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Typical American Thanksgiving meal: All show, no substance.

Don't get me wrong; Thanksgiving gatherings are great because they bring family and friends together and promote warmth, community and kinship...BUT, my experience yesterday was just one more example of people coming together to share a feast of tasty, spicy, home-cooked, seasonal, satisfying food and leaving hungry because the "food" offered was barely edible.

OK, turkey is turkey (but we all know it can be moist and savory or dry and tough or worse yet, undercooked), but as a vegetarian, I prefer to forego that dish. I can't even count the number of times I've been invited to a Thanksgiving meal that features
1) a big pile of mushy, unseasoned white starch called "mashed potatoes";
2) another tray of limp green beans (from a can or the freezer) lost in a congealed mess of canned mushroom soup and soggy potato chips or "chow mein" noodle crisps;
3) jellied "can"-berry sauce;
4) yams with SO much brown sugar that the natural sweetness of the yam is made of fool of;
5) stuffing or dressing that resembles a loaf of bread left in the rain or heels of stale loaves that have been toasted for color.

I could go on (and I'm sure you could add your own spin to this list of traditional spoils), but I think I've made my point. I am just astonished at what people think "good eating" is!

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    1. Too bad for you. I always have a great Thanksgiving meal. My meal this year was at my aunt's and included none of what you listed above.

      1. Had a great meal at a friend's house:

        Brined, moist turkey with lots of excellent potatoes
        Roasted Yams (no sugar added)
        Roasted Brussels Sprouts
        Charred Greens
        Homemade Rolls
        Well-seasoned Mashed Potatoes
        Good stuffing (not as good as my family's recipe, however)

        I contributed

        David Rosengarten's Tequila/Lime/Pomegranate Cranberry
        Relish and
        Pumpkin Cheesecake.

        A Thanksgiving dinner produced by a great cook is truly an enjoyable feast.

        1. So sorry for you. It's not like that in my family or circle of friends. We serve traditional, but beautiful, fresh, artfully prepared seasonal foods. The planning and preparation often takes days and never anything frozen, canned or out of a box.

          Maybe it's time for you to start hosting the "feast".

            1. Wow, so sorry for you. Even when I was vegetarian (for over 20 years), I ate heartily at T'giving, just minus the turkey, and had the vegetarian dressing rather than the in-the-bird-stuffing.

                1. Some people make certain dishes out of a sense of tradition, and don't want them to taste any different than they have for 50 years. One of my mother's friends continued to make creamed onions years after her Father died. Nobody else EVER ate them, but she felt that they were a part of the meal.
                  Thankfully, my Mother and I are both good cooks, so we have been fortunate to enjoy tasty meals over the years.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BeeZee

                    YES. We make thing the way Grandma used to make them, because Grandma isn't here to make them any more....and dusting off her recipes and serving the meal on her dishes is just a small way of having Grandma join us just one more time.

                    I have 364 other days to cook the way I want to cook.

                  2. Friends or family, I've never had a meal as bad as that as Thanksgiving. This is, unfortunately, your bad luck.

                    But, as someone else asked, what did you make/bring?

                    1. I think it's more than a little unfair to extrapolate your singular bad experience to be a "typical American Thanksgiving meal."

                      1. I'm always appalled at the offerings at pot luck dinners. They mean well, but most people don't know how to to cook.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: sal_acid

                          Yep, for those of us who eat fresh food, walking up to a crockpot full of steaming Russian salad dressing, sauerkraut, melted cheese and beef bits at a potluck ("reuben dip") is a watershed moment. Fresh food, people. It's as easy to find as processed in most places!

                          1. re: HillsofBeverly

                            Actually that "crockpot" dish sounds great. Or is that what you meant????

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I don't know if HoB likes Reuben dip or not, either, but that's what I'm taking to a Christmas party next week. Tomorrow I'll be mixing up the brine to corn the brisket, let that sit for a week, then chop it up and add cream cheese, shredded Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. I don't put Russian dressing in mine. It makes a weird sweetness that I don't like.

                              No, it's not 'fresh food', but I don't think I'd call it processed food, either. I'll make a loaf of seeded rye bread to serve with it. People always ask for the recipe, so I'm happy to make it.

                              1. re: kitchengardengal

                                I put mustard in mine instead, and wow does it fly out of the pan.

                                1. re: coll

                                  What kind of mustard? Stone ground? Spicy brown? I may try that!

                                  1. re: kitchengardengal

                                    NY deli style (Boars Head or Nathans usually), but I'm sure any would do. Even Guldens!

                                2. re: kitchengardengal

                                  I'd not heard of it before. And I wonder why HoB refers to it as "processed."

                                  1. re: kitchengardengal

                                    I forgot to mention, sour cream goes in it, too, just in case anyone plans to try it. And a little milk to loosen it up.

                                3. re: HillsofBeverly

                                  You know, nobody's forcing it down your throat... if you want something seasonal and fresh, you can always contribute it yourself. There's always a ton of starch because starch is cheap and money is tight for almost everyone, so I made a point to try to bring a fruit or vegetable dish as well as one of my dessert specialties because I love dessert but I also love having an actual recognisable vegetable on my plate!

                              2. I see this is your first post. Welcome to Chowhound! I think you'll find fewer of those types of failures here as we care passionately about food. But, hey, it's one day.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: c oliver

                                  And some of us find...........the "substance" of thanksgiving is a day to get together and have fun and laughs......not TV, not sniping, not oneupsmanship in the kitchen. If the good is also good, GREAT!.if it's only mediocre, well, it was still a fun day.

                                2. So, as it was asked before - did YOU contribute anything to this lousy meal? YOU could host Thanksgiving next year and prepare different dishes and tell those who contribute what to make, so the experience will be a much better one next year.

                                  But - I suspect since this is your first post, you were trying to start a "trouble-thread" and expect people to chime in and complain along….

                                  1. Oh yeah, I tried...I brought an appetizer that was apricot/golden raisins/walnut stuffed little roll-ups and a traditional pumpkin bread, made from "scratch." They were the only items I could eat.

                                    I had a feeling that the folks on this site had a VERY different experience, and I wanted season my crocodile tears by hearing about the fantastic and amazing creations others got to sample. I am the kind of person who pores over recipe books and now, cooking sites, and gets all excited and motivated to try new food combinations. I am a very good cook myself (and I normally don't brag about much), and for that reason I usually prefer to do the cooking if possible. But I can't have the feast at my 600 sq. ft. beach cottage--this one hosted 26 people in a spacious contemporary county home.

                                    Thanks for the responses!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: drmelindalucampbell

                                      Due to several circumstances, I had my first TG without family and went to a friend's. The friend is not the cook I am, but I didn't go for the cuisine. I made a dish of sauteed greens and would have felt odd not bringing a dish.

                                      When I hosted, with a confirmed vegetarian as a guest, I never found it onerous to make a veggie version of each dish.

                                      1. re: drmelindalucampbell

                                        If this is an annual get together, why don't you offer to bring the dish that most offended you at this meal?

                                        1. re: drmelindalucampbell

                                          I think it boils down to who you are eating with. If your family is either phoning it in with boxed low quality Thanksgiving standards or really likes bland American fare the meal was probably lousy.

                                          The last passive-aggressive family thanksgiving I attended (years ago) was all reminiscent of cafeteria fare. The family hosting it apparently was either arm twisted into hosting it by an elder relative or just quit giving a damn about food.

                                          By contrast I attended a friends wedding a few weeks before this year's thanksgiving. They did the wedding very DIY and had various friends bring certain dishes to the reception meal. The spread was better than any high end restaurant but just about everyone there loves food and/or loves to cook. So this was awesome. I found plenty to eat even with a couple of food restrictions.

                                          This year's thanksgiving was just the immediate family (SO and kid) we picked what we really wanted to eat. So we had seafood, twice baked potatoes, salad and cheesecake.

                                          1. re: drmelindalucampbell

                                            thanksgiving meals are rarely in need of more starch -- a couple interesting salads might be better choices of dishes to make yourself and bring.

                                            1. re: Dustin_E

                                              That is so true. At our house the kale, black olive and shaved parm salad is a sleeper hit.

                                          2. I'm with you on your opening statement. I love everything about this holiday.

                                            But...sometimes s#it happens. I have been in charge of boiling and hand-mashing the potatoes for our family feast for three decades. I KNOW HOW TO DO MASHED POTATOES! The ones I brought to the table yesterday were awful. A watery, eight pound mess.

                                            My DW does a terrific, pan drippings turkey gravy. Yesterday's offering was thin and tasteless. (and neither one of us had begun drinking yet!)

                                            Sometimes ya just gotta chalk up misses as the cost of the experience.

                                            1. Like almost any food, Thanksgiving meals depend not so much on what's on the menu as how well its made.

                                              Thanksgiving is a bit unique in that its a holiday that emphasizes american home cooking. Plenty of American home cooking is pretty bad... so it follows that plenty of Thanksgiving meals will be pretty bad.

                                              On the other hand, I ate quite well. If you find you can't eat well on Thanksgiving, the problem is probably poor cooking.

                                              1. Maybe its time to start hosting your own feast.

                                                A number of years ago I spent part of Thanksgiving Day with relatives and sampled what they had eaten. It was all sweet! Every last dish except for the turkey. I couldn't believe it.

                                                Not everyone is a good or enlightened cook. I am sorry your feast was so sub par.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                  we host 22 people, including kids who eat everything and kids who eat pickily, one wheat allergy person and one dairy allergy person. Our guests and family are all lovingly gathered and attentively cared for, in gratitude for our good fortune in having each other in our lives. We marinate 12 pounds of vegetables and create a gorgeous vegetarian platter and serve our own sun-dried tomato goat cheese spread and tstatsiki along with lots of lovely cheeses as starters to nibble on all afternoon, served with hot toddies and hot cider for the kids. We do two dry-brined birds on two outside grills, vegetarian stuffing outside of the bird, homemade gravy that starts with stock made and frozen weeks ago, excellent mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry orange sauce, sweet potatoes roasted in olive oil, maple syrup and finished with carmelized shallots and balsamic vinegar, merengue chocolate chip cookies, sour cherry almond crumb pie, pumpkin cheesecake, and pecan pie. We send everyone home with Tupperware (everyone brings their own). Every dish is prepared with love, received with gratitude, and enjoyed by most and we remember how amazing and fulfilling life with family and friends can be. But then, we don't set out to find fault: we prefer to find joy.

                                                2. I ate at Olde Country Buffet.

                                                  1. You'd think by now you would have learned to eat before you get there. That way you won't leave hungry.

                                                    1. Where are you eating? Thanksgiving at our house is a flavorful fiesta, no different than any other day, always better. I can relate to your thoughts though, at work we have several dinners where I'm not sure what's enticing about the food offered.

                                                      1. A lot of people don't like thanksgiving food. There was a thread about this very thing not long ago in the General Topics board.

                                                        I'm one of those people who prefers my own cooking on T day. So, even if we go somewhere else I'll still make my own meal at home. I've only ever had one T day meal out that I thought was as good as my own. I'm not arrogant about it. I just like my own traditions. A lot of people freak out if something isn't how they grew up with. In fact, I didn't grown up with turkey at all. That came later in my life. As a kid we had rice dressing, fried shrimp and the like. I still do that some years.

                                                        1. Actually, I think OP’s slogan should be reversed: it’s “all substance, no show” –– I value Thanksgiving as a shared experience with family and friends, rather than as a culinary project. Culinary projects are for the rest of the year!

                                                          This year, my family and I visited friends in Western Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. To my surprise (OK, not much surprise… and, as it turns out, instigated by my wife) I was supposed to be the chief cook (and in an unfamiliar and poorly-equipped kitchen). Plus my host whispered to me that she was Italian and hence she hated food that wasn't hot (is hot food really an Italian-American fixation?). To make matters more challenging, at least four different people (family or friends) came up during the day to prep their “favorite” dishes (e.g. cornbread, various vegetables to be roasted, dressing for the turkey) … and I encouraged them, but all of those dishes I had to sequence through the one-and-only oven to cook. I thought that I could use their gas grill, but the flame kept being blown out because of the blustery sub-freezing wind we had this year. And one family driving up from New Jersey was an hour late. So was it perfect? No. But we had roast turkey, baked ham, plus 14 home-cooked side dishes (and at least 10 store-bought appetizers or desserts). And afterwards my teenager daughter told me it was the best Thanksgiving ever.

                                                          “All show, no substance”?

                                                          I don’t think so.

                                                          1. Welcome to Chowhound, drmelindalucampbell. Sorry your Thanksgiving meal was a dud!
                                                            DH and I were lucky to spend the day with a few other empty - nester couples who love to cook, and who love to try new dishes. We had a wonderful meal.
                                                            I've only once experienced a big family meal, having lived miles away from any other family members for years, but I always made a tasty Thanksgiving dinner for my husband and kids.
                                                            I've always wondered which is better, a big crazy get-together with less than perfect food (and a less than perfect family), or a quiet meal at home with just the hubby and my two sons?
                                                            I don't know the answer, but I think our Thanksgiving with friends yesterday was about as good as I could ask for.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                              another proof that Thanksgiving is, all at the same time, completely about the food, and completely NOT about the food.

                                                              Glad you had a great day.

                                                            2. Dr.M,

                                                              That Jellied can of Ocean Spray, both kinds, the smooth with the rough, means Thanksgiving for me, a transplant to these shores!

                                                              Depending on how many vegetarians are coming, and how big the gathering is going to be, I don't know the right thing to do. Should the host be expected to extend him/herself to cook a rather special dish for a lone guest or two out of 20, or should the vegetarian understand that ahimsa includes being compassionate towards the needs of the many and very harried hosts, and place her own needs on the backburner?

                                                              Perhaps mentally make Thanksgiving a fast day, BUT a feast of the spirit, allowing the needs of the many to take precedence over one's own for a day?

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: GTM

                                                                I think that thanksgiving is a meal that many Americans cook really well.
                                                                I do think that it is easy to accommodate vegetarians and a host should do so, but a lot of omnivores are simply unaware of how to do so.
                                                                A kind guest will offer to bring something anyway, it could be a lovely stuffed squash dish, for instance, which most diners would like whatever their food habits are.
                                                                But the insulting tone of the OP is off putting, perhaps to the hosts also.
                                                                One year I really screwed up the gravy, my specialty, by not paying enough attention., so it was a bit burned and tasted off.
                                                                I would hate to think that a guest would go onto an Internet board to complain about it.

                                                              2. Just bring a couple of good bottles of wine next year and you'll be fine.

                                                                1. We don't have Thanksgiving in the UK, but the turkey meal is pretty much most people's choice for Christmas Day. I have much sympathy with the OP - I always find it one of the most disappointing meals and, certainly, not one to look forward to (not least because tradition dictates that what will be served was exactly what was served last year and the year before). It's predictable and just not very enjoyable food. I make no distinction whether we have cooked the family meal, or another family member has.

                                                                  1. I think CH experiences are more the exception and yours, the norm.

                                                                    IME most people don't know the difference between over and under seasoned, over and undercooked. Etc. How else are many chain restaurants, frozen, canned, premaid meals popular? It could be time and money but I'm pretty sure that most the people that choose these things do like them.

                                                                    So just take the event for what it is, time to chit chat with family and enjoy whatever it is you make. And host your own meal at another date, maybe a few times during the year, and invite a couple of them every time :)

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: youareabunny

                                                                      IME people just have different preference levels when it comes to seasoning and various flavors. I like my food significantly more salty than the average person, for example. On the other hand, while I have no problem eating it, I find putting hipster ketchup (aka sriracha) on everything to be highly uninteresting.

                                                                      I suspect some people who are quite proud of their cooking ability wouldn't know how to make something the cater to the tastes of someone who prefers mild seasoning (not under-seasoned), maybe someone with a Midwestern palate that appreciates dill, parsley, and sage more than cilantro, ginger, and oregano.

                                                                      1. re: youareabunny

                                                                        I agree. I would be shocked to find that the average CH Thanksgiving meal is comparable to the average Thanksgiving meal. For many folks, "style over substance" is a good descriptor of the meal.

                                                                        Personally, I enjoy Thanksgiving, but only because of the company. Not only am I not a fan of traditional Thanksgiving foods, but nobody in my family or my husband's family really cooks all that well. My grandmother is held up as this paragon of cooking in the family, which if you have eaten her food, just tells you how low the standard is. I love my grandmother, but burnt biscuits and pecan-covered everything is not my idea of a gourmet meal. Heh. :)

                                                                        Those who say to just bring your own food, well, families don't always work like that. My grandmother will not allow anyone else to cook practically anything on Thanksgiving, and on my husband's side, we are only allowed to bring sides, usually dessert. Hopefully things will change as we get older. I think because my husband and I are in our twenties, our extended families assume we can't cook, despite the fact that they always rave about whatever we bring (go figure). I'd love to be allowed to bring, say, a deep-fried turkey that is actually moist.

                                                                        1. re: Caerus

                                                                          When I was 17 I went to a family BBQ of my boyfriend at the time. I didn't eat meat and planned on eating sides. I had no idea that the menu was only hotdogs, hamburgers, bread for each, no lettuce or tomato, and potato salad. so I ate a piece of basically 99cent store hamburger bread (not even a sesame seed) and potato salad with no onion, no mustard, no vinegar, and no salt! It was literally boiled potatoes and mayonnaise.

                                                                          That was the first time I realized that there were groups of people that happily ate horrible food and I've only stumbled upon more and more. I think I've met 3-4 people who can cook and/or have good taste, otherwise the most skillful is me which is not saying much. Everyone else raves about Olive Garden.

                                                                          But... to be at a home with several generations of family all together can make up for dry turkey and canned green beans. Usually!

                                                                      2. I think more people who don't like to cook are outsourcing Thanksgiving. My family is full of good cooks. We had:

                                                                        A vegetable dip with raw fennel, and a Stilton dip served with apples
                                                                        Some sort of cocktail my cousin whipped up with rhubarb liquor and cloves
                                                                        Homemade pickled beets
                                                                        Delicious turkey and homemade gravy
                                                                        Homemade cranberry sauce (served in my great grape at grandmother's cut glass bowls).
                                                                        Fluffy mashed potatoes
                                                                        Creamed onions (delicious!)
                                                                        A creamed Brussels sprouts dish with gruyere and pine nuts
                                                                        Cornbread pecan stuffing and a sage and onion bread stuffing
                                                                        Red cabbage with balsamic
                                                                        Butter horns
                                                                        My signature sweet potatoes without any brown sugar - smoked paprika, cayenne and cream, instead
                                                                        Green beans
                                                                        Made from scratch pumpkin pie, and made from scratch cranberry pie
                                                                        Lots of champagne

                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Savour

                                                                          Wow! Could you elaborate please on those sweet potatoes?

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Peeled and thinly sliced, layered with butter, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper, then cream poured over the whole thing and baked.

                                                                            1. re: Savour

                                                                              That sounds completely and totally wonderful. What temp please and for how long. I see this showing up pretty regularly on our table. Thanks.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                +1-- and it probably won't wait until next Thanksgiving to be made. That sounds *killer*.

                                                                                I'm the only sweet-potato-eater in our house, but I'm thinking I need to try that one.

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  I think 350 for an hour? Maybe more depending on how thickly the sweets are sliced. Recipe is here: http://savour-fare.com/2010/11/09/spi...

                                                                          2. re: Savour

                                                                            Have you been in the rhubarb liquor? "served in my great grape at grandmother's cut glass bowls" ?

                                                                            1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                                                              The curses of the autocorrect strikes again!

                                                                          3. What is the point of complaining, Doc. Perhaps it might be nice to examine the power of your ego and then understand what might be its impact on your life. Clearly, I can't know if you realize it, but consider the notion that we make what we are and what we get. I'm not asking you to go through the pain of looking inside yourself - I'm merely of the mindset that you are aware of what else there is outside.

                                                                            I'm realy sorry that your meal sucked, but, perhaps, you might want to slow down first, ok? I mean, I'm a dirty, rotten 'hound, but I ain't had bad holiday meal in many, many moons. I don't revel in scraps, but I do appreciate them bones - I don't judge when I gnaw, ok?

                                                                            By way of anecdote, I did Thanksgiving for two families over two days. All were thrilled, full, and grateful. Roasted turkey, fried turkey, country ham, homemade sausage, lobster thermidor dip, carrots from my garden, fried blackfish nachos at halftime of the Lions game, etc.

                                                                            Hell, my niece who is a terribly picky eater discovered that Uncle Z's barbecued ribs and the hot dog she cooked on a stick was "the true meaning of Thanksgiving fullness!"

                                                                            1. I've read the entire thread, DMC, and no one wondered, "why don't you simply politely decline the invitation next year?"

                                                                              OTOH, Thanksgiving isn't just about the food,

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                @OP, when Gio speaks, the wise among us listen :)

                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                  This is what happens when you don't get invited because you lost your invitation to family events because you don't appreciate what is served....He showed them.


                                                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                                                    Didn't he though. If arrest is what he had in mind.

                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                      Considering 1. My Asian-ness and 2. Recent family drama (uncle), I now have this to worry about for Xmas dinner. Thanks for posting! Will keep a pipe nearby.

                                                                                  2. I hope that's not your real name up there. I'd hate for your hosts to come across it.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                      Shouldn't be difficult. There are only a few people on line named Melinda Campbell with medical or advanced academic degrees.

                                                                                    2. You've made a point. I'm just not sure it was the one you intended to make, gentle poster.

                                                                                      1. You are going to the wrong places. I have never experienced such a meal.

                                                                                        1. "I can't even count the number of times I've been invited to a Thanksgiving meal that features
                                                                                          1) a big pile of mushy, unseasoned white starch called "mashed potatoes";" etc.

                                                                                          With all due respect, have you ever been invited twice by the same people? Then the snarky attitude of this post must be an aberration, and the real you is kinder, gentler, and more appreciative of other people's efforts and less judgmental of them.
                                                                                          As you are a physician (I assume, although Dr. rather than MD is more open to interpretation) I certainly hope there is a real other you!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                                                                                            One would think that a vegetarian would prefer forgettable mashed potatoes to feasting on a roasted wild boar.

                                                                                          2. Your problem is your expectations. I used to go to family holidays with low expectations. If one of us did not get food poisoning from the grandma's sour cream pie and my ex didn't get too tanked the meal was a success even if the food was awful. Expectations are the blueprint for resentment.

                                                                                            1. In general I agree. It is a lot of work for a meal I would never order or set out to cook, but for expectations. This year we had a small fried turkey; roasted sweet potatoes; still crisp green beans tossed in garlic, olive oil, Romano, and torn up baguette; cranberries with orange zest; a vegetable broth mushroom gravy; and a couple of pies. No one will think back on it and say, "Gosh, that was SO good." I can't think of any other meal of the year that takes that much work, even cassoulet or home made paparadelle and Bolognese.

                                                                                              1. I've had some pretty mediocre meals at other people's houses... but if somebody is gracious enough to invite me for a meal, I'll eat what they put in front of me unless I'm actually allergic to it. I'm not a food critic and I'm not interested in being one of 'those people'. Besides, the quality of my own cooking can be highly variable these days since I got chronically ill. I do better in the kitchen lately and I'm getting back to cooking again, but sometimes a frozen dinner is all I can manage to produce. There are more reasons for bad cooking than just 'they don't care'.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                  May your Christmas gift be a return to good health.

                                                                                                2. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. We had an herb-roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, ricotta stuffing, a lovely brussel sprout hash with dried cranberries, quinoa and almonds, sweet potato balls stuffed with a marshmallow (OK, I don't eat that stuff, but everyone else loved it), a cranberry and pear relish with candied ginger, and smashed potatoes mixed with fresh herbs and sour cream.

                                                                                                  Thanksgiving is always my favorite meal of the year. Maybe your family just doesn't know how to cook well? :)

                                                                                                  1. 1) a big pile of creamy, luscious, mild mashed potatoes, comfort and joy in your mouth. Yes, I made them. With cream cheese because hey, it's a holiday!
                                                                                                    2) another tray of crisp-tender green beans, from Mexico surely, nestled in a lovely mess of cream sauce and sauteed mushrooms, topped with crispy fried onions.
                                                                                                    3) jellied ocean-spray cranberry sauce, because America CAN! plus we all get depressed if it isn't on the table
                                                                                                    4) yams with SO much brown sugar on top it was like caramel heaven, intensifying the amazing sweetness of the lovely yams. There was a lot of butter in there too.
                                                                                                    5) stuffing or dressing that resembles a loaf of bread left in the rain or heels of stale loaves that have been toasted for color. Yeah, got that. Gluten-free bread dressing is evidently not optimal. Next year I'll be bringing my oyster bread stuffing for the gluten-eating folks. I make it with stale loaves.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Teague

                                                                                                      my gf friends get wild rice stuffing. They are happy.