Thanksgiving in America is a huge deal, perhaps bigger than Christmas, in any case, the meal certainly is. It is similar in terms of excess & delightful gluttony as Christmas dinner is here in Ireland and in the UK.
The main focus in both is, of course, the Turkey, but in this piece, we are going to look at some of the other elements that make it a uniquely American affair. Perhaps it will trigger a spark of innovation with which to liven up ones own Christmas dinner or Christmas product development.
Turkey & Stuffing
In America, the bird is rarely stuffed, American stuffing is significantly different to our traditional breadcrumb or sausage meat stuffing, it is coarser, often made with chunks of cornbread, soaked in stock or milk and always cooked on the side.
Green Bean Casserole – a baked dish of green beans, a tin of mushroom soup (traditionally Campbells), topped with cheese and/or breadcrumbs and baked.
Candied Yams – a cousin of the sweet potato baked with bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg and often topped with marshmallows (not joking) and finished under the grill.
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy – we can’t say this ventures too far out from the norm.
Cranberry Sauce – an absolute must have in America, and gaining strong popularity here over the past few years. In America, it should be homemade, not from a jar!
Buttermilk Biscuits – particularly popular in the South, these savoury scones are an absolute must have on the dinner table.
Corn – either on the cob, as creamed corn, or baked creamed corn pudding, they say corn was on the table at the very first Thanksgiving between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims, so it is another mainstay of the Thanksgiving dinner table.
It can only be Pumpkin Pie, which perhaps screams Thanksgiving more than the Turkey itself. This dish has created an offshoot craze that descends every year in Autumn in the form of Pumpkin Spice Flavour, in particular, those Pumpkin Spice Lattés in Starbucks!
It is definitely a menu worth trying out, particularly if you are one of the many who like to change things up at Christmas, rather than having the same meal each year. But perhaps it’s best to leave the marshmallows out of it…