A Washington Thanksgiving: Community Recipes from Our Table to Yours

Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what we are grateful for, and despite a challenging year many of us have lots to be thankful for. This year, we are bringing Washington together in spirit as we share Thanksgiving recipes from our community members from around town! For many of us, food and family traditions symbolize love and connection, so what better way to feel close as a community than share what makes each of our Thanksgivings special.

Corn Chowder

Enjoy this recipe by Dale Carson of the Abenaki tribe, contributed by Darlene Kascak of the Institute for American Indian Studies. This special corn chowder has been served at many IAIS events, to the delight of participants. The tribes of the First Nations of New England planted corn in household gardens and in more extensive fields adjacent to their villages. Corn was the staff of life and it was prepared in many different ways. Thankfully, these traditions carry on to today’s harvest meals.


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Helen’s Holiday Relish

Sometimes the best recipes are the simplest, like this one contributed by Michael Ackerman, owner of The Pantry, a Washington favorite. This recipe is from his mother, Helen, and Michael’s job as a small child was to turn the crank of the meat-grinder while she poured in the fresh ingredients! Such a lovely tradition and we’re delighted that he shared it with us.


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Rosemary Citrus Olives

We’ve enjoyed many a lazy afternoon on the patio of The Owl Wine & Food Bar in New Preston, enjoying these simple yet complex treats with a glass of wine. We thank Ryan Cangello of the Owl for sharing this delicious appetizer recipe to enjoy this holiday season. The perfect nibble while the turkey is cooking!


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Mole Spiced Nuts

A savory recipe from The Owl Wine & Food Bar that is well worth it with a little finesse and patience. The aroma of spices will fill your kitchen and they will surely be gobbled up quickly.


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Fluffy Cheddar Biscuits

Like Thanksgiving itself, Washington Food Market is a town tradition. Think of the generations of townsfolk who have bought the fixings for their Thanksgiving dinner over the last 100 years that the market has operated in the same location! This year, owner Lisa Stein shares with us her recipe for Fluffy Cheddar Biscuits.


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Fall Harvest Salad

A favorite recipe of G. Blane Withers, owner of Marty’s Cafe, this versatile and healthy seasonal dish can be served warm as a wrap or salad. This will make a perfect side dish or starter for your Thanksgiving feast.


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Local Fall Squash & Apple Bisque

The local, sustainable, and organic produce and specialties at The Smithy offer the perfect ingredients for Thanksgiving feasts. We’re excited to share their quintessential autumn harvest recipe featuring the bounty of the season from Joe Choniski of The Smithy.


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Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin

This is a favorite recipe for this time of year contributed by Maggie Colangelo of Flirtation Farms, mastermind and baker extraordinaire behind the newly reinvented Po Cafe on the Green. Maggie’s baking is sublime and we can’t wait to try this ourselves.


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Averill Farm Apple Pie

This traditional recipe from Jean Averill, 8th generation on the family farm was contributed by Susan Averill, 10th generation. This recipe calls for lots of apples and makes a full, thick pie. For the best flavor, combine several varieties of apples (from Averill Farm, of course!) Pressed for time? Run over to the farm and pick up your pies. We won’t tell!


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Pumpkin Maple Pie

Having a friend who loves to cook and entertain is something we can be thankful for! Our friend Kathy Giarrano, long time Washington resident, talented designer, and incredible cook AND baker contributed this wonderful seasonal recipe. Maple syrup adds a delicious twist on a traditional pumpkin pie. Enjoy!


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Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

This recipe was contributed by Adam Woodruff, Chief of Washington Ambulance Association (and local hero!). This fun recipe is based on how it was made it in the Scouts over a campfire in a Lodge cast iron pan – a nostalgic favorite.


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French Apple Tart

A festive and delicious rustic tart recipe that is quite easy, even for the novice baker, as it calls for packaged puff pastry. This foolproof recipe also includes an easy Pear Almond variation. Why not try both? Shared by the Explore Washington CT team.


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Recipes from the Archives

Thank you to Stephen Bartkus, curator of the Gunn Historical Museum, for reaching back into the museum archives to share these interesting recipes from Washington’s past, many handwritten and worn and splattered from frequent use.

Take a look at old Washington family recipes like Thanksgiving Cake, Washington Pie, 10-Minute Cranberry Sauce, Mrs. Stillson’s Coffee Cake, Alice Peck’s Ginger Snaps, Aunt Nellie’s Corn Muffins, Helen Ferrand’s Nut Bread, and How to Stuff a Turkey. (We’ll pass on Suet Pie and How to Dress a Calf’s Head). Let us know if you give any of these a try!


Want to add a new recipe to your repertoire to keep it lively this Thanksgiving?

Here are a few terrific seasonal cookbooks recommended by Fran Keilty of the Hickory Stick Bookshop (all are in stock!):

  • More Comfort Food – Ina Garten’s appealing side dishes
  • Pie for Everyone – Recipes and stories from Petee’s Pie in NYC
  • Vegan Holiday Cookbook – Special recipes by Katie Culpin

Spread the Gift of Giving: A message from our First Selectman

There is much to be thankful for at this time of year. It is also a time to consider those in need at Thanksgiving and during this holiday season. Please consider supporting our local organizations that help families get the food they need. Call Maryanne Greene or the Selectman’s office at 860-868-2259 for more information.

Local Organizations:

Thank you and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Calling all Washingtonians:

If you have a recipe you’d like to share with us so we can add to this collection of Washington recipes, please email us at [email protected].