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Our Italian Thanksgiving, served with love

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is all about families coming together to share a meal of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. It's a day when you reflect and give thanks. For our family, it's all that and so much more.

It all starts in the morning, when most of my family watches the parade. Sometimes, my brother and dad compete in one of the local turkey trots. Then it's off to my cousin's house. Everybody contributes to the menu so nobody is left doing all the work for 25 people.

Our Italian Thanksgiving meal has many courses. We start with an antipasto, which has lots of cheeses and meats. There is also tons of bread. Then comes the pasta. By then, everyone is moaning and groaning that they're stuffed, but it's amazing how they keep on eating.

With the turkey come sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, salad, vegetables, assorted breads, stuffed mushrooms and, of course, stuffed artichokes. After a little breather, the desserts start rolling out of the kitchen. Of course, there are the traditional pies -- apple and pumpkin -- but then there are lots of cannoli, cupcakes, cookies and cakes.

The food is great, but the best part of the day is the time we spend together. From the youngest at 6 to the oldest at 81, we sit around and talk, laugh and enjoy each other.

We watch the football games, play cards and chat some more -- it's time well spent together. This day truly reminds me of how thankful I am for my family.

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