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Gross Holiday Foods You Put Up WIth?

My "cooking with NON-foodie Friends" post reminded me of another non-foodie horror: "Gross Holiday Foods" you have to tolerate with Non-Foodie friends and family at the holidays.

What are some gross foods (or frightening food-preparation practices) that you have to tolerate during the holidays?

Here's mine:
1. a friend of mine prefers Stove Top stuffing to anything homemade
2. same friend must only have ghastly Cool Whip instead of homemade whipped topping.
3. chip dip from a container

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  1. I do the bulk of the cooking for our Thanksgiving but our guests always bring a few dishes. Unfortunately, none of my friends are particularly good cooks, so we're always stuck with dishes that just miss their mark. Last year it was undercooked root vegetables, a congealed and weird "Krab" dip and a burnt pecan pie.

    3 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      "Krab" dip. LOL!!!! No doubt, one of those mystery fish substitutes. Two years ago, a colleague held an appetizer party at the holidays for some friends. He made a HUGE amount of stuffed potato skins, but didn't bake the potatoes long enough before cutting/stuffing. I can still see that huge platter of them, basically untouched, and people's appetizer plates with them on it with only a bite taken out of it. Not thoroughly baked potatoes are not tasty.

      1. re: biondanonima

        biondanonima, your friend who makes the congealed krab dip should meet mine who makes a gnarly neon orange "salmon dip" with cheap packaged lox...she leaves it sitting out all day and it gets nice & crusty. gack!

      2. "Salads" that are pink or green and involve cool-whip. Popular with some of the more senior Thanksgiving guests, but I just hate them!

        3 Replies
        1. re: soonerhound

          Oh I am so with you Soonerhound!! My dad HAS to have "Green Salad" made with lime jello mix, pineapple, nuts, & cool whip among other things. It makes me gag just thinking of it! BLECH!! Everything else on Thanksgiving is awesome and made from scratch, but that salad can go to the dogs!

          1. re: Roadpony

            Ugh... my boyfriend makes that. His family calls it "7-Up Salad".

          2. re: soonerhound

            We used to have gelatin salad (jello mold) but a few years ago we cut it because too much was left over. No cool whip in them though.

          3. Shredded carrot 'slaw' with mayonnaise, raisins and pineapple tidbits. Yuck.

            1. Canned greeen beans smothered with "cream" of sodium and chemical soup, and baked in an oven.

              Yeah, that's food...sure it is...no, go ahead and have some more, I don't want to hog it all.

              Packet o' gravy mix.
              I'm sorry. I really am. This stuff is easier to make than real gravy? In what universe?

              2 Replies
              1. re: gordeaux

                Ugh. I hear you, Gordeaux. I have a friend who loves those packets. How about stick margarine at the Thanksgiving table. Barf.

                And green bean casserole, yuckie. "Cream of Sodium," LOL!!!!! However, I do have a craving now and then for those Durkee friend onion rings, lol.

                1. re: natewrites

                  I managed to banish the casserole this year, it's a first! they aren't MAKING me make it for them (in it's place will be roasted brussel sprouts w/ bacon and lots of fresh cracked black pepper) HA take that green bean casserole!

              2. I have lots to contribute to this thread, too! But where to start...

                1. The cousin who brought a "lasagna" made from canned ravioli layered with jarred sauce and sliced Mozza.

                2. The time I visited a friend's fam in TX. The centerpiece of Xmas day brunch was a much-loved fam recipe that I now know is a version of Mormon funeral potatoes: frozen hash browns bound with canned cream of chicken and Cheddar soup and an entire pint of sour cream, along with chunks of breakfast sausage and two pounds of grated Cheddar (did Santa bring Lipitor??).

                3. The turkey roll Mom made (well, heated), which prompted someone else to volunteer to bring the turkey from there on out (which might have been Mom's plan in the first place).

                4. The year that all the aunties decided it was too much work to roast turkeys so we got fried chicken instead and passed it around the table in the cardboard buckets . This is known in the fam as the Kentucky Fried Christmas.

                5. Finger Jell-O, long after there were any toddlers in the fam. Without irony, everyone in the fam refers to Jell-O by its color, not by its flavor, as in, who brought the red Jell-O with the fruit cocktail? You can count on at least two Jell-O dishes at any fam event. And no, we are not from the midwest or Utah.

                6. The cousin (not the same as #1--we have a really big extended fam) who made pudding from a box, lightened it with frozen whipped topping, poured it into a pre-made graham cracker crust, and brought it as a chocolate chiffon pie.

                7. The cousin (yet another one) who once brought mock Swedish meatballs in a gravy of cream of mushroom soup (canned--you need to ask?). She was afraid that the "gravy" would be too thin so she made a roux and added the undiluted soup. Need I mention that the "gravy' was like wallpaper paste?

                8. And one that I have not yet had the pleasure of eating and am praying that I never do: Krispy Kreme bread pudding. Same cousin as #6 raves about it. It's two dozen cut-up Krispy Kreme glazed donuts in a custard of sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and more sugar, spiked with a can of fruit cocktail and an entire pound box of raisins. This has gotta be prohibited somewhere in the Bible!!

                11 Replies
                1. re: Erika L

                  wow your family need cookery lessons!

                  my ex mother-in-law made undercooked turkey one year - I think it went in an hour before we got there at 6pm and we still hadn't eaten by 10pm and my children were all under 6 years old. I think I managed to carve off some cooked breast and microwave it so that my children didn't starve to death. The main side was a fancy wild rice dish that none of my kids would eat. They had cereal at midnight when we got home - so did we.

                  1. re: Erika L

                    Wow, Krispy Kreme donuts as an ingredient? They are sickeningly sweet on their own. I can't imagine what sort of taste bud deafness you'd have to have to come up with a bread pudding like that.

                    1. re: Isolda

                      i'm pretty sure that Krispy Kreme recipe is a Paula Deen concoction...not all that surprising coming from the Butter Queen.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I don't know where my cousin got the recipe but just reading it scares me!

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              The recipe appeared in one of the family cookbooks that she published (three volumes!) and manages to stand out among hundreds of other recipes that also include canned soup, cake mixes, frozen whipped topping, etc. The dishes are all foods made from other foods as opposed to from ingredients. Judging from the recipes, you'd think the cookbooks were written in the 60's but they were done in just the last five years. The bread pudding hasn't appeared at a fam function--yet!

                              1. re: Erika L

                                Craft projects! Those are craft projects! Seriously, that's what we call them here. Whenever we're in a hurry and a kid needs to bring in cake to English class "tomorrow, Mom," I'll dip into my emergency stash of craft mixes and whoever has a free 10 minutes will assemble? prepare? it.

                                1. re: Isolda

                                  That's an excellent name! They really are like the kitchen versions of a paint-by-numbers kit!

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I'm sure it's a Paula Deen concoction, she's also the one who used Krispy kremes in place of hamburger buns...

                        1. re: Erika L

                          Re #8- Yeah, that was Paula Deen's recipe- I nearly fainted from hyperglycemia watching the episode while she made it. But it was a hysterically funny episode for all that, she was taking it to the limit on that one.
                          Why to hell wouldn't you just go into a coma eating the Krispy Kremes and not bother with all the other nonsense?

                        2. I have encountered all of these...

                          I was away for a few years and now I claim I had to have gastric bypass surgery during that period, hence no more than a mouthful or 2 every few hours.

                          1 Reply
                          1. This thread seems awfully mean-spirited. If a person prepares a dish for others - and even Stovetop stuffing takes some effort - it seems churlish to mock it, especially around the holidays, which can be a pretty stressful time. Not everyone excels in every area. While you're setting out your beautiful homemade pie, someone is probably wondering whatever possessed you to wear those pants.

                            I don't know where my sudden attack of sensitivity is coming from. It probably won't last long.

                            17 Replies
                            1. re: small h

                              walk it off small h, walk it off.

                              I think we're saying these things here so we can smile and make yummy noises on Thursday. sort of spewing off the bile now so we don't have any left (until Friday of course)

                              1. re: hill food

                                You're right, of course. I just got a sad there for a second. It is certainly best to vent here, rather than at the table.

                                1. re: small h

                                  I don't think the mockery is meant to be mean spirited...I was served the nasty jello salad with walnuts, canned fruit, etc. and gagged it down for YEARS. I don't think anything has ever made me want to vomit more but I ate a scoop of it at each holiday meal because some family member always made it. Anyway, don't be sad, we eat the crap out of love and vent about it here!

                              2. re: small h

                                You're right, especially family food is always made with love, although perhaps it doesn't always taste that way to my now grown-up and so much more sophisticated palate. I always take a serving (albeit maybe a small one) of everything on the table. And truth be told, this is the type of "cooking" (really, it's more like assemblage) that I grew up on--tater tots and anything with frozen whipped topping are the tastes of my childhood and I still love them...once in a great long while...

                                1. re: Erika L

                                  it is a bittersweet wistful feeling isn't it? I hate to sound like some snotty jerk, so I just smile and eat it and slip some to the dog (assuming it's dog-safe food, nothing sugary, but dry lean turkey without bones is ok right?) god I hope my nephew brings his.

                                  1. re: Erika L

                                    Really? Family food is always made with love? In some family gatherings I've been to, I'd swear it was made with Drano!

                                  2. re: small h

                                    I have to confess that I actually like Stovetop stuffing, and I wasn't offended at all. (Although, I have never served it to anyone but myself.)

                                    1. re: Isolda

                                      the stuffing/dressing is the one thing done right in our family (I usually have to hijack the gravy, but...)

                                      1. re: Isolda

                                        I like stovetop stuffing and green bean casserole. The only thing I ever truly loathed was the jello salad with walnuts/canned fruit/etc. I actually used to hold my breath and swallow bites of it without chewing just to get it down...I can still feel the bits of walnut grazing my esophagus...:shudder:

                                        1. re: Isolda

                                          so glad to see i am not alone here. i adore Stovetop and bought a box for myself this weekend. (will be having TDay dinner elsewhere)

                                        2. re: small h

                                          I'm with you. "Churlish" is ever so appropriate.

                                          1. re: beevod

                                            Re: churlish?
                                            Erika L tells the story of the aunts who apparently all thought that a big deal Christmas feast was too much work. Good for them! Passing around the Colonel and having a family memory around the "Kentucky Fried Christmas" sounds charming and wonderful. And after the go- go- go/ rush- rush- rush of Christmas shopping, malls, party and office obligations, maybe a school concert or church cantata or two, as many volunteer hours for the Salvation Army or soup kitchen charity as the schedule allows and ...whew! (What to buy for Uncle Fred...what time does the post office close? I hope the rates aren't too much higher this year...) KFC sounds like common sense! We have definitely simplified the Christmas menu over the years. I can't for the life of me see why the Kentucky Fried Christmas goes down as a negative thing.

                                              1. re: Florida Hound

                                                oh I wouldn't mind KFC, but I think small h was referring to anybody that might turn up their nose to whatever is offered, be it high or low end as "churlish"

                                                1. re: Florida Hound

                                                  I didn't take this thread to mean, what foods have you been/are you served that you think are revolting? I thought it was more, what memories do you have of special or celebratory meals that weren't 100% what you would have planned for the menu? As you can tell, my family has provided all kinds of memories, and they're all warm and funny ones, no matter how the situations might have seemed to me at the time. The really funny thing is that now when the extended family gets together (which sadly is no longer once a month--all of us cousins, 12 - 15 per side, grew up more like siblings than cousins), everyone automatically separates into adult table, adult table, kids' table, kids' table, kids' table, despite that fact that we "kids" are now in our 40's - 60's, with our own kids and some of them with kids, too.

                                                  And yes, these now sadly too rare "all hands" get togethers still always include food and also still always generate stories!

                                                  1. re: Erika L

                                                    I enjoyed your "P.S." and wish you wonderful holidays in the weeks and years to come. Cherish the family stories and the people who made them possible (even when their cooking isn't their strongest point).

                                            1. Whoever first put mini-marshmallows in their sweet potatoes should have shared the choppin' block with the turkey.

                                              5 Replies
                                                1. re: occula

                                                  I don't care for the mini-marshMallows, either. My grandmother, now gone, got it into her head once that my favorite food was her sweet potatoes in orange cups (with the potatoes whipped with pineapple and pecans) and then the result was topped with the mini-marshmallows and baked. I really didn't care for them, but I always ate them without a peep...and she made them special for me every visit. That being said, I'd give a lot to be able to sit at her table again with the rest of the family and politely eat those darn sweet potato cups!

                                                    1. re: auburnselkie

                                                      Pineapple mixed with sweet potatoes makes me wish it was marshmallows. Seriously. Marshmallows can be good if properly scorched, IMO.

                                                      Oh forget it. But the pineaple gives me the all-overs. Yuck.

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    So many people mention that but in my family there was always a "crust" of pecan halves. Definitely sweet but better than marshmallows. I'd take a dab almost like a relish.

                                                  2. I still remember the Thanksgiving Day Dinner From Hell--Tuna casserole and the salad came straight from the bag.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: JosephEBacon

                                                      Gods above- what brought that about?

                                                    2. My parents aren't American so I never saw a green bean casserole until I met my husband (then boyfriend). The first Thanksgiving I had with his family, I was so intrigued by the green bean casserole since I saw pictures of it in magazine ads and knew it held a special place in the hearts of many. I placed a nice scoop of it on my plate and went to town. I am sure you can imagine my disappointment after I built it up in my head after all of these years. I don't know what I expected from canned cream soup and what they market as "onions" in a can. The onions have a strange mouth-feel to them and I am unsure if the canned soup helped or hurt those frozen green beans.

                                                      The other item is canned sweet potatoes. I had these growing up and thought I hated sweet potatoes. Wrong, I just hate canned sweet potatoes. Love me some fresh ones. The canned ones taste almost rancid, like something went wrong with them. To add insult to injury, my mother in law puts marshmallows on top of canned sweet potatoes, which essentially is a crime against humanity.

                                                      1. An aunt always brings a steamed carrot pudding (savory). It seems bland to me, but that side of the family likes it.. They're just very conservative, so what can we do? I'm afraid the food my side contributes seems overly seasoned and just plain strange to them. We only get together a couple times a year, so basically they eat their contributions and we eat ours and we all smile a lot...and drink wine.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Glencora

                                                          At least you get together on the wine.

                                                        2. A few years ago a friend brought us her "mother's famous recipe dessert" as a gift. Imagine my surprise when the famous recipe was actually instant chocolate pudding layered with graham crackers. Now, I've been known to make this type of thing every few years or so, but would never think of serving it to someone else, or presenting it as a gift. Still, I thanked her heartily and sent her some of my dark chocolate brownies. The thing is, no matter how snobbish we are about the foods we eat, it's important to remember that other people's tastes are different, and their feelings matter more than our taste buds.
                                                          The impression that hurtful words leave lasts a lot longer than indigestion.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                                                            "The impression that hurtful words leave lasts a lot longer than indigestion."

                                                            words to live by indeed.

                                                            1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                                                              I would just so much rather have someone tell me what I made is bad, than have 20 ppl talking behind my back, and saying, "Oh jeez here comes so and so with their "famous" such and such dish."

                                                              1. re: gordeaux

                                                                yes there is that, but in the case of mamachef below if the lack of indulgers wasn't noticed, I doubt little else will be of note.

                                                                1. re: gordeaux

                                                                  me too. but there's a nice way to do it! ;-)

                                                                2. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                                                                  You are exactly right. If somebody -- no matter how limited their skills or creativity -- takes the time to make something for you to eat, you smile and say "thank you." End of story.

                                                                  I grew up eating sweet potatoes out of the can, green beans out of the can, corn out of the can, Campbell's soup poured all over everything, mashed potatoes from the box, and pies from the frozen food aisle. Now that I'm an adult, I would never inflict those foods on anybody, and I insist on making everything from scratch. But there are people who were raised on the same diet I was, and they haven't felt the need to change. I may chuckle at them, but it is a chuckle of recognition.

                                                                3. Any canned vegetable dish. Just don't. Please.
                                                                  I'm just so grateful that my family is ultra cheap and non net savvy so I can beg off with "but the tickets are so expensive over a holiday weekend, see you in January!" chuckle, chuckle...

                                                                  1. Former roommate who insisted on preparing her fab. concoction consisting of Cool-Whip, Cottage cheese, Dry Peach Jello, and canned peaches. EVERY holiday, she made it. EVERY holiday, it went sadly and noticeably untouched but for one large scoop which landed on her plate. I always felt bad and took another scoop so it wouldn't be so obvious - but I "hid" it, and always volunteered for plate-scraping duty so she wouldn't see.

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                      i've had several friends and roommates who insisted on preparing their similarly horrifying "famous" or "fabulous" dishes for & holiday parties, and i did the same thing as you - helped myself to plenty of it and found a discreet way to discard it. though one year i had to go beyond that - a friend made a batch of stuffed mushrooms that were truly inedible - i actually spotted a couple of guests spitting them out. i was concerned that she might see that and get really upset or offended, so when she wasn't looking, i swiped the tray, dumped them all in a trash bag, and stashed it in my bedroom closet until after the party! she commented later that she couldn't believe the tray was empty, and i felt terrible that i had deceived her, but figured it was a better alternative than having her find out people couldn't even bring themselves to *swallow* them.

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        ghg, there's deception and there's deception. How much worse would she have felt if you hadn't helped that situation along? You did her a kindness, IMHO. Next step: to lay a good version of whatever the botched attempt or "bad food recipe" was on them, hope for the best, and get out of the way. ; )

                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                          i know, i did it to spare her feelings, but dishonesty NEVER sits well with me, in any situation.

                                                                          as for the next step, there was no need. after she nearly burned her apartment building down trying to prepare a simple dinner a few weeks later, she decided it was in everyone's best interest that she give up trying to cook, and instead focus on perfecting the art of making reservations ;)

                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          the most horrific "famous" dish i have ever seen was a co-worker's guacamole. her secret ingredient that made it "famous?" parm cheese out of the green can. i practically needed therapy to get over that one.

                                                                          1. re: Jelly71

                                                                            I feel the same way about bacon guacamole, but then I'm kind of a purist where tampering with perfection is concerned. The green-can parm would be difficult to get over, for sure.

                                                                          2. re: mamachef

                                                                            Ha. Now I have the "Lime Jello, Marshmallow, Cottage Cheese Surprise" song stuck in my head.

                                                                          3. In a similar vein, my mother in law prepares their traditional family dressing, which I detest. It is a milk cracker dressing that is ground to a paste consistency. It is awful and I unfortunately have a reputation as a lover of stuffing/dressing. I do love stuffing/dressing, just not hers! Every year I take a small scoop and hide it amongst the other goods on my plate. Luckily the table is so busy and crowded she thinks I eat seconds every year. I would never tell her otherwise.

                                                                            Generally I will always take a little of even the most questionable of dishes to be polite. I may be chowish when it comes to m y views on processed food concoctions and the like but I would never want to hurt the feelings of anyone who had nothing but good intentions.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: mels

                                                                              of course not. (but I try to not even partake of the foulunarity if I think I can get away with it).

                                                                            2. Now doesn't this make you wonder what others think of your 'signature' dish? ;-)

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. As Nancy Raygun said, "Just say no." When dragged screaming and kicking to my X-in-laws, I just picked and "choosed". Had bring my own booze too.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                  Good call on the preemptive self-anesthesia with X-MIL, although you are widely known to eat just about anything. And like it.

                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                    Agent orange musta made me draw the line at eating chemically processed junk.I think I went over the line when I set my 12" deer hunting knife to the right of the pork chop. I still couldn't cut it though.

                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                      That is HILARIOUS!!! Similar experience with my ex in-laws. FIL would drink while cooking, and the results were almost always inedible/overcooked/overseasoned.

                                                                                      1. re: mtngirlnv

                                                                                        Are you my ex-sister in law? My brother still talks about the time Dad, while drinking, was trying to BBQ pork chops and he said "I've cooked these things and cooked them, and they still won't get brown" Shoe leather would have been more edible...

                                                                                        1. re: Niki in Dayton

                                                                                          Not your ex SIL! The most interesting Thanksgivings were after my mom discovered wine back in the mid 60's, and would start "tasting" it before Tday meal was completed. There were the baked red potatos, which resembled bricks, the overcooked carrots which smelled to high heaven of some spice she was trying, and let's not forget the year the brown bag holding the turkey caught on fire. I am surprised that my mom didn't catch on fire as well.

                                                                                2. It will be that someone will insist on bringing some type of freakish green jello salad with cream or cream cheese and the obligatory nuts. Sorry I don't eat that stuff. Or, knorr's spinach dip and the maker has not squeezed the water out of the frozen spinach. You'll know because the sour cream and mayo are greenish in color and very watery. A travesty to otherwise a good dip.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                    Oooh chicklet, ain't it the truth? You gotta SQUEEEEEEEZE the hell outta that stuff. Best results yet are when I've doubled up on the spinach factor and used (count 'em!) TWO boxes of spinach, and some diced seeded cucumber, which lightens it up just a tad.

                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                      Ooh, I never thought of the cucumber and that sounds LOVELY. Thanks so much!

                                                                                      1. re: auburnselkie

                                                                                        Or - ta da! Chopped water chestnuts! But yeah...when I add the extra veg. it makes me feel better about the "Oh my G-d" sized scoops of that stuff, which I load directly onto French bread or into cherry tomatoes.

                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                          thanks MC, wow, I can't eat cuke (GI issue) but what a great texture substitute. I'd been thinking using zucchini or something, but water chestnut would be so much better.

                                                                                  2. Fruitcake does it for me. I have yet to eat a good bite!

                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: janbo19

                                                                                        There IS seriously good fruitcake, made with love and for charity.

                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                          My daddy made a great fruitcake. It cost a fortune to make 50 years ago. I still have the recipe (in his handwriting) and one of these days I'm going to make it.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            My mom's cousin made a fruit cake soaked in Courvoiser! Wow!

                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                              PDK: I was about to respond to veggo, "yeah seriously soaked in rum, cognac, bourbon etc."

                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                Claxton, in Georgia, makes a pretty darn good fruit cake. I usually find them at Sam's Club about this time of year.

                                                                                          2. re: Veggo

                                                                                            I bougt a Costco fruitcake and loved every bite. It took a while because it was so rich and there's only three of us. But it was pretty got-dam good.

                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                              You should have had my mom's, my mother-in-law's, or mine. Fruitcake - the real thing, made with love - is an unjustly vilified food.

                                                                                          3. re: janbo19

                                                                                            I'm actually a sucker for a good fruitcake, but the problem is most aren't made well

                                                                                            My nan used to make them six months in advance and she'd bake them and put them in their special tins, and every so often, she'd pour brandy over top, and then a day or two later, she'd turn it over, and let it sit a while longer and repeat the process for six months... as a kid I LOVED it... go figure

                                                                                            a slice of Nan's fruit cake and a couple of my moms chocolate cherry bourbon balls and I'd be snockered by 3:30 on Christmas afternoon...

                                                                                            1. re: cgarner

                                                                                              Your Nan must have known my Mom! The fruitcake was always bathed in B&B or whatever happened to be in the bar downstairs (one year it was Jack...wasn't as good). I'm making the fruitcake for the first time in 30 years (I used to help my mom make it while I was growing up). She actually has 1c. brandy as an ingredient for the cake. Don't get me started on the "bourbon balls". Those WERE made with Jack.

                                                                                              c oliver: still costs a fortune today...I'm upwards of $45 and still missing the green pineapple rings. Turns out they've been replaced by green pineapple chunks. Still need to find them out my way (DC area).

                                                                                          4. my step mother starts making her stuffing the day before:

                                                                                            cook celery and onion in butter with enough bells poultry seasoning to turn the entire pan grey and cook them till they're falling apart soft
                                                                                            add that to fresh wonder bread, which you've torn into pieces so small, it's pretty much bread crumbs

                                                                                            stir in enough eggs to turn the entire batch back to dough
                                                                                            taste it! (oh here's the important part, tasting semi-warm concoction with raw eggs)
                                                                                            add too much salt and pepper
                                                                                            allow to "rest" in the fridge overnight
                                                                                            stuff too much of it into the turkey
                                                                                            overcook the turkey to get the stuffing done OR serve undercooked and give everyone food poisoning
                                                                                            serve with canned yams, canned corn, gummy mashed potatoes which you've made with a hand mixer and no green veg in sight
                                                                                            we used to just suck it up and push the food around a bit on the plate and drown the turkey in gravy
                                                                                            it's one meal a year!

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: cgarner

                                                                                              ever read the Accidental Tourist? where his sister roasts the turkey at something like 140 degrees? overnight?

                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                no, but I've been served turkey which has been cooked overnight on 'low'
                                                                                                when you slice the breast long ways with an electric carving knife, the meat literally turns into crumbs unless you slice it at least a half inch thick.
                                                                                                (I've witnessed this first hand...)
                                                                                                Like I said, it was one meal a year, I'd bring my Grandmothers Escarole soup with the little meatballs as a first course and we'd have store bought pie with Reddi Whip for dessert.

                                                                                            2. Tonight I ate the most awful concoction I've ever had on Thanksgiving. It was a mixture of cranberries, horseradish, raw onion, presumably run through the Cuisinart, then blended with sour cream. I couldn't eat it. I swallowed the one bite I took ASAP.

                                                                                              If only I'd known ahead of time, I could have made cooked cranberries, or made a cranberry salsa. But no, just this inedible pepto pink mess.

                                                                                              It was called NPR cranberry relish. Apparently someone there makes it every year.

                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                I actually think that sounds great! But I guess you had to be there.

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  Well, I don't like raw onions, and I'm only okay with horseradish in small, small doses (I actually love shrimp cocktail sauce). But all I'm really interested in eating from the typical Thanksgiving menu is stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes, and cranberries, and this dish just ruined the cranberries, whose flavor (profile--hahahaha) was completely overwhelmed by all the junk in this dish. And no one thought to have an alternate. I would have been grateful for Ocean Spray in the can.

                                                                                                  It could only have been worse if a hard-boiled egg had been food milled into it.

                                                                                                2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                  I think that was a recipe from Fine Cooking magazine. I remember reading in a cooking mag and thinking that sounds good.

                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                      Yes, I was driving to school in Maine, this was on the radio, I sat in the parking lot and listened. I have a bag of cranberries in the fridge, I'm gonna make it if and when I get a turkey.
                                                                                                      Turkey! I hate the word "gross', maybe I have heard it too much for my kids and students, but BB turkey, is, er, 12 dozen.

                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                        Clarification. Twelve dozen equals 1 gross (144).

                                                                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                        It's from Susan Stamberg, a commentator for years on National Public Radio. It's from her mother, "Mama Stamberg," and she reads it every year on air.

                                                                                                        A big NPR fan, I listen to her rattle it off every time this year. It's a cute tradition on NPR, but I would NEVER make it or eat it. The color alone doesn't feel palatable. LOL.

                                                                                                        1. re: natewrites

                                                                                                          I made it once. It is one of the most dreadful things I've ever put in my mouth. Susan Stamberg has been going on about this since the 1970's and it is as far as I'm concerned something you'd have to grow up with to love.

                                                                                                    2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                      That's pretty dang bad, Jay! Wow! And yet, you swallowed.
                                                                                                      reminds me of the tongue, beet and horseradish mousse that one "forward thinking" friend brought for Passover that year.....

                                                                                                    3. hate, hate, hate marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes. sweet potatoes are deliciousness epitomized - why ruin them with commercial sugary sweetness?

                                                                                                      1. In my book, Thanksgiving food gets a pass. It's about getting together and sharing the food each individual wants to contribute. Thanksgiving is not a Chowish event, nor should it be, in IMO.

                                                                                                        1. just stumbled across a couple of previous similarly-themed threads i hadn't seen before:

                                                                                                          1. canned pearl onions. cream of crap soup. pre-shredded cheddar cheese = the casserole my oldest Auntie makes

                                                                                                            iceberg lettuce, canned peas, chopped tomatoes, a layer of sour cream, a layer of mayonnaise, and a layer of pre-shredded cheddar cheese = the salad my youngest Aunt makes

                                                                                                            But I smile and say its all wonderful. Is that perpetuating a bad habit?

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: happachica


                                                                                                              heh. the layered salad showed up this year after a good 10 year hiatus, made me smile and take a helping out of sheer nostalgia. (ours is broccoli, lettuce, freeze dried parm, sugar, mayo and god knows what else) but it was like a time machine.

                                                                                                              1. re: happachica

                                                                                                                "cream of crap soup"
                                                                                                                LMAO, there were flame wars years ago about the use of the soup and this term on recipezaar.com
                                                                                                                do I know you from zaar happachica

                                                                                                              2. I get lucky both sides of the family cook fantastically well. It's usually the things that people who don't cook bring because they feel like they must bring something.

                                                                                                                The can of cranberry sludgy stuff that still looks like its in the can even when its not.

                                                                                                                Treating a salad like a casserole - i.e. layering it with mayo or sour cream

                                                                                                                A note on the green bean casserole. I actually like it but I only eat it once a year. I realized one time that a friend of ours who had asked us to come over for dinner didn't really know how to cook very many dishes. Most of her dinners were just like Thanksgiving and she ALWAYS made green bean casserole . This was when i found out that I can only stomach the dish once a year. :)

                                                                                                                Also I'm not going to bag on Rachael Ray here, I do have one of her cookbooks that was bought for me when I didn't know how to cook. Her food is dumbed down for those who want to cook but don't really want to put any effort into it. While some of my earlier successes with her recipes kept me from getting frustrated sometimes you need to move on.

                                                                                                                A few years ago someone brought her fried ravioli with dipping sauce as an appetizer to a thanksgiving event. It consisted of frozen store bought raviolis and canned tomato sauce. It was a hit with the kids, not so much with the adults.

                                                                                                                But thank god that no one has ever brought a jello salad over on Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                and on a good note:
                                                                                                                This year my uncle loaded us up with some frozen venison. He's a hunter and had a good hunting season. :)

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                  Since we do Thanksgiving in October and in my house it's less fraught, I have to nominate two Christmas items: tomato aspic and oyster stuffing. Both make me want to run and hide but are scoffed down with oohs and ahhs by others at the table, so it could be just me :-).

                                                                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                    oh that is just you...although personally I'd tart up the aspic into a bloody mary jello shot (but maybe that's just me)

                                                                                                                    and I really like the idea of thanksgiving in October - our problem is too many far-flung college age kids throuhout to make that easy.

                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                      I think the aspic love may be a generational thing -- all my cousins refer to it as the dreaded aspic and feel the same way I do. The oyster stuffing hatred seems to depend on whether you like the bivalves or not...

                                                                                                                      Possible solution for the October dilemma is to move to Canada and since most American expats I know here still celebrate in Nov that's probably no help.

                                                                                                                      1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                        I learned to love shrimp aspic living in Norway. Aspic is a symbol of the glorious, but short, summer.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                          well, pdk: I'll catch up with you here. Sunday dinner's a chicken stuffed with kraut, apples and bacon. Per your suggestion, we may end up tossing the chicken and just eat big bowls of yummy, broth-basted kraut.
                                                                                                                          Served up with bread/potato dumplings and cuke salad.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                            Sounds yummy, mamachef. I love kraut!

                                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                              In Maine for years I planted 36 cabbages, just to turn into kapusta. I've always associated kraut w/ pork and w/ fowl, seems odd/funny to me. I'll have to give it a try.

                                                                                                                  2. Green bean casserole (the traditional way). This is so gross. Who came up with it? Actually, I do know the whole story behind it but don't understand why a lot of Americans eat this 50-60 years later.

                                                                                                                    Sweet Potato/Yam casserole--with marshmellows. Give it to us Americans to make a whole vegetable with lots of health benefits into a diabetic/heart disease mess. Marshmellows should be only used for desserts and hot chocolate.

                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                                                                                                      Marshmellows should only be used at camp fires. Period.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                        Or some variation. For the family Halloween party this year I made s'more cupcakes--devils food cupcakes, marshmallow icing and crushed graham cracker crumbs (with gummy worms, of course, as it was Halloween).

                                                                                                                        But agreed, only s'more-like applications require marshmallow.

                                                                                                                      2. re: spinachandchocolate

                                                                                                                        the marshmallow thing is really a Northern thing anybody I've known from the South would sooner just not serve sweet potatoes than put those on it. they do a brown sugar glaze.

                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                          We (in Atlanta) put pecan halves on top. Yuck on marshmallows :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                            I have seen pecans toasted and nicely mixed with a brown sugar/butter thing.

                                                                                                                            but yes, I think the consensus is the fluffed cylinders of shortcut are simply wrong (with a few campfire exceptions)

                                                                                                                          2. re: hill food

                                                                                                                            Gotta disagree here - my grandmother is from Alabama and the sweet potatoes always have godforsaken marshmallows on them. I always hated them, but have found that I enjoy a savory sweet potato casserole very much. No sugar in my veggies, thanks!

                                                                                                                            1. re: LisaPA

                                                                                                                              interesting, were the tufts of shame used in AL or maybe a concession to other tastes once in PA? (there are exceptions to every rule)

                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                Agree, I've had a Southern Thanksgiving and marshmallows showed up in the sweet potatoes.

                                                                                                                        2. When I was a kid, my grandmother made stollen at Christmas. Everyone always oohed and ahed. I think it was more that I was a picky kid, but the smell always made me gag. Of course, now my grandmother's gone and I'd love to see a stollen.

                                                                                                                          More recently, every other year we attend a family Thanksgiving where the host only cooks one day a year (Thanksgiving). She makes the turkeys - as a result, they are dry and served cold.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: amyvc

                                                                                                                            yeah if one could turn back time I'd opt for the stollen. (and I'm not big on sweet stuff).

                                                                                                                            the cold part is fine, just not the dry.

                                                                                                                          2. my mother in law's "trifle" which for YEARS DH swore was "traditional" trifle. I don't know that I've really convinced him that other recipes are actually trifle as well. She means well and I choke down a scoop each holiday dinner.
                                                                                                                            Her recipe:
                                                                                                                            packaged lady fingers (in an emergency, sliced twinkies)
                                                                                                                            jello - usually red - this year there were 2 clashing flavors.
                                                                                                                            canned fruit cocktail
                                                                                                                            birds custard
                                                                                                                            whipped topping - not sure which - maybe dreamwhip?
                                                                                                                            decorated with halved marachino cherries and almond slices.
                                                                                                                            this year she brought a huge bowl for thanksgiving dinner - for the 4 of us - then insisted I take the rest of it for my family gathering Saturday. I smiled and thanked her for her generosity. she really is a sweetie. but we had 17 pies on Saturday. who needs jello trifle that's past its prime when you have pie??? :)

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                              A woman I used to know from Morecambe, Lancs. made the exact same thing as trifle (no Twinkies, though). Used to soak the ladyfingers in cream sherry. Quite nasty.

                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                i wish my MIL added alcohol to hers - it would give it 1 redeeming quality, LOL!
                                                                                                                                the funny thing is she used to make a couple dozen of these at christmas and give them away to friends and neighbors. the rule was if you didn't return the bowl you didn't get another. I would have kept the bowl the first time, for sure! maybe they were better "back in the day"

                                                                                                                                1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                  Don't you just love it, all the good intentions and everyone going "OH NO!!!" when one turned up.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                    I just thought of another holiday food I consider "gross" -- cranberry sauce. Rather than put up with it, I found a substitute that I make every year and adore:

                                                                                                                                    Cranberry salsa

                                                                                                                                    1.5 cup (250 mL) fresh cranberries
                                                                                                                                    1/3 cup onion, chopped
                                                                                                                                    3 fresh green chiles, seeded and minced*
                                                                                                                                    40 fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
                                                                                                                                    3 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
                                                                                                                                    1/3 cup (65 mL) sugar

                                                                                                                                    Combine cranberries, onion and chiles in food processor and reduce to coarse puree in 3 batches by pulsing on low. Stir in cilantro, lime juice and sugar. Cover and freeze at least one hour. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving and whisk; salsa should have the texture of a fruit sorbet. Makes about 1.5 cups.

                                                                                                                            2. I believe that we, as a nation, will be better off once we halt the spread of that horrid green bean casserole. I don't know of anyone who makes it for their own enjoyment; they always make it for "company."

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: BlackSox

                                                                                                                                I know it's goes against the "chowhound" creed, but I make it, my family eats it, and I cook it at least 4 times a year. I do use the dreaded canned mushroom soup, but thin it with the french green bean water, no milk, and add the "french oinions". But, this year when we had a version of the "original recipe, we (my DH and DS) didn't like it.

                                                                                                                              2. Ever read the ingredient list on some of the vile cartons of egg nog (?)? It seems to have been manufactured in Bayonne, without a single ingredient that was ever inside of a chicken or cow.