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Welp, guess what, y’all? We’re on the Christmas creep. That period of time that feels remarkably like summer even though there are a lot of Santas on the Walmart shelves. Little Debbie has put out the Christmas Tree cakes. You know what that means – it’s gonna be Thanksgiving in a few weeks.
It’s a middle child of a holiday. It fades into the background no matter how much booze it sneaks from its parents’ liquor cabinet or how many times it dyes its hair. Well, this year, I’m here to bring you some certified Thanksgiving content. No more Christmas or Halloween beyond this point.
Thanksgiving food is a matter near and dear to my heart. I say that because, well, let’s face it, I’m probably still experiencing some artery clog from last year. It’s one of most folks’ favorite meals of the year. Well, it can be.
It can also be some of the most bland, disappointing food possible if you mess it up – unless it’s one of those dishes no one likes but someone insists on making it every year anyway. That’s where this column comes in. I’m going to give you an honest unfiltered review of the traditional Thanksgiving fare, dish by dish. Read closely, because some of you need this.
Turkey or Ham: By themselves, ham is better. That’s why we eat it more than once a year. But turkey with gravy and/or cranberry sauce is better than ham. Turkey by itself is not good enough, and that’s why there’s leftovers.
Cranberry sauce: If you make it from scratch, it better actually be good. Yours probably isn’t that good. Ask three people to try it. Don’t trust their words – look them in the eyes when you ask them, and be ready for those eyes to tell you some cold hard truths. Well made cranberry sauce is only slightly better than canned. Just get canned.
Green Bean Casserole: If you know how to cook, don’t claim it. Let 20-something-year-old cousin Bryleigh call this one. You can’t get it wrong if you don’t get any wild hairs. Make sure your mom tells Bryleigh how to make it, and supervise her. Don’t trust Bryleigh by herself, or she’ll pull some recipe off of Pinterest and mess it up.
Corn Pudding / Corn Casserole: No one actually likes this. The person who made it doesn’t like it. There’s always plenty of this left over at the end, and this is why.
Squash Casserole: See Corn Pudding / Corn Casserole.
Stuffing: You’ve already messed up unless you actually stuffed the turkey with it. Skip it. We’re in Alabama; we make dressing.
Dressing: This better be wet. I’m telling you, it seriously has to be wet. Not damp; no one wants damp dressing. Just a little wet. Grandma’s been making it for Thanksgiving for years, and it’s the best thing on the plate. She’s going to pick only one favorite grandchild to teach how to make it. Train your children to be nice to the dressing grandma.
Deviled Eggs: You can tell by looking at them if they’re good. If they aren’t the right shade of yellow, or look too flat, they’re bad. You already knew before you even put it in your mouth. If it looks wrong, it’s too sweet. You’re still probably going to eat three.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows: Put it on your plate because your cousin tried their best. Their kids are badly behaved and their partner started on the beer at 8 a.m. Scrape it into the trash when he or she isn’t looking.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Lots of Pecans and Brown Sugar: The cool family member makes this. The cooler this family member is, the better of a crust there is on top of it. You look up to this relative. They probably gave you your first beer when you were a teenager.
Greens: Look in the pot and see if there’s either ham bones or turkey necks in there. If you see them, get some. Otherwise, skip it.
Some vegetable in a Tupperware container: Whoever did this is a bad person. Look at them, eating all that good food everyone brought and all they did was open a can and dump it in a Country Crock container. Despicable.
Mashed Potatoes: Does it keep its shape after you scoop it, or does it kinda splat down on the plate? If it splats, trash it. Look whoever made it in the eyes when you do this. Potatoes, Butter, Mayonnaise, Salt, Pepper. It isn’t that hard.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese: You will never ever ever ever ever make everyone happy with homemade macaroni and cheese. You may pretend that it came out good; you may even tell yourself it tastes good. You are probably lying to yourself. When you are making homemade mac and cheese and you first test it, keep it in your mouth and go look in a mirror. Take a long, hard, cold look into your own soul and ask yourself these questions: “Do I taste the flavor of a specific type of cheese?” “Are the noodles just soft enough?” “Does it make the right sound when I put a spoon in it?” “Did I cover it with something like Ritz Crackers to cover up the fact that it actually doesn’t taste that good?” If you answer yes, yes, yes, then no, please mail your samples in to the paper.
Pear Salad: No.