On Thanksgiving 2011 I flew to the Midwest
Secretly each of my family members wanted to know which of their dishes was the best.
My aunt and uncle’s house in Columbus for many years on Thanksgiving is where I have dined,
Yet again 28 of us happily sat around the table as our families combined.
I folded up my cane and prepared to eat like a hog
All in the name of food, family, and my first Thanksgiving blog.
NOW that my poem is out of the way: let’s get down to business!
Before I begin, I would like to say that I enjoyed all of the food that I tried this year. I wanted to rank each dish but I can just imagine the food fight at next year’s Thanksgiving based on my findings. Warning: If you are a member of my family who cooked this year and you are preparing to read this, just know that I plan to be brutally honest and I apologize if I offend you. Without further ado, let’s go!
Green bean casserole: Ideally this is a dish of green beans in a stock of mushroom soup topped with crispy onion rings. (MMM my favorite part is the topping; I could probably eat just that)
Mashed potatoes: This was a classic side dish, everything that you would expect it to be: thick, creamy, and definitely home made. I really wanted to eat more of it but so many other delicious dishes simply got in the way.
Glazed carrots: I’m calling out Martha Stewart on this one: her recipe failed to take brown sugar or honey into consideration; you cannot just cook carrots in orange juice and hope to produce proper glazed carrots. My aunt tried as hard as she could to salvage them, and although they were still a bit heavy on the citrus side I found them to be tasty anyway.
Honey baked ham: First of all, I have been told to put the emphasis on “honey baked” because allegedly there are imposter hams claiming to be baked with the magic of honey when in fact they are not. This is always a highlight of Thanksgiving for me even if it is not the most traditional for some people. In fact, I learned today that I am personally responsible for making this a tradition for our Columbus Thanksgiving because of my rave reviews a few years ago. What can I say? The goodness of ham infused with sweet honey is an instant classic for me.
Turkey: Some of you might be aware that turkey and I just don’t get along. It’s not that we are enemies, just that if I had my choice (and I do) I would only see it once a year. I also believe that turkey is overrated as a centerpiece of thanksgiving and that the side dishes are at least equally as important. This year, however, the turkey was a masterpiece: moist, flavorful, everything that a perfectly roasted turkey should be. (My aunt and uncle recently bought specialized free standing turkey roasters which might partially explain why it was delicious, but I must give credit where it is due, to my aunt the chef).
Update: my dad wants it to be known that while I didn’t review the gravy, he believes that it’s an essential part of Thanksgiving because it improves the flavor of turkey and accompanies stuffing very well.
Trifle: Yes, a dessert made it to my top 4, surprise surprise! I must thank my cousin Ella for this creation which I love every single year. I’m still not sure what ingredients it is made of, but my best guess: a combination of a sort of sponge cake, homemade chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and crunchy chocolaty bits. It’s the best!
Corn fritters: this is my mom’s genius creation: disks of a sweet corn based battered are lightly fried until crisp and airy. These are extremely tasty and are best devoured fresh, possibly with maple syrup. They tend to become more dense and dry over time, but they were still very good the next day.
Sweet potato casserole: How much do I love this dish? I could eat just this for days, and it gets better with time. Another creation from my cousin (chef Ella), this casserole combines mashed sweet potatoes, pecans, and perhaps some brown sugar. It is then baked until crispy on top. It is a true taste sensation and Thanksgiving would truly not be the same without these awesome sweet potatoes.
STUFFING! As far back as I can remember, my mom has been making our stuffing every November. When I was younger, she would make it in New York and literally take a huge pot of it on the plane with her. Times have changed, and now she brings all the necessary ingredients with her to Ohio, including the outstanding sweet Italian sausage from a local butcher. This is comfort food at its finest, and the height of the stuffing experience occurs when you eat it after it has been baked (even if it is reheated in the oven the next day): I would describe it as hot, moist, so many wonderful flavors merge together, and of course the crispy pieces on top are like icing on the cake!
Thanks for reading my first Thanksgiving blog, how do you think I did? I welcome all of your feedback, and please come back soon to the Blind Taste Test!