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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 year..it 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 onions...so 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.

                                  2. "Green salad": lime jello, cool whip, marshmallows, and some kind of canned fruit.

                                    So we always bring to these gatherings a real green salad (as a form of protest?) of red-leaf lettuce, candied pecans, and tangerine (or orange) slices with vinaigrette.

                                    1. I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes with marshmallow either (or sweetened in any way, really -- they're already sweet!) but I rarely have to deal with that or any horrific things since I usually either volunteer to host or cook all the sides. We have chipotle sweet potato gratin or mashed with butter salt and pepper. Actually, my family does like to push a rather revolting tomato aspic made with tomato juice, lemon jello and celery and served with mayonnaise. But that's another Jello salad.

                                      1. I vote for the turkey. Usually dry, always room temp by the time it hits the table, never enough dark meat to go around. From now on I think I'll go with a Cote du boeuf. And a capon for the die-hard traditionalists. Because you know that somebody at the table is going to make a federal case out of it.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: diropstim

                                          Really? Mine's always piping hot and moist... but most people don't know how to roast a turkey and would sooner chew a jumbo roll of tinfoil than make a brine.

                                          1. re: diropstim

                                            Me too... TURKEY! BLEH!!! It's not the dryness (SO does it Alton Brown's method) but it's the TASTE and the smell... BLEH!!!!! So I usually COVER it in gravy and dressing and cranberries... :P

                                            I've been lobbying for prime rib for years... everyone looks at me like I have a whole in my head.


                                          2. Turnip Puff – a casserole type dish made from mashed turnip, carrot. It has an egg in it to bind, some nutmeg I think and some baking powder is added to give it the ‘puff’.

                                            For some reason was popular for the holiday’s.

                                            1. Any recipe for turkey more complicated than mine:

                                              "Take one turkey and stuff it!"

                                              1. mincemeat

                                                steamed "batter pudding"--a horrendous English dish made from eggs, nilk and flour. ugh.

                                                boiled fava beans. double ugh.

                                                yams with anything else sweet added, but butter is more than ok.

                                                1. The worst jello salad I ever encountered was a favorite of a family with whom I shared several Thanksgivings. I believe the base was a lemon or lime jello, and it contained canned peas and mayonnaise.

                                                  Sarah C

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: kittyfood

                                                    Bar none, has got to be: OYSTER DRESSING!! I think it's a southern thing, like North Carolina. My ex husband HAD to make it every year for his dad at Thanksgiving. The smell of those raw oysters sent me gagging to the bathroom!!

                                                    1. re: BabyBee

                                                      we also have oyster dressing in Rhode Island sometimes. more east coast.

                                                        1. re: prunefeet

                                                          I absolutely require oyster dressing. I loved it the first time I had it, when I was about five and didn't know from oysters, and sixty years later it's still as much a requirement as the turkey itself. I also do a sausage dressing for the poor dolts who don't want oysters...and God knows I do nothing to change their minds!

                                                      1. re: BabyBee

                                                        My brother in law makes an oyster dressing that is okay - but a friend makes one that is fabulous! I think you have to have a good recipe and of course, good oysters.

                                                        And also have to have regular dressing too.

                                                      2. re: kittyfood

                                                        This really has to take the cake. Just HEARING about it made my stomach turn!!

                                                          1. re: kittyfood

                                                            Not quite the same, but I found this recipe online. The Mayonnaise at the end is the kicker. Possibly THE most disgusting recipe I've ever read.

                                                            Garden Jello Salad
                                                            An old-fashioned molded vegetable salad, great for holidays and family dinners.
                                                            1 package (3-ounce) lime flavored gelatin
                                                            1 package (3-ounce) lemon Jell-O
                                                            2 cups boiling water
                                                            1 1/2 cups cold water
                                                            3 tablespoons lemon juice
                                                            1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
                                                            1 cup finely chopped cucumber
                                                            1 cup shredded carrots
                                                            1/4 cup thinly sliced celery
                                                            Dissolve lime and lemon gelatins or Jello in 2 cups boiling water. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water, lemon juice, and horseradish. chill until partially set. Fold in vegetables. Pour Jello salad mixture into a 5 1/2-cup ring mold.

                                                            Chill Jello salad until set. Arrange lettuce on a serving plate; unmold Jello salad onto lettuce. Serve Jello salad with mayonnaise. Jello salad serves 8.

                                                          2. I hate stuffing...dense, heavy, greasy, often overseasoned...bleh

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: fauchon

                                                              Ha, all the reasons I love stuffing! The greasier, the more dry sage, the better.

                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                I know, I LOOOOOVEEEE Stuffin... yum!! :)


                                                            2. Our family stuffs the turkey under the skin with sausage, spare rib meat with the other usual stuffing ingredients. I have heard other people on this board prepare their turkey this way, but I've never seen it personally.

                                                              Also, our sweet potato recipe is a gratin type (no cheese) layered with sliced apples. Delicious!

                                                              If either item is left out of Thanksgiving dinner at our house there is mutiny.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: calpurnia

                                                                Okay, I just re-read the topic...least favorite...oh well.

                                                              2. Giblet gravy.... all of the leftover parts floating around in thin turkey broth... yuk!

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Siobhan

                                                                  You haven't had good giblet gravy. Your description does indeed sound disgusting. Thin turkey broth??? Properly made it's a nice thick gravy with minced giblets melting into it. Yum.

                                                                  1. re: Siobhan

                                                                    Speaking of giblets: my mom and grandmother would often finely dice the poached turkey liver and put it in the stuffing. Ruined it completely. I am ok with liver of various kinds in their own setting, but rich buttery stuffing is one of my favorite dishes and I absolutely hate it with liver in it!

                                                                    1. re: allegro805

                                                                      This is exactly the problem - the liver. On its own, o.k.. In the gravy, its flavor overwhelms it all.... yuk!

                                                                  2. Another least favorite for me is the inevitable cranberry relish that is so tart, you can hardly eat it. It makes my mouth pucker just thinking about it.

                                                                    1. Creamed onions
                                                                      Sweet potatoes with marshmallows
                                                                      Green bean casserole

                                                                      Luckily I'm the one who cooks the T-giving meal, so these things never show up, lol.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                        AH creamed onions! My mother loves those. Now she's started making carmalized ones too - but the creamed ones, uck.

                                                                        I've never had sweet potatoes with marshmellows or a green bean casserole. Maybe I'm missing out!

                                                                        1. re: gini

                                                                          Nope...you are not missing out :)

                                                                        1. Boo to canned cranberry sauce.

                                                                          I always thought I hated cranberries because of them. For that matter, so did all my siblings. Until I started cooking Thanksgiving dinners for my husband and my siblings after both my parents had passed.

                                                                          I decided to make cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries on a lark just to see what would happen. What a revelation to find we all actually liked them!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                            Oh, I agree. When I was younger, my mother served that canned cranberry sauce at every Thanksgiving because she thought it was traditional (being a relatively recent immigrant), and nobody would touch it. I can't imagine why - it was oh-so-attractive as it stayed in its semi-solid jiggly state with indentations from the can still visible. Thankfully, she gave that up.

                                                                            1. re: jacinthe

                                                                              My mom gave it up also - sort of. She went to the "whole" canned cranberries instead - mixing it up with some concoction of mandarin oranges, walnuts and pineapples. I utterly dispised it. There was just nothing which made it edible to me.

                                                                              The sauce I now make, is very simple - just fresh cranberries, orange juice, orange zest and fresh vanilla bean and a fair amount of sugar, but not so much as to make it sickly sweet. Highlights the cranberries, doesn't overwhelm the turkey and tastes really great on it's own too.

                                                                          2. not sure of this will post in the right place--but reading kittyfoods post about the lemon lime jello with peas and mayo..that takes the cake. there is nothing real or fabricated that could top that.

                                                                            1. Gravy from a jar-- GROSS GROSS GROSS-- while throwing away the pan drippings and carcass instead. SOUP people Makes me ill just to think about it.

                                                                              I love sweet potato but I have yet to meet an edible Thanksgiving "sweet potato cassarole" I could stomach also the terrible variations made with canned yams

                                                                              My aunt's healthy horrors-- skinless turkey breast cooked to 300 degrees internal temp and not a real turkey in site-- whole wheat low fat pie crust

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                Oh no! Canned gravy AND tossing pan drippings?! That is sacrilage!

                                                                                One year my mom decided to slow roast a turkey in the oven for about 8 hours. This would have been great, but she cooked it way too high and we had turkey jerky! And to make matters worse, this was the first time we'd bought a Butterball turkey (usually just get one of the grocery store ones) and we were all really looking forward to it, and then couldn't taste a thing!

                                                                                1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                  "whole wheat low-fat pie crust" seems to me a crime against all piedom.

                                                                                2. Another vote for sweet potatoes. I asked my husband if we could eliminate them this year (he loathes them too). He said yes, but then we were afraid of mutiny from everyone else. After all, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without...

                                                                                  1. Ditto on the sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, canned cranberry jelly. I don't like mashed potatoes of any kind so I usually take a tiny helping and leave it on the plate, spread around a little.

                                                                                    But my absolute least favorite part of Thanksgiving is the turkey which is always overcooked, dry and tasteless. A couple of years ago I told DH I wasn't going to any more of his family TG dinners without taking my own turkey. We brine, smoke and roast a heritage turkey and take ALL the leftovers home. There's some grumbling but everyone eats humongous helpings of the turkey which is always a huge success.

                                                                                    Most of the desserts DH's family serves are storebought pies and other horrible junk. I used to bring at least 3 pies every year too but I've cut back to one.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: cheryl_h

                                                                                      "I don't like mashed potatoes of any kind..."

                                                                                      i'm sorry.

                                                                                    2. Ditto on the green bean casserole from HELL! Also, PLEASE do not put giblets in the stuffing/gravy. If you like gnawing on gizzard parts so be it, but leave me out of it.

                                                                                      I had almost given up on cranberries because of the congealed canned crap but lo and behold, Ocean Spray came up with a wonderful cranberry/orange relish recipe. It used to be on the back of the bag of fresh cranberries. We use it very year now, granted with less sugar.

                                                                                      Also, can i put in a leftover? My mom's bland turkey rice soup she makes every year. My mom is a wonderful cook but this soup, yuck.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: rHairing

                                                                                        How about oysters in the stuffing??? Um, YUK! My mom puts gizzards in stuffing. I do not even like the NAME "gizzard". Too close to lizard.

                                                                                      2. Gravy made without defatting the pan drippings and/or broth before making it. It's basically greasy and bitter and...well, what else would it have to be?

                                                                                        1. My older sister's Thanksgiving spread: Sure, there's a turkey, but there's also roast beef, ziti (with red sauce), a token bowl of green beans and a salad just to have some sort of veg dish on the table (she still hates vegetables at 60!), some sort of stuffing, sauteed mushrooms, garlic bread, all of it not great, just a big directionless mish mosh of blah food.

                                                                                          I'm with you on the sweet potatoes with marshmallows...yuck! More like dessert than a side dish. Never liked that combo, not even as a child.

                                                                                          1. Two words say it all...Tomato Aspic. Someone once brought it to our house for Thanksgiving...and left with most of it.

                                                                                            1. What an array of dislikes....this has been a delightful read!
                                                                                              Thank you all!

                                                                                              1. Worst ever. Mom used to make this stuff every year. And when I started cooking I got to make it.

                                                                                                Cool whip
                                                                                                Coconut flakes
                                                                                                Canned oranges
                                                                                                Marachino cherries
                                                                                                Mini marshmellows
                                                                                                Canned pinapple

                                                                                                This was known as heavenly hash. Oh man, can't believe I admitted that here.

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: chileheadmike

                                                                                                  Also known as "ambrosia" I think. Actually, a friend of mine used to make this too BUT not for Thanksgiving and she would serve it semi-frozen. Believe me, frozen it's a lot better :-) (but still no gourmet treat).

                                                                                                  1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                    In rural Minnesota this is available in deli counters as "fruit salad". I nearly cried. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like a bit of it now and then, but this is NOT fruit salad.

                                                                                                    The worst was when we had someone bring it over -- she had put in cream cheese but hadn't softened it, hadn't really mixed it in, so it was all the above plus some randomly tough and chewy bits of cold cream cheese.

                                                                                                  2. re: chileheadmike

                                                                                                    I have a soft nostalgic place in my heart for "Ambrosia". Disgusting, but I love it. I think it's featured prominently in the "White Trash Cookbook." I think we bound ours with sour cream though, not cool whip.

                                                                                                    1. re: allegro805

                                                                                                      I like ambrosia too! My mother used to make it w/sour cream, canned fruit, marshmallows and coconut flakes. Left overnight, the marshmallows melted into the sour cream, and then rather than turning wet and soggy, the sour cream became fluffier the longer it sat.

                                                                                                    2. re: chileheadmike

                                                                                                      my mom made heavenly hash too! I wonder... did you grow up in S. California? Seems like all my friends' Thanksgiving included it, but none of my East coaster adult friends can recall it being called that. They recall only jello salads that included fruit and coolwhip. My mother did not allow jello in the house. A childhood thing...

                                                                                                      1. re: Wanda Fuca

                                                                                                        No, I actually grew up, and still live in, the burbs South of KC. There was a restaurant called Joe's Barn in Stanley KS, an actual converted barn. It had a giant buffet on Sunday, BBQ, fried chicken, real mashed taters. Real country food at the time, I think they started cutting corners at some point. One of their salads was heavenly hash. Mom loved it and I think she got the recipe off of a cool whip lid. Oh man, I truly hated that stuff.

                                                                                                      1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                        Ew, yes. It's a texture thing. I always tell people that if they can't live without pumpkin pie, please bring it, serve it, and take it home -- I make a huge skillet apple pie instead.

                                                                                                        1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                          Amen, sister. What a waste of crust. But for some reason, pumpkin cheesecake is okay by me...guess all that creamcheese fat redeems the boring pumpkin.

                                                                                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                                                                            I'm not a huge fan of regular pumpkin pie, which just seems ... dense ... to me. I make a pumpkin chiffon pie every year that's a lot lighter, more mousse-like, I guess.

                                                                                                        2. How about the "relish tray"? Canned "California" black olives that taste like old people smell, tiny little green olives that taste like nothing at all, gross little bottled gherkins in too-sweet brine, and then celery sticks with either room-temperature ranch dressing or nothing at all to dip them in.

                                                                                                          I'll pass, thanks. That and the cheese and cracker tray with the saltine crackers and the cheddar, Swiss and Colby cheese cubes. I'm all for cheese and crackers, but make it decent cheese and at least invest in some Triscuits, my God.

                                                                                                          1. ANYTHING pre-packaged; boxed stuffing, canned sweet potatoes, canned cranberry sauce, those turkeys in a bag, canned gravy, the canned mushroom soup used in the hideous green bean casserole topped with the horrendous canned onions, pumpkin pie from the freezer section...

                                                                                                            Down to the rolls, I would neve serve anything I had not made myself - from scratch...

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Carrie 218

                                                                                                              I totally agree! One yr I was 9 months pregnant for Thanksgiving and decided to go to our local grocery store that has a "pre-packaged" dinner -- the turkey, the stuffing, potatoes, all the sides and trimmings, down to the gravy.

                                                                                                              It was aboslutely the most disgusting thing I've ever eaten!!

                                                                                                              1. re: BabyBee

                                                                                                                My late mother-in-law used to do the prepared at the grocery store TG dinner, too. Absolutely evil! Lately, my mother has taken to labor-saving shortcuts. The first year, everything but the turkey was a short-cut - jarred gravy, etc. Wasn't horrible, wasn't great. (Okay, the gravy WAS horrible. And I think she even doctored it up). Certainly not up to her standards. Afterwards she told me and said "be honest"...so I was. But I also told her to feel free to take any short cuts she wants. It's more than we deserve that she does anything (and some years we return the favor, and always at Christmas). So she'll try things here and there and we're supposed to tell her what we think. Of course, we don't know what is the short cut dish! It's actually worked out pretty well. Mostly she just does a lot of day before prep and time savers like that. However, last year the stuffing was a disaster. She started with Stove Top (and I actually LIKE Stove Top - in a McDonald's kind of way) and "improved" on it. Heavily. You would never recognize it as Stove Top. I'll give it that much. But it was HEINOUS!

                                                                                                              2. re: Carrie 218

                                                                                                                You have just described Thanksgiving with my family.

                                                                                                              3. oh Yuck. Turnip Fluff. Someone on this thread had a similar Turnip Puff nightmare. mashed turnips, carrot, some orange juice and topped with bread crumbs. It wasn't fluffy either.

                                                                                                                Sadly, I am one of those few who love jello salads. I get them only at xmas and Thanksgiving...yum. my step mom makes the one with orange segments and cool whip. I hear people cringing, but it's a fave!

                                                                                                                1. This is a side dish I really love and learned about from a friend's family, but I think it would make a lot of people sick to their stomach: "Pineapple Cheese". Basically a casserole of canned pinapple wedges, lots of cheddar cheese, and crumble Ritz crackers. Those of you who are curious can Google the recipe, I'm sure. Gooey, sweet, and salty -- but it has its place... in small quantities!

                                                                                                                  Also, skim, I suggest you do a search on "Susan Stamberg's Cranberry Relish". She's an NPR commentator who gives her recipe for the holidays every year. It sounds disgusting and I've never tried it, but it apparently has a following.

                                                                                                                  This isn't Thanksgiving related, but another friend's family had a holiday picnic traditional side dish called "Baloney Salad". It was basically large diced baloney (you had to buy it unsliced) mixed with relish, possibly celery and onion or something, and mayonnaise. It didn't taste awful, but I have never heard of this from anyone else.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: allegro805

                                                                                                                    Thanks a lot. I just spit pepsi out my nose when I read the words "baloney salad".

                                                                                                                  2. My mother adores this recipe for frozen cranberry salad. Small Dixie cup half filled with cranberry sauce and half with a mixture of cream cheese, mayo, and nuts. You peel it before serving and let it melt on the salad plate. It brings back every bad memory.

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Chris Rising

                                                                                                                        You win! This is the worst yet - the dixie cups alone make it so.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                                          For a second there, I thought your post was going by way of a "jello shot", only replaced by the cranberry sauce!! ;-)

                                                                                                                      2. Pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin. Maybe there's a good one out there (I've never attempted this one myself. . .) but the ones I've had were stringy and tasteless.

                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: mamaciita

                                                                                                                          You're right. Canned pumpkin tastes better and has more vitamins, too.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Glencora

                                                                                                                            Canned pumpkin has *more* nutrition than fresh??

                                                                                                                            1. re: allegro805

                                                                                                                              That's what I've read. I assume it's because it's more condensed.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Glencora

                                                                                                                                may have something to do with the canned pumpkin being processed right after harvest, and the "fresh" pumpkins sitting around since Halloween? In Pennsylvania the best pumpkins for pie are the neck pumpkins, the "neck" is solid, the only seeds are in the bulb-shaped end.

                                                                                                                          2. re: mamaciita

                                                                                                                            Not true if you use a good quality sugar pumpkin . . . maybe the ones you've had were made with Halloween pumpkins, which are stringy and pretty tasteless when cooked, and must be strained.

                                                                                                                          3. mincemeat pie. My grandmother has one at the table every thanksgiving and christmas. She also likes to take a little whiskey, cognac, or brandy, heat it up, and then pour it onto her slice of pie. I'm sorry but I don't need spiced meat with fruit under some pie crust...gross.

                                                                                                                            gross green lime jello mixed with walnuts, mayonaise, marashino cherries, and walnuts. What is that called? I believe its a waldorf salad, correct?

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: bitsubeats

                                                                                                                              That made me laugh. That might qualify as some kind of whitetrash "Mock Waldorf Salad" (remember Ritz cracker "Mock Apple Pie"?), but real Waldorf is diced apples, walnuts, celery, mayo, and sometimes green grapes.

                                                                                                                              1. re: allegro805

                                                                                                                                My family is awesome! They get alot of their food influences (white side) from the pennsylvaina dutch, hence the mince meat pie. we also have hog maw sometimes for thanksgiving but always for christmas. Its basically a pig's stomach stuffed with sausage, cabbage, potatos, salt, and pepper, and baked in the oven. It sounds gross but it is the best thing in the world.

                                                                                                                                I heard that mock apple pie tastes surprising like the real thing, I am not about to find out anytime soon though.

                                                                                                                                1. re: bitsubeats

                                                                                                                                  That's what they used to say, but I've never tasted it and don't intend to. If it tastes like real apple pie, it must be the one that uses canned mushy apple pie filling.

                                                                                                                              2. re: bitsubeats

                                                                                                                                No, that's not Waldorf salad, ick.

                                                                                                                                I do love my Jell-OTM salad... but it's green Jell-OTM with pears, then yellow Jell-OTM whipped with cream cheese, and red Jell-OTM with fruit cocktail (the ONLY time you will ever find canned fruit cocktail in my house). A holdover from pre-Chowhound days, I'm sure, but I love it love it love it.

                                                                                                                              3. My mother does a pretty good Thanksgiving on the whole, though I wish she and my father would get off of their latest high horse ... "and we NEVER use salt" ...

                                                                                                                                But the thing I can't understand is serving celery sticks stuffed with cream cheese and chopped, cheap, pimento-stuffed olives. Was this the height of fashion in the 50's and 60's when she was learning to entertain?!?! I can't imagine anything less suited for a special occasion dinner.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                                                  Yes, it was fashionable then. Also little plates of the tasteless canned black olives.

                                                                                                                                  Sarah C

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                                                    I forgot about the celery with cream cheese. I loved that!

                                                                                                                                  2. Jello salad with veggies in it...like shredded carrots. And that awful fruit salad with canned fruit and store bought whipped cream.

                                                                                                                                    Canned libby black pitless olives. (we used to put them on our fingers)

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: melly

                                                                                                                                      Without a doubt, this would have to be canned cranberry...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: melly

                                                                                                                                        For some reason, I still feel compelled to put out these stupid olives -- and my kids do the same thing we did -- put them on their fingers ... and wave them in my face ;-)

                                                                                                                                      2. My family always had glazed carrots. When I say glazed, I mean GLAZED, with more sugar that Hawaii produces in a year. Ugh. I found a recipe from Uzbekistan in Anya von Bremzen's "Please to the Table" wherein carrots are braised with cumin and onions. It's sublime. Even my father, whose mantra is "no spices but salt and pepper" loves them. Guess that shows just how much we all hated the candied carrots years.

                                                                                                                                        1. Is it just my family or does anyone else's demand food be a certain way even if it is revolting? When I was first married and had Thanksgiving at our house there was a minor meltdown with some at the table because I had the audacity to make cranberry sauce versus (what I do now) opening the can, pouring the cranberry sauce directly onto a plate in the shape of the can and cutting disks. These were ADULTS! I also make that wretched greenbean casserole (only with canned frenched beans - god forbid we inset fresh beans or non frenched beans). My mother in law ALWAYS makes what I can only say is the most gray, vile stink of a squash casserole involving egg goo. ALL of her boys LAP IT UP. Oddly enough, if I decided to cook those things on a non holiday, my husband would probably not be too thrilled. One more thing... could stuffing be more personal? My husbands family likes to junk it up with nuts and my sister-in-law makes wild rice stuffing! Those two things (especially inserting rice into Thanksgiving stuffing) just make me ill. Rice stuffing on any other day would not bother me in the least. OK... maybe a little.

                                                                                                                                          That reminds me... I better add redi-whip to the Thanksgiving grocery list. GOD FORBID I sneak in cool whip or GASP decide to whip up my own cream!

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Wanda Fuca

                                                                                                                                            I actually like the disks of cranberry jelly. I like real cranberries too.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                              I have nothing against canned cranberry jelly, but at least we take it out of the can and mash it up with a fork so it looks less artificial.

                                                                                                                                              And my elder daughter and I just love turkey sandwiches with tons of cranberry jelly and mayo/miracle whip.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Wanda Fuca

                                                                                                                                              I think alot of the "revolting" foods at holidays is the fact that over years, sometimes decades, it just become a familiar and comfortable tradition, and you know how people feel about breaking a tradition. Which may explain why they will lap it up at Thanksgiving, and turn up their noses at other times.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Wanda Fuca

                                                                                                                                                (._o )

                                                                                                                                                What, pray tell, is this cheese ball?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                                  OK I need a moment to stop laughing. How have you gotten through any holiday dinner without a relative whipping up a cheeseball? LOL! A cheeseball is usually some mixture of processed cheese, cream cheese, shredded cheese, port cheese all globbed together and covered with either chopped nuts, whole nuts, herbs... Then crackers are ringed around it on a serving platter. Ideally, people spread pieces of the ball onto the crackers.

                                                                                                                                                  My dear mother prize cheese ball is actually shaped into a pine cone and she fashions the scales? (is that the right term?) from whole almonds. She has been doing it for at least 35 years. Jeesh... 35 years. My aunt made hers with pimento cheese and I think cream cheese and decorated it like an ornament. Every Christmas the two vied for armchair table space to lay out their prize cheese balls. Surprisingly each one got gobbled up by those occupying the armchairs. Now their bellies look eerily like those cheeseballs. Laughs~

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Wanda Fuca

                                                                                                                                                    gotta giggle over cheesefood :) I think my mother held onto a "gift cheeseball" for one year before copping to the fact that she had no idea how to use it!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Wanda Fuca

                                                                                                                                                      I think the recipes for the "pinecone" and "ornament" chees balls were in the Betty Crocker Family Cookbook, the one with the red cover, probably from back in the 70's.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Wanda Fuca

                                                                                                                                                        Oh, my God. That sounds horrendous.

                                                                                                                                                        No, my family does not do this horrendous crime against food. Now, I have to admit, you've piqued my curiosity.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Wanda Fuca

                                                                                                                                                          Yeesh - what's with all the hatin' on cheeseball? ;)

                                                                                                                                                          My mom made ours out of cream cheese, Kraft Old English, Kraft Roka Blue and Kraft Pineapple spreads - they came in jars - and rolled it in chopped nuts. I loved that stuff! Now I can't get the Pineapple or Roka Blue anymore so I just make it with cream cheese and the Old English (with some onions, garlic powder, and a little worcestershire, and leave it in a bowl to spread on crackers. It's kind of comfort food. :) )

                                                                                                                                                    2. anything with sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole...

                                                                                                                                                      1. Sweet potatoes with marshmellows are yuck.never had them at our house. Don't care for giblet gravy either,though my dad made a good one.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HollyDolly

                                                                                                                                                          I like the taste giblets give the gravy, but I try my hardest not to eat any...I dont eat organs

                                                                                                                                                        2. I pretty much dislike all Thanksgiving food, especially Turkey. I hate this dried, tasteless, chauky Cranberry Bread my sister-in-law brings every year, it's the worst; at least you can pour a good gravy all over the dried, tasteless Turkey!

                                                                                                                                                          1. OK guys - I hate to admit it but I love green bean salad - the kind with the cream of mushroom soup in it and fried onions on top, right?

                                                                                                                                                            I do not like cranberry sauce. It's always either way too sweet or too tart.

                                                                                                                                                            1. I used to like pumpkin pie, then as I reached adulthood, the gloppy custurdy texture turned me off (I think I was served a couple of prepared frozen-then-cooked pies..eeeww) Look for the pumpkin pie recipe on epicurious (with sour cream, cream and definately no evaporated milk!!) This pie is very similar to traditional pumpkin pie, but just creamy enough to not glop...I'll never go back to the old recipes.

                                                                                                                                                              I too have graduated into making my own cranberry sauce I actually cook the cranberries in cider + water + orange juice and put mulling spices in a tea ball while cooking it. Cook with a few chopped dried apricots, and later add some chopped apple and pear and a few orange de-membraned sections. I sweeten a little with sugar and add a touch (i mean less than a tablespoon) of maple syrup. The mulling spices (from williams sonoma) and touch of maple give it a nice autumnal kind of flavor. I think you will like it!

                                                                                                                                                              My husband absolutely must have the canned solid cranberry sauce on the table. I could never stand that shape so I actually use a melon baller to serve little balls so I don't see the can "ribs" from the can! ha ha. He even spreads this sauce on white bread to make turkey sandwiches. Creepy

                                                                                                                                                              The worst has to be my aunt who often brings a canned ham (with cloves stuck in it)yahhhk. I also have a mother-in-law who takes out 2/3 of all sugar in recipes and replaces it with flour...mmmm nice, dry, non-sweet, (and usually burned) desserts.. yummy

                                                                                                                                                              1. Anyone have mashed rutabaga? It would overwhelm us with the smell, but my mom just "had" had to have them.

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                  Waldorf salad seems to be a family tradition in my husband's family. Apples, walnuts celery and mayo (not very much). I try to sneak in a little sugar and lemon juice to reduce the dryness and blahness but my efforts are not appreciated. Blech.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                    Well, we serve turnip, but that's close enough. Cut into cubes, boil it, mash it with butter and brown sugar. Unless you've used whole wheat bread for your stuffing, this is the most fiber that's at the table. And it does taste good, especially if you have good gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. "Soybean Stroganoff", a vegetarian dish, possibly from the cookbook, "Laurel's Kitchen". The soybeans were undercooked, and "ballpark" mustard was subbed for the Dijon. There were other crimes against cuisine, but I don't recall all of them.
                                                                                                                                                                    A memorable Thanksgiving dinner, indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. now that we have thanksgiving dinner with my delaware daughter-in-law and her family, her mom has added coleslaw to the menu. she told me last year that she couldn't believe it but some people don't have coleslaw on thanksgiving! we sure had never heard of having it! we are grateful that they have reintroduced us to baked beans though, we are enjoying them (no,not on thanksgiving!)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. wow! that was so weird to read! My mom always made her homemade cole slaw for every holiday! Ditto my mother-in-law! All our relatives, as well. Since the meals were too huge to have an actual salad, this sort of took the place of salad, i guess. My mother-in-law also set a separate, tiny bowl at each place setting so that you'd have a place or the slaw...and nothing ran into that wonderful turkey gravy!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. My dear departed grandmother used to make her "frozen salad" every year for Thanksgiving. In her absence, the duty is fallen on me. I love the stuff, but noone outside of my family whom I force fed has appreciated it. Although it's fairly sweet, it's not a dessert but a side dish eaten with the turkey.

                                                                                                                                                                          So you mix the following:

                                                                                                                                                                          Heavy whipping cream, lightly whipped
                                                                                                                                                                          cream cheese
                                                                                                                                                                          mayonaise (I know; it's gross)
                                                                                                                                                                          crushed pineapple
                                                                                                                                                                          maraschino cherries
                                                                                                                                                                          mini marshmellows.

                                                                                                                                                                          We always add a little extra cherry juice to the mix to turn it a slightly alarming pink shade. Then you just spread it in a large container, decorate with more cherries if desired, then freeze. After a few hours, you cut it into little squares, and voila!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I had that same salad last year at a holiday dinner, except the maraschinos were replaced with a double helping of dried cranberries. That gave it some real snap and it was pretty tasty....although it still needed some lemon juice to lend some acidity.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Once, a friend of mine (who's basically nuts) was going through a health phase. He stuffed the turkey tightly with bran muffins and shredded beets, then undercooked the whole thing by about an hour. The result rivaled something Wes Craven could think up. It took three of us to pry the stuffing out of that poor bird. And the turkey was served rare. It still gives me the chills when I remember it.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Our family's traditional Thanksgiving meal of Poi and plantains in a chilled spiced aspic mold. Never much cared for it. Thank God we had the fermented cat milk to wash the taste out of our mouths.