Thanksgiving 2016 is over and so is another cooking marathon. Every year, I go through the same process and every year, I say I’m going to do it differently; but I never do.
I always vow that my Thanksgiving celebration is going to look like a Norman Rockwell painting. You know, the one where the father is dressed in a suit as he carries the uncut turkey on a platter while the entire family is smiling and the mother is wearing a freshly ironed apron over her gingham dress. I always wonder how they make that happen.
I always have on an old sweatshirt and jeans which are covered with turkey grease. Instead of an apron, I sport an old towel that is covered with coffee stains.
This year, I decided to slim down my traditional Thanksgiving Dinner so that I would have the same refreshed look as the mother in the Norman Rockwell painting. Some of my “old favorite comfort Thanksgiving foods” have to go.
My first consideration was the cranberry sauce. I always have it but I don’t know why. Nobody really eats it; but just in case someone decides they really need it, I buy a can, pour it in a bowl and that’s it. I can’t omit that…it’s too easy to prepare.
Then there’s pumpkin pie. That’s a keeper. I buy it at Costco and add a little ready made whipped cream (The kind that Pastor Pete loves to squirt in the mouths of the kids). If I serve it fast enough, no one has any idea that I didn’t make it.
My next consideration was the traditional foods that I can’t get ready made. These take work. Omitting these would save much of my time. But then again…these are comfort foods and I had to ask some hard questions.
How can you sit down to eat Thanksgiving Dinner without a Green Bean Casserole, sweet potatoes, and lime Jell-O with pineapple?
To tell you the truth, I hate them all no matter how hard one may try to make them palatable. Who eats soggy green beans with little chunks of mushrooms? And then there’s lime Jell-O with pineapple. No matter how hard I try, I can’t eat green Jell-O. It’s just not right!
I had to strongly consider the marshmallows on sweet potatoes. “Sweet” it’s not! But I do have to admit that roasting marshmallows on the top so that it looks as if it’s a S’more casserole is an ingenious way to fool the kids.
I can’t omit the king of the feast….the turkey! But it takes more work than I think it deserves. I defrost it, clean it, stuff it, oil it and then bake it. The main problem is the fact that I usually have a turkey that has a life of its own. It’s never thawed in time and when I finally begin to prepare it, I have to pull all of those bags from its inside. Why are they even in there? Does anyone actually use the neck?
I still haven’t figured out why they include all of these extras. Is this just to prove to us that it’s not a very large chicken in disguise? I’ve never pulled a chicken neck out of a whole chicken.
Where they place the neck in the turkey is not the most comfortable thing to think about. Why do they put the neck there? It’s not natural. Why don’t they put it in the actual neck cavity? Instead, they put the little bag that contains the heart and liver in the neck cavity. If they would switch the two around it would make more sense to me. I actually apologized to the turkey as I began to clean it.
I faced the real menu problems when
I started cooking and attempted to get everything ready at the same time.
When I was down to two hours and counting, the battle began full force. I boiled the potatoes, which I washed in the dishwasher before I cut them up – this was suggested on Facebook so it has to work! I placed the Green Bean Casserole in the oven along with the rolls. I tossed the salad only to discover that I had no dressing. Speaking of dressing, where’s the stuffing? I think I left that in the freezer. The freezer??? That’s where I stored the uncooked apple pie that I was going to bake before the Green Bean Casserole, but after the turkey. Turkey??? I thought that was in the oven, but once again, the Green Bean Casserole has taken that valuable space.
And then there were the yams….the best part of the meal. I used lots of sugar and vanilla extract. It makes them taste like vanilla pudding which is the only way to eat yams. Why would you want to have them taste like yams? That would ruin everything! They would actually taste like what they actually are. Kind of like Green Bean Casserole.
I logged and later reviewed the entire process and how frustrated I became over just one meal and reached a surprising conclusion. The problem with the entire process was the Green Bean Casserole! It took up too much oven space, table space, and plate space. It needed to go!
Before sentencing my Green Bean Casserole recipe to my paper shredder along with my 2003 tax forms, I decided to do a little research. It seems that the recipe was developed by Dorcas Reily in 1955 when she was employed by Campbell’s Soup. It became immediately popular in the Midwest and found its way into church cookbooks.
Since that time, it has been estimated that 40 percent of the cream of mushroom soup that is sold today is used in green been casseroles.
The “kicker that sealed the deal” was a fact that I discovered via Wikipedia (and we all know how reliable that website is). In 2002, Dorcas presented her 47 year-old original Green Bean Casserole recipe card to the National Inventors Hall of Fame. That does it! The lime Jell-O goes and the Green Bean Casserole stays. It’s my duty as an American!
Today, as I attempt to find a way to “recycle” my Thanksgiving leftovers, I am also planning a trip to Akron, Ohio to visit the National Inventors Hall of Fame. There is a 61 year-old recipe card on display that I have to see.
But until then, anyone interested in some Green Bean Casserole Pancakes?