TotL – 5 Best Things to Eat on Thanksgiving
That time of year has finally come when we all get together, laugh, talk, watch movies together, and otherwise simply spend time with people we usually can’t stand the rest of the year. That’s right, it’s Thanksgiving! I’m using this week’s Top o’ the Lot to focus on the annual festivities with the most recognizable and agreed upon tradition of the holiday. No, not that time your uncle got drunk and fell in the fireplace. This week’ Top o’ the Lot, or TotL (pronounced “Total” by the kids) gets into the meat of the fun…literally. So, without further ado, watch football, ignore your racist grandfather, and go get another drink, with Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: 5 Best Things to Eat on Thanksgiving.
Honorable Mention: Desserts
Huge holiday feasts, yes, always have desserts. Birthdays have their very own dessert, and that makes it special. Thanksgiving is really the only time multiple, various, and diverse desserts lurk just about everywhere. OK, Christmas has its goodies too, but that’s part of the reason the end of the meal meal only gets the honorable mention spot. The other reason is if I didn’t put it here the entire list would be full of sweet, tasty, teeth-rotting happiness.
Pumpkin pie, yes, cookies and stuff, sure, brownies, blondies, cakes, or course, but it’s all about the other pies. Chocolate, pudding, banana cream, cheesecakes…OMFG cheesecakes of all ways, bakes, and flavors. It’s a cornucopia of just after meal treats. It’s easily my favorite part, but no one wants to hear me rattle on and on about cobblers, trifles, ice cream parfaits, peanut butter Buckeyes (look ’em up), and so on.
5. Italian Food
One of the coolest Thanksgiving dinners I ever attended was at my Aunt Mary Jane’s house in the early 1990’s. She was full-blooded Italian. Her parents crossed over in a boat, during a war or something, and she was first generation American, but you couldn’t really tell it. The year we ate at her house was the year I discovered what eating truly was.
There were three big folding tables set up, but they weren’t for sitting, they were full of food. One table for salads, one for pasta and mains, and one for desserts, and my aunt must have cooked for a month prior. Antipasto, Caesar, tortellini, house, broccoli, and about a half a dozen more giant bowls of different salads. Ravioli, manicotti, 3 different types of lasagna, veal cutlets, chicken and eggplant parmigiana, all kinds of different shaped pasta and kinds of sauces, all homemade. Tiramisu, cannoli’s of varying sorts, cakes, pies, and more. It always remains one of my favorite meals of all time, and will always make any sort of Thanksgiving food list I come up with.
Getting into the more traditional dishes served for the holiday, nothing says Thanksgiving more than some good old stuffing. And I mean ANY sort of stuffing. Many people have this weird beef over which sort of stuffing is the best to serve at a meal like this, and I’m always like, “We’re all right!”
I prefer good old-fashioned Stove Top stuffing, right out of the box, keep it OUT of that damned bird’s butt, and let me pour an ocean of gravy of that doughy, white bread stuff. But there’s so many different kinds of stuffing that’s it’s almost ridiculous to get into them all. Listen, if you have a favorite stuffing, leave us a comment or find us at the CBI. (See below).
3. Hash Brown Casserole
This may just be a thing relegated to The South, and I’m by no means someone who must adhere vigilantly to long-standing traditions, especially about food. But if you’ve never busted into the cheesy, potato-y goodness of a good old-fashioned hash brown casserole you are missing out on one of the better aspects of life as an existence.
Potatoes Au Gratin may be the best comparison for those who may not have heard of this dish before, but it really doesn’t do the thing justice. There’s aren’t too many ways to make this (if it’s the traditional cheesy-potato route) but there’s probably about a million different hash brown casserole recipes in the world. Find yours, cook it up, let me know what you think.
2. Sweet Potatoes
There’s a few foodstuffs that are synonymous with certain things. Chocolates and Valentine’s Day, the aforementioned cake for Birthdays, Chinese food on Christmas Day (that’s what we do at my house), and, of course, Thanksgiving has its two big ones. The first is probably my favorite but the least popular if only by a bit. Sweet Potatoes are amazing! They’ve tried to make them mainstream with sweet potatoes fries and such, but it’s just not the same as the piping hot, smashed orange goop we get for T-Giving dinner. But it’s got to have one thing.
Marshmallows! If you’re going to make sweet potatoes you’ve got to have the damned marshmallows in there. I mean, why even bother if you’re going to skip those fluffy clouds of awesome that circle the dish like a military style perimeter of deliciousness? Just don’t do it.
This was an easy choice. The bird is most famous for being THE go to protein for Thanksgiving dinners. I do know people who swear by ham, I knew a guy once whose family always had duck (weird), and my grandmother once made spaghetti and meatballs just to spite my mom one year, but turkey nevertheless remains the big one. There used to be one great way to make a turkey: Rub it down with salt and throw it in the over for half an afternoon. But no longer.
Now you can fry a damned turkey (if you have enough insurance), you can brine it, ground it, roast, wrapped in everything from bacon to balsamic leaves of some sort, and everything in-between. It’s almost gotten ridiculous, but it’s all in good fun, and people get bored. Go wild if you want, but just know that everyone eating your crazy cooked, wild idea for a turkey dinner would have been just as happy with a regularly cooked bird.
See a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Let us know what you thing!