Thanksgiving is nearly here, y’all. “But it’s three weeks away!”, you say. Y’all don’t even know. Thanksgiving is THE holiday meal of the year in my family. We do it big and we do it good. Even Christmas dinner, which is usually gumbo or maybe a ham, can’t light a candle to Turkey day for us; it’s simply tradition. It’s a tradition I’m glad to pass down to and share with my little ones. Our counter tops are loaded down with fried turkey, spiral ham, praline topped sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce, among other things. We are Thanksgiving traditionalists — not much passes the threshold that is wild and wacky. That said, there have naturally been some exceptions: pumpkin pie cheesecake, pecan pie cheesecake, sausage balls and even a brisket (or two) has been known to make a rare guest appearance every now and then. But there are some things I’m relieved to say will likely NEVER make way to our Thanksgiving smorgasbord — things that I’ve only ever seen before in nightmares and brief cameos in Ye Olde Medieval Festivals. Here are just a few that made my stomach absolutely churn:
- Deep Fried Stuffing on a Stick. There is so much wrong with this, I don’t even know where to begin. Just knowing there are people who have fed this to their kids makes me feel less guilty about “Chicken Nugget Tuesdays” at our house. Not much less guilty, but I’ll take what I can get.
- Turkey Cake. No, this isn’t a Cake Wars confection that is actually a cake cleverly disguised as holiday fowl. No, no. This is essentially a meatloaf (only… with turkey) “frosted” with mashed potatoes and other varied toppings — depending on the “chef”. Really, it’s a festive shepherd’s pie. Thanks, but I left school lunch back in 2006 where it belongs.
- Regular holiday food — Fear Factor style. Picture this: the scene is perfect. Dad’s carving the turkey, mom has made her famous Pecan Pie (puh-kahn.. not PEE-can), and grandma is passing around the croissants. Every one is settling down to dive in and — wait, what’s that? Is that… a mealworm?! Yep. From my native state of Louisiana, comes “buggy” food. The folks down at the Audubon Insectarium in NOLA topped their turkey day noms off with things of the protein-rich variety — and we’re not talking vitamin supplements. No worries; most of us southerners can smack down on a holiday meal, mealworm and cricket free.
- Gravy soda. Once again, I have no words. All I can imagine is someone opening jarred gravy, pouring in some soda water, and going to town. Kill me now.
- Tofurkey. This poor food item (if you could call it that) has been the butt of everyone’s Thanksgiving day joke since… well, since someone thought it was a good idea and served it to their family. I would love to have been a fly on the wall for that Thanksgiving dinner nightmare: “‘Let’s have Thanksgiving with the cousins’, you said. ‘It will be fun’, you said. I told you we should have gone to the Chinese buffet!” Ah, sweet memories.
- Turbaconucken. This just sounds like congestive heart failure waiting to happen. And perhaps it could be if it is paired with Deep Fried Stuffing. On a stick. Basically, this is one of those Turducken things… but wrapped in bacon. I’m all about bacon. And turkey. And chicken. Nooot so much duck, admittedly. But turbackonucken? If I have a hard time saying it, I don’t think I want to eat it.
- Jarred gravy and canned cranberry sauce. As a southern girl, this hurts me to my very core. Two of the most important facets of “the dinner” itself, and you can’t take the time to make it? Tsk, tsk.
- Gluten-free rolls. I understand people who have an allergy to gluten or just do not or cannot eat it for health purposes. That said, I’d cut off my left, big toe for gluten. Actually, that really explains a lot about where I carry all my weight. But damnit, what good is a roll without gluten? It’s carb blasphemy! I just can’t even.
- Turdunkin. Listen, y’all. I love turkey. And I freaking love donuts (as per the size of my backside). And while some breakfast foods may pair well with some not-so breakfast foods (check you out, chicken and waffles!), some things absolutely do not hold the same reputation. Enter: Turdunken. Basically, this is a turkey basted in Dunkin Donuts’ Coolattas and stuffed with, get this, Dunkin Donuts. I have a legitimately hard time believing this could possibly taste worth a damn. What a waste of good donuts.
- And last but not least, Twinkie Stuffing. Is there really an explanation necessary for this particular dish? No, I think we can all gather what kind of food mutiny is going down, here.
I’m sure there are a few here and there that I missed, but these dishes managed to wrangle their way into my mind and burn themselves into the deepest recesses of my memory. That said, I am going to go over my menu for, oh, the millionth time. Any strange family holiday dishes you’d like to share? I’d love to know what the “black sheep” of your Thanksgiving menu may be.