Another holiday, another opportunity to torture (or be tortured by) our nearest and dearest at the dinner table. Thanksgiving puts us all in kind of in a pickle. You can try to get away with not taking the Peep-topped sweet potatoes or the potato chip-encrusted potatoes but you have to be pretty covert and chances are someone will notice and say "What, you don't like great grandma's special recipe?" But Option 2 poses a dilemma too. If you do take great grandma's apricot salad (made with cream cheese and that secret ingredient: apricot baby food!), unless you can somehow swirl it up with your other piles of actually good and tasty things, it will be left staring at you like an angry eye. Ah, what to do.
Here are our Top 5 Thanksgiving foods best avoided or artfully disguised:
1. We'll start with appetizers. Wildly annoying name aside, Lit'l Smokies aren't necessarily so bad on their own. What's not to like about a bite-sized pellet of sodium and grease from various protein sources after all? Where smokies take the unadvisable step from benign and kitschy to just uh-uh is when sauces and coverings start to get involved. Like syrup-sweet and thick barbecue sauce or sweet and sour sauce. And the whole staying-in-the-mini-crockpot-all-day thing?
2. Moving on to side dishes. Any food that you can potentially see your reflection in or looks and behaves not unlike cellulite is just sick and wrong, and canned cranberries bear both of these condemnable characteristics. They don't actually taste all that bad -- try spreading it on some of your turkey -- but you've gotta work the presentation if you want people to indulge. Like, we know it's festive and all, but maybe try and lose the presentation involving a bed of lettuce underneath.
3. Sweet potatoes on their own are perfectly acceptable, delicious even, and not to get on a soapbox or anything, but you know how wildly healthy they are, right? So why ruin a perfectly good thing by adding something as alien and unnatural as marshmallows? You can think of a better way to distinguish sweet potatoes from mashed. Marshmallows have limited utility and Thanksgiving dinner is not on the list.
4. And now, on to main dishes. Seeing (or worse, hearing) a canned ham slip out of its metal container is about as uncomfortable as fingernails on a chalkboard. Plus, what's wrong with you? Who are you trying to impress? Just stick with turkey, or if you're vegetarian, some take on lasagna. There are some kickass pumpkin lasagna recipes out there.
5. And finally, desserts. Pumpkin pie is not all that hard to make. There is nothing more sad looking on a table piled high with Thanksgiving bounty than a plastic-covered, store-bought pumpkin pie. No matter what pumpkin pie you choose though, make sure you eat it before it starts to sweat.
What revolting inventions have you come across on Thanksgiving?