or sorghum onion bread. Basically, something simple and another more complex option. Either way, something you can make a great sandwich on later!