11/17/2014 02:01 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I'll Take Turkey Over Tofu, Thank You

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Thanksgiving is next week and I'm not flummoxed about what to fix. I'm a true admirer of tradition, so I'll stuff a fresh turkey with dressing that contains only bread cubes, celery, butter, water chestnuts and fresh herbs and spices. I'll baste it with more butter as it roasts in the oven, and then I'll be profoundly thankful to share and eat it.

I'm not a huge fan of creative changes to standards recipes. Feel free to enjoy baked tofu and cauliflower, but I'll choose the real mashed potatoes, thank you. Bon Appétit's website, always offers alterations to traditional holiday dishes. A current article includes recipes for cranberry wasabi (nope) and a red wine gravy reduction over a popular green bean recipe (double nope). My only wine reduction will come from my glass into my mouth.

I admire people who can concoct tantalizing new dishes and incorporate different ingredients to create new, delicious recipes. I'll even try some vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, low-carb, non-alcoholic and low-fat meals, but please don't criticize me when I finish my customary Thanksgiving feast with a platter of warm pecan pie with soft ice cream and a glass of wine. I just want to remain true to my heritage.

For Christmas Eve, I always prepare prime rib, rubbed with curry, fresh garlic, ginger and course black pepper. I serve it with poppy seed potatoes, as I have for the past 20 years. There won't be any deviations from these two recipes, but others are welcome to bring something new and fancy. We'll enjoy every bite.

I get a bit emotional around the holidays when my family comes together for meals, and this year we'll have an empty chair at the table. But there will be commotion at the kid's table, and the adults will vie for the last turkey leg. It's traditional.