Top 5 Thanksgiving Foodstuffs

1) Leftover turkey
2) Stuffing
3) Pecan Pie
4) Mashed potatoes
5) Freshly baked turkey

Runners-up: gravy, rolls w/ butter, chocolate pie
Never-should-have-been-invited-to-the-feast: cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie

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42 thoughts on “Top 5 Thanksgiving Foodstuffs

  1. Pumpkin pie over pecan any day.

    And how does leftover turkey outrank freshly baked. Leftover turkey is useless without gravy (as are mashed potatoes), so I vote for the following:

    1. Stuffing
    2. Pumpkin pie
    3. Mashed potatoes
    4. Freshly baked turkey
    5. Gravy

    Never-should-have-been-invited: String bean casserole

  2. Leftover turkey is good for turkey sandwiches though. Which are tough to beat.

    Pecan Pie? Seriously? Someone actually likes that crap? I can understand how someone doesn’t like Pumpkin Pie, though I do. But Pecan Pie? How about we go with apple, or banana cream perhaps.

  3. You’re right John, candied yams should be on the “never-invited” list.

    LL,
    The problem with freshly baked turkey is that while it’s delicious, you can’t fully enjoy it because you have so many other foodstuffs that share the space in your stomach. Leftover turkey gets your full attention. And picking at leftover turkey in a tupperware, a little salt in hand. Yum.

    And I agree with your assessment of string bean casserole. Why should I waste that space in my stomach when it can be filled with stuffing?

    Tim,
    Yeah, pecan pie. I’m fine with having banana cream in its place but I don’t think it’s a traditional Thanksgiving pie, is it?

  4. I hate Thanksgiving food. I hate turkey. I hate stuffing. I hate gravy. I hate yams. Cranberry jiggly stuff shaped like a can? What the crap is that about?? You couldn’t pay me to eat a pumpkin pie or a pecan pie.

    There is no top five in this category. I would instead suggest a “Vilest” bottom-five.

    1. Stuffing- bread soaked in fat and nastiness.
    2. Yams- overcooked and cloyingly sweet
    3. Gravy- liquid meat? Ew.
    4. Jello anything.
    5. Pumpkin pie. Sweet vegetable just don’t work, folks…

    Never should have been invited: MARSHMALLOWS. On. Anything.

  5. No Cranberry sauce?!?!?!? That’s just un-amurican.

    I make mine from scratch and use a little less sugar than most. I use it at that table and if there’s any leftover I spread it on the bread of a turkey sandwich the next day

    YUM!

  6. Rusty,
    Yeah, none of that canned cranberry sauce crap (of course, for that matter, none of those canned apples for the apple pie, either).

    But no cranberry sauce? You’re wrong. Sorry.

    (Recipes? Try epicurious.com: the November 2007 issue of Bon Appetite had four, I believe, all of which look spectacular; I’m going to try the blood orange-cranberry sauce, myself, but I’d eat any. In a second. And watch out–cranberries disappear from store shelves sometime in December or early January, not to appear again until late October 😦 ).

  7. And Tracy? C’mon—a good pumpkin pie is great. A good pumpkin cheesecake is even better.

    Oh, and the NYTimes had a recipe (from Babbo) for a cranberry tart on a polenta crust that we’d be having in place of cranberry sauce, except that my wife wouldn’t countenance that.

    We recently discovered roasted carrots with roasted parsnips. Couldn’t be better.

    No casserole of any sort; but green beans (or better yet, green and yellow haricort vert) with shallots and garlic, sauteed in butter . . . I’m drooling on my computer.

    The problem is, I’ve got about four Thanksgiving menus floating around in my head, and I need to narrow it down to one.

  8. Pumpking anything is bad. Bad bad bad. Ew.

    I mean, come on- stringy, stinky, hollow vegetable that stinks? Mmmm-mm-mmmm!

    I will do toasted popped pepitas on a salad. But my vegetarian roots are showing there.

  9. Oh, and did I mention I’M COOKING on Thrusday?

    But, despite my own tastes, I will be throwing down the traditional feast- and it will be great. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, even jello- The only thing I draw the line at is marshmallows- they’re not allowed in my house.

  10. I made a pretty good pepita-encrusted trout the other day. So it’s good to use all of the pumpkin. But Tracy, if you don’t like pumpkin-oriented food, you’ve been having the wrong pumpkin-oriented food. Winter is the time for squash. (For that matter, if you don’t like the stringiness, try a butternut squash-leek soup, or substitute pumpkin for the butternut squash.)

  11. I tried to talk my family into Mexican food, Susan. A few were on board, but with guests coming, it might have been a shocker to throw some sopapillas and relanos on the table!

  12. I like butternut squash and spaghetti squash just fine- but pumpkin in just wrong.

    Mark IV, you’re awesome man, but I’ll stick with cookie dough for my aphrodesiac- it works just great, thanks! 😉

  13. tracy, when I start marketing my pumpkin scented after shave lotion and pumpkin scented mouthwash and make a million dollars, you’ll be sorry.

  14. Rusty #4,

    It’s funny, you’re probably right about banana cream pie not being a T-Day pie, but we’ve had it every Thanksgiving that I can remember.

    Those of you eating something other that Turkey (yes, it’s capitalized) and mashed potatoes on the 22nd need to move to Canada.

  15. The absolute best Thanksgiving foood is stuffing skin. You know, the crispy, salty turkey skin that has stuffing stuck to it on the inside. You may not have ever had it because your mom saved it for herself, but trust me, it’s incredible. I’m totally bummed because I just discovered this morning as I was prepping my turkey for brining that the Shadybrook Farms turkey processors cut the neck skin off my turkey. The neck cavity is the #1 source of stuffing skin. Now my only option is the area between the legs and the breast. There will be very little stuffing skin this Thanksgiving. Lucky for me my wife doesn’t like it and my kids probably will refuse to eat any dinner, as usual. So it’s all mine.

  16. Update:

    In honor of the season, my boss took us to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.

    If I never make it to heaven, just send those pumpkin cheesecakes topped with creme fraiche and crushed pecans to me in hell and I will be just as happy.

  17. Tracy, I think I agree with you on just about every comment you’ve ever made on any blog anywhere. Except this one.

    perfectly roasted turkey
    dressing (grandma’s cornbread dressing is pretty great)
    pumpkin pie
    gravy
    my uncle’s mashed potatoes

    I was going to make a pumpkin cheesecake, but you know, kind of heavy after a Thanksgiving dinner.

    As for bucking the holiday food trends, my husband’s family had a tradition of always having crab cioppino for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. They’re not Italian either.

  18. And for leftover turkey, try this sandwich: turkey, cream cheese, cranberry sauce, on any kind of bread. Alfalfa sprouts – optional. It sounds kind of icky, but I had it in a deli once and it was tremendous. Now I make it at home with leftover turkey and it’s great!

  19. Gravy- liquid meat?

    Liquid meat on fresh potato rolls = the bliss.

    Pecan pie is hard to do well — too many easy factors to mess up. But when all the elements come together correctly, it’s quite good. But it really requires whipped cream (real whipped cream with plenty of vanilla — none of this whipped topping crap).

    I don’t understand the pumpkin haters. Pumpkin has a lovely, delicate taste and a texture that lends itself well to mixing with dairy (with cream in soup, with milk and eggs in pie, etc.) and that goes well with the traditional baking spices (nutmeg, mace, clove, etc.). Now pumpkin pie that tastes to much of the can or is overcooked or is liquid-y is not good. But I would venture to guess that most of the pumpkin haters have never had a pumpkin dish that was well put together.

    Pumpkin pie is the second best leftovers breakfast (next to apple pie). Pizza is a close third.

    The pumpkin pie Blizzard from DQ is pretty dang good — the flavors overwhelm your tastebuds about half way through so it’s the perfect Blizzard for sharing with a loved one.

    One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes is this parsnip gratin thing my wife makes. Good stuff.

    However, I’m not a real fan of turkey. The meat is more aggressive than chicken but not as aggressive as duck or game birds. I like the dark meat, but the breast just doesn’t do much for me. On the other hand, Tom is right on the money with the stuffing skin. What I like best about a Thanksgiving turkey is snagging a few slices of the choicest thigh meat, some skin and then a big pile of mashed potatoes covered with gravy made from the drippings. Ya’ll can have the breast meat.

  20. meems i love the turkey, cranberry sauce (not jelly), cream cheese deli sandwich on a warm croissant. delish.

    i hate turkey, and turkey gravy. but will eat a portion in honor of thanksgiving. we mormons eat potato pearls and i think they taste like puke. how expensive are real potatoes? just buy real potatoes people! anyway, that’s my parents for ya. but a good thing..a delicious fam tradition is a raspberry/applesauce/raspberry jello salad with sour cream/marshmallow whipped topping. it’s dessert but is called “salad” and eaten with dinner. then the sweet potatoes with pineapple and brown sugar that my grandma makes.

  21. It all depends on how it’s made, guys:

    -Homemade cranberry sauce is delicious and in no way resembles can-shaped gelatinous crap.

    -Homemade rolls, perfectly roasted juicy flavorful turkey etc. are great; bakery rolls and dry bland inadequately salted turkey are just not worthwhile.

    -Yams from a can are yucky. Fresh yams cooked with butter and a little brown sugar and cinnamon, maybe some pecans until it’s all a little crisp and caramelly on the outside but not too smushy or syrupy — so good.

    -Pumpkin pies can be really good. Or gross and squishy and bland, with bad crust. A good banana cream pie is the best food in the world, though.

  22. Update—my wife decided that tonight was the night to start preparations for Thanksgiving. She made a family jello-marshmallow-whipped cream=frozen strawberry thing that we eat once a year in honor of her West Virginia family.

    We made the cranberry sauce: cranberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice, and a stick of cinnamon. It’s already great, and with a couple days to sit, it’ll be even better Thursday.

    And the pumpkin-caramel pie is in the oven. I admit that we used canned pumpkin, but the pie crust is made with lard, and the caramel is homemade, which, in my book, outweighs any downside to purchase pumpkin.

  23. Allright. You guys guilted me into it- I went out and bought a pumpkin pie. I refuse to make the thing, but at least the guests will not be deprived of a vegetable dessert.

    What’s with that anyway? On Thanksgiving, we eat desserts with the meal and call them salads, tubers drenched in sugar and gelatin puffs and call it a vegetable, and then we eat vegetables for dessert and call them good.

  24. Sorry, I’ve been away from the net for a bit.

    My simple cranberry sauce is 1 bag of cranberries, 3/4 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water. Stir the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the berries and continue to lightly boil uncovered for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally and watching to prevent boilovers. Cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Stir the jellied sauce well just before putting in a dish for serving.

  25. I had some ginger ale in the kitchen so I decided to use it for the cranberry sauce. I just mixed one can of ginger ale, 3/4 C sugar, a bag of cranberries and the zest from one orange and boiled for 5 or so minutes. It was excellent.

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