Who needs the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie, when you can have tamales and spare ribs?

Growing up, our Thanksgiving meals usually included a traditional turkey, stuffing, yams with melted marshmallows, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon and rolls slathered in butter.


I can still recall the mouth-watering taste and smell of our festive holiday meal.


A time or two we ate at my Irish grandma’s house. There we could count on tamales or some other Mexican dish. It was probably to satisfy my Grandpa Escobedo.


Speaking of, when my grandpa would stay home alone while my grandma would travel to speak about the 12 tribes of Israel at churches, Grandpa would cook a huge pot of beans and eat bean burritos all week. Talk about good.


Anyway, one time my family traveled to San Diego to go to the zoo and aquarium over the Thanksgiving holiday. Little did we know, we would spend what seemed like hours driving around trying to find an open restaurant and an open restaurant that served a turkey dinner.


We finally found a "Laverne & Shirley" diner where the waitress heated up turkey TV dinners for us. I think we were the only ones who ate there that night.


When I had to cook my own Thanksgiving dinner for my two precious daughters after my divorce, the menu varied a little — well a lot.


One year, I made chicken enchiladas in white sauce, instead of red. Another time, I barbecued spare ribs. We did have turkey once and I let the Boy Scouts at our church throw it in the deep fryer for us.


My girls never complained about my choices. In fact, I think they actually looked forward to our adventuresome Thanksgiving meals.


Now, I’m remarried and have two boys. It’s a whole lot more fun.


My wife is a great cook, almost as good as me. (Just joking, honey!)


However, we’ve continued our tradition of non-traditional Thanksgivings when it comes to food.


This year, we decided to just serve snacks. It’s no use to make a meal for our grown kids. They all have different diets.


You can’t just roast a turkey in the oven and serve it anymore, our vegetarians would be put off. It’s wrong to kill turkeys, you know?


Duwayne Escobedo covers Santa Rosa County for the Daily News. You can contact him at 850-315-4489 in Fort Walton Beach, on his cell phone at 850-255-1484 or email him at descobedo@nwfdailynews.com