Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks to last night’s game, we’ve got plenty of basketball leftovers to devour today, but we saved room for turkey talk. The KSR crew gathered around our virtual table to share hot takes on a number of Thanksgiving topics. Please chime in with your own in the comments.
1. Thoughts on this Side Dish Map
TYLER — Even though I live in Tennessee, I’m a Kentucky girl at heart, which is totally reflected in this map. Broccoli casserole >>> Sweet Potato Casserole any day.
NICK — Picking Deviled Eggs is the best decision Indiana’s made since legalizing sports gambling. I also don’t understand the difference between stuffing and dressing. It’s all the same thing.
ZACK — Nick is right. There is zero difference between stuffing and dressing. That being said, stuffing is vastly superior and it’s a felony to claim otherwise. Also, can someone go ask Maine if they’re okay?
JACK — Broccoli casserole is a delicious side dish and ten times better than some of these other state’s selections, but still not my favorite. Stuffing, dressing, whatever you want to call it, it’s easily the best. But side salad? Who the hell picks that as their favorite? Normal corn? Also, deviled eggs are gross.
DREW — Broccoli casserole is my favorite side dish because my aunt makes one that’s like 99% Ritz crackers and melted cheese, 1% butter—and I think I saw a piece of a broccoli floret in there one time. We eat it once a year on Thanksgiving because my arteries insisted it be an annual side dish. The buttered Ritz crumbles on top really push the human body to its limits.
2. Favorite recipes
NICK — Kentucky’s side dish selection was an excellent choice because my mother makes a spectacular broccoli casserole. Unappreciated as a child because, ya know, vegetables, the crunch of Cheez-Its mixed in with the potent broccoli taste is incredible. There are alternatives to broccoli casserole that are fine, including the cheesy broccoli with rice, but none can top my mother’s Cheez-It crunchy goodness.
TYLER — Two Turkey Day staples that I hate unless my family makes it: Stuffing (stuffing balls, to be exact) and pumpkin pie. Here are the recipes we use (via cell phone picture of cookbook, of course):
Instead of stuffing the bird with this delicious mixture, we make it into balls and bake them. Not only do you avoid putting your hand up a bird’s butt, it makes for easy portions/leftovers.
Everything is better with bourbon. (The picture cuts it off, but on the left, it says “Cook in top of double boiler until thick”)
For the Thompson trifecta, mix up a batch of whiskey sours:
2 cups sugar
750 ml Maker’s Mark (or other bourbon)
750 ml water
12 lemons, juiced
JACK — I appreciate Tyler’s recipe contributions because I have none off the top of my head. I will say, though, that my wife’s grandmother makes a spectacular dressing that I’m already drooling over and will have five guilt-free helpings today.
I’ll add that to my recipe book and share with the class next year.
DREW — I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in my career, so I’ll report back next year on what recipes worked and the ones that didn’t. The aforementioned broccoli casserole is my favorite recipe to date, but for the sake of this exercise I’ll leave you with a recipe I’ll be using often today:
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 teaspoon water
2 ounces bourbon
Garnish: orange peel
3. You have $15. Pick your Thanksgiving plate.
- $6 Turkey
- $4 Stuffing
- $2 Corn Pudding
- $3 Pumpkin Pie
NICK — I’m not wasting any time on turkey or ham. Thanksgiving is all about the side.
- $7 Green Bean Mountain: $4 Mashed Potatoes, $2 Green Beans, $1 Gravy
- $6 Casserole SZN: $3 Broccoli Casserole and $3 Sweet Potato Casserole (must have walnuts)
- $2 Sweet Potato Pie: If done well it cannot be topped.
Give me all of the sweet potatoes.
- $5 Ham
- $4 Stuffing
- $2 Green beans
- $2 Sweet potatoes
- $1 Gravy
- $1 GRAVY but in all caps
- $4 Stuffing
- $4 Mashed Potatoes
- $3 Broccoli Casserole
- $2 Corn Pudding
- $2 on the Dallas Cowboys -3
Turkey is the worst Thanksgiving dish and we’re all lying to each other when we pretend to enjoy it and I’m really just sick of the charade to be completely honest with you.
- $2.50 Ham*
- $2 Mashed Potatoes*
- $2 Stuffing*
- $2 Mac and Cheese*
- $2 Apple Pie
- $2 Rolls
- $1.50 Green Bean Casserole*
- $1 Corn Pudding*
*denotes half portions
Last year I cheated the system with the half portion trick, and it’s too good not to utilize again this year. I don’t need mounds of each individual items, small samples of everything will do the trick. This creates the most diverse, versatile and tasty plate among my KSR peers, thus declaring me the Thanksgiving plate champion.
4. Thanksgiving Sporting Event You’re Looking Forward To
NICK — This was supposed to be the part of the post dedicated to previewing the Steelers-Ravens but NOPE, Baltimore had to go and get COVID to ruin the day. Adding an AFC North rivalry game was going to be an incredible addition to cap off a great day. Instead, it’s been taken away and so has the Egg Bowl. At least we have this memory to hold onto.
It’s disappointing. At least we still get to start the day with Macy’s Parade and…
TYLER — The National Dog Show (12 – 2 p.m., NBC). Football and basketball are great, but the National Dog Show is required viewing in the Thompson household each Thanksgiving. It comes on right after the Macy’s Day Parade and is the perfect background for cooking/preparing/taking a break before dinner. Like everything, this year’s event will be different due to the pandemic, but who cares if there are no fans in the stands when the pups are making their lap around the ring at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center?
To get you ready, I present this clip of the late, great Fred Willard from “Best In Show,” which, if you haven’t seen yet, stop right now and watch. It’s a classic.
ZACK — Does the Thanksgiving drinking game I’m going to arbitrarily create on the fly count as a sporting event? If not, I’m most looking forward to watching Kansas and Gonzaga tipoff in a matchup between two top-six opponents. Never in my lifetime (or anyone’s?) has basketball season began the day before Thanksgiving, so it might as well be Christmas in my household.
JACK — There is no greater tradition in the history of sports and/or food eating than chowing down on a Thanksgiving plate or two and falling asleep on the couch watching the slate of NFL games. Nothing beats it. Even with the primetime matchup between the Steelers and Ravens being postponed, I can still work with Lions vs. Texans and Cowboys vs. Football Team (that will never sound right and should be changed immediately). Like Zack, I’m also looking forward to Kansas vs. Gonzaga in a battle of top-ten teams. It’ll also be good to scout the Jayhawks a little bit before Kentucky takes them on in Indianapolis next week.
DREW — It will always be the Cowboys game for me. I grew up in a Cowboys family before the Tennessee Titans became a thing in 1999, so my allegiance was to the star in my childhood. My bedroom was Cowboys-themed for a few years, Troy Aikman/Emmitt Smith/Michael Irvin were superheroes to me. Now I’m marrying a Cowboys fan so they’re back in my life as a secondary team, and that Thanksgiving Day game tradition continues… but with Andy Dalton. We’re going to need more bourbon.
Happy Thanksgiving from the KSR crew!