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Thanksgiving favorites

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s the one day where no one will pester you about eating too much, even if you spend hours after dinner sitting in your recliner, pants unsnapped and moaning about that third helping of sweet taters pressing against your spleen. And it’s one day where you can watch 16 hours of football, minus a few minutes for a short nap or two. Yup, I love Thanksgiving.

Speaking of loving Thanksgiving, I recently heard a news story about the least favorite food served on Thanksgiving. I was surprised to hear some folks don’t really like turkey and serve some other meat for their feast. This is plumb crazy and un-American. Thanksgiving is the one day out of 365 that you should have turkey for dinner, and then for the next week until the bird carcass is picked clean. Any meat substitute is simply unacceptable in my humble opinion.

There is a debate over dressing and stuffing. I think it’s a geographic thing with folks up north serving stuffing while here in the south, we like dressing with our turkey. I’ve eaten stuffing before and I’m not real fond of it. Perhaps it’s the image of the stuffing being cooked up in the abdominal cavity of the bird. However it is prepared, I would much rather have a huge dollop of dressing lying beside the pile of turkey on my platter.

Some folks serve mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I do love mashed taters, but not on Turkey Day. Mashed potatoes will quickly fill that part of your gut that is reserved for more traditional food like sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and numerous slices of pie. Save the mashed potatoes for another meal, like with chicken-fried steak or a bucket of the Colonel’s chicken. But if someone does bring mashed taters to our Thanksgiving feast, I will happily serve myself a small scoop and move on to the next dish.

As a kid, I never liked sweet taters. My mom made them with big marshmallows in them. I always thought that was a waste of good marshmallows. Then, I married into a family from North Carolina that made sweet potato casseroles for Thanksgiving. When I hesitantly took my first bite of this dish, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. Made with brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and possibly a dash of cocaine, I couldn’t get enough of these sweet taters. This has got to be my favorite Thanksgiving dish.

I probably shouldn’t reveal this, but I have a nephew who also loved my wife’s sweet tater casserole the first time he tried them. I don’t know how much of this fibrous confection that boy consumed that day, but he claimed he had paralysis of his legs that night, and I don’t know if he’s ever eaten sweet taters since.

I’ve kinda gotten off track with this report. That happens when I think about good vittles. The number one item frequently served at Thanksgiving that many people will pass up on is cranberry sauce. I don’t understand this at all. I love the stuff! We will have a big gathering of friends and family for Thanksgiving every year and very few of them will eat cranberry sauce. Usually, when the girls are setting the table, the bowl of cranberry sauce is placed near my chair since I’m the only one who likes this scrumptious fruit. When I make myself a sandwich for lunch the next few days following Thanksgiving, I’ll smother the turkey with cranberry sauce. Man, that’s a tasty sandwich, I’ll tell you what.

I suppose my least favorite item traditionally served at Thanksgiving would have to be pumpkin pie. Oh, it’s good, but I would much rather have a slice of pecan or apple pie, or maybe both. And since just about everybody else in my family loves pumpkin pie, that leaves more pecan pie for my dessert. And maybe a little more sweet taters, too.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

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