They say you should avoid discussing religion and politics at the holiday dinner table, but they don’t say anything about avoiding a heated discussion about the holiday dishes on the table itself. Namely, all those seasonal “favorites” that certainly aren’t favored by everyone, from the type of stuffing (or is it dressing?) to sweet potato casserole (or are those yams?). With so much to serve, let’s dig in and discuss!
Begin at the Beginning
Before the meal even starts, should there be appetizers served or plates of snacks dotting the living room, or is it better to sit down for a feast with an empty, rumbling tummy?
What’s the best way to prepare the turkey? Whole and brined or roasted or fried? Or perhaps a stuffed turkey roulade? Then again, maybe Tofurky is more to your taste?
Is there a difference between stuffing and dressing? And do you really care to find out what that difference is? Either way, should it be mandatory to offer different kinds of stuffings/dressings? (Julie in our office brings bread stuffing to serve alongside her mother’s meat stuffing, which Julie describes as “yuck” – our apologies to Julie’s mom). Of course, there’s also a whole debate about whether the stuffing/dressing should be cooked inside the turkey or in a baking dish, or perhaps both ways? And of course, there is Oyster Stuffing, which we will leave there for you to think about.
Doing the Can/Can’t
Should cranberry sauce slide and squelch out of a can, proudly displaying those tell-tale ridges, or should it be homemade with textural additions like walnuts and raisins?
A Real Mash-Up
How do you like your potatoes – mashed and creamy (with equal parts potato and butter), scalloped and swimming in creamy goodness, or baked – skin on – to a nice golden brown? And, speaking of potatoes, what about sweet potatoes/yams? Should they be roasted and glazed or given a sweet edge when pureed and topped with marshmallows?
Green bean casserole appears on every table across the country – does anyone actually make this casserole at home, or does it magically appear? And is anyone happy to see it? Perhaps you would rather see something totally new – like lemony green beans with almond breadcrumbs, or from the other end of the spectrum (that would be: light and fresh) like a balsamic green bean salad?
To accompany your meal, do you want a roll or biscuit fresh from the oven or a piece of an artisan loaf, or would you rather wait until the next day to make a turkey sandwich on thick slices of white bread?
Do the glasses on the table contain wine or cocktail or punch or water? Or do you prefer to pair all those calories with a diet soda straight from the can?
Pumped (or Not) for Pumpkin Pie
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is linked with pie, specifically pumpkin pie, but some of us (we’re looking at you, Julie) want to give pumpkin pie the old heave-ho, replacing it with something along the lines of a pecan pie (still traditional) or a chocolate cream (how risqué). Of course, there are those of us (no names mentioned) who think a holiday dessert spread should include treats like cookies, brownies, and cake. This year, perhaps it’s a good idea to pair a stretchy shirt with those stretchy pants.
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