Hello, and welcome back to What’s Cooking?, the open thread where you get to share your brilliant thoughts, advice, recipes, and opinions on all things food-related. This week I’d like to talk to you about Thanksgiving day deal-breakers—you know, the things that simply must be on the table, lest you lose your mind.
Nostalgia can make people act strangely, and much of Thanksgiving’s power comes from the fact that it is firmly rooted in nostalgia and (usually) strongly associated with pleasant childhood memories. It’s also the most food-centric holiday there is, and everyone has a dish or two to which they have strong emotional attachment. As always, I have some questions for you:
• How strongly attached to turkey are you? I would actually be fine with a different protein, but my father won’t consider eating anything other than a full, Norman Rockwell-looking bird. My grandmother once had the audacity to serve nothing more than a turkey breast, and I’m pretty sure he cried. (He was a child, but still.)
• What dish is unique to your family, and is made every year without fail? My mother’s family makes a dish called “corn casserole,” which isn’t super unique in Mississippi, but unheard of in other portions of this country. It’s basically creamed corn, Jiffy cornbread mix, sour cream, and cheese, and it is exquisite.
• Is there a side or appetizer you look forward to more than the bird? Besides the corn casserole, I simply must have a deviled egg or five. Deviled eggs are extremely important to me and I require them to feel festive.
• Which pie holds your heart? Though I prefer sweet potato to pumpkin, if I could only pick one pie to consume after turkey, it would be pecan.
• Do certain people “own” dishes, or can anyone try their hand at any part of the meal? It’s kind of a free-for-all with my family, but one of my uncles usually cooks the turkey and I usually end up involved with the “bar program.”
• If you could only pick two casseroles, which casseroles would you pick? This is an unfair question, because you can have as many casseroles as you want, but I would pick corn and green bean.
• Stuffing or dressing? Though I write about and will eat both, I have to go with cornbread dressing.