Thanksgiving with the whole family can be difficult to arrange when loved ones don’t all live in the same place.
But what happens when one of those loved ones is an Academy Award-winning actress in high demand in Hollywood?
That’s the experience for Louisville native Jennifer Lawrence and her family. As part of our Food & Drink week, I asked Lawrence and her mother about their holiday plans.
“I’m going on vacation and I’m going to miss Thanksgiving by like one day, which I’m fine with that,” Lawrence told me last week. “Leftovers are always better cold anyway.”
I asked, Does your mom make something that you really like? Like, your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
“My favorite Thanksgiving—yeah, green bean casserole. I love green bean casserole. I mean, obviously stuffing and gravy. But I think green bean casserole is my favorite. And those rolls—those really buttery, sweet roles. And pumpkin pie. Oh my god, I’m getting so excited for Thanksgiving.
“We bought a deep fryer last year. My dad started deep-frying the turkey last year. That’s nice.”
So it’s the green bean casserole that gets Jennifer Lawrence worked up for Thanksgiving. With that in mind, I figured it’d make sense to find out how it’s made.
I tracked down her mother, Karen, last week at an advance showing in Louisville of the actress’ latest film, “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
But there was a hitch.
“The green bean casserole? She does, but I don’t make that one,” Karen Lawrence said.
“She likes my Cajun potatoes. My Cajun cheesy potatoes. That’s what I thought she was going to say. That’s the dish that I have to make for everybody. If I didn’t make that Thanksgiving wouldn’t happen.”
What is in it?
“Well, it’s a secret, but nothing good for you.”
“A lot of butter, a lot of sour cream, a lot of spices, red potatoes and I can’t tell you the rest because it’s a secret. Oh, and the cheese, of course.”
And as for that fried turkey?
“That’s been a big hit. I make him take it outside to cook it, though. Smells up the house, but he loves the turkey fryer,” Karen Lawrence said of her husband, Gary.
In “Catching Fire,” Jennifer Lawrence plays an archer who hunts for her own food.
In real life, she’s more likely to feast around a table on the holidays.
But her schedule means that Thanksgiving isn’t always easy for her and her family.
She left home at 14 to pursue acting.
Since then, getting together for the holidays can be difficult for the Lawrences—especially since her career took off. Her parents and brothers still live in Louisville, and she might be on location anywhere each November.
But the family says that it’s important for them to be together during the holidays.
And that often means going to where Jennifer is.
“We’ve had it in New Mexico, we’ve had Thanksgivings in L.A.,” Karen Lawrence said. “Last year we spent it in Hawaii with the family. The whole family was there.
“Because of Jen’s schedule, I’ve had lots of Thanksgiving for people of other cultures who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. So you make it where ever it is. So we happen to home this year, but that hasn’t been the case in the last eight, 10 years.”
This story is part of WFPL’s Food & Drink Week. We’ll be exploring dining and libations in the Louisville area ahead of Thanksgiving. You’ll find new stories here everyday through the holiday.
Do you have a Thanksgiving dish that you want to share? Call WFPL at (502) 627-0485 or send us an e-mail here to let us know how it’s made and why you love it. We’ll post some of the submissions next week. Be sure to include your name.