No offense Turkey, but Thanksgiving talk is increasingly about Thanksgiving side dish recipes. That isn’t to say I won’t brine you and stuff you with herbs, onions and citrus—or carefully ladle juices on you while you are roasting in my oven. I will carve you with care, and be grateful to the farmer who thoughtfully raised you. I imagine you growing up, clucking and fanning your enormous wings, puffing up to impress bystanders and romping around the barnyard. Fed well and grown large, you now come to my table. I have not forgotten: you are the center of The Feast.
Since the turkey is the established icon of our Thanksgiving meal, I think family traditions and comfort foods, new twists on old favorites and surprise new table staples all come in the way of sides. As in: all the trimmings. And as much as Thanksgiving is about The Bird, it is [dare I say] equally about The Trimmings.
Thanksgiving side dish recipes are alive and well on Pinterest boards and food sites, magazines and mobile apps. Ideas ooze from the computer, a leaflet or your nearby store. What are your favorite dishes? What sides are a must-have on your Thanksgiving table? And just as fun: what new dishes are you making this year? Are you joining another family and ready to enjoy their food traditions or are you hosting The Feast yourself?
As it turns out, I am hosting a humble gathering at my home. I will pull out my gold-rimmed wedding china, fill the table with large gourds and too many candles—and leave the center spot for the Beloved Turkey. Then I will fill in all the spaces with The Trimmings: homemade gravy and rum cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and garlic bread. I will try to re-create last year’s fig bacon stuffing and lace the table with a big green salad, great-grandma’s orange rolls and perhaps a small teaser of French Onion Soup (a new addition, but I just made homemade beef stock and it is begging for a showcase opportunity). I must make sweet potato casserole and roasted garlic mashed potatoes—and though I am bound to run out of stove-top and oven space—might toss in a small bowl of a new fave: easy creamed corn.
Happy Thanksgiving planning to you! I hope you have big plans for The Bird, and even loftier plans for all The Trimmings.