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Celebrate Safely This Thanksgiving

November 18, 2020

This year has been unusual, to say the least. At a certain point, everything stopped (except, of course, for many of our Rheem Pros, who were quickly deemed essential workers).

While the CDC recommends against having family gatherings for Thanksgiving, they have also provided recommendations around how to stay safe while celebrating Turkey Day among family and friends. We put together a combination of their recommendations plus some creative ways to gather together this year, even if it’s a little out of the box.

Make It Snappy

We all want to spend as much time together as possible, but if you absolutely must celebrate in person, the CDC recommends that you keep it short. The longer you’re exposed to someone who may be infected with Covid-19 but asymptomatic, the greater the risk.  So, when it comes to a Thanksgiving celebration during a pandemic, keeping it short can be sweet.

Clear the Air

According to the CDC, a poorly ventilated room increases the risk of transmission of Covid-19. If you must gather inside a home, make sure it’s one with plenty of ventilation. The CDC recommends opening some windows—weather permitting of course—to keep the air fresher and safer. A few fans can move the air around. Run your Rheem HVAC system on the “Fan” setting to keep the air cycling. And consider consulting with a local Pro on what fresh air products are best for your home.

Gather in the Great Outdoors

If your climate supports it, enjoying your Thanksgiving meal outdoors can limit the possible exposure to viruses like Covid-19. And even if your climate gets a little colder on Thanksgiving, bundling up and eating in a park pavilion with the ones you love, or having a bonfire or backyard bash might just be the ticket.

Go Virtual

From school to work to happy hours with friends, virtual meetings have become ubiquitous in 2020. The fact is, there’s nothing safer than separation. And if the whole day is part of the tradition, it’s certainly OK to cook together—virtually.  Grandma doesn’t have to be in the same room to show you how she cooks her famous turkey dressing. At dinnertime, while setting up a camera at the end of the Thanksgiving table isn’t much of a substitute for the real thing, it may very well be the safest option.

Be Flexible

First and foremost, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks (it is in the name, after all). It may make more sense for your circle of friends and family to avoid any risk by waiting to until it’s safe to celebrate together. After all, turkey is just as delicious on the third Saturday in April as it is on the fourth Thursday in November. And silly debates over whether it should be called “dressing” or “stuffing” are just as frustrating (and entertaining) then, too. If you enjoy watching the parade with family, record it. Love to go shopping after eating? There’s nothing stopping you – online shopping is a great alternative this year. 

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Regardless of how you choose to adjust your holiday traditions this year, Thanksgiving will definitely feel different this year.  Perhaps we can all take this opportunity to start new traditions. With that in mind, we’ve chosen to make (and share with you) some of our team’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes. We hope they’ll help things feel a little more normal, and a lot more delicious.  Mike Branson, President-Air and Randy Roberts, VP of Sales and Marketing shared some family favorites below:

Randy Roberts’ Fresh Apple Cake

Beat at high speed with electric mixer:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cooking granola oil

Add one at a time and beat each egg for 1 minute:

  • 3 eggs

Sift dry ingredients together in separate bowl:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Add this mixture slowly to sugar, oil, egg batter.

Mix together:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 3 cups fresh apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied cherries

Using a mixing spoon, add to batter along with

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring.

Grease and flour a tube cake pan. (May want to add a sheet of greased parchment paper on bottom of it.) Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Insert toothpick to make sure it is done. Cool on cooling rack.

Randy Roberts’ Holiday Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 to 4 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
    • (It is best to use baked sweet potatoes.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

    Mix potatoes, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, milk, and butter together and pour into a greased 9 X 13 inch casserole dish. Add topping:

    Topping Mix

  • 1/3 cup chopped butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans)

Cream butter, sugar, and flour; add nuts. Sprinkle on top of sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. (If you would like a marshmallow topping, bake casserole without the sugar topping, and then add miniature marshmallows for the last 5 to 10 minutes and bake until lightly browned.)

Mike Branson’s Grandma’s Spaghetti Pie

When the big celebration is over, and it’s time to relax with family and friends, sometimes you need a special treat that isn’t just another round of leftovers. Mike Branson, President-Air, shared this special family recipe that reminds him of just a time. This handwritten recipe from Mike’s Grandma Lindy Bang is a treasure in itself and we hope that it brings your family as much joy as it did the Branson Family.