Friday, November 18, 2011

The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving

All the Whos down in Whoville loved Thanksgiving a lot...

Thanksgiving doesn't come in a box!

I know that's not the way the story starts, but that line popped into my head the other day while I was perusing the pre-Thanksgiving grocery store ads to see what was going to be on sale and what I would plan on buying. Each ad featured stuffing mix in a box, canned cranberry sauce, and the vile combination of ingredients needed to create that horrible holiday staple known as green bean casserole.

It just made me reflect on how our perception has changed on what constitutes homemade and what we consider good enough to serve on special occasions.

Homemade doesn't mean you prepared it at home. I would hardly consider the frozen ravioli I buy for a quick dinner to be a homemade meal. Home-cooked, okay, I'll grant you that, but there is a difference and if there is a time to make the effort to prepare something extra-special and homemade, it's Thanksgiving. How does a meal from a package show your family that you love and care about them? How does semi-homemade celebrate the harvest and the bounty that our local farmers have bestowed upon us? How does stuffing from a box taste like anything remotely resembling food?

I've heard the arguments from friends who don't like to cook that their families don't care and they *like* the yams from a can and the crunchy onions on top of the green beans. I don't buy it. Their families love them and wouldn't want to complain about their cooking. Plus, they may not know any better, having never been exposed to a real homemade Thanksgiving meal.

So, if I were the Grinch, I'd creep in and steal all the food from a box. But, I'd leave behind some fresh vegetables and a loaf of stale bread with which to make stuffing!

So, let me just throw this out there: this Thanksgiving, replace just one dish with a better, homemade version and see how it goes. Just one. Tomorrow, I'll even give you a timetable for preparing a whole homemade feast. You can take whatever parts of it you like. In the meantime, here's my post from a couple of years ago about how to cook a turkey.


The Reader said...

Oh, hooray!! Watching for the timetable. I promise not to use much from a box, probably nothing. Only partly (okay, mostly)(okay, totally) because I can't get stuff from a box here anyway.

I'm not cooking until Saturday, and my oven has no temperature gauge. Should be fun. Maybe we'll use the pizza oven instead....

Watching here for tips. You are so inspirational. Really!

Another Suburban Mom said...

I also agree that the green bean casserole is vile. What's wrong with some fresh steamed greenbeans sauteed with butter, garlic and toasted almonds.

Also, I prefer my sweet potatoes with bourbon and pecans instead of marshmallows?

And when you make the mashed taters, they need shredded mozzarella and parmesean cheese and a quick visit to the broiler so the cheese is brown, bubbly and stringy.

I do use cornmuffin mix to make cornbread to get stale for the dressing. Do you still love me?

The Mendon Foodie said...

@Reader: I think you *should* use the pizza oven. Since you probably can't get a turkey, a nice roasted chicken will be awesome in there. I know I've seen recipes on how to do those...

@Veronica: your feast sounds delish! I wouldn't change a thing! (Well, I do have my own special way of making mashed potatoes, but it involves strange looking equipment and crispy shallots)

The Reader said...

I could get a turkey, but I think we're doing ham instead.

The other poster (Veronica?) has side dishes that make me drool. I think I'll copy those. YUM. The oven that doesn't have temperature markings does have a broiler, I think.