Before I got married, my mother gave me a box of my grandmother's wedding china. With gold edges and a vintage wheat pattern, I wasn’t sure when I would be able to use that set in our modern, everyday newlywed life. I did, thankfully have enough sense to know that this was a special family heirloom, so I carefully packed it away, thinking it might be nice if I ever hosted a Thanksgiving meal.

A serving piece from my grandmother's wheat china

Then we moved away. For seven years my husband, children, and I lived in South America. Every Thanksgiving we did the best we could to recreate a traditional meal to feel a little less homesick on such a special day. There were years with roasted chicken instead of turkey, and pastel colored marshmallows on the sweet potatoes (that didn’t melt quite right), and “pumpkin” pie made out of squash.

Yet, no matter how strange the meal tasted or how much we missed our family, one thing that always kept me connected to my roots was my grandmother's china. Each year, I carefully unpacked it, set it on my table, and looked forward to a sweet meal with our friends.  It made me smile that this little set of china had made its way from a wedding in New York City to Peru, and was still a part of special moments in our family.

Last year we moved back home and as I was once again unpacking the wheat china, I had a sudden urge to host a Thanksgiving meal this year. Something as simple as looking down at that familiar wheat pattern touched my heart and I just knew that these dishes needed to continue to be part of our Thanksgivings here at home.

Next week, I am going to carefully take down the china, set the table, and place 12 chairs around it.  We will have a real turkey, the marshmallows will be white, the pumpkin pie will be made with pumpkin, and most importantly, my extended family will be there.

Just like my grandmother's wheat china is an important part of our family's story, what heirlooms do you have to pass down to the next generation? Consider this holiday season gifting someone in your family with a special heirloom that they can tuck away for the future.

Yam Soufflé

by Laureen Skrivan

This dish is a staple in our family's Thanksgiving, and this year it will be served on the family heirloom dishes.