The Pilgrims knew how to feast, man. Back in the day, they had it all -- wild turkey, venison, lobster, chestnuts, pumpkins, plums and even freaking seal. These guys set out the perfectly laid plan: Come together as a community and give thanks while gluttonously* feasting on locally sourced meat, poultry and seafood served with fresh, seasonal produce.
*The gluttony may or may not have been involved back then, but it has become an integral part of my Thanksgiving plan.
So I wonder, how -- with all of the history, all the years of practice and all the hours spent pinning random pretty pictures on Pinterest in the middle of the night -- did we manage to mess this one up? We may have finally figured out how to do the turkey justice and make a mean stuffing, but there are still tons of godawful sides that sneak their way into our feast, year after year.
This Thanksgiving, my wish is for all the....shit, we don't wish on Thanksgiving, do we? Okay, how about this: I'm going to lay out another perfectly laid plan for you guys, just like our ridiculously hatted forefathers.
DO NOT serve the following shitty shit at your Thanksgiving feast:
5. Anything with Marshmallows
Take ambrosia, for instance. Someone must have been seriously high when they came up with this one. Let's just take a look at what it is:
Ambrosia (n): a dessert (?) made of canned fruit, coconut and mini marshmallows mixed with sour cream or mayonnaise...and sometimes Cool Whip or Jell-O. Do I even need to comment? High people can't even possibly want to eat that.
But it doesn't stop there. Can we talk about the completely unnecessary addition that we continue to make to poor, innocent little sweet potatoes? "Those mashed sweet potatoes are delicious, Herb; now throw on some marshmallows and flambé the shit out of it!" It's like we refuse -- REFUSE -- to make anything simple.
Let's just do ourselves a favor and reserve the marshmallows for hot chocolate, S'mores, and that game where you see how many marshmallows you can stuff into your mouth before they start to get lodged down your throat and you have to be rushed to the E.R. at 3 a.m. on a Saturday, shall we?
4. Candied (insert delicious vegetable that you just ruined here)
Again, why must we over-sweeten every goddamn side at this goddamn feast? Do you think the pilgrims did this? Do you?!
Candied yams, candied ginger, candied cranberries, candied pecan. People even make candied carrots. I have an idea: Why don't you just cook the carrots alone, as carrots, and then eat them -- as fucking carrots? A little butter, some salt and a dash of black pepper. Boom. No tooth decay.
Candied turkey is the only natural progression, so I'm going to try to stop us all here.
3.Things Made with Jell-O (besides Jell-O shots...those are fine)
How and why did Jell-O make its way to Thanksgiving? I just don't get it. And Jell-O salads? Don't get me started.
Our editor-in-chief, Margaret Downing, tells tales of a Thanksgiving Jell-O ring filled with sliced carrots. No! Please, no! Make it stop. I'll be good next year, I swear!
2. Prepackaged Spiral Ham
My fellow EOW bloggers agree: Store-bought spiral ham has got to go.
Don't get us wrong -- a good-quality, simply roasted ham can be delicious. But the sad excuse for a ham that makes it to our holidays is usually accompanied by a packet of brown sugar topping that makes us want to cry and gag at the same time. It's like a cry-heave-gag-combo that is not cute. Don't make us do it.
Our own Joshua Justice even likened "that gross jelly on top" to placenta. Appetizing.
1. Canned Green Bean Casserole w/ Cream of Mushroom Soup
Sorry, you guys. I know there are some die-hard, old-school GBC fans out there, but I just can't. The too-thick, too-bland Cream of Mushroom soup, the stale fried onions (Thanksgiving is single-handedly keeping French's in business, by the way) and the wimpy, over-salted canned green beans... Why do we refuse to improve this shittiest of shitty dishes? We have so much to work with. Fresh beans! A well-seasoned, homemade cream sauce! Hot and crunchy fried onion strips! Bacon! Bacon fixes everything right? Do it!
Although I feel strongly about canning the canned-freak-show of a side dish, it turns out the jury's still out on this one.
Even our EOW bloggers can't agree: Phaedra Cook believes you can't mess with the '70s American cuisine at its most nostalgic," while John Gray seconded "the living shit" out of its inclusion in my list, most eloquently stating that "it tastes like asserole." Asserole, indeed.
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SHOW ME HOW
If you or your loved ones haven't retired these Thanksgiving staples yet, dial 1-888-my-Thanksgiving-sucks. Until then, I'm just thankful you didn't invite me over.
What Thanksgiving dishes do you wish would just go away?