Unloved Vestigial Dishes

Thanksgiving is ground zero for dishes that no one likes, but someone makes each year because it’s a holiday ritual. For Deenso, it’s the traditional dish of creamed onions. “As far as I can remember, back into the ’50s, not a soul ever touched them and they went down the disposal as the table was being cleared. I asked my mother why she kept making them when nobody liked them and she just shrugged, ‘Tradition.’” lulubelle, however, adores creamed onions—especially with sharp cheddar on top. ccbweb hated creamed onions as a child, prepared as they were with cream soup or just straight cream, but “now I make it with a bechamel and some herbs and I season it well and I really like the whole thing,” says ccbweb.

For Cachetes, the hated yet time-honored dish is an oyster casserole, made from fresh oysters, cream, butter, and crushed Ritz crackers “all mushed together and baked into oblivion” that should be classified as a “crime against shellfish.” Will Owen loves this classic New England dish—properly called scalloped oysters—though he recommends preparing it with soda-cracker crumbs, not Ritz. “Crime against shellfish? Fie! It is an apotheosis,” says Will Owen.

lynnlato despises mashed rutabagas and tomato aspic: “Why my family included these two dishes in our holiday spread I’ll never know. Ugh.” But KevinB thinks mashed rutabagas and/or turnips, with a little butter and brown sugar, “are the perfect way to convey gravy from plate to mouth.”

Many unwanted dishes are merely degraded versions of good things. HillJ hates imitation eggnog but loves real eggnog, and says to “make your own and experience heaven!” yamalam objects to “grocery store Frisbee pies,” saying, “There’s a reason they’re $3.99, people!” And the traditional green bean casserole earns no defenders. “Should be renamed gray bean casserole, blech,” says yamalam.

Board Link: Thanksgiving dinner: What is your LEAST favorite menu item that you can’t get rid of?

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