Top five absolute worst Thanksgiving side dishes
Thanksgiving -- or Black Friday Eve, depending on your perspective -- is filled with holiday joys, like listening to your uncle's uncensored feelings about Obamacare, your kiddos smearing Cool-Whip on every surface with their mouths, your unemployed cousin digging through your couches for loose change and everyone talking loudly about Miley Cyrus' ass. Add to this a sub-par meal and not enough liquor and you have a recipe for the worst Thanksgiving in living memory -- unless you count last year.
Anyone can cook a halfway-decent turkey, so it falls upon the side dishes to make or break this year's dinner, so don't add to the soul-annihilating conversation and rogue activity by preparing -- or buying -- terrible side dishes. Here's a list of the top five absolute worst Thanksgiving side dishes that you should avoid.
There has to be a clear line of demarcation between stuff you eat on a normal day, and stuff you contribute to a holiday meal, and rice pilaf doesn't just cross the line -- it IS the line. Chances are, if you're the special breed of jackass that would bring salty, wizened, chickeny rice, littered with dead peas and carrot crumbs to a Thanksgiving dinner, you are also the kind of jerkbag who didn't even make it from scratch. And if it's one of those wild rice mixes, keep in mind that it remains implacably hard, no matter how long it is boiled, forcing your family to pick the stuck bits out of their teeth. And while this might delay the unbearable table-talk about goiter surgeries and recreational marijuana, it won't postpone it for nearly long enough.
Whoever decided that naming the foul mess of gelatin, whipped topping, sodden canned fruit, sour cream, mini-marshmallows and shredded coconut "ambrosia" is probably the same person who made MTV stop playing music videos and created rectal cancer. There exist only whispered rumors and frightening urban folklore as to how this "salad" came to be, but no matter how many cloves of garlic you wear around your neck or how many tubs of holy water you bathe in, it never fails that someone you know and used to love will show up at your house, on Thanksgiving, wearing a sweater with a turkey on it and grasping a Tupperware bowl of this fruity slop.
If there was ever a dish that looked exactly the same going into your body at one end as coming out at the other, it's corn pudding. This soupy slush of milk, cream, eggs, flour, whole kernel corn (not even close to being fresh in season, by the way) and possibly cheese might be your grammy and paw-paw's traditional Thanksgiving side dish going waaaaay back to the Depression era, but thank god, the devil and Duck Dynasty that these days, no matter how fucked up slow the economy is, we do not have to eat things that both look and taste inferior to off-brand canned cat food. (Adding green chiles is commendable, but will not make this pudding any better.)