Thanksgiving is a holiday overflowing with time-honored traditions. From Uncle Rod’s famous fried turkey recipe, to Nana’s antique gravy boat, to the deviled eggs your cousin insists on bringing but no one ever touches — each family has their own treasured traditions that it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without.
But what if those traditions could continue to be honored while being appreciated in a whole new way?
“My relationship with food and cooking has always been about taking recipes passed down through my family and giving them a new twist,” says the founder of Grandbaby Cakes, a brand inspired by her own grandmother, “Big Mama” Maggie.
“My brand is steeped in tradition,” Jocelyn says. “I wouldn’t necessarily have a brand without my grandmother. [She] inspired me so much. Every time I’m creating or sharing a recipe, I’m thinking back to [her]. So much of that has influenced what I do.”
But this year, Jocelyn isn’t the only one putting a modern-day twist on beloved recipes of yore! The TV personality and author is partnering with Libby’s Vegetables and their annual “Cansgiving” contest to encourage families everywhere to rethink their Thanksgiving menu staples.
And getting creative in the kitchen this year can yield more than just delicious new recipes. Some lucky home cooks could win $5,000 towards college for their classic recipe revamps! (More exciting details on that later!)
“I’m so excited to work with Libby’s Vegetables this year to revamp some of my old family favorites,” says Jocelyn. “I can’t wait to see what Libby’s Vegetables fans come up with.”
But when a traditional dish is already pretty close to perfect as-is, how can home cooks take the ingredients to the next level to give them an exciting twist?
“I look at the bare bones of the recipe [and ask], ‘What is the traditional way in which we make this?’” Jocelyn advises. “Then, as I scan the ingredients, I think about what might be fun to either inject into the recipe, or even switch out.”
“Maybe citrus flavor could be added. Maybe [add] a maple twist. Could I add chili? Could I add sriracha? Maybe now it’s the heat with the sweet,” she continues.
“It’s like a brainstorm of sorts, thinking about how something could just be elevated. It doesn’t take a lot to switch a flavor profile. It can just be one substitution, or you can go crazy.”
But what would “Big Mama” Maggie say about Jocelyn reimagining tried and true recipes?
“My grandmother was amazing at playing around with flavors. She was so creative; she never did the same thing twice,” Jocelyn says.
“She would take something like macaroni and cheese, and she would add something random to it. She would add vegetables. She would play around with texture. I’ve heard from traditionalists [that say] you [should] keep the recipes the same. And [my grandmother] wasn’t like that at all, which inspired me to be so creative in the kitchen.”
As for why Jocelyn decided to partner with Libby’s, she says it was a natural fit.
“I’m a mom now, and I am a busy entrepreneur also. Balancing both of those elements has been very difficult, and you want to give your best in every aspect,” Jocelyn says.
“Being able to have convenience and cut down on the prep work so I can still put nutritious meals out for my daughter and my family — but not sacrifice the freshness or even just the flavor — has been a home run for me.”
So, for those home cooks looking to follow in Jocelyn and Big Mama Maggie’s footsteps this Thanksgiving — and maybe win a little cash in the process! — enter the “Cansgiving” contest by using a can of Libby’s Vegetables in a classic Thanksgiving recipe.
Libby’s will award one participant based on the integration of at least one can of Libby’s Vegetables and the creativity of their recipe for a chance to win $5,000 to put towards college expenses.
The contest opened at 12:00 a.m. EST on Nov. 8, 2021, and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on Nov. 28, 2021. Official rules are available at http://www.LibbysCansgiving.com.
But no matter what you choose to cook up this Thanksgiving, there’s one ingredient that you can’t leave out of your recipes — and that’s love!
When asked if you can, in fact, taste the love put into a meal, Jocelyn says there’s “no question about it.”
“I can literally tell the difference [between food that was cooked with love], because I feel like food is an energy in a lot of ways. There’s a transfer of energy, even in the process of making it to when you serve it. So I can definitely sense that [difference]. I can taste love in a second.”
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If you enjoyed this story, check out these five ideas for getting your kids involved in giving back this Thanksgiving!
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