Thanksgiving: What’s your pleasure?


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday –  no stress and no counting calories for one day only. So Food Network Magazine has a nifty list of America’s favorites on Thanksgiving. Let’s just see how we all stack up, shall we?

Average number of side dishes served with turkey: 7.  I’m now counting every dish on Bunny’s Thanksgiving buffet: Mashed potato casserole, green bean bundles, broccoli-rice casserole, pineapple casserole, Waldorf salad, dressing and scalloped oysters (I make those – Bunny practically pukes when she sees an oyster).  Alrighty, that’s seven. We’re right on track.

White meat/dark meat preference: 66 percent white meat; 34 percent dark meat. I actually have a bone to pick here, so to speak. People who say they like dark meat are just lying. Look at any leftover turkey container in the refrigerator. The white meat gets scooped up and the dark meat sits in there until Christmas.

Pie preference: 53 percent – pumpkin pie; 25 percent – apple pie; 22 percent – pecan pie. This is obviously a regional thing. You will not find an apple pie on a Southerner’s dessert board. And the pecan pie flies out the door. I adore pumpkin pie, but King Daddy hates it. Thanksgiving at Bunny’s is the only time I have it.

To brine or not to brine? 30 percent yes; 70 percent no. I cannot imagine anything more torturous than brining a 17-pound turkey. It makes me irritable just thinking about it. Let’s just be honest. Nobody actually likes the turkey anyway. It’s just a platform for gravy and sides. Why spend all that time adding a miniscule amount of moisture and flavor to it?  And let’s not even talk about the refrigerator space a turkey floating in water and salt takes up. Some people use a cooler, but I haven’t had a cooler clean enough to brine a turkey in for the last 23 years.

How we like our turkey cooked: 91 percent roasted, 6 percent fried and 3 percent grilled. I believe these results are directly associated with the degree of difficulty you are willing to endure.  Roasting a turkey is just like roasting a giant chicken. There’s no degree of difficulty. Frying a turkey is life threatening. Now there’s a rush. Here’s an example of what can go terribly wrong – turkey frying disasters. These people are idiots. Grilling a turkey requires finesse.  And a pretty big grill. I do mine in the Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer. I understand that it’s basically a big outdoor roaster, but it works. There’s no oil, it cleans itself and the turkey comes out just like a fried turkey. Only easier and you won’t burn the house down.

Dinner is served: 58 percent prefer a sit-down dinner while 42 percent like Thanksgiving buffet style. I am firmly in the buffet camp. If you can stealth serve yourself, nobody will know you went back for stuffing five times.

When do you start cooking: Most cooks say they rise and shine between 6-7 a.m., however 6 percent report they wake up at 4 a.m. Really? I believe both of those alarm-clock jolts are hideously unnecessary. I would just go to the Shoney’s for the Thanksgiving Buffet Bar and be done with it.

Favorite Thanksgiving food: You know this one – stuffing. These days, it’s really dressing since hardly anyone stuffs the bird because they fear dying a horrible death, keeling over right at the Thanksgiving table in front of their loved ones. Only 28 percent said they put the stuffing in the bird.

When to eat: Most said they serve Thanksgiving dinner at 4 p.m. But an astonishing nine readers say they sit down at 10 a.m.!

Cranberry sauce: This is a heated category. Fifty-one percent favor whole berry while 49 percent love the jellied stuff out of the can. Side note: My favorite post-Thanksgiving nosh is cold dressing and cranberry sauce (either kind) eaten straight out of the leftover containers.

Favorite memory: This is not part of the Food Network Magazine survey. It’s just me.

Mark, Noah and Paul

Mark, Noah and Paul

Oysters on the half shell. Homemade cocktail sauce. Served on Bunny’s deck. Approximately 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Paul’s eating his oysters upstairs now. But Mark, Noah and I are still at it.

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