Whether you’re finally back stateside or marking the American celebration elsewhere, Thanksgiving dinner is undoubtedly this holiday’s main draw. While some parts are recognisable from your typical Sunday roast – think meat, potatoes and vegetable trimmings – other dishes are likely to raise a few eyebrows among large groups when served with a traditional turkey centrepiece.
Here are some of the more unique American Thanksgiving foods to try this November.
Because every savoury dish needs a sweet side to go with it, right? Candied yams are actually made from sweet potatoes, though they get the yam name because they taste so similar. Boil on the stove and then drown them in a sugary, spiced syrup that’s laced with orange, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add a splash of bourbon to make them taste extra decadent.
Green bean casserole
Remember those squeaky-clean, stringy vegetables from your childhood that stayed firmly on your plate? Americans found a way to make them far more enticing: by drowning them in cream of mushroom soup and mixing with fried onions. Dating back to 1955, when Dorcas Reilly of the Campbell Soup Company first came up with the green bean casserole combination, it’s become an ultimate comfort classic.
A Southern favourite, this sweet cornbread stuffing combines crumbly cornbread (another American mainstay) with eggs, butter and seasoning. It’s typically made using leftover cornbread, so you can try that out for yourself the night before. Enjoy with southern BBQ dishes or a rich, hearty soup to maximise the comfort factor.
Sweet potato casserole
The sort of dish you really have to try for yourself, sweet potato casserole sees sugary, buttery spuds topped with ooey gooey marhsmallows – and sometimes even pecans. Dividing opinion up and down the country over whether it’s a side or dessert, this dish is fantastically American. See what side your friends and family fall on by sampling together in one of our Florida villas.
If there’s one thing we can trust our friends across the pond with, it’s amping up a traditional salad. For this pre-Christmas creation, store-bought Jello-O is combined with fruits like pineapples and cranberries, while vegetables and cheeses sometimes also find their way into the mix. The result is a vibrant Jello-O salad dish that looks like it was pulled straight out of a Dr. Seuss book – do you dare to give it a go?
Pumpkin, apple or pecan? Whichever pie you prefer, you’ll be enjoying an authentically American dessert. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream, allowing the pie crust to soften slightly (especially if it’s been prepared ahead of time).
Don’t be afraid to use store-bought pie crust either – you’ve probably had your work cut out for you preparing all of the above anyway, and if Betty Crocker approves it, you must be good to go.
While these are certainly some of the wackier plates you’ll find on an American Thanksgiving table, mainstays like creamy mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and those divisive brussel sprouts are also considered essentials.
Once the feast is over, pop on a game (the NFL starts around 1am UK time, which would probably only work if you seriously misjudge your cooking timings!) and kick back in your comfiest clothes. You’ve earned it.
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