One Thanksgiving lover rants about the eats and drinks she’d happily do without this year.
I’d like to take a moment to address creamed onions.
Hey, guys, how you doin’? How are things going over there on the Table of Most-Loathed Thanksgiving Sides? You hanging with your buddies, Uncle Carl’s Glazed Turnips? Chillin’ with the whole cranberries?
Here, in case you needed one, is an entirely opinionated list of the worst Thanksgiving dishes. Disagree with me? Not a problem. Just head on over to our Facebook page and comment away. I want to hear all about how chunky mashed potatoes need to trounce creamy mashed potatoes forever, or how if you have to eat one more piece of mincemeat pie you’re going to lose it.
OK. I’m a big onion person. I’ll eat the heck out of leeks, yellow onions, red onions, shallots (which I’m crazy about), big onions, little onions, and cheddar-and-onion potato chips. My momma does the best things with Lipton Onion Mix and potatoes. I will not, however, go near the creamed onion station at Thanksgiving. No. Not ever. What even IS that cream? I think most recipes maybe use milk, not cream. If you handed me a leek and cream casserole, I’d go crazy for it, but not those slippery little onions. You can keep those.
Thanksgiving is tricky when it comes to wine. You can go big and spicy, round and red, fruity, rosé all day, buttery Chardonnay or an off-dry Riesling, and you can usually find someone who will polish it off. You know what you can’t sell? That Beaujolais Nouveau. I’ve never met one I’ve liked, and would rather have the tiny squeezy juice box grape juice from the kids’ table.
I do like turnips. I do. I like them when they’re roasted and glazed beautifully, and when they’re puréed with skill. Yet somehow they always turn up on our family’s Thanksgiving table in a form I don’t like—under-seasoned, under-glazed, and under-cooked. (I hope Uncle Carl, whose real name is withheld, isn’t reading this, and for the record he has excellent taste in Riesling.)
I have yet to meet whole cranberries in any incarnation that I like. Dried, cooked, jellied, whathaveyou—I’m a New Englander who hates cranberries, unless they’ve been transformed beyond recognition and jelled in a can. I’m aware that I’m in the wrong here, taste-wise. I should love them spiced, whole, etc. But give me a slice of the jellied stuff from the can any day.
OK, this is not about green bean casserole, which is some sort of Midwestern magic I didn’t grow up with but adore. This is a complaint from a cook’s perspective: To do green beans right, they’ve gotta be either completely fresh and raw or served a la minute—from the sauté pan, where they’ve been chillaxing with way too much butter, right into your serving bowl. I’m not a fan of blanched or boiled green beans, which from a pragmatic perspective don’t have a place at a well-organized table already brimming with the creamiest mashed potatoes, golden-skinned turkey, and fluffy stuffing. As few things as possible should be last minute at Thanksgiving, to save the host a headache.
There. That’s all I’ve got. Come at me!
Alex Van Buren is a food and travel writer living in Brooklyn, New York whose work has appeared in Gourmet.com, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, New York Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, and Epicurious. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @alexvanburen.