The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 17, 2013

A fun Thanksgiving centerpiece can be the talk of the holiday meal

A fun Thanksgiving centerpiece can be the talk of the holiday meal

My family has never been one to spend a lot of time around a holiday table enjoying a meal.

My mother will spend hours in the kitchen on Thanksgiving preparing all of our favorites — turkey and stuffing, of course, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy from scratch, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, rolls, pies … the list is as long as the nap I take afterward.

But the minute we sit down to eat, talking ceases and we eat like starving pilgrims for a grand total of 10 minutes before we start to clear. Which is why I don't really have a whole lot of memories of holiday meals past; they're over too quickly to remember much of anything.

I do, however, remember holiday gatherings from my childhood, and many have to do with the centerpieces on the table. My grandmother and mother liked to do creative things with food items.

Palm trees were fashioned from a carrot and half of a green pepper. Christmas trees were created using a Styrofoam cone, with green and red Maraschino cherries and cocktail shrimp tooth-picked to its surface. Boats were created from watermelon rinds.

So in the spirit of adding a little something extra to the Thanksgiving table this year — and maybe finally adding an adulthood holiday-meal memory to the bank — here are several DIY centerpieces I'm thinking of trying out.

Turkey tiers

Six words: Three tiers of chocolately, turkey cupcakes.

1. Take a smaller cake stand and place it on top of a larger cake stand in the center of your Thanksgiving Day table.

2. Bake up two dozen chocolate cupcakes (a box mix is fine).

3. Spread a layer of chocolate frosting over each. At the back of each cupcake, insert a row or two of candy corn (about 12), with the pointy ends facing out. The candy corn acts as the turkey's feathers.

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