Tried & tested: What Dishes Make a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner
My daughter watches YouTube too much. Surely there are only a limited number of videos of people playing Minecraft and unboxing Barbies that can be watched before tolerance levels are reached? No, it seems, if you’re six years old.
But aside from the constant chatter of ‘endermites’ and Barbie RVs, another effect of this habit (and before you ask, no, it’s not all day and yes, she still enjoys it as much as the next child. a good snoop on the beach) is an awareness of American customs due to, as far as I can understand, roughly 90% of this YouTube content comes from the United States.
The one that seems to have made a special impression this year is Thanksgiving.
While initially viewing it as “not something we do here”, it got me thinking. Falling on November 25, exactly one month before Christmas, are there any practices and dishes we could borrow across the pond from our American cousins?
I decided to find out.
A plate of high carbohydrate food
My quest for an authentic, all-American Thanksgiving dinner began, much like most queries these days, with a Google search.
He didn’t have the best of starts. A roast turkey centerpiece with stuffing is a no-brainer, but any idea of golden roasted potatoes accompanying it was quickly replaced by … mashed potatoes? This midweek tea staple actually ranks number one alongside the main act. Weeping in my abandoned goose fat, I continued the list.
The gooey mac and cheese was a warming side dish
Then: macaroni and cheese. As I simultaneously searched for “elasticated belts” for that high-carb meal, I began to understand why an American football game often goes hand in hand with a vacation.
Finally, a vegetable-based dish: casserole of green beans. Reading through, the recipe for green beans (I used fresh beans rather than the most common canned version in the US), cream of mushroom and milk, with a pinch of pre-crispy fried onions. bought, seemed at least quite simple.
The green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving classic
There was another dish I knew I had to include, and that was the “Thanksgiving Yams” you hear so much about. I discovered that yams, or sweet potatoes for you or me, are just sweet potatoes baked in the oven, then mashed with brown sugar and baked again with – as if the sugar wasn’t enough – marshmallows. The thought was almost too much, even for my sweet tooth, but the desire to “do it right” prevailed and the ingredients were purchased.
Late in the day, I found out that cornbread is also considered a non-negotiable – and thank goodness because for me it was the star of the show. Crossed between a cake and a scone, it was made by combining fine cornmeal (possibly found in the world’s food aisle in a giant bag – good job, that was tasty) and plain flour with leavening agents, melted butter, brown sugar, honey, buttermilk and eggs, then baked. Yum.
No Thanksgiving table is complete without sweet yams
Despite my reservations, the yams were more appetizing and not as bizarre an addition to a salty meal as I feared – albeit very sweet. I wouldn’t rush for them anymore though.
Likewise, I would personally prefer a serving of plain green beans, and I would save the soup for lunch the next day!
All in all it was a fun experience and there is already talk of next year’s feast with more dishes to try – but it will include roasts as well. Some things we do well here.
Cornbread was the star of the show