AKA "American Regional Food Stereotypes Are Entirely Accurate" -NY Times
November 25, 2014 12:19 PM   Subscribe

After causing some serious angst among the good people of Minnesota (cf. the cri de coeur of ex-Gopher and Mefi's own Linda Holmes) with its own unique Thanksgiving recipe suggestions for each of the 50 nifty United States (previously), the agents provocatuer of the New York Times are back at it again, this time leaning on the Google data team to find out which unusual regional recipes really are the favorites of each state: Behold, the Snickers Salad Belt.
posted by Diablevert (244 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ok but what is cream cheese corn, it sounds delightful.

is it just cream cheese and corn

maybe i will just scroll down and find out
posted by poffin boffin at 12:23 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nebraska is the buckle of the Snickers Salad Belt, which is fitting because the Snickers candy bar, which debuted in 1930, was named after a favorite horse owned by the Mars family. And Nebraska is also in the heart of horse country: it has the sixth-highest ratio of horses to people of any state in the country, according to the Humane Society.

I love a good shoehorned-in factoid.
posted by troika at 12:23 PM on November 25, 2014 [27 favorites]


Also I was not expecting the reality of frog eye salad to be more repulsive than the mental images inspired by the name.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:24 PM on November 25, 2014 [27 favorites]


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies really do exemplify NH Thanksgivings! Good work, NY Times and Google Data Team.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:25 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love a good shoehorned-in factoid.

You mean "horseshoed-in factoid", right?
posted by Fizz at 12:28 PM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


Here's the realisation I have come to: it's a nomenclature issue. Everything would be fine if you just stopped calling it "salad". Like, does anyone find rice pudding --- starch, fruit, cream --- uncanny, in a lovecraftian sense? Hell no. But change the starch to pasta, the fruit to canned pineapple and call the result a salad --- a frog eye salad --- and suddenly the hairs go up on the back of your neck.
posted by Diablevert at 12:28 PM on November 25, 2014 [21 favorites]


Turkey enchiladas is pretty much perf for AZ Thanksgiving.
posted by WidgetAlley at 12:28 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


The reason Persimmon Pudding is the most googled in Indiana just had to be a direct result of the original article. We Hoosiers, upon learning Persimmon pudding was somehow indicative of an Indiana Thanksgiving via some idiot on the East Coast, immediately googled it to determine what the hell it was. I mean, I've lived here most of my adult life and have never heard of that dish.
posted by gagglezoomer at 12:29 PM on November 25, 2014 [30 favorites]


Snicker Apple Salad is amazing. That is all.
posted by drezdn at 12:29 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I can already tell you that a lot of Minnesotans I know have gotten curious and are adding grape salad to their menu for Thanksgiving.

But ultimately the basic Minnesota food is cream of mushroom soup dumped in a casserole container and then turned into a meal with the addition of seemingly random additional foods, like chopped up hot dogs or marshmallows or chow mein noodles or all of the above.

And yet Minnesota invented the bundt cake. Go figure.
posted by maxsparber at 12:30 PM on November 25, 2014 [15 favorites]


This Snickers bar salad is a dessert?
posted by R. Mutt at 12:30 PM on November 25, 2014


Wild rice casserole -- the way Mom makes it, with a lot of turkey and mushrooms -- is an awesome, warm, all-winter-long treat.

New York Times, you can come out of "time out" now.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:31 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am genuinely surprised that cranberry things didn't take the lead in Massachusetts.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:32 PM on November 25, 2014


As a native Minnesotan, the burning question on my mind is, "What, no hotdish!?"
posted by surazal at 12:32 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


I have never heard 'pig pickin cake' referred to as such, but I did recognize it in the photos as "that white cake with pineapple on it." However, the Most North Carolina Dessert is so obviously banana pudding. It doesn't appear on the list because who needs to google the ingredients for banana pudding? It's Nilla Wafers, bananas, and vanilla boxed pudding. No googlin required.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:32 PM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


But change the starch to pasta, the fruit to canned pineapple and call the result a salad --- a frog eye salad --- and suddenly the hairs go up on the back of your neck.

mostly it's because it looks like someone found a bunch of old cans in the back of the pantry and dumped them all on top of some noodles and pretended it was an old family recipe.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:32 PM on November 25, 2014 [13 favorites]


wait

i have discovered the secret of america
posted by poffin boffin at 12:32 PM on November 25, 2014 [52 favorites]


+1 to gagglezoomer's comment
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


On both New York and New Jersey's lists I see string bean casserole. Hell no. It is called green bean casserole. Long may it reign.
posted by lyssabee at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


i have discovered the secret of america

And also Minnesota's unpsoken State motto.
posted by maxsparber at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I had never heard of Snicker Salad before and it is the most amazingly funny foodstuff I think I've ever seen. It reminds me of the time a Protestant friend of mine had me over and said, "oh, if you're hungry, there's salad in the fridge".

I looked in the fridge, and was like, "uh, the only thing in here seems to be a big bowl of jello and cool whip".

And she said, "yeah"

And then we each stared at the other with a look of dawning realization like a terrible betrayal was happening
posted by Greg Nog at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [151 favorites]


What's "weird" about mirliton casserole?

I fail to see the point of this map.
posted by Sara C. at 12:35 PM on November 25, 2014


I got tasked with bringing a salad to Thanksgiving this year

This FPP changes everything
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:36 PM on November 25, 2014 [46 favorites]


If it helps, in the midwest salad can mean "anything mixed with anything," although, more precisely, it means "anything mixed with Jello" as "anything mixed with cream of mushroom soup" is hot dish, which is a sort of salad.
posted by maxsparber at 12:36 PM on November 25, 2014 [16 favorites]


WTF are all these foods? Is this a sly joke? Few of those sound like actual dishes.

US Thanksgiving is weird.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:36 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


The thing about not having any oddball Alaskan recipes is, if you make those sort of things, you probably have a recipe. That's the thing, people would be Googling recipes for something they have heard about, not the tried and true recipes that have sat on your Thanksgiving table since you were a kid. Those are on crusty notecards stuck in the pantry.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:36 PM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


However, the Most North Carolina Dessert is so obviously banana pudding. It doesn't appear on the list because who needs to google the ingredients for banana pudding? It's Nilla Wafers, bananas, and vanilla boxed pudding. No googlin required.

This is 100% true, but people don't eat banana pudding for Thanksgiving do they? That's a summer dessert for barbecues and cookouts. That said, who brings a cake for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a time for pie.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:37 PM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Nobody outside of Louisiana has ever heard of a mirliton? But you can just walk on, Sara. Louisuana's is the only wall-to-wall delicious top ten. It's the London Calling of regional thanksgiving recipe searches.
posted by Diablevert at 12:38 PM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


I got tasked with bringing a salad to Thanksgiving this year

so pasta with cool whip and canned beans and mandarin oranges and pineapple and carrot shavings and lime jello, please do this i beg you.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:38 PM on November 25, 2014 [17 favorites]


"green rice casserole?" Never heard of it.

And now that I've googled it, adding weight to the statistics, I can confirm I've never seen or heard of it in any form anyway.
posted by Foosnark at 12:39 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just made the frog eye salad phenomenon worse by looking it up.

That's OK, though, because I just decided I need to move.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:39 PM on November 25, 2014


Speaking from Massachusetts at the moment: Is squash not a normal Thanksgiving side dish?

(Speaking as someone driving north to Vermont tomorrow: It makes me happy that "venison stew" ranks high, but that's not because of Thanksgiving - it's just hunting season.)
posted by maryr at 12:40 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


North Carolina|‘pig pickin cake’

Yeah,I grew up there, that sounds about right.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:40 PM on November 25, 2014


also no lie i would kill a man right now for a pumpkin whoopie pie, why don't i have one in my hand right now

thanks obama
posted by poffin boffin at 12:41 PM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


I always try to learn the regional dishes when I move from state to state. I am in Omaha now, and the regional dishes include the Frenchie, which is a deep-fried grilled cheese sandwich, and salad with a dressing called Dorothy Lynch, which tastes like somebody added hot sauce to French dressing but removed all the heat. Because Omaha has extreme myopia, they don't know that nobody anywhere else has ever heard of these things.

Omahans also have an incredible collection of finger foods that are made by wrapping lunch meat and pickles in white bread, rolling them up, and then cutting them up. I am sure this is not unique to Omaha, but I never had them growing up in Minnesota, because Jews do not eat that sort of food.
posted by maxsparber at 12:41 PM on November 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


Speaking from Massachusetts at the moment: Is squash not a normal Thanksgiving side dish?

Speaking as someone who had all her thanksgivings in Massachusetts for years - it was for me. But I think they address that in the data, where they say that they looked at what the most-googled recipes were for in each state during these two weeks leading up TO Thanksgiving, on the assumption that "if you're looking for a recipe for this now, presumably it's because you're serving it with Thanksgiving dinner."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:42 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Two years ago I made bourbon chocolate pecan pie for Thanksgiving and now I am apparently in charge of bringing it every year for the rest of forever. I gotta go buy some pecans tonight...
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:43 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Chocolate cream pie - I remember as a kid in the '80s Jello put out a chocolate cream pie recipe - want to say it used their instant chocolate mousse mix? - that everyone loved and made. It was everywhere, every pot-luck, every big family dinner. Haven't seen much of it since the early '90s, but it was pretty tasty. (I'm doing a maple-pumpkin pie myself. Scored some "Grade B" syrup, which is super intense and maple-y - not good for pancakes, awesome to bake with.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:43 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm originally from Tennessee, a small subset of the overall 'normal' part of the South, culinarily-speaking. I've been in New Orleans for over a decade now and still haven't acclimated to the fact that traditional Thanksgiving dishes here - or at least what passes for traditional in my girlfriend's family - are strange shit. I was just giving her a hard time yesterday about what her brother is going to bring this year - "Let me guess, some sort of weirdass mirliton casserole with crab in it, or shrimp, or some other combination of substances that have nothing to do with this holiest of holidays."

Ooey gooey bars, though? I'm totally down with those. Those belong at every major food event.
posted by komara at 12:44 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Two years ago I made bourbon chocolate pecan pie for Thanksgiving and now I am apparently in charge of bringing it every year for the rest of forever. I gotta go buy some pecans tonight...

This seems fair. The punishment for making a really good pie is harsh.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:45 PM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


I am genuinely surprised that cranberry things didn't take the lead in Massachusetts.

I think you overestimate the creativity being used in Massachusetts. You have cranberries, you make cranberry sauce with them. Maybe relish. What else could you possible do?

...Wait.

What else *could* you do?!

*wanders off to google Cranberry Caramels*
posted by maryr at 12:45 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Two years ago I made bourbon chocolate pecan pie for Thanksgiving and now I am apparently in charge of bringing it every year for the rest of forever.

That's how it is in my family, too; you make something everyone loves ONCE, and that is now YOUR DISH until THE END OF TIME. Could someone else make it? NO. NEVER. These are GRAMMIE'S ROLLS and CANNOT BE MADE THE HANDS OF THE UNWORTHY
posted by Greg Nog at 12:46 PM on November 25, 2014 [42 favorites]


"Cheesy potatoes" is a real thing in Michigan??? Wow. That's what we called it at our house, but I always figured it was just a name us kids made up to describe the most awesome dish ever (frozen hashbrowns, cream of mushroom soup, lots of shredded yellow cheese, lots of butter).
posted by kanewai at 12:47 PM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


Guess who's packing just got shoved to the wayside? I already have the cranberries. Just need to grab cream on my way home.
posted by maryr at 12:47 PM on November 25, 2014 [14 favorites]


(I'm doing a maple-pumpkin pie myself. Scored some "Grade B" syrup, which is super intense and maple-y - not good for pancakes, awesome to bake with.)

I managed to pick up some granulated maple sugar at some farmers' market, and that will be used for the half a roasted acorn squash I make. Oh yes.

Having a very small me's-giving just by myself (this happens every other year and I LOVE IT WITH AN EMBARRASSING INTENSITY), and I'm going pretty traditional this year because I have pretty much all the relevant vegetables from my CSA that I had to do something with anyway (carrots - check, potatoes - check, sweet potatoes - check, three kinds of squash - check, pumpkin - check), and I even had some leftover ends of sandwich bread loaves that I was trying to figure out what to do with and can use for stuffing-from-scratch, and I also just got my Annual Family Allowance Of Cranberries for the relish (using Mom's recipe) and to also spike the single-serving rustic apple tart. I just had to pick up a small turkey breast and I'm pretty much set, and it will all only take about two hours' worth of cooking.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:48 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


That's how it is in my family, too; you make something everyone loves ONCE, and that is now YOUR DISH until THE END OF TIME. Could someone else make it? NO. NEVER. These are GRAMMIE'S ROLLS and CANNOT BE MADE THE HANDS OF THE UNWORTHY

This is why I have to make the smashed potatoes every year. ALL I DO IS CUT THEM SKINNY and add so much butter and garlic you can no longer taste the potato
posted by maryr at 12:49 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


Guess who's packing just got shoved to the wayside?

Oh my God. I must try this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:49 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm spamming, sorry but -

Empress, you should just use syrup. Cut the acorn squash in half through the equator, scoop out the seeds, stick some foil around the outside. Now, see that lovely hole you've made in each half? FILL IT WITH MAPLE SYRUP. Roast. Check on the squash after half an hour or so, REFILL, continue roasting.

There's a reason I love acorn squash so much. It has nothing to do with vegetables.
posted by maryr at 12:52 PM on November 25, 2014 [9 favorites]


Oh, okay, what the hell: behold, more cranberry recipes than you ever possibly thought you needed in life.

(Disclaimer: my family is one of Ocean Spray's family farms. I have a bit of an interest.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:52 PM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


Empress, you should just use syrup. Cut the acorn squash in half through the equator, scoop out the seeds, stick some foil around the outside. Now, see that lovely hole you've made in each half? FILL IT WITH MAPLE SYRUP.

No, see, I'm already filling it with chopped apples and cranberries, and the maple sugar instead of the brown sugar.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:53 PM on November 25, 2014


So can some cajun please tell me if the Mirliton & Shrimp caserole is good or not. I try to bring some unusual dish to inflict on my family each year and that sounds interesting. Plus a change from endless bland and boring food sounds fun.
posted by vuron at 12:53 PM on November 25, 2014


so pasta with cool whip and canned beans and mandarin oranges and pineapple and carrot shavings and lime jello, please do this i beg you.

Needs more candy bar. I'm thinking strawberry Charleston Chew.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:55 PM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


I will say that I what I love about this is that you really can see authentic historical influences popping up in the lists --- the coquito and the sauerkraut, the sopasilla cheesecake and the stuffed artichokes. And I have been by turns disturbed and tempted all afternoon (sometimes both at once) by googling the recipes that were unfamiliar to me.
posted by Diablevert at 12:56 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


The first Thanksgiving my wife and I spent together, she was horrified to learn that in addition to the "normal" cranberry sauce (whether canned or whole-berry), my Minnesotan family has also always made a dish called "cranberry fluff"....

whole cranberries, chopped up
crushed pineapple
chopped walnuts
Cool Whip
mini marshmallows

It is not Thanksgiving without this dish. I will eat it straight from the serving bowl.

I have since made it for my wife's non-Minnesotan family. I think one of them gamely ate a spoonful.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:57 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


What the hell did vegetables do to the Midwest to make them treat them that way?
posted by The Whelk at 12:58 PM on November 25, 2014 [24 favorites]


"green rice casserole?" Never heard of it.

Since they're showing that for Missouri, I'm going to hypothesize that it might have something to do with Stephenson's Apple Farm Restaurant which was something of an institution in the Kansas City area for several decades. Their green rice casserole was one of their classic dishes, along with apple fritters and hickory smoked ham. (We ate there for my birthday every year through the 70's and early 80s.)
posted by dnash at 12:59 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking strawberry Charleston Chew.

NO WAIT good n plenty, the most vile of all candies.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:00 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


My mom has an antique meat grinder (the kind that clamps to the edge of a countertop) which is only every used once a year, to make cranberry sauce. Basically you just chuck in some cranberries, apples, oranges, and lemons, and grind them up, peels and seeds and all. Then mix in sugar. It's great!
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:00 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


The reason Persimmon Pudding is the most googled in Indiana just had to be a direct result of the original article. We Hoosiers, upon learning Persimmon pudding was somehow indicative of an Indiana Thanksgiving via some idiot on the East Coast, immediately googled it to determine what the hell it was. I mean, I've lived here most of my adult life and have never heard of that dish.

...but I bet you don't live in Southern Indiana. 68th Annual Mitchell Persimmon Festival.

Just because you don't know about something, doesn't mean it isn't a thing. Go get some fried brain to round out your culinary journey.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:02 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


My best friend said to me yesterday, "I love the fact that once every year or so, you just kind of punk the New York Times."

I wouldn't say "punk," but this is all so much more entertaining than I ever could have dreamed.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:03 PM on November 25, 2014 [44 favorites]


vuron: just follow this recipe for stuffed mirlitons and you should be fine. You can trust any recipe that has "cook on a low fire" in the directions.
posted by komara at 1:04 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


If it is on a stick and accompanied by a "cheese" sauce of dubious dairy origins I will take that journey.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:04 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why would anyone google a recipe they know by heart?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:04 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Looking up "snickers salad" at work, because what the hell midwest, and among the alternate ingredients listed on Wikipedia: mayo. WTAF.
posted by epersonae at 1:05 PM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Really, the whole "whipped/pudding/jello + fruit/vegetable + I don't even = salad" thing is one of those places where the same word means wildly differently things ala US English vs UK English.
posted by epersonae at 1:07 PM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


whole cranberries, chopped up
crushed pineapple
chopped walnuts
Cool Whip
mini marshmallows


*runs off to google "diabetes Minnesota"*
posted by psoas at 1:09 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Although: Oregon's "vegan mushroom gravy" and Washington's "smoked salmon dip" are the most Cascadia things ever.
posted by epersonae at 1:09 PM on November 25, 2014 [15 favorites]


The thing about hotdish is, no Minnesotan I know would make hotdish for Thanksgiving. Hotdish is an everyday food, or a comfort-food night when it's rainy and your day sucked. It's not a holiday food.

(I'm also making my Minnesota grandma's "scalloped corn" recipe for Thanksgiving, which is: corn, butter, eggs, bake it with crushed up Saltines on top. It's way better than it sounds.)
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:10 PM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Why yes, I *do* serve smoked salmon dip at every possible moment here in Seattle.

Because it is freaking delicious.
posted by weeyin at 1:11 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yeah because it's a GLORIOUS CORN QUICHE although tbh I feel like it would be best with crushed up potato chips on top.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:11 PM on November 25, 2014


I wouldn't call is US English really, more Midwest English. Although, more to the point, I don't think I'll take any stick from the nation who was subsisting on salad cream as late as the 1980s. At least ranch has a flavor. Salad cream just tastes like mayo that's been left out of the fridge too long.
posted by Diablevert at 1:12 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


Look, I'm not saying nobody in the state has ever eaten a grape salad. It's heated up grapes and sour cream with sugar on it; somebody has eaten that in any state where there are families coming up with simple dishes

I don't want to believe anyone has willingly done this to themselves. That sounds awful.
posted by psoas at 1:14 PM on November 25, 2014 [14 favorites]


I may have been too hasty in my typing in my moment of WTAF-ness after reading that Wikipedia article. :) More like: as "boot" or "pants" have different meanings "across the pond", "salad" would appear to have two entirely different meanings depending on the culture within the US.
posted by epersonae at 1:15 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]



The reason Persimmon Pudding is the most googled in Indiana just had to be a direct result of the original article. We Hoosiers, upon learning Persimmon pudding was somehow indicative of an Indiana Thanksgiving via some idiot on the East Coast, immediately googled it to determine what the hell it was. I mean, I've lived here most of my adult life and have never heard of that dish.


YOU ARE SO WRONG!!!!!

I come from a long line of Indianan truck farmers, factory workers and small land owners, and we have heard of persimmon pudding, thank you very much. My sainted grandmother attempted to rob a seemingly unattended persimmon tree while with family, and that is about as uncharacteristic a thing for my very correct, never-borrow-a-pen-from-office family as you can possibly imagine.

Indiana-area persimmons are distinct from Asian persimmons and do not travel well. They're finicky and difficult to mass produce. If you are a very lucky person, you live in a place where someone has enough persimmon trees to jar and sell some of the pulp every year so that you can freeze it in season and make pudding from it later.

Persimmon pudding is one of the most delicious foods in the world - creamy and sweet and light and rich at the same time.
posted by Frowner at 1:18 PM on November 25, 2014 [24 favorites]


Oh my god, I LOVE green rice casserole (family is from southern Iowa/Missouri), and I evangelize for it up here in Minnesota, but no one really likes it except for me. My family used to buy the little seasoning packets from Stephensons (they still sell the seasonings online), but my last batch tasted weird even to me, so I'm going to try to make it from scratch next time.

And all the women at my dance aerobics class were going to try the NYT grape salad. I dunno.
posted by Malla at 1:18 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have literally never googled a thanksgiving recipe in my life. Why would you do that?
posted by stoneweaver at 1:19 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


But we’re surprised to see Philadelphia cheesecake among the most-searched items, rather than the Brooklyn version popularized by Junior’s. Maybe New Yorkers search for the Philadelphia version just to feel superior.

[loud farting noise]
posted by kagredon at 1:19 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


The fuck's a "brownberry stuffing"? (Yes, I read the article). Crescent rolls? FUCK YES. All that other shit I ain't ever heard of.
posted by symbioid at 1:19 PM on November 25, 2014


That's how it is in my family, too; you make something everyone loves ONCE, and that is now YOUR DISH until THE END OF TIME. Could someone else make it? NO. NEVER. These are GRAMMIE'S ROLLS and CANNOT BE MADE THE HANDS OF THE UNWORTHY

See also: the one time I made creamed onions for my in-laws at thanksgiving (trying out something new, what the hey) and now it's the thing I have to bring to every holiday get together and potluck or suffer the pain of a thousand sad faces. The dish itself is fucking delicious but it involves slicing onions until the whole house is like a tear gas chamber and then slow cooking them while stirring them for an hour and a half.
posted by KathrynT at 1:19 PM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


Also - isn't this just like - the index to 1973 Betty Crocker Cookbook?
posted by symbioid at 1:20 PM on November 25, 2014 [12 favorites]


it involves slicing onions until the whole house is like a tear gas chamber and then slow cooking them while stirring them for an hour and a half.

I would live in that house.
posted by maxsparber at 1:21 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sour cream is wonderful and I can't imagine why anyone would want to harm it in that cruel and thoughtless way.

grapes, feh
posted by poffin boffin at 1:22 PM on November 25, 2014


whole cranberries, chopped up
crushed pineapple
chopped walnuts
Cool Whip
mini marshmallows

*runs off to google "diabetes Minnesota"*


Believe it or not, I think we're among the healthier states... but then, cranberry fluff is only for the holidays :)

jello salad is on anytime though
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:22 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I picked up the Snicker apple salad from my sister-in-law who got it from cousins in Utah. I've only ever heard of it referred to as Snickerdoodle salad. But I love it. As does just about anyone we make it for.
posted by ericales at 1:22 PM on November 25, 2014


I have literally never googled a thanksgiving recipe in my life. Why would you do that?

1. Grandma, who's hosted Thanksgiving for years, has died and it's now fallen on your shoulders to host it and you've realized that there's one thing that you don't know how to make.

2. You're all sick unto death of making sweet potatoes the same damn way every year and you all wanna change it up a little.

3. You and your sister always get into a snarkfest every year about whether potato chips or saltines are better things to top the cheesey corn thing with and you've decided that this year you are going to bring in reinforcements for your position, dammit.

4. You're a college kid who's joining your significant other's family for Thanksgiving and you want to impress them so you said you'd make something and you've realized that 'OH FUCK NOW I HAVE TO ACTUALLY COOK'.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:23 PM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


I am originally from Wyoming and have never in my life heard of "frog eye salad".
posted by Librarypt at 1:23 PM on November 25, 2014


Dirt pudding? What the fuck is dirt pudding? Never heard of it. I call bullshit.
posted by slogger at 1:23 PM on November 25, 2014


not just onions, I guess I should point out. Shallots and leeks, too. and then you slowly cook them in a melted stick of butter, stirring and stirring, so that the water all cooks out but they don't get super brown, because that's a different thing. And then you add heavy cream and a little bit of the holy trifecta of dairy dishes, nutmeg / hotsauce / dry mustard, and you cook that until MORE of the water comes out and it's sort of an oozy oniony spludge. Then you scrape that into a casserole dish, grate a thick layer of Sharpest Possible Cheddar on top, sprinkle bread crumbs on that, drizzle more melted butter on THAT, and bake it until it's crispy/bubbly.
posted by KathrynT at 1:24 PM on November 25, 2014 [35 favorites]


then you eat it and die of a heart attack, farty but happy
posted by KathrynT at 1:25 PM on November 25, 2014 [14 favorites]


Want
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:25 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


It doesn't appear on the list because who needs to google the ingredients for banana pudding?

Well, I was similarly stymied by the Googling of recipes for MAssachusett's "mashed butternut squash." I mean...if you know the name, you know the recipe.

But as a true New Jerseyan, I am more tolerant for people Googling pureed turnips. Because it reminded me how my grandmother always always had pureed turnips for holidays.

Why would people Google things they know the recipe for? Well, as a regular cook, when I only make things once a year, I tend to forget the detail. Like, do you bake this first or just cube and boil it? How long does it need? At what temp? etc. It's more as a refresher, or a way to check your method to see if somebody else has more fabulous new methods or enhancements.

On both New York and New Jersey's lists I see string bean casserole. Hell no. It is called green bean casserole. Long may it reign.

I didn't realize that was a regionalism, but I do say "string beans."
posted by Miko at 1:25 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, another 'why would you Google" -

5. Your only copies of every recipe are for the 20-plus serving size that your family is used to but you're on your own and you just need a reference for "okay, how can I hack this recipe so I'm not stuck trying to figure out how to use, like, a third of an egg?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:25 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


There's no way to put this delicately, KathrynT. It's like you're writing porn.
posted by maxsparber at 1:25 PM on November 25, 2014 [20 favorites]


Dirt pudding? What the fuck is dirt pudding? Never heard of it. I call bullshit.

I wish. I've encountered this at too many "zany" kids' parties. oreos crumbled to look like dirt, with gummy worms put in. I thought it was the height of gross until I learned about kitty litter cake.
posted by Miko at 1:26 PM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Has anyone tried the Delaware pretzel salad with spiked jello? I've got some peanut butter vodka that would go pretty well in there, maybe, hmmm.
posted by troika at 1:26 PM on November 25, 2014


In a similar vein, for a pre-Thanksgiving thing I made spinach. Healthy, healthy spinach.

1. chop half a package of bacon and cook till it's crispy bits
2. add craploads of spinach, like six bunches or something crazy, and wilt
3. melt together a block of cream cheese, some white wine, and hot sauce
4. mix this sauce with spinach/bacon mixture
5. top with breadcrumbs and bake
6. HEALTH
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:28 PM on November 25, 2014 [44 favorites]


So here I am thinking I'm smart by connecting Missouri googling for green rice casserole to Stephenson's but I didn't notice that the NYT piece already made the connection. D'oh. Sigh. Sad to think of that quaint old ramshackle farmhouse with the free cider samples in the lobby, and all the different dining rooms with varying old fashioned decor, and the guy who'd come around to every table with a hot pan of fresh muffins, and the finger bowls of warm lemon water they'd bring out to clean your fingers but legendarily my aunt and uncle didn't know what to do with.... It's a QuickTrip now.
posted by dnash at 1:28 PM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


"Let me guess, some sort of weirdass mirliton casserole with crab in it, or shrimp, or some other combination of substances that have nothing to do with this holiest of holidays."

Shrimp and mirliton is the Louisiana holiday flavor combination. I've had shrimp-stuffed mirlitons, mirliton and shrimp casserole, cornbread stuffing with mirliton and shrimp, you name it.

My mom's signature Thanksgiving dish is crawfish pie, which I'll grant is weird.
posted by Sara C. at 1:29 PM on November 25, 2014


showbiz_liz, my contributions to family thanksgiving this time are pancetta-roasted brussels sprouts and broiled caramelized kabocha squash, plus homemade cold-smoked salmon and gravlax. I am trying to get out from under the onion thing but my husband is still making the sad faces.
posted by KathrynT at 1:30 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, I was similarly stymied by the Googling of recipes for MAssachusett's "mashed butternut squash." I mean...if you know the name, you know the recipe.

I have a brined, roast chicken recipe I put together from a few online recipes and refined through trial and error. I always pull up the recipe from where it's stashed in my email, twice. Once when I'm shopping for it, and once again while making it. Ditto a number of other things I make all the time, including a few that are just on food blogs somewhere that I've forgotten to bookmark. I also google stuff I know how to make to see if anyone out there knows how to make it better. (Meatloaf, for instance. Yet to find a reasonably low-fat one I really like.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:31 PM on November 25, 2014


Showbiz Liz, you may be intrigued by the "spinich maria" recipe for Tennessee, which turns out pretty much be cheddar cheese fondue with some flecks of spinach and onion in it, and a pinch of garlic powder.
posted by Diablevert at 1:36 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought it was the height of gross until I learned about kitty litter cake.

The grossest thing about that recipe is the inclusion of Tootsie Rolls.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:37 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Really, the whole "whipped/pudding/jello + fruit/vegetable + I don't even = salad" thing is one of those places where the same word means wildly differently things ala US English vs UK English.

This is the US paying back the UK for the abuse of the word "pudding."
posted by drezdn at 1:37 PM on November 25, 2014 [11 favorites]


I think it might actually be offensive to cat shit to associate it with a tootsie roll.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:38 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


No, see, I'm already filling it with chopped apples and cranberries, and the maple sugar instead of the brown sugar

WHY would you add fruit to your vegetables?
posted by maryr at 1:39 PM on November 25, 2014


WHY would you add fruit to your vegetables?

*shrug* Your loss....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:40 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's how it is in my family, too; you make something everyone loves ONCE, and that is now YOUR DISH until THE END OF TIME. Could someone else make it? NO. NEVER. These are GRAMMIE'S ROLLS and CANNOT BE MADE THE HANDS OF THE UNWORTHY

Which is how I wind up frying latkes for Thanksgiving every year, thanks to being the token Jew at the table of my Catholic friends. Granted, latkes don't quite go with Thanksgiving, but one has to be flexible in the service of ecumenicism.
posted by thomas j wise at 1:43 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


bourbon chocolate pecan pie How can you post this and not share the recipe? Yes, I can google, but I might find the wrong one.
creamed onions, esp. involving shallots & leeks, thanks for the recipe
posted by theora55 at 1:44 PM on November 25, 2014


bourbon chocolate pecan pie How can you post this and not share the recipe? Yes, I can google, but I might find the wrong one.

I made up my own recipe by googling a bunch of recipes and seeing what they all had in common. I don't have it handy but I can post it later tonight.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:48 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am disappointed that none of the results are of the form "[descriptor] stuff". My Grandma's green stuff is legendary (in different ways, depending on which member of the family you are asking).
posted by ckape at 1:49 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I like being American, and I like living in the US, but damn if this country doesn't have some of the worst, most nasty-ass holiday food on the planet. You couldn't make up stuff that was this disgusting, and yet the vast majority of the population find it comforting and yummy.

Talking about these kinds of recipes is when I feel the most out of touch possible. One of these days the NSA computers will get a bit better and they will figure out that my citizenship needs to be revoked on the basis of food incompatibility.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:49 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


WHY would you add fruit to your vegetables?

*shrug* Your loss....


No loss! The apples already have vegetables added to them (but peel your apples, Mrs. Crocker! Have you no pride?) and the cranberries are safely sauced. The acorn squash is a mere maple syrup delivery system...
posted by maryr at 1:54 PM on November 25, 2014


The reason why "Persimmon pudding" is not an Indiana recipe is because it's not a Northern Indiana recipe, which is to say it's not a Real Indiana recipe, and is instead a Southern Indiana recipe, which is to say a Kentucky recipe.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:55 PM on November 25, 2014 [10 favorites]


i really need all these glorious threads to be tagged with something like regionalfoodfights so i can find them all and cackle
posted by poffin boffin at 1:56 PM on November 25, 2014 [13 favorites]


damn if this country doesn't have some of the worst, most nasty-ass holiday food on the planet

Eh, every culture has disgusting food in it. And every culture has excellent food.

Although I am definitely giving the side-eye to the Fish Eye Salad. Who thought that was a good name!!!

Anyway, I will be making my obligatory maple-walnut pie. Unless I get inspired to make bourbon-pecan pie. I found a recipe for bourbon-pecan-hazelnut pie, but was stymied by my local grocery's failure to carry hazelnuts. (This is a Very Good Grocery, with a dozen different kinds of Asian fruits, and I do not understand why no hazelnuts.)

Also I will make cranberry-ginger-orange relish, which is more interesting than regular cranberry sauce. I don't like it much on Thanksgiving Day, but it makes for awesome turkey-berry sandwiches.
posted by suelac at 1:56 PM on November 25, 2014


the "spinich maria" recipe for Tennessee

Interesting. We have a dish a little like that (much more similar to actual creamed spinach, but same basic concept) called Spinach Madeleine. You sub the cream in creamed spinach for velveeta cheese and add diced jalapenos.
posted by Sara C. at 1:59 PM on November 25, 2014


Look, say what you like, but I am personally grateful that American Fish Eye Salad does not contain actual fish eyes.
posted by maryr at 2:00 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, now I know what that creamed corn thing I make every year is actually called, so that's nice.
posted by ckape at 2:01 PM on November 25, 2014


Frowner, what part of Indiana are you from? I'm from Warsaw and other "parts north" and this is the first I've heard of persimmon pudding.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:08 PM on November 25, 2014


I say this as a true believer in jello salad: That strawberry pretzel salad is not a salad.

I say this because that recipe is remarkably similar to my mother's I-don't-feel-like-making-cheesecake cheesecake, which subs out the pretzels for graham cracker crumbs and the strawberry jello for cherry pie filling. (It is awful. Do not do unless insulin handy.)

Now, if instead of cream cheese you were to use Cool Whip or Fluff, then you'd have salad.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:13 PM on November 25, 2014


Never had a Hawaiian Salad in my life. Heard of them, but... delightful lack of gel-themed cranberry products I see.

I wonder what people drink on Thanksgiving. Friend of mine from NY (where coffee seems to go with everything) was astonished that I could just drink a glass of milk. By itself even.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:13 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Married to a MDer, and we have sauerkraut every year. Glad to see it held up in the go around.
posted by gaspode at 2:16 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was thinking of the reasons that persimmon desserts are googled a lot and never tasted by many is that wild native persimmons are a pain to process. We ate it all the time in the Ohio River Valley, but we had no TV, so there was time on our hands in the Fall. Native persimmons are small and have a lot of skin and seeds you have to deal with.

You think it is a good idea and want to try it so you gather up your bushel baskets, spend all day in the woods sliding on the slippery slop that is the floor of a persimmon grove at harvest time and, after hours and hours of pulping them out in a chinoiserie - having turned your kitchen into a medieval torture chamber with sweet brown smears everywhere, then you only have 1/2 a pint of pulp to use. Well, you put it in some sweet bread batter, serve it up, and call it a day. Then your grandkids can talk about "Nanna's persimmon bread" never knowing you only made it once.

Then your grandkids die off and their children resurrect the myth of the persimmon dessert and google it only for the cycle to be repeated...
posted by Tchad at 2:17 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Lived most of my life (including now) in or near Indianapolis, and I've heard of persimmon pudding, but I don't think I've ever had it, nor heard of others in the area who have.

Yet I was in Meijer (regional grocery/mega-mart chain) yesterday, and they had a whole bunch of persimmons in the produce department. So either some people around here are using them, or else Meijer has come up with some kind of Producers-style scheme where they manage to make money by putting out a whole bunch of persimmons and never selling them. In which case I predict they will be financially ruined when, after seeing these articles, everyone decides to try making persimmon pudding this year and the persimmons are unexpectedly bought out.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:23 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was thinking of the reasons that persimmon desserts are googled a lot and never tasted by many is that wild native persimmons are a pain to process. We ate it all the time in the Ohio River Valley

Another point for the "southern Indiana/Kentucky" hypothesis.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:23 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


A large part of this whole issue could be called "food choices and class differences"
posted by librosegretti at 2:26 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I spent nearly 40 years in Texas and what the fuck is sopapilla cheesecake? I'm just going to assume its popularity in search rankings is other people going "what the fuck is sopapilla cheesecake?"

Looks like Pillsbury is to blame for that bullshit.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:27 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am a Mainer.

1. My mother-in-law, born and raised in Wellfleet on Cape Cod, makes an amazing cranberry sauce that involves horseradish. I do not know the recipe, and I am happy, because it is so perfect, I can never reproduce it.

2. I make a modified version of the Cook's Illustrated Green Bean Casserole, with French's fried onions.

3. Nobody I know in Maine or Massachusetts eats whoopie pies on Thanksgiving. They are for days leading up to the holiday. We eat pie on Thanksgiving.

I meant to say, so ETA: no, we do not eat lobster for dinner on Thanksgiving.
posted by miss tea at 2:32 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Aha! One mystery solved: the reason I've never heard of mirliton is because around these parts it's known as chayote.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:35 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


Which is how I wind up frying latkes for Thanksgiving every year, thanks to being the token Jew at the table of my Catholic friends. Granted, latkes don't quite go with Thanksgiving, but one has to be flexible in the service of ecumenicism.


Yup. Latkes are now a staple dish at my husband's family's Christmas breakfast, because one time, Hanukkah overlapped with Christmas and I thought, why not. Now, every Christmas Eve is spent pealing and grating potatoes.

Dirt pudding? What the fuck is dirt pudding? Never heard of it. I call bullshit.

I too, am confused. I think the last time I had that was in elementary school for some kid's birthday party. The weird salads work in a "OK, we're being festive and Midwestern!" way; dirt pudding just seems so...well, not grown up.
posted by damayanti at 2:54 PM on November 25, 2014


I wish somebody would make a McSweeney's version of this, but I don't know how they could possibly top

Utah: Funeral Potatoes.
posted by one_bean at 2:54 PM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


Still no eel pie. My pilgrim forefathers are disappoint.
posted by Biblio at 2:56 PM on November 25, 2014


Going further down the lists provides some interesting entries, too. I can attest to oyster dressing in Indiana; I've had this on Thanksgiving. Why it should be popular in Indiana, though I don't know. Something or other with oysters shows up in five states on the list: Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia. Maryland and Virginia make sense. But how did oyster dishes come to be popular in IN/KY/OH?

Prime rib (or "prime rib roast") are found on the lists for Hawaii, California, and Nevada. That's a tradition I could get behind. Lest anyone think I'm being heretical, I am suggesting having prime rib in addition to turkey, not instead of.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:00 PM on November 25, 2014


I suspect the salad mutation timeline goes like this:

-Fruit salad arises as a distinct thing in the mid 1800s. It's usually an array of fresh (meaning in-season) fruit, maybe perked up a bit with powdered sugar, brandy, cream, and/or spice. Occasional cross-overs with more savory ingredients help keep the "salad" label relevant.

-In the early twentieth century, the new ubiquity of canned fruit means that people who are not particularly rich, don't live in mediterrean-type climates, and don't reside in port cities or rail hubs (i.e. midwesterners) can eat fruit in winter. Canned fruit doesn't taste nearly as good as fresh, of course, so you'll want to liven it up by combining different types of fruit into a summer-style salad. But then the texture's still a little mushy, so you'll want to disguise that by upping the quotient of cream. Hell, up the sugar, too; the sky is dark, and you are sad.

-The Dole Food Company is only too happy to suggest new ways to consume its product. Many of those ways happen to be salads.

-Non-alcoholic Maraschino cherries are introduced in the 1920s, and their manufacturers would also like you to know that they're not just for cocktails anymore, not that you'd be drinking illegal cocktails, ha ha ha.

-Gelatin. The thing to remember is that gelatin was originally a novel, texturally interesting way of keeping meat fresh. You didn't eat just gelatin; you ate a fish/chicken/ham etc., prepared in gelatin.

So when Jell-O introduced cheap, convenient gelatin around 1900, the default approach was to float stuff in it and consider it a dinner course - and not necessarily a dessert course. Consensus settled on "salad" to denote fruit and vegetable Jell-O dishes. (Possibly, though I can't confirm just now, the word was picked by the authors of the first Jell-O cookbooks, which the company gave away door-to-door.)

-All of the above factors mix together (like a few cans of fruit tossed together with lime jello, shredded coconut, and Cool Whip) to create the mature Midwestern dessert salad. Which is cheap, sweet, voluminous, and anti-scorbutic, so haters to the back.
posted by Iridic at 3:03 PM on November 25, 2014 [36 favorites]


The existence of many of those midwestern 'delicacies' can only be explained by some sort of previously unremarked upon famine or blight that drove people to derive all their sustenance from whatever was left in the grocery aisle of their local walgreens.
posted by empath at 3:06 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wish somebody would make a McSweeney's version of this, but I don't know how they could possibly top

Utah: Funeral Potatoes.


"I bet, despite the name, something Mormons make called "funeral potatoes" would be something I'd love."

*checks Wikipedia*

The dish usually consists of hash browns or cubed potatoes, cheese (cheddar or Parmesan), onions, cream soup (chicken, mushroom, or celery) or a cream sauce, sour cream, and is topped with butter and corn flakes or crushed potato chips.


Yes, eat this in memory of me.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:08 PM on November 25, 2014 [24 favorites]


Besides its official nickname, the Nutmeg State, Connecticut is also known as The Land of Steady Habits.

The recipe doesn't matter, this is the truth. I'm leaving in about an hour to head to my 28th Connecticut Thanksgiving, which I am confident will in no way whatsoever differ from the previous 27. It's like a time warp or something.
posted by pemberkins at 3:14 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


So here in Canada (where it won't be Thanksgiving on Thursday) my Mormon sister is going to be hosting a couple of missionaries - one is from Utah and one is from Idaho apparently. I told her she has to make Frog Eye Salad and Funeral Potatoes. And Snickers Salad, because it sounds so...interesting....and I dared her.
posted by kitcat at 3:19 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


For those of you to whom "Cream cheese" + "corn" appeals, but not in salad form, I give you Shoepeg Corn Casserole, which is a Thanksgiving staple in my family.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:20 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


and i bet those mormon boys will be homesick, but don't worry she's a great cook and will take good care of them
posted by kitcat at 3:21 PM on November 25, 2014


Aha! One mystery solved: the reason I've never heard of mirliton is because around these parts it's known as chayote.

Mirliton may be one of the few words for that vegetable that isn't also slang for female genitalia. They are close to flavorless, so the casserole recipes I found that use shrimp and hot sauce make sense flavor-wise, though the texture might veer towards mushy. I'd love to try this.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:22 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Echoing the 'I made this ONCE and now I need to do it every year..." At this point, the train has started down the track, and my goal is to avoid learning anything that might derail the preparation of the already planned menu-of-favorites.
posted by mikelieman at 3:23 PM on November 25, 2014


I see Massachusetts has the most boring one - mashed butternut squash. Why can't we have something interesting, like - funeral potatoes??
posted by McMillan's Other Wife at 3:25 PM on November 25, 2014


1) I thought the Florida selection was perfect for So. Fla.

2) I'm making a delicious sounding pumpkin, pecan cheesecake this year for Thanksgiving.

Just FYI.
posted by oddman at 3:50 PM on November 25, 2014


Dip Flash - the key is LOTS of breadcrumbs and fried onions and other dry things to balance out the mirlitonishness. I think this is why I've so often had them stuffed (you scrape away most of the interior) or cubed into a cornbread stuffing.
posted by Sara C. at 3:57 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


For those still curious about the Midwestern salads made of fruit/jello/cool whip/carrots/and everything else, they are not desserts.
They are served with the main course. They are just another side dish and it is expected you place them on your plate next to your green beans.
The Snickers salad is also served as part of the main course.
The Midwest has the happiest children. They eat tons of salad made of candy during the main course and follow it up with a dessert course of pies.
posted by littlewater at 3:59 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


not just onions, I guess I should point out. Shallots and leeks, too. and then you slowly cook them in a melted stick of butter, stirring and stirring, so that the water all cooks out but they don't get super brown, because that's a different thing. And then you add heavy cream and a little bit of the holy trifecta of dairy dishes, nutmeg / hotsauce / dry mustard, and you cook that until MORE of the water comes out and it's sort of an oozy oniony spludge. Then you scrape that into a casserole dish, grate a thick layer of Sharpest Possible Cheddar on top, sprinkle bread crumbs on that, drizzle more melted butter on THAT, and bake it until it's crispy/bubbly.

holy.
shit.
recipe please? Cause this needs to get made for Christmas.
posted by ApathyGirl at 4:15 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


We were in TN, but even I didn't escape the horror of gelatin-based salads as a kid, replete with cheddar cheese on top. (My grandmother left out the bananas, though, and in all honesty... it's actually pretty good. It tastes.... like what the '50s thought the future would eat.)
posted by WidgetAlley at 4:16 PM on November 25, 2014


There was another dead giveaway that grape salad isn’t a dietary staple in Minnesota: You can’t cut it in half to avoid taking the last of it.

Perfect.
posted by No-sword at 4:18 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


California really needs to be broken up into a couple of regions. Persimmon bread is popular up where I live because we have persimmon trees and everyone is trying to get rid of them- they're the zucchini of fall. I never saw a persimmon tree in the desert southern half of the state. I suspect persimmon bread is therefore less popular there.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:28 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Do people who eat the whipped cream and Jello-O salads with their main course feel like they're eating salad? Do they feel virtuous, like I would if I ate steamed cauliflower? Or are they eaten purely for pleasure?

(Note: there is nothing wrong with eating for pleasure. Unless your pleasure involves steamed cauliflower, in which case I don't know what to say.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:29 PM on November 25, 2014


I grew up in California and I could eat the crap out of some Cranberry Fluff right now. I'm also pregnant, so.

My mom used to make persimmon cookies so I'm on board with the California results.

I live in Massachusetts now and have adopted Indian pudding and creamed onions, because they are delicious.
posted by apricot at 4:34 PM on November 25, 2014


> I can attest to oyster dressing in Indiana; I've had this on Thanksgiving. Why it should be popular in Indiana, though I don't know. Something or other with oysters shows up in five states on the list: Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia. Maryland and Virginia make sense. But how did oyster dishes come to be popular in IN/KY/OH?

I can answer this!

As you might expect, before the introduction of the refrigerated train car, there was no affordable way to get quite perishable goods, like oysters, very far inland. In fact, the only time of year they could be safely shipped inland was when the normal train cars were naturally refrigerated. That is to say, in late autumn or winter.

Their availability thus being only during the cold months, combined with the fact that they were a bit exotic and a bit expensive for most people even when available, meant that they became special (winter) holiday food.
posted by gilrain at 4:37 PM on November 25, 2014 [14 favorites]


troika: "Has anyone tried the Delaware pretzel salad with spiked jello?"

It'd be pretty good. I'd never heard of or seen pretzel salad until I was 30 and I think it is like MAGIC. I mean, not magic enough to make it myself, but definitely something I gleefully grab at random barbecues.

My kids loooooooove dirt ice cream (dirt pudding, but with ice cream instead of pudding) but it's kind of a summer/birthday party treat, kinda weird for Thanksgiving, Ohio. But yeah, if you want delighted little kids, smash up chocolate cookies with a rolling pin, put them all over top of the ice cream, and then stick gummy worms on it. They get VERY EXCITED.

Dip Flash: "You couldn't make up stuff that was this disgusting, and yet the vast majority of the population find it comforting and yummy. "

I don't know about that; most of these dishes sound relatively horrifying, but the Heart Attack Potatoes that MY family makes only for Thanksgiving is obviously the perfect comfort food. I expect "the vast majority of the population" likes one or two of these foods and only makes them during the holiday season. And the reason there's so many gross 50s gelatin salads and casserole potatoes is that Thanksgiving is when you make food EXACTLY LIKE MOM AND GRANDMA. (And that's why people are googling these recipes -- they don't make 50s casseroles very often and need to FIND the recipe!) I am willing to admit that fresh cranberry sauce made from whole cranberries is objectively superior to the stuff with the lines on it that goes SPLORP out of the can, but DAMMIT I WANT THE CANNED STUFF WITH THE LINES for Thanksgiving because that's the way we've always done Thanksgiving!

When I got new inlaws one of them brought a sweet potato casserole with marshmallows in/on it and I was just HORRIFIED. Because in my family we only do unspeakable things to the regular potatoes, not the yams!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:45 PM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


So when Jell-O introduced cheap, convenient gelatin around 1900, the default approach was to float stuff in it and consider it a dinner course - and not necessarily a dessert course.

I thought the idea was that Jell-O was a shortcut for making aspic, which was once considered a very fancy high-class thing, particularly when French cuisine was the height of sophistication. (Julia Child's original cookbook has a whole chapter on aspic, including instructions for making it from boiling hooves.)

(And I simply cannot mention aspic without linking to this amazing clip of Billie Burke in Dinner At Eight, as a New York society wife losing her wits over a formal dinner party with "no aspic!")
posted by dnash at 4:53 PM on November 25, 2014 [6 favorites]


Well, I just added to the number of New Yorkers googling stuffed artichokes, because I had never heard of them before now. They do sound good.

I had only heard of two ways of eating artichokes:
  1. That thing where you mash it up with spinach into dip
  2. That thing where you steam the whole artichoke, pull the spiny bits off, dip them in drawn butter, and then pull the meat off them by pulling them through clenched teeth.
The first is done in chain restaurants; the second is done around the coffee table at BYOB parties.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:03 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I came across the snickers and apple salad recipe in various church cookbooks in Minnesota. It has things going for it with the tartness of the apples, in particular, good granny smiths and then thin sliced snickers bars. It is a forward thinking dish of salty, sweet and tart. I like it. It reads on odd on paper, but it has qualities that are fun.

Also, the first time I had fluff was actually in Utah at a buffet, and then came to the midwest. Fluff also reads weird on paper but has charm and comfort. I like it as well. I am a guilty Watergate/Waldorf salad loving woman. I get a kick out of reading old recipes and rescuing the recipe cards at estate sales. Taste, memory and history. Our delights are invisible, our memories fade.

I am glad to read the recipes in this thread, it is the intersection of shared delights. And who does not take delight in these things? So I am going to make that creamed onion recipe, damn it, I will grind that cranberry sauce/relish and once Showbiz_Liz posts that pie recipe, it is ON.
posted by jadepearl at 5:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Way back in my youth, tapioca pudding was my absolute favorite dessert. Then one day when I was six? eight? my mother referred to it as "fish eyes". I have not been able to eat it since and actually cringe when seeing it in the grocery store or on a menu.

What I'm saying is, there will be no frog eye salad chez Culp this Thanksgiving. Good luck to the rest of you though.
posted by Flannery Culp at 5:34 PM on November 25, 2014


Iridic, you hit a lot of points in your ersatz salad genealogy, but the main conributor to the tradition that puts it all into context is aspic. ASpic was a high-end dish on middle-class and upper-middle class tables in mid-19th century England and America. It was labor-intensive to make and required lots of resources, like heat to boil bones for a long time, and ice to chill. It was luxury food, aspirational.

Commercial gelatine became a cheap way of making aspic-like dishes, which were served cold, as appetizers, and did have vegetables in them, and were savory. It was the collision of aspic-type salads with sweet flavors of dessert gelatine, and as you say, canned fruit, that resulted in these monstrosities. I should add that most of these "salads" are the products of early 20th century corporate kitchens, where domestic scientists labored to create recipes that sounded intriguing and used branded products, often more than one branded product per recipe. Bizarre combinations ensued, but people seem to have mostly taken it all in the spirit of creative fun. High value on novelty in those days, of course. But these recipes emerged from a corporate context, not a vernacular tradition.

The Food Timeline is an excellent resource on the basic trajectory of "salad" (as it is on so very many things).

There is a wonderful book all about this topic which I just read: Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century by Laura Shapiro. She gives a cultural history of the whole phenomenon, and links it to anxieties over class and gender and the role of women in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. Self-discipline, control, etc were paramount and women were often exhorted not to exhibit voracious appetites and not to be messy or to eat messily. The neat, sliceable nature of a gelatine salad fit those ideals well.

Today I chalk up their continued existence to factors like nostalgia. A lot of us make fairly awful things that nobody really likes because it's tradition. Canned fruit/jello salad is also cheap and feeds a lot of people, so it's something you can take to a big potluck without spending $45 on your casserole dish, which of course isn't unheard of.
posted by Miko at 5:39 PM on November 25, 2014 [15 favorites]


OR, what dnash said.
posted by Miko at 5:42 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's only we two for Thanksgiving, so we're experimenting: we're roasting a goose for the first time ever, with fruit and nut stuffing. And mashed potatoes with unholy amounts of salt, pepper, butter and cream cheese.

Plus, if I have my way, we're making KathrynT's spinach glop.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:49 PM on November 25, 2014


hooray I have found my slightly related favourite previously
posted by poffin boffin at 5:53 PM on November 25, 2014


Huh, I just noticed on that Food Timeline discussion of Jell-o salads, when it talks about the antecedents, it says "Fruit salads in northern Europe (Germany, for example) evolved differently. These recipes used mayonnaise." So, that would go a long way toward explaining greater popularity for mayo-based odd salads in the Midwest, where the dominant cultural influence for the hundred years following settlement was Northern Europeans.
posted by Miko at 5:53 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


i was forced to site search for "prolapsed rectum" so i want you to all understand my deep dedication to food fight threads
posted by poffin boffin at 5:54 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


/googles snickers salad, cookie salad, frog-eye salad, pig pickin' cake

You magnificent bastards. This is why you went to the moon first. You do nothing by halves.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:01 PM on November 25, 2014 [17 favorites]


As a native Californian, I laughed aloud at "persimmon bread" as our #1 dish.

My New Yorker husband: "Is that a Californian thing?"

Me: "It's about as Sunset magazine as you get, so, yeah…
posted by Lexica at 6:04 PM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Me: "It's about as Sunset magazine as you get, so, yeah…"

Bingo.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:06 PM on November 25, 2014


I don't know about that; most of these dishes sound relatively horrifying, but the Heart Attack Potatoes that MY family makes only for Thanksgiving is obviously the perfect comfort food.

I wondered why one would name a dish "heart attack potatoes," and then understood when the first recipe that came up used TWO sticks of butter.

And the reason there's so many gross 50s gelatin salads and casserole potatoes is that Thanksgiving is when you make food EXACTLY LIKE MOM AND GRANDMA. ... I am willing to admit that fresh cranberry sauce made from whole cranberries is objectively superior to the stuff with the lines on it that goes SPLORP out of the can, but DAMMIT I WANT THE CANNED STUFF WITH THE LINES for Thanksgiving because that's the way we've always done Thanksgiving!

That's the interesting part to me -- a lot of this is entirely post-WWII (though obviously drawing on older traditions at the same time), creatively using weird prepared foodstuffs that didn't exist before that. It is exactly the food of mom and grandma -- but not at all the food of great-grandma.

I'm loving the snippets of food history here, as well as the recipes and dishes. Fascinating.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:11 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


(Although small_ruminant's theory that there are just too many persimmon trees in Northern California is also true, I think. In my experience, though, most persimmon tree tenders don't cook with them, and don't know how to cook with them. They just leave shopping bags full of them in the office break room, hoping they'll find a home. And meanwhile, during the microwave hour, a parade of a dozen or more office workers will select a persimmon from one of those shopping bags, consider it, frown, replace it, and ultimately leave the break room with a Lean Cuisine but without any persimmons.)
posted by mudpuppie at 6:12 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


I did my part for Oregon by googling "vegan soy-free pumpkin pie a"a few days ago.

Oddly, most of these are more appealing to me that the ones on the original new York Times list. Yes, from even eye salad.
posted by vespabelle at 6:15 PM on November 25, 2014


The thing with persimmons is which kind of persimmon. Because in central California you cook/prepare Hachiya differently than Fuyu. If you do not know the difference you will end up with yuck. For instance, Hachiya, is ready after it allowed to ripen to intolerable softness. That softness is what leads to great sorbet and baked goods.
posted by jadepearl at 6:16 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


The thing with persimmons is which kind of persimmon.

This is precisely why the persimmon is a bad candidate for workplace gleaning!
posted by mudpuppie at 6:22 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


So I'm sitting here in my parents' living room in DC, and we just had corn pudding with dinner. I don't think we'll have it at Thanksgiving, but it's delicious, and I don't consider that one inaccurate or embarrassing.

Snicker apple salad, on the other hand, is a new one to me. I'm sort of tempted to insist on making that as my adopted-Iowan contribution to Thanksgiving.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:29 PM on November 25, 2014


Now I want my grandmother's caramel cake, and she's been gone for almost fifteen years. :(
posted by ocherdraco at 6:33 PM on November 25, 2014


Corn pudding! *sigh*

When my grandmother's house burned down, it took every single one of her handwritten recipe cards and 35 years' worth of cookbooks with it. Out of everything that was lost in that fire, that's the one that still hurts.
posted by WidgetAlley at 6:35 PM on November 25, 2014


Snicker apple salad, on the other hand, is a new one to me. I'm sort of tempted to insist on making that as my adopted-Iowan contribution to Thanksgiving.

Watch out. If your luck is anything like that of the folks above, you'll still be making snicker apple salad in 2057.
posted by amelioration at 6:38 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]


I swear I had a couple of paragraphs about aspic and middle class aspirations in there, but I chopped 'em for length. Thanks for covering that ground, Miko and dnash!

Interesting bit from Wikipedia on what happened after 1965 or so, when people started tiring of hot dogs rounds in lime Jello:
Throughout the 1960s through the 1980s, Jell-O's sales steadily decreased. Many Jell-O dishes, such as desserts and Jell-O salads, became special occasion foods rather than everyday items. Marketers blamed this decline on decreasing family sizes, a "fast-paced" lifestyle and women's increasing employment. By 1986, a market study concluded that mothers with young children rarely purchased Jell-O.

To turn things around, Jell-O hired Dana Gioia to stop the decline. The marketing team revisited the Jell-O recipes published in past cookbooks and rediscovered Jigglers, although the original recipe did not use that name. Jigglers are Jell-O snacks molded into fun shapes and eaten as finger food. Jell-O launched a massive marketing campaign, notably featuring Bill Cosby as spokesman. The campaign was a huge success, causing a significant gain.
If I'm reading that right, then the idea of marketing Jello as a food to eat by itself, without any crazy stuff thrown in, was so foreign at one time that it had to be dredged out of a forgotten book, like an eldritch chant from the Necronomicon. The involvement of Dana Gioia, future Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, is just a weirdness afterthought.
posted by Iridic at 6:41 PM on November 25, 2014 [8 favorites]


Gosh, I fucking love corn pudding. This is the trashy version I usually make, using the Jiffy corn muffin mix!

OH AND SPEAKING OF TRASHY: if you've got a White Castle near you, this is among the best stuffing I've ever had. I've made it the last few years, and am making it again this year!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:43 PM on November 25, 2014


Sopapilla cheesecake? Frog eye salad? Flan de calabaza? "Brownberry" stuffing? What even is a brownberry? You guys are just making shit up.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:52 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


Dip Flash: "I wondered why one would name a dish "heart attack potatoes," and then understood when the first recipe that came up used TWO sticks of butter."

With cornflakes on top and half a pound of shredded cheese? THAT'S THE STUFF. It's freaking delicious (because it's basically cream, cheese, and butter with a little potato in it) but it's definitely a once-a-year dish that gives me heartburn because it's so rich. If it weren't a family tradition I don't imagine I'd eat it except to be polite, because I'm more of a sucker for the stinky cheese and salty chips families of comfort foods.

"It is exactly the food of mom and grandma -- but not at all the food of great-grandma."

In my family we have a great-great-grandma dish too, but it's not that unique compared to heart attack potatoes and doesn't really require googling to prepare. (It's mashed rutabagas; rutabagas were what my great-great(-great?)-grandparents ate for holidays before they were potato-famined out of Ireland, and they kept it up in the US, and even after my grandfather became middle-class he insisted on mashed rutabaga because a) he liked it; b) his mom and grandma made it; and c) it reminded him of his roots. So we have mashed rutabaga at every Thanksgiving and Christmas, even though it's a bit of a hard sell if you haven't been eating it most of your life. Anyway you just cube it, cook it, and mash it, there's not a lot of googling to figure out how to make it.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:54 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah yeah! Rutabaga is also what you use for Neeps And Tatties on Burns night! I was disappointed with versions that I found a little flavorless, but this Ina Garten recipe is wicked fantastic!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:00 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


so yeah, there's apparently a Watergate Salad in MidWestern cuisine too
posted by Bwithh at 7:27 PM on November 25, 2014


so yeah, there's apparently a Watergate Salad in MidWestern cuisine too

"I am not a cook"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:33 PM on November 25, 2014 [30 favorites]


As a native Californian, I laughed aloud at "persimmon bread" as our #1 dish.

There are a lot of persimmons this time of year in CA that are cheap and look cool but we're not really sure what to do with if they're not the ready to eat tasty variety.
posted by Bwithh at 7:35 PM on November 25, 2014


I was happy to see both a wild rice dish and lefse in the Minnesota list. I'll be flying some lefse out to Virginia tomorrow in my carry-on. If I'm stranded by some big storm, at least I can have a tasty treat.
posted by Area Man at 7:49 PM on November 25, 2014


What the hell, pumpkin roll for NM? Strange. I am usually required to make a pecan pie.

Anyway, Mr Sunny and I are having tamales and homemade posole. The only reason we can get away with that is it's just the two of us. We lied to the relatives and told them we were visiting friends out of town. Obviously they don't know about mefi, or I wouldn't be confessing here. It'll be a day of jammies and slow cooking. I am really looking forward to it!
posted by annsunny at 8:31 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


came special (winter) holiday food.

There's also the fact that you can use canned oysters in a stuffing/dressing and it will taste roughly the same as fresh, or at the very least good enough to inland folk who won't know what they're missing.
posted by Sara C. at 8:39 PM on November 25, 2014


My mother always makes a lime jello/pineapple/sour cream salad on Thanksgiving, has since I was a little kid. It's done in a fancy Tupperware mold. One year she said "no one likes this" and skipped it. People freaked out. Even people who didn't like it were upset that she didn't make it. My uncle admitted once that he'd never tried it, because he thought it was made with peas. Mom's a born and bred Rhode Islander, but I don't think it's a RI thing.
posted by Biblio at 8:41 PM on November 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Fruit salads in northern Europe (Germany, for example) evolved differently. These recipes used mayonnaise."

I think this goes a really long way in explaining all those midwestern "salads" that are basically a white creamy substance + random other food items. From Waldorf Salad to that freaky Frog Eye shit. Assemble foodstuffs. Add something viscous and white. Fold. Serve. Enjoy. (if you dare)

(It also explains why we call Egg Salad and Chicken Salad that, which, omg FINALLY this makes sense!)
posted by Sara C. at 8:51 PM on November 25, 2014 [5 favorites]


Bwithh: " There are a lot of persimmons this time of year in CA that are cheap and look cool but we're not really sure what to do with if they're not the ready to eat tasty variety."

Exactly. So we buy them and park them on the counter until oh shit! they're soooo soft and need to be used right now, quick google a recipe!

Note: I in no way resemble this remark. Ahem.
posted by Lexica at 9:10 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


your ersatz salad genealogy

These words in this order have placed the dumbest grin on my face and I refuse to let the moment go uncelebrated. Thank you, Miko.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:41 PM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


This former Oklahoman has taken Sopapilla Cheesecake to many a gathering and never taken a single bite of leftovers back home, but I would never take it to Thanksgiving. It's a college football watching/tailgating/Oh shit there's a work potluck tomorrow and I have to bring something dish.

(It's a layer of crescent rolls, topped with a cream cheese/egg/sugar/cinnamon mixture, topped with another layer of crescent rolls, a stick of melted butter, and more cinnamon sugar, then baked until the inside is cheesecake-y and the top is all crispy and sugary and dammit maybe I will make some for Thanksgiving after all.)
posted by ThatSomething at 10:16 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]


These words in this order have placed the dumbest grin on my face

Because I wouldn't want Iridic to misinterpret it, I should have used a clarifying hyphen: it's the salad that's ersatz, not the genealogy.

It is sentences like these that make me feel great to be back on MeFi.
posted by Miko at 10:18 PM on November 25, 2014 [7 favorites]


Hachiya, is ready after it allowed to ripen to intolerable softness.

That is exactly when they're ready to be sucked empty like an Asian fruit jelly cup. My dad, who was of a more genteel generation, cut off the pointy bit with a grapefruit knife and ate them like a custard with a spoon.

Those are my favorite but you have to have a tree because they don't transport well. Places sell them but they're expensive (for persimmons! Would you pay premium prices for zucchini? Well don't pay them for hachiyas either!) and annoying to get home. What's more, they ripen best after a kiss of frost, which we haven't had this year, even up in Sonoma County.

We have a tree FULL of fuyus in our backyard, which I'm only starting to love. I haven't tried to bake with them though supposedly there are some tarts that are Fuyu friendly. Mostly I eat them out of hand, 5 at a time, even though they're big this year.

(This week's Fuyu recipes: Fuyu/Goat cheese/Fried sage hors d'oeuvres and Fuyu/Fennel/coriander/lime salad. I recommend both of them. )
posted by small_ruminant at 11:17 PM on November 25, 2014


There are a lot of persimmons this time of year in CA that are cheap and look cool but we're not really sure what to do with if they're not the ready to eat tasty variety.

There's a tasty variety?

I grew up in California and as far as I'm concerned persimmons are a bizarre inedible foreign import that no sane person would eat without boiling them into mush and mixing them into enough other ingredients that it is no longer possible to discern the persimmon presence in whatever it is you are actually trying to make.

And you certainly wouldn't eat them on Thanksgiving, my god! Thanksgiving is for tasty food, not weird experimental possibly-toxic delicacies from Kazakhstan or wherever it is persimmons come from.

By "tasty food", I mean the classics: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Anything else is experimental, worthwhile for variety but only if the foundation has been adequately covered.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:31 AM on November 26, 2014


This is reminding me that when I go back to Kansas tonight I'll be giving the proof of the extended family cookbook that my mom's been working on since 2010 a quick copy edit. More than 300 recipes, most of them firmly and proudly along these lines -- I know for a fact there's at least two cream cheese corn recipes in there, one a cold salad and the other the basic Brookville Hotel corn. It will be a glorious thing once it's finally finished. (Sadly, they won't be back from the printers in time for Christmas but everyone's been waiting for so long that an extra two weeks is nothing.)
posted by rewil at 3:18 AM on November 26, 2014


Thanksgiving is for tasty food, not weird experimental possibly-toxic delicacies from Kazakhstan or wherever it is persimmons come from.

Apples are from Kazakhstan.
posted by Diablevert at 3:34 AM on November 26, 2014 [7 favorites]


> Thanksgiving is for tasty food, not weird experimental possibly-toxic delicacies from Kazakhstan or wherever it is persimmons come from.

Apples are from Kazakhstan.


And one species of persimmon is from the United States.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:25 AM on November 26, 2014




I have to ask: is chocolate cream pie really a MA/RI-specific thing? There's a whole lot of dishes I ate growing up that I later realized were not as universal as I thought, but for some reason chocolate cream pie was never on that list.

Also: I'm not gonna lie, I am fairly horrified by much of the food listed on that map. I honestly had no idea anyone actually ate "salads" like those described after about 1975. Yikes.
posted by tocts at 5:09 AM on November 26, 2014


Oops I got drunk last night and forgot to post that pie recipe sorry!

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie

Pie crust (I use Ruhlman's 321 crust)
1.5 c pecans
.75 c bittersweet chocolate chunks
.75 c brown sugar
.75 c dark corn syrup
3 T bourbon
.5 t salt
3 T butter
2 t vanilla
3 eggs

1. Chop pecans, reserving some whole ones for the top if you wanna
2. Put crust in pie pan and arrange chopped pecans and chocolate in pie crust
3. Combine all remaining ingredients and mix well
4. Pour into pie crust
5. Arrange reserved whole pecan halves on top if you bothered
6. Bake at 375 for "an hourish," sorry that's what I wrote on the recipe card! I'd say 50 min to an hour.

SO EASY
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:15 AM on November 26, 2014 [14 favorites]


We have an apocryphal family story of my wife having her exchange-student host family to dinner during a visit from Germany. Squash was served, and one of the Germans asked my wife what it was - she translated into German, and they said "Ah, yes. We feed this to our pigs."
posted by MOWOG at 5:27 AM on November 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


I went to a local farm-stand, and bought, split, slow-roasted and pureed a sugar-pumpkin! It smelled like heaven coming out of the oven, and the skin turned this amazing deep orange, and peeled right off in a single, leathery hemisphere!

I took a little sample of the puree, and it tastes almost exactly like salt-peter and earwax. I think I may have been sold an under-sized carving pumpkin, or possibly an orange alien mold spore, because ain't no amount of maple syrup and nutmeg gonna fix this. Ah, well - the Aldi has a surprisingly tasty canned pumpkin puree, and since no-one goes there but me and two or three other flinty Yankee tighfists willing to brave the wildly inconsistent product selection, they'll still have it in stock.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:42 AM on November 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oops I got drunk last night and forgot to post that pie recipe

the Spirit Of Thanksgiving is strong in this thread
posted by Greg Nog at 6:20 AM on November 26, 2014 [18 favorites]


I grew up in NJ and chocolate cream pie was familiar. To me, it's just a diner pie. Maybe the map of diners with pie closely overlays the map of MA/RI and other centers of chocolate cream production, but pretty much all the cream pies were, to me, things diners made. Very rarely did I see a regular person make a cream pie to bring to a regular event.
posted by Miko at 6:29 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I grew up in central Indiana, raised by a woman born and raised in rural Mississippi, and not only have I never heard of this persimmon thing* but "chocolate pie" (not "chocolate cream pie") was a staple at my Southern family's Thanksgiving table (and Christmas, and Easter, and Sunday Dinner...).

*none of my friends who were born and raised Hoosiers have ever heard of the persimmon thing, either. I asked.
posted by cooker girl at 7:19 AM on November 26, 2014


I grew up in the south and once asked my mom to make a chocolate cream pie, to which she turned up her nose because Real Pie Has Fruit.

That said, in Louisiana we have tarte a la bouillie*, and in Mississippi, where my mom's family is from and where we did Thanksgiving for many years, it turns out Mississippi Mud Pie is an actual thing and not something invented by food scientists working for Al Copeland.

*IMO tarte a la bouillie is more of a Christmas thing, and anyway it's less a pie and more a rustic creme brulee.
posted by Sara C. at 7:57 AM on November 26, 2014


What kind of Minnesotan googles wild rice "casserole"? Sweet baby Jesus in a corn crib, people, it's "hot dish." #grapegate #GopherPoseurs

Unsurprisingly, that tweet was from a Sorenson, so, in answer to her question, in Minnesota the people who say casserole instead of hotdish tend to have last names like Shapiro, Gomez, and Freeman.

Not everybody is from rural Minnesota, and not everybody was raised Lutheran, and not everybody has been in Minnesota for four generations. It's a small regional sticking point, but as a Jew growing up in Minnesota, I was frequently treated as though I were not authentically Minnesotan because I didn't share the majority experience.
posted by maxsparber at 8:05 AM on November 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


I literally have never used hotdish except in a sentence like "casserole, or, as Minnesotans like to call it, 'hotdish.'"
posted by maxsparber at 8:10 AM on November 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


One of the things I like about RI is that a lot of stuff becomes "authentic RI cuisine" simply because a lot of people in RI start ordering it for lunch - I was wondering recently why Dominican cuisine hadn't insinuated the local foodways the way Portuguese, Italian, Irish and French Canadian cuisine had. I didn't even know what Dominican cuisine was... and so I googled it.

Bulgar salad, available at every upscale local deli/bakery; sweet potato cake, ditto; rice casserole, uh-huh - man, I thought this was all yuppie chow, it looks pretty ritzy in the display case - and also meringue kisses, get 'em by the bucket at the Stop'n'Shop and, so, yeah. The kids are all right. Just wish they'd use the proper names. "Pastelon" sounds so much more appetizing than "rice casserole." I wish they'd do a better job of including them in the various local cookbooks, too.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:06 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Frowner, what part of Indiana are you from? I'm from Warsaw and other "parts north" and this is the first I've heard of persimmon pudding.

To reply very late - I am not personally from Indiana since my dad had moved for work by the time I was born, but my dad's family is Indianan since they fled conscription by Prussians some time in the 19th century. They're Danville and Columbus-area.

Not everyone retires to Indiana, but my parents moved back a few years ago so I've spent some time there recently.

I notice that Mitchell Indiana has a persimmon festival.

Tuttle Orchards will ship frozen persimmon pulp between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Maybe there's just a persimmon belt in Indiana and that's the only region with the persimmons.

My father cautions me that Asian persimmons - though perfectly delicious on their own terms - do not cook up the same as the US-native ones and will not make the same kind of pudding. (I mean, I'm sure you could make a perfectly good pudding - but there's a particular flavor to the Indiana kind.)
posted by Frowner at 9:17 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I grew up in NJ and chocolate cream pie was familiar. To me, it's just a diner pie.

YES by all rights it should be spinning slowly on a shelf inside a glass octagonal fridge and be made of My-T-Fine chocolate mousse made with heavy cream and poured into a pie shell.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:28 AM on November 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


First off, I want to 2nd the person that called persimmon bread "straight out of Sunset" because that is an accurate description if I've ever heard one.

Second, I have very rarely been to the middle of our fair country and I grew up in an eating disordered household, so there was no such thing as "Jello" or "Cool Whip" or "Mayonnaise" or any of these other "foods" so I do not understand your "Thanksgiving" holiday, but someday I may just hit up Omaha in November for the fun of it.

Third, I hate this fucking holiday with an intense passion (see #2) and wish it was over already so I could get on with my life and stop having to talk about how much everyone has eaten, whether they've been "bad" or "good" and how many miles they are going to have to run to work it all off.

Sorry.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:34 AM on November 26, 2014


Of tangential related interest: NPR had a feature this morning about Native Alaskan dishes for Thanksgiving.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:53 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


That was one of the most interesting feature pieces I've heard on NPR in a long time.

Though I kept thinking that "eskimo ice cream" sounds a lot like frosting with berries added. Which I could totally be down for.
posted by Sara C. at 9:59 AM on November 26, 2014


whether they've been "bad" or "good"

Ha ha, I was so BAD when it came to Thanksgiving desserts this year! I waited until my mom was serving pie and quietly stole $80 from her purse
posted by Greg Nog at 10:00 AM on November 26, 2014 [12 favorites]


On persimmons in Indiana:
The native Persimmon, or Date Plum, is one of our neglected wild fruits which has heretofore received but little attention from the fruit growers of this country, although it possesses many desirable qualities which, when brought to a higher state of perfection by selection and cross fertilization, will certainly cause it to be more highly appreciated by all lovers of good fruit. But little literature is to be found on the subject and so the general public is quite ignorant concerning its real merits. The fruit is scarcely known except by those who live in sections of the country where it grows wild, and even in these localities, but little attention has been given to its cultivation. From recent personal investigations, we have found the persimmon growing wild in many portions of the southern half of this state [Indiana], and producing, in some instances, a fruit of excellent quality and in great abundance; and yet so little attention is given to it by the farmers in these localities that hundreds of bushels of fruit are annually allowed to waste on the ground. There are various reasons why this fruit has been hitherto neglected. One is the exceedingly astringent or puckery principle which the green fruit contains, and which remains with most wild varieties until thoroughly ripe, some never losing it entirely.

…In November, 1895, Mr. J. C. Grossman, of DaGrange county [Indiana], sent us samples of fruit taken from a tree growing in that county. This fruit averaged a little less than an inch in diameter, was of very good quality and practically seedless; the seeds being about the size of small watermelon seeds, and averaging about two seeds to the fruit. This tree was produced from seeds sent from Kentucky during the [Civil] war….

The habit of suckering or sprouting from the roots when they become broken, which the tree possesses, renders it objectionable on land that is wanted for cultivated crops, as it is very difficult to eradicate from the soil. Says John B. Elliott, of New Harmony, Ind: "No animal that I know of will eat it; even sheep and goats pass it by; hence in localities where it is very prolific it causes the farmer no little labor in subduing it."

Recipe for persimmon pudding

One pint of persimmon pulp, made very fine.
One cup sugar.
One quart sweet milk.
Three teacupfuls flour.
One teaspoonful ground cinnamon.
Two teaspoonfuls baking powder.

Bake in a moderately hot oven for an hour, or until it is nicely browned. Cool and serve with whipped cream. The fruit used for this purpose should be of superior quality, and perfectly ripe before using.

-- "The American Persimmon," Purdue University Agricultural Experiment Station. (1896.)

posted by mudpuppie at 10:23 AM on November 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


As a Virginian, I can not argue with corn pudding. When done right, it's sublime. When I was in high school, I suckered my mom into making both a ham and a turkey to honor both of Virginia's great meats.

Someone up there mentioned the point I was going to make - our mobile society has both spread food traditions and interrupted them. So people like me, who has several ancestral generations living in different areas end up with amalgam arrangements that both coincide and vary dramatically with the local culinary traditions. Our two cabbage (saur and red) Thanksgiving household inherited it from great-grandparents from Maryland and Pennsylvania, but I grew up on the edge of an area originally settled by Germans, so we were sometimes considered pikers for not having a third! And yet, in the same region one year, a local grocer was awed when he told my mom that someone else in the area ALSO ordered lutefisk for Christmas.

I really do think that pies are probably the most common unifying element, with apple and pumpkin probably being the most common. Main dishes, vegetables, sides can all vary with location, local ingredients, and family traditions.
posted by julen at 10:58 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


"It's a layer of crescent rolls, topped with a cream cheese/egg/sugar/cinnamon mixture, topped with another layer of crescent rolls, a stick of melted butter, and more cinnamon sugar, then baked until the inside is cheesecake-y and the top is all crispy and sugary and dammit maybe I will make some for Thanksgiving after all."

Wait, that's sopapilla cheesecake? That sounds amazing in the most terrible way. (One of my college BFFs used to make this thing that was mini-snickers wrapped in crescent rolls, baked in a muffin tin. Said it was the only thing his mother knew how to make. They were horrifying/amazing.)
posted by epersonae at 11:15 AM on November 26, 2014


Can of name-brand "pumpkin" from a reputable brand at a large retailer - Ingredients: Some kind of squash, another kind of squash, pumpkin, more squash, sugar, sugar cane pressings, preservatives.

Can of Aldi house-brand pumpkin - Ingredients: PUMPKIN.

Open the can, sample the puree - bland. Flavorless. Smell? PUMPKIN. Good.

I have made pie, ladies and gentlemen. Two of them, in cheap glass pie-plates. Home-made spice mix and boutique vanilla, heavy-cream-and-eggs-and-"Ingredients: PUMPKIN" custard, sweetened with "Grade B" Maple Syrup, the second-most mapley of sweeteners, the best for our pie purposes. Poured the mix into a press-in-crust that's mostly melted butter with some sugar and flour, baked for an hour and cooled for an hour more.

Tomorrow I will use the stand-mixer to make the rest of the heavy cream and vanilla into whipped-cream for a garnish.

Also, tomorrow, I am tasked with a veggie dish. I have leftover "Grade B" maple syrup. I have thick-cut boutique bacon. I have fresh thyme. I have two pounds of multi-colored carrots, a pound of parsnips, a rutabaga and a white turnip, and two disposable roasting pans. Guess where this is going.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:00 PM on November 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


One the subject of canned pumpkin puree I have only one thing to say: One Pie.

One Pie! No other brand enters the house.
posted by Miko at 8:05 PM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


The cranberry relish is made.

The vegetable purées are done and ready for reheating.

The squash is cooked and puréed, half of which will be used to make squash biscuits.

The other half of the squash purée will go into a squash grits recipe for breakfast tomorrow.

The turkey breast is bedaubed with its garlic-herb paste.

The leftover bread slices have been cubed and toasted for the stuffing.

The cranberries for the sorbet and the cranberries for the cranberry butter have been measured and sorted.

The maple sugar is ready for sprinkling on the acorn squash and tucking into the rustic apple tart.

T-day minus one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:22 PM on November 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Of tangential related interest: NPR had a feature this morning about Native Alaskan dishes for Thanksgiving.

maybe it's because I'm Korean-American and grew up eating plenty of fermented/salted/fishy things, but the fermented salted fish heads sounded way more appetizing than the berries à la Crisco
posted by kagredon at 2:25 AM on November 27, 2014


This seems the best place to share the breakfast that I've been wanting to try for Thanksgiving for years and have finally this year gotten to do it -

PUMPKIN GRITS

For each person, you need:

2/3 cup of milk
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup cornmeal
a little salt
a sprinkle of ground ginger, cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice

Heat the milk and pumpkin together in a saucepan on medium low, stirring to blend. Mix the water and cornmeal together to make a paste, then add to the milk, stirring to blend. Add a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of whatever is your favorite pumpkin-related spice. Cook until thickened (this will only take a couple minutes). Serve immediately, with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a pat of butter on top.

==

I've been staring at this recipe in this cookbook of funky breakfasts I've had for years, but always realized my family would have been a bit too weirded out by it and so have never tried it. But this year is a Me's-Giving and so I get to eat what I want and I was making some pureed pumpkin for something else last night so I made extra for this and DAMN YES.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:22 AM on November 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


So anyway, I first had dirt cake in PA and of course it's for kids. The Midwest jello salads are huge with Czech and Germany families for some reason. I suspect the dairy (cottage cheese, sour cream) influences are Bavarian, and then you have non perishable fruits like (once) exotic pineapple and mandarin oranges often intermingled with local stuff like berries and apples. Trust me the shit is good, it's not exotic but there's a reason it works together without any irony required.

Dirt cake is just a more hardcore diabetic take on banana pudding, aka vanilla pudding, nilla wafers, banana except you replace the crunch textural element (think lady fingers in tiramisu if it's too much to contain the mockery) with Oreo and only crazy kids eat the worms, that would screw everything up. Ever had an Oreo McFlurry? Blizzard? Not that crazy.

My mom is a Wisconsin native of hot dish land and is sometimes surprised by the amount of jello based fruit salad variety that comes out of the Dakotas, where my wife's Czech and Germany family hails.
posted by aydeejones at 11:06 AM on November 27, 2014


Dirt cake is what we (midwest and PA family) call the Oreo stuff, not dirt pudding because it can set like tiramisu, and these things all have simple elements that explain their appeal that anyone with a basic understanding of food can deconstruct and make plenty of sense from them. Do you like dunking an Oreo in milk? Do you like ground up Oreo in frozen custard (the Blizzard or McFlurry)? I bet you'd like a small dose of pudding that has infiltrated into some Oreo dust, if you like Oreo at all. I guess if you like Oreo or jello at all, you don't get to be a food snob about anything done with those elements for they are already as low brow as it gets. Using their properties for other recipes is creative, just like using lady fingers in tiramisu or boiled bones to thicken a soup.
posted by aydeejones at 11:16 AM on November 27, 2014


Also I was not expecting the reality of frog eye salad to be more repulsive than the mental images inspired by the name.

You'll know the reality when you eat it. Did you eat it yet? No? Then no.

I wish. I've encountered this at too many "zany" kids' parties. oreos crumbled to look like dirt, with gummy worms put in. I thought it was the height of gross until I learned about kitty litter cake.

I guess this and the mockery of frog-eye salad is where I got all WHAT

You wish nobody ever thought to combine Oreos and Vanilla pudding? Why? What did this do to you? Do nilla wafers and vanilla pudding and bananas make you cringe?

Do you realize it's bloody delicious? Of course you wouldn't eat the worms, that's the kung-fu-kid-level of doubling down, like eating the worm with your tequila, but is more intended to be something people in some parts of this country call a "garnish" or "decoration." It's this hokey hurf durf thing people do when they try to be "zany" and have some fun with the food they bring to a party.
posted by aydeejones at 11:27 AM on November 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


If anything in this topic is strictly for the kids, it's the use of the word "gross" when describing food, BTW. Parents represent...that word is getting way too much play in grown-up-land lately, WTF. Maybe it's my upbringing, it sounds bizarre to hear it so much because that word has gotten very little play in the 12 and up crowd in My American Life (mostly Colroado).

"Gross" from a kid usually means "sounds yucky!" with no insight -- perhaps the ingredients sound bad, or the combination, or it looks bad -- who knows, but it's rarely said after actually trying the food. I explain to them that they need to at least taste it and have some respect for the person who made the food. From an adult it comes off as "ewwww! let me just put some distance between myself and whoever saw fit to combine those things together."

I certainly wouldn't use it when describing literally anything anyone ever made with the intention of eating it, that would a gross thing to do. I don't like the word much there either, describing behavior. There are much better words.
posted by aydeejones at 11:35 AM on November 27, 2014


The existence of many of those midwestern 'delicacies' can only be explained by some sort of previously unremarked upon famine or blight that drove people to derive all their sustenance from whatever was left in the grocery aisle of their local walgreens.

Well, it's not always about hackneyed cliches...you've traveled the world, and probably know this -- sometimes people don't even go to the grocery story for a long time. They stock or store food and tend to favor easily stored foods.

"Walgreens" might be "in town" 2-6 hours away. The notion of a stocked pantry (but with only so much variety) is what we're dealing with in these midwest ("why won't they vote for their interests while I mock them mercilessly") situations.

Seriously the classicism here is so thick I could beat it with a clue stick -- if you haven't had any of the salads that involve pineapple and jello and such, that's cool, but I bet you don't go into Hawaii and knock the spam sushi out of a local's hand because that's just so gross.
posted by aydeejones at 11:54 AM on November 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I know a gazillion chefs and foodies in Oregon and I've never heard of the cranberry plus pinot noir recipe before. I think the Times was really reaching and had to make up some fake regional favorites as a result.
posted by mathowie at 1:09 PM on November 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Eh, the vast majority of people I know* who do the nuclear frankenfoods thing at holidays (including my own family, for lots of different holidays and different iterations of this style of cooking) mostly do it because It's The Way We've Always Done It, not because going to the supermarket is a special once-a-year treat.

I also wonder if it's not because we have so much access to exotic, fresh, and out-of-season stuff every day, so that these simpler "comfort food" dishes become the special occasion treats. I don't think I ever saw a casserole on our everyday dinner table, but there are always at least three at Thanksgiving.

I would also guess that the way these dishes became enshrined as Important Family Heritage is that, 50-odd years ago, housewives were proud to show off their ability to purchase and cook with modern convenience foods. My grandmother certainly didn't grow up making jello molds on the family farm during the Depression. Being able to buy that stuff in the post-WW2 world was a sign of upward mobility, and a holiday with only simple dishes made from scratch would have been as declasse for her as boxed mac and cheese with spam would be for us.

Outside of a few very remote parts of the US (the parts of Alaska mentioned in the NRP piece linked upthread, for example), it's really not because people don't have access to supermarkets.

*I grew up middle class, but with family across the socio-economic spectrum, and certainly knowing and talking every day to people who are decidedly not middle class.
posted by Sara C. at 1:22 PM on November 27, 2014 [5 favorites]


My husband decided he had to take another shower before we left for my parents' house, and I decided that gave me enough time to make a completely separate dish. Scalloped corn, in case anyone is curious. So that makes my "two simple dishes" for Thanksgiving into FIVE: bacon-roasted brussels sprouts, broiled kabocha squash with olive oil and sea salt, scratch rolls (which didn't rise very well so they are sort of ciabatta-y), the aforementioned creamed onions, and scalloped corn. Which I made with heavy cream instead of butter and milk, like a quiche lorraine with corn but no crust. But topped with smashed up Club crackers.
posted by KathrynT at 3:30 PM on November 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Post-dinner debrief, as the spouse heads off to work:
  • Field Roast Celebration Roast was, as always, tasty and juicy — would've been fine without gravy.
  • Mashed steamed cauliflower (instead of potatoes, due to a recently-developed potato-intolerance) — perfectly tasty! Next time, use the finest plate of the potato ricer to mash it. Maybe more butter* and/or creamer to make it more luxurious.
  • Roasted parsnips — a bit much of a muchness. Maybe turnips next time.
  • Stuffing — tasty enough, not memorable.
  • Brussels sprouts sliders — Wow, these were really tasty! Even though my spouse threw out the onions we spent more than an hour caramelizing the day before (insert primal scream here)! I'm sure they'd be even better with the onions. *sigh*
  • Isa Chandra Moskowitz's lentil-miso gravy made with chana dal instead of brown lentils — omigod, I'm swooning on my kitchen floor, this is so good.
  • Sautéed arugula with pine nuts — nice, refreshingly bitter.
  • Cranberry relish — so glad for my mom's uncooked, unsweetened cranberry relish recipe. It helps with the richness of the rest of the meal.

* For any "butter" or "milk" or etc. please assume vegan alternatives, since that's what we used.
posted by Lexica at 5:30 PM on November 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


housewives were proud to show off their ability to purchase and cook with modern convenience foods

Yes, and in my family my mom's parents (actual dirt poor Arkansas farm folk; siblings shared things like shoes) Got Out thanks to WWII and the Army, and those 1950s Better Homes and Gardens/Betty Crocker red-checked cookbook recipes represented a revolutionary change in their standard of living, and also pretty much that's the point that my grandfather's palate was locked-in for the rest of his life. We ate Ambrosia Salad (green Jell-O, marshmallows, nuts) and green bean casserole and all that mostly because that's how it was always done, but ultimately because it's what Papaw wanted. But it became a thing we all looked forward to, because it was the thing we always had. It was Thanksgiving.

And for the last couple of years of Papaw's life, after the radiation killed his sense of taste/smell, he basically ate three meals: meatloaf (mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls), roast (mash/b.e.p./rolls), and mini-Thanksgiving (with Ambrosia Salad on special occasions). That was the food that lived so strongly in his memory that he could "taste" it and therefore would eat it.

I'm having brussels sprouts (never would they ever), but I require Memaw's cornbread dressing (sage not sausage), and tomorrow for leftovers I might make green Jell-O with cottage cheese in it, though it may horrify my husband, because it secretly feels pretty right.

My husband periodically summons up a dish made with torn up angel food cake, cool whip, and crushed Butterfingers. It's not...good, exactly, but his mother was not a good cook and this was her go-to potluck contribution.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:41 PM on November 27, 2014


Since others are sharing, here's how a Connecticut-born, frequently-visited Massachusetts, New Yorker with an Ireland fetish ate for a solo Thanksgiving:

- turkey breast, smeared with a herb paste and roasted.
- stuffing from scratch, made of plain white bread, celery, onions and sage and that's all
- roast acorn squash.
- mashed potatoes.
- purées of carrot and parsnip, swirled together.
- cranberry relish.
-plain green beans (not the casserole -we never had that growing up, and besides I like having one plain thing next to all the rich stuff)
- Shaker winter squash biscuits spread with cranberry butter.
- a rustic apple pie studded with a couple whole cranberries.

And the musical accompaniment while I did dishes was "Thick As A Brick", in a nostalgic nod to the one time Dad played that while helping my aunt do all the dishes after a family Thanksgiving and it blew my mind. (Not the dish washing - he did that a lot. He's just more into blues instead of prog rock.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:45 PM on November 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


a Connecticut-born...

I'm not a big thanksgiving food fan, and that menu sounds seriously good.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:12 PM on November 27, 2014


The total butter stick count at my Thanksgiving dinner: 24.

Los Angeles Orphan Thanksgiving (composed of a surprising number of Southerners) kept it pretty classic, with a lot of the old favorites duplicated for vegetarians vs. meat eaters, or to satisfy various different Thanksgiving tastes. For example I swear there were at least 6 different cranberry sauce preparations, from Can Shaped to be-horseradished.

I think with an Orphan Thanksgiving, people don't go too far out of the box in terms of old family favorites, because I think everyone's a little afraid that people won't like their Important Family Thing. I'd love to plan one of these one year and tell everyone "bring the weirdest thing you remember from your childhood Thanksgiving table".

There was not a persimmon to be seen, it should be mentioned.
posted by Sara C. at 9:17 PM on November 27, 2014


It was just my boyfriend and I for dinner, pretty standard thanksgiving meal. I added mustard-pickled garlic cloves to the mashed potatoes, it worked great, looking forward to reheating those in the waffle iron tomorrow. And frozen cranberries work great instead of ice in gin drinks (I think I picked that up from metafilter). Cat enjoyed his can of turkey meatmush.
posted by troika at 10:10 PM on November 27, 2014


We had a relish tray with pickles and crudites, brined roasted turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing (from cubes, but with plenty of doctoring to seasonings and veggies), brussels sprouts, creamed onions, homemade Parker House rolls, roasted mushrooms, sweet potatoes with brown sugar-pecan topping, green beans with shallots, apple pie, and pumpkin pie. I like to keep it pretty elemental.
posted by Miko at 1:56 PM on November 29, 2014


My mother was a child of the 1950's,and there wasn't NOTHIN' she wouldn't jell into a salad and take to a church supper with a cup of mayonnaise in the middle. We even had a special Tupperware server for it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:40 PM on November 29, 2014


BTW, the cranberry caramels didn't quite come out correctly, but I think they could next time. They're a bit too soft to stand alone at room temp (so I think cooking to 255 instead of 250 might save them) but I'm going to try making sandwich cookies with caramel filling instead.
posted by maryr at 11:29 PM on December 3, 2014


I am back in Iowa and have polled a number of genuine Iowans, and the consensus is that snicker apple salad is definitely a thing, and it is both embarrassing and secretly kind of delicious. So this appears not to be grape salad redux.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:42 AM on December 4, 2014


Additional BTW: I successfully made cranberry caramels by adapting the Smitten Kitchen apple cider caramel recipe & overcooking it. Hurrah!
posted by maryr at 1:35 PM on December 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


(In place of cider, I used 1 cup cranberries, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, boiled down, strained out cranberry accidental jam which I shall eat on breads, then cooked down until it was 1/2 c)
posted by maryr at 8:24 PM on December 9, 2014


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