It’s hard to name just 5 foods that are essential to any Thanksgiving. 5 foods that are consumed with such delightful greed that you will definitely want to wear your loosest pants to the table. Let’s face it, the day isn’t just about giving thanks. It’s a veritable foodie marathon.
Thanksgiving has become yet another holiday where amateur chefs try to push their annoying agendas on us. Tiny amuse bouche for appetizers. Brined turkey stuffed with smoked ham, goat cheese and dried cherries. Purple cabbage and pomegranate chutney? Red anjou pear tart? It’s all become too much. It’s time to go back to basics, Thanksgiving style. Get ready to loosen those belt buckles. Here are the top 5 essential Thanksgiving foods for your holiday table.
5. Gravy. Good, old fashioned turkey giblet gravy. Gravy should be its own food group. It’s an easy way to rescue a dried out bird. A virtual river of gravy swimming through a mashed potato mountain is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Gravy should be used liberally throughout the meal.
4. Mashed Potatoes. Now we’re talking! Whether you prefer them slightly lumpy, thick, totally smooth, or slightly thinned out, mashed potatoes are another Thanksgiving food that we cannot live without. Some people prefer to combine mashed potatoes with other foods, such as peas, but most like them simply floating in gravy.
3. Turkey. You would think that the main vehicle would rate higher up on the list. No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without it. The simple fact is that it’s way too easy to screw up. Overcooked turkey is stringy and hasn’t got a lick of moisture. An undercooked turkey could send your guests to the emergency room. However, there is nothing that compares to the smell of a turkey cooking. Yankee Candle tried to recreate it in candle form this year. To say they failed miserably would be an understatement.
2. Stuffing. Is it stuffing or dressing? I suppose that depends on what you grew up with. A simple cornbread stuffing will suffice. Leave the fancy ingredients behind. Lots of herbs. There are differing camps when it comes to stuffing the bird or leaving the stuffing on the side. As long as the bird is stuffed right before it enters the oven and the stuffing is removed immediately you aren’t at risk of salmonella unless the turkey itself remains uncooked.
1. Pie. No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without a pie, or three. After all, the day is all about excess. Old standards, such as pumpkin and apple, are a necessity. Pecan is another nice offering. I’ve even seen a cherry pie or two. Whichever you choose make sure you top it with whipped cream. Out of a can is just fine here.
Bonus tip! If you have a vegetarian at your table, forget the tofurkey. Instead, consider a vegetable cobbler, some pumpkin and sage pasta, or butternut squash soup.
There are certainly more than just 5 foods to make your Thanksgiving meal memorable. That’s why they make plates bigger these days. Thanksgiving is more than just food. It’s memories. Spending time with your nearest and dearest. Giving thanks for another year together. So pass the stuffing and loosen your belt buckles. The gym will be waiting when the holidays are over.
By Mary Kay Love