Friday, November 11, 2011
What Makes Your Thanksgiving Menu?
LUCY BURDETTE: Many years ago, my sister Sue and I were headed toward what was shaping up to be an "orphan" Thanksgiving-that is, no way (and no real urge) to get home, but in no position to host the holiday ourselves. Sue's college roommate's mother (who later became our stepmother but that's a big digression) invited us to join their family. It was a lovely invitation and an even lovelier day.
Except for one thing: Being good southerners, this family served-oh the horror, oh the disappointment-RICE with the gravy instead of mashed potatoes.
And that Reds, brings me to today's question. What one dish could you absolutely not do without on the Thanksgiving holiday? (For me, it's those mashed potatoes, absolutely drenched in gravy. And no giblets please...)
RHYS BOWEN: The one dish I could absolutely definitely do without would be candied yams with marshmallow topping. I only ate it once, and I was pregnant at the time but I spent the rest of the day barfing... so never again. My favorite part of the meal is the stuffing, if it's really good. John does a great sausage stuffing with lots of sage and onions. Yummy.
LUCY: I'm going to skip the candied yams just hearing about that Rhys! I make a darned good stuffing too--cornbread and sausage, yum!
JAN BROGAN: You know Lucy, I would have said the mashed potatoes myself, (I live for potatoes) but my sister-in-law did Thanksgiving last year WITHOUT the mashed potatoes, (no rice either) and it was still fabulous. In fact, she did a very streamlined meal that made me rethink my own tendency to make a zillion different dishes.
But the one thing that I've never forgotten is another sister in law who served cake - YES CAKE!- Instead of pies. And I've never gotten over it. And frankly, I'd rather the pies be the EXACT same selection that my Aunt Clare used to serve. So I always volunteer to make the pies - even when I'm hosting and doing the main meal.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: You girls are picky - I'm just happy when someone else cooks for Thanksgiving and invites me!
Yams..love 'em, need 'em, gotta have 'em. I don't care if they have pineapples, pecans or marshmallows, whether they come from a can or from a farmstand, brown sugar or straight. Did I mention I like the yams?
Now, stuffing, I just don't get. Bruce has tried to tempt me with his stuffing (a touch of chicken liver - ick!) And he has sung the praises of Bell's Seasoning - which comes in a cool package but reminds me of my grandmother's snuff - but I remain steadfast. Pass the yams, please.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm a Southerner! At at least as close to the South as Texans are willing to admit. We don't say YAMS--they are SWEET POTATOES! And I do like them, although without sugar added. And we don't say stuffing, we say DRESSING. And it must be made with at least half cornbread. That, I think, is the sticking point for me. No cornbread dressing, it's not Thanksgiving. Oh, and I've made a cranberry relish with orange zest, honey, vinegar, mustard seeds, and chopped jalapenos for years. I know it sounds really weird, but it was a recipe from Gourmet, and it's fab. Can't do without.
HALLIE EPHRON: I'm with you, Rhys. I hate THOSE potatoes.
The problem with Thanksgiving is that the entire meal is sacrosanct. In my house it's roast turkey (wings reserved for yours truly), Pepperidge Farm stuffing with celery mixed in, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans. I absolutely won't do without canned whole cranberry relish, please, and still canned shape if possible. And a homemade pumpkin pie with real whipped cream.
I'm with Jan on the cake. CAKE for TG? Should be illegal.
LUCY BURDETTE: Although girls, I cannot help but mention that I came across an amazing looking recipe for southern caramel cake with southern caramel frosting, and I immediately thought: Thanksgiving! I'd do the pies too, of course. The only thing that holds me back is the Crisco in the icing...
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I have to sympathize with Rhys - during one pregnancy, Thanksgiving dinner was the last meal I had before my morning sickness kicked in at 6 weeks (which it always did, like clockwork.) I couldn't even HEAR the word turkey without tossing my cookies for the next few months.
That charming anecdote aside, at our house we MUST have Bird's Eye green Beans and Spaetzel. This is one of those quirks Ross brought to the marriage. On my side, I must make home-made dressing, using the same recipe my mother and grandmother used. I'm sorry, Hallie, but pre-made stuffing is an abomination unto the Lord. Pecan pie. Ross makes a wonderful pecan pie.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I could live on stuffing forever. FOREVER. Bread, butter, celery and gobs of salt? Sigh. I'm longing for it, even thinking about it. My mother used to carefully make two kids of stuffing--plain (yum),and oyster, (yuck), which none of us kids would eat.
It wasn't til years later I found her putting the same stuffing in both turkeys.
Wait! I yelped.(I was about 20 years old.) You're putting oyster stuffing in BOTH turkeys!
She shook her head. Yup, she said. Been doing it for years. You kids never knew.
Your turn Reds: What Thanksgiving dish can you never do without? And by the way, if you have Thanksgiving conundrums, here's a link to the New York Times Thanksgiving hotline.