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By Rosalie Everson

What’s on the menu for Thanksgiving? For most diners, it’s still turkey. The trimmings, however, are what separates one family’s feast from the others.

At John and Diana Howard’s house, it’s the stuffing that’s the star. Make that stuffings, because rather than choose sides – his grandmother’s oyster dressing versus her grandmother’s cornbread stuffing – they make them both. “Mom’s family always did oyster dressing,” John said. “It was fun to go to the fish market to buy the oysters for the oyster dressing.”

For Diana, though, it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without her Grandmother Lansford’s cornbread stuffing. The family recipe, she said, uses both cornbread and biscuits, and, she added “a good-sized onion.”

Sonny Zamora said he and his wife Linda will “do the usual turkey, be at home and have the family, and if it snows, we’ll haul the kids around on the sleds.” A family tradition at the house is green chile as a side dish, which is really good on mashed potatoes, he said. After dinner, they’ll enjoy a special treat, “Roasted piñons from our land,” in southern Colorado, where piñon trees grow abundantly along the hillsides.

Val Marrs said that although their Thanksgiving menu is probably not too much different than anybody else’s, there’s one thing she always includes. “Home made rolls, there have to be homemade rolls,” she said, noting that the trick to making good ones is proofing the dough.

For Norma Taylor, who specializes in making old- fashioned foods with a twist, the special treat is her green tomato mince meat pie. She plans ahead, she said, and makes her own canned green tomato minced meat in the summer.

Marlene Stieber shares three long-term ‘must haves’ with her family; bread dressing, date pudding and pumpkin pie. The pudding and the pie both have Fort Lupton tradition roots. “Grandma Burge (an early Fort Lupton resident), always had date pudding with sauce,” that includes brown sugar, butter and vanilla in the ingredients. Her pumpkin pie recipe is “the one off the Kuner’s (the former Fort Lupton canning company) can with a little more sugar and not as many spices.”

For Karen, a new Fort Lupton resident, who checked out a half-full cart at the Fort Lupton Safeway, there are traditions to be made.

“I haven’t been shopping for Thanksgiving dinner in 20 years,” she said. “I’ve always been the invitee, but now I’m the invitor.”

No matter what their specialty, this year’s shoppers will find prices much the same as they were a year ago if they pay full price at the store.

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual grocery list, a 12-item compilation of costs for commonly purchased Thanksgiving foodstuffs, shows the estimated average cost for the holiday meal is an increase of $2.35 per family of 10, from the $44.61 of last year to a new high of $42.26. The increase may not seem exorbitant, but it reflects a trend in rising food costs, rising steadily from an average of $36.28 in 2003.

Leading the list of cost increases for the 2008 Thanksgiving dinner is the bird itself, expected to rise $1.46 to $19.09 for a 16-pound turkey. Shoppers can expect higher costs for 12 rolls, up 31 cents to $2.20; 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, up 26 cents to $2.46; and a 30-ounce pumpkin pie mix, rising 21 cents to $2.34. The only price decrease foreseen for 2008 will be milk, seen dropping 10 cents to $3.78 a gallon, and spices and preparatory ingredients, down 60 cents to $2.69.