Every year on Thanksgiving Eve, we come together for an annual tradition we hold dear: Chop Night. This casual and cozy occasion brims with food preparation, storytelling, music, and a light and easy dinner to enjoy while preparing dishes for the next day.
Growing up, Milton’s parents held their own Chop Night every Thanksgiving Eve. Aunts, uncles, and cousins would arrive in town Wednesday evening and Milton’s mother would treat the family to sausage and corn chowder and cornbread before everybody got to work on food preparation. Each family member would join in on chopping and stuffing, sometimes even having to prepare enough for two turkeys.
Now, we carry on the tradition of Chop Night in our home with our quickly growing family. Enter our latest Curated Gathering: Chop Night, a family tradition that’s been carried on for several generations of Johnsons.
About The Gathering
Through the years, we've faithfully continued this beloved Thanksgiving Eve tradition, coming together with all our in-town family for the Thanksgiving holiday in order to prep for the big day that follows. The main benefit of the Chop Night tradition is it makes for a much easier and more enjoyable Thanksgiving Day due to prep work completed and oven space saved.
It's also evolved into a way to extend the togetherness of the Thanksgiving holiday one day early - oftentimes on the day everyone's arriving in town.
More recently, as our girls have grown and started to attend their significant others' Thanksgiving celebrations, it's a way for us to honor tradition and celebrate together, even if we can't be together on the big day. While the gathering is usually more intimate and provides more room for catching up with relatives, the guest list has reached up to 30 people before!
With a football game or holiday movie playing on the TV on the outside patio and tunes playing in the kitchen, we gather around the kitchen island for chowder and corn bread and set up chopping stations as we each settle into our traditional food prep. Traditionally, Kyle prepares the Spinach Madeleine, and the rest of us work on “the holy trinity”: bell peppers, onions, and celery for The Great Thanksgiving Stuffing Rivalry recipes. We also get to work on preparing other dishes on our go-to Thanksgiving menu, like our Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin.
Because we plan to fill up on our favorite Thanksgiving dishes the next day, we try to keep the menu for Chop Night on the lighter side, and something that won't be served the following day.
We keep the bar menu simple with red wine and beer for all who want to partake.
No matter what the gathering is for, every Johnson family party has to have music playing in the background. Kyle is always the DJ, and Chop Night’s playlist can have anything from Van Morrison to a livelier mix to encourage a late-night dance party.
The Wrap Up
While we don’t put a whole lot of planning into it, Chop Night is one of our favorite family traditions and a gathering that we truly look forward to all year long.
Get prepared for the big feast and gather your loved ones with a light and comforting menu this Thanksgiving Eve to host your own Chop Night gathering.