Thanks, but I’ll Pass
It is the Sunday before Thanksgiving in the USofA, and I have a pretty good start on my meal preparation. The turkey is hanging out in the refrigerator awaiting its briny bath tomorrow night. The DIY brown and serve rolls are par-baked and in the freezer. (I use this super basic recipe from the Fleishman’s Yeast website.) Tomorrow I will brave the supermarket for the rest of our needs, cook up the cranberry sauce, and try to find the one table cloth I own. I have a time table for everything in Excel. I’m not even worried.
For two or three years now Mr. Food it Yourself has been searching for his dream dressing – something soft and moist like a savory bread pudding. After much searching and analyzing of the recipes we have found what we believe to be an excellent candidate. During the search, however, I was reminded of all the “traditional” Thanksgiving dishes that we simply do not eat in my family.
No disrespect in meant to those who enjoy these dishes. In deed, I welcome a civilized discourse about the merits/demerits of any food. However, this is my blog, and here is my family’s “must miss” list-
Giblet Gravy: I will admit right off the bat- I have never tasted giblet gravy. However, I feel justified in my refusal to try it. I have taken Anatomy and Physiology 101. I know what the liver does. I am not serving that. I get it- I really do– generations past could not afford to waste even the tiniest morsel of meat. However, I am super thankful that I have achieved a lifestyle which allows me the option to pass on chewing the turkey’s metabolic filter.
That Sweet Potato with Marshmallows Thing: Do not get me wrong, I love sweet potatoes. I love them roasted with a touch of butter or steamed and mashed with a dribble of sriracha. They are my favorite side dish for pork. I tried this one at a Thanksgiving dinner not hosted by my family. I really wanted to like it, but I just could not wrap my brain around it. I do not see the need to add gooey lumps of high fructose corn syrup to an already sweet vegetable.
Green Bean Casserole (the one with mushroom soup and onion crispies): Again, I love green beans. They are fun to grow and fun to eat. Again, I tried this at a non-family Thanksgiving dinner. I was surprised at how little I liked it. Most casseroles are greater than the sum of their parts. This combination seems to bring out the worst in the beans, the soup and the onion crispies.
Macaroni and cheese*: This one gets an asterisk. Macaroni and cheese is amazing stuff. In fact, I feel it deserves its own event. I would hate to see such a delectable dish overshadowed by a roasted bird. Turkey and mac&cheese will be served on different days in my house.
Ambrosia salad: I have sampled a few versions of this, some for dessert and some alongside a main course. I must be from the wrong part of the country. As the kids these days like to say “I literally just can’t even”.
Cornbread dressing/stuffing**: Double asterisk for this one. I adore all things made with cornmeal- corn bread, corn tortillas, arepas, I even developed a taste for grits while going to college in Maryland. I have suggested a cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving dinner to my family and have been shot down time and again. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
Stuffing from the bird: Full disclosure- I grew up eating stuffing extracted from the turkey’s posterior. It was delicious. Ask my parents- my grandmother’s turkey butt stuffing was my favorite part of the meal, and her Thanksgiving dinners were legendary. However, since I have now taken several food safety classes I just cannot put my family at that kind of risk. The only choices with a stuffed 20-pounder are safe stuffing and overcooked meat or moist meat and salmonella enhanced stuffing. I’m with Alton Brown on this one. Turkeys should not be stuffed.
Everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to food. That is what is so awesome about cooking and food traditions. There is no accounting for taste when it comes to tasty dishes. (Truly, I am sure there are many who think I have a screw loose for eating octopus.) What “common” holiday dishes do you dislike? Do you have a recipe for one of the above mentioned items that you think might change my mind? Share in the comments. I am thankful to have this platform to share my opinion, and I look forward to reading yours.