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Oct 21, 2006 10:44 PM

What are your least favorite Thanksgiving recipes??

I need a little help here...hope you Chowhounders can give me some!!
I need to put together a piece on Thanksgiving food (Hannukah food, Easter food, Christmas food, Family Holiday foods all apply here) that is traditional to your family, but maybe a little off. A little weird. A little unappetizing. I've talked to lots of folks and all I'm coming up with so far is jello. Jello salads. Lots and lots of jello salads. I know there has to be more out there than this!!!
Help, please!!
Thanks so much!!

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  1. Least favorite for me HAS to be the gloppy green bean casserole that is PUSHED every has no flavor at all...what a horrific thing to do to green beans! (Jello has its place...but NOT at the Thanksgiving table, I would agree with you there!)

    10 Replies
    1. re: Val

      Have to agree with the "Green Bean Casserole", the way it turns out it seems more fitting for a Halloween table....SCARY!!!!!


      1. re: twh1475

        I actually really like green bean hotdish, and I've tried to improve on it (fresh green beans, homemade cream soup) and just can't -- it's got to be canned green beans, Campbell's cream soup, and Durkee fried onions.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          I'm with you - love the stuff. don't know how anyone can call it flavorless.

          1. re: krissywats

            Hey krisswats,
            I don't think it's the flavor that's the problem, I think it's the texture, or maybe the lack of texture. I really like all the ingredients, just when mixed together and baked...yyyuucckk!!

          2. re: Das Ubergeek

            You have to try the Cook's Illustrated version found in the Best Recipe (I think). You'll never make it with canned soup again.

            My mom's last Christmas dinner was prime rib, twice baked potatoes and that green bean casserole. My uncle nearly ate the whole casserole himself! Homemade New York Style Cheesecake with raspberry coulis followed. I think Mom decided she could hand over cooking and passed away a month later.

            1. re: Dee S

              I made the Cooks recipe one year and it was quite good and not at all gloppy (this was the one and only time we have had green bean casserole for thanksgiving) - but Id rather deploy all that cream in different dishes - say, with carrots and parsnips in a soup or gratin. Tho thinking about all those fried mushrooms and cream with the beans it really was pretty darn good!

        2. re: Val

          Green bean casserole is pretty revolting. I count its longevity up to the fact that its one of the few dishes you can make by emptying four cans into a baking dish and still claim that you are cooking. That said, I really love the Durkee onions. Maybe next year you could recommend they just dump the onions into a bowl and leave out the rest.

          FYI, Cooks Illustrated published a made-from scratch green bean casserole recipe last issue. Made with fresh beans, fresh mushrooms in bechamel sauce, but, tellingly, keeping the Durkee onions. I didn't bother trying it because I'm not real thrilled with the idea of green beans in gloppy cream sauce, but if you're interested, there it is.

          1. re: wak

            The recipe in the Best Recipe doesn't use a bechamel. The mushroom sauce is made with a cream reduction. It's fabulous! I was not a big fan of the canned soup version.

            Bechamel is too heavy and gloppy for this....blech!

          2. re: Val

            Green bean/cream soup/onion crisp casserole is THE WORST and I am so glad it was never a "tradition" in my family. I find the texture of canned green beans totally revolting in any situation. Hats off to those of you who like it -- and I can't say I don't have my own list of junky favorite foods that would be revolting to others.

            1. re: allegro805

              Texture? Have you tried the broccoli casserole with cheese & Ritz crackers? Where the green bean casserole is soft, the broccoli casserole has alot of crunch.

          3. I cannot stand the sweet potatos with the melted gooey marshmallows on top. There are so many delicious ways to serve sweet potatoes, why do people need to ruin them with marshmallows?

            13 Replies
            1. re: clarecat

              I have a little different view of sweet potatoes. With or without the marshmallows, I nominate sweet potatoes in any form for most disgusting Thanksgiving food.

              1. re: River Rat

                Ditto. Only barely tolerable sweet potato is when tempuraed, and perfectly fried.

                1. re: Sarah

                  oh, no, mashed sweet potatoes flavored with butter, salt, and cream are the best!

                  1. re: Sarah

                    have you ever tried Japanese Yams? They are like sweet potatoes...but WAY better. They have a white/yellowish coloring and are slightly sweet...much less harsh than the typical sweet potato. They make a great substitution to the typical sweet potato dish (unless you put marshmellows on it which I agree is just wrong)

                    1. re: Melanie

                      I bought a bag of those by accident, and loved them - they taste just like chestnuts!

                  2. re: River Rat

                    I use an old Sunset magazine recipe that calls for tequila and lime juice that is pretty good. Or I coat sweet potato slices with chile paste (Rick Bayless's Camote Adobado) and bake them. You can come over and try them.

                  3. re: clarecat

                    The marshmallows in sweet potatoes are definitely bad and they can be made worse when brown sugar and pecans are added to the mess. Like Clarecat, give me a baked sweet potato with butter and salt and I'm in heaven.

                    1. re: Velma

                      Absolute agreement.
                      That sweet glop on the top is just nasty.
                      Even worse when put on top of *CANNED* yams or whatever veg it is in those cans.
                      I can't think of a more disgusting holiday side dish in existence.

                    2. re: clarecat

                      I agree. I HATE marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes, and I love sweet potatoes! It just turns into a gooey mess, with no complexity or texture at all.
                      I also don't like stuffing.
                      Though I actually really like green bean casserole, especially eaten with mashed potato *hides*

                      1. re: zorgclyde

                        Ditto. The marshmallows on top of (GAH, I can hardly bring myself to type this) canned sweet potatoes and then warmed over in the oven is one of those things that makes me want to cry.

                        I weaned my family off those things... one year I made the disgusting marshmallow things, but with freshly roasted and spiced sweet potatoes, then I lost the marshmallows, then after three or four years I finally managed to get them to just eat roasted and buttered sweet potatoes. I made the canned-glop-with-overprocessed-marshmallows last year to illustrate the point, and nobody touched it except the one person who would happily eat chicken fingers and fries every day of his life if his wife would let him.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          I can't handle marshmallows on the sweet potatoes but i do love a good sweet potato casserole. I fry up 3-4 inches of finely minced ginger with a tablespoon of cardamon seeds in a stick of butter. I add about 1/2 cup of grade B maple syrup and a bunch of apple cider. Bake chopped sweet potates in that for 4 hours. It is absolute heaven.

                          1. re: kolgrim

                            Kolgrim, that sounds great. How many pounds of sweet potatoes do you add?

                      2. ditto on greenbean casserole and marshmellows anywhere near a sweet potatoe...but my least fav is luppy mashed potatoes!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: HillJ

                          my mom always cooks onions in with the mashed potatoes. end result: lumpy mashed potatoes with pieces of onion and not enough butter. yum.

                          1. re: fara

                            lol...and my 2nd least fav is creamed i'm going to pass on that, thanks :)

                            1. re: HillJ

                              LOL, creamed onions are a joke with me and my brother. We didn't grow up with them, but my father's girlfriend has made them a tradition...she and my father talk about how much my brother loves them...well, he finally confessed to me that he can't stand them. I am cooking this year, and they said "you're making creamed onions, right?" and were surprised when I said NO.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Yup, creamed onions is #1 least fave here. And I love onions in any other form. They just look so unappealing drenched in that cream sauce. Yuck.

                          2. Pickled watermelon rinds. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and parents HAD to have pickled watermelon rinds at all the holiday meals.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: DiningDiva

                              I used to love those -- haven't had them for many years, though. I remember when a guy I was dating was out of town and when he came back I told him he'd been gone so long I had eaten an entire jar of pickled watermelon rind. He told me I could be gone forever and he would never eat a jar of those things.

                              Sarah C

                            2. My cousin makes "healthy" apple and pumpkin pies with whole wheat crusts and very minimal sugar. My father strips all the skin off the turkey and throws it away. And I, for one, could do without the green salad for one day. It doesn't really fit in with the rest of the meal. This makes me sound very piggy, but after all it IS Thanksgiving.

                              I also loathe sweet potatoes, with or without marshmellows. I don't like canned cranberry sauce, either. But I don't want to sound too negative--I do really like Thanksgiving. Especially the stuffing!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Glencora

                                There is a special circle of hell for people who would throw away perfectly good turkey skin. (Can't you sneak a few bites beforehand? Ooh, does he not make gravy?) Also for "healthy" pie bakers. I agree about green salad not fitting in. Do wish you would reconsider sweet potatoes (but yes they are usually vilely pepared). Can't you bring an alternative cranberry sauce? Can't have too many. My sympathies. After all, it isn't really about food...

                                1. re: Glencora

                                  I agree that there should be punishment for anyone who throws away deliciously crisp brown turkey (or chicken) skin. I could see if one has serious health issues or a terrible family history of heart disease at an early age -- but crispy poultry skin is one of those things that makes life "worth living."

                                  1. re: allegro805

                                    On the opposite pole from those who throw out the skin, a friend of mine made thankgiving dinner for a big group of friends with no family nearby, and as soon as she pulled the turkey out of the oven, one pulled the skin off one breast and put it in his mouth. Then another, seeing him do it, scarfed downt the other one. She should have thrown them out on their ears.

                                    1. re: allegro805

                                      My father (nearing 70) has taken to doing this. Year before last I gently advised him that I LIKE the skin. So last year, he carefully removed the skin and put it in a bowl so you could help yourself. Removed from the Turkey and sitting for a while it got a really weird consistency. I swear when I saw him removing the skin from a big lucious slice of breast I really felt I could decapitate him and feel no remorse. This year...I just don't know.