It's that time of year again: time to celebrate Thanksgiving with a gigantic feast -- and then head out to stand in line in various dark and chilly parking lots for early Black Friday
barbarian raids shopping. Our dinners of thanks usually include a large hunk of roasted protein (not ham this year -- unless you wanna take out a loan to buy it), an array of starchy sides and all the pies. But just like every year, there are always the duds: entrees, sides and appetizers that have no business being on a Thanksgiving table -- or anywhere near our mouths.
Here's are the top five weirdest Thanksgiving foods this year. Be prepared for a feast of turkey ice cream, pumpkin pie-flavored chips, the infamous Hot Durkey, and beets that go where they really should not.
5) Salted caramel Thanksgiving turkey...ice cream
Just when we all thought that the worst thing that could be done with Thanksgiving turkey was trying to cook it in a dishwasher, a scoop shop in Portland called Salt and Straw concocted a whole Thanksgiving meal out of ice cream flavors. Some sound a'ight, like sweet potato casserole with maple pecans and spiced chevre pumpkin pie, but the creamery went one step too far with a salted caramel Thanksgiving turkey ice cream made with turkey fat, caramel, turkey juices and caramelized onions. If that's not gag-inducing enough, bits of handmade turkey-skin brittle are mixed in for texture.
If the dream of the '90s is alive in Portland, then the nightmare of turkey grease-flavored ice cream just killed a little bit of happy dream with a slingshot.
4) Hot Durkey
Trailer parks of the country can unite this Thanksgiving, because the opportunistic and disenfranchised folks at Oscar Mayer have provided the perfect holiday feast for everyone who takes issue with having even the smallest amount of class. May I present: the Hot Durkey, the turkey made out of hot dogs. All this simple, step-by-step recipe takes is six ingredients: a loaf of Italian bread, some hot dogs, toothpicks, butcher's twine, ketchup and a complete lack of respect for humanity.
I will probably be making this for Thanksgiving at my house.
3) Mashed beetatoes
Beets are awesome. Beets are amazing. Those little red bulbs of salty dirt-flavored goodness are excellent sliced and pickled; roasted with lemon, rosemary and sprinkled with goat cheese; or even pureed into a nourishing soup with a dollop of sour cream and a bit of chive. But there if there's one place where beets are definitely not supposed to be, it's in Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. Mashing beets in with potatoes makes a salty dirt-flavored mush with an insane hot pink tint. Although trying to get more people to eat beets is fine for an ordinary meal on a Tuesday night, Thanksgiving dinner isn't an appropriate time for these kinds of hijinks.
Thanksgiving mashed potatoes are all about gobs of butter -- schlooped over with giblet gravy -- and should contain nothing that contributes to either a more refined palate or a healthy lifestyle.
For more freaky Thanksgiving dishes, read on.
2) Thanksgiving potato chips -- yes, even pumpkin pie Boulder Canyon kettle-cooked potato chips are fucking delicious. Among the better creations are red wine vinegar, spinach and artichoke, and the avocado-oil Canyon-cut chips that are as close to perfect as potato chips can get. But somebody at the company smoked a mega-bowl of R2-D2 and decided to fashion a whole Thanksgiving meal out of chips, with turkey & gravy, stuffing, cranberry, and pumpkin pie. I'm convinced that the cranberry chips should be eaten in the same mouthful as the stuffing chips.
I am also certain that the target consumer group for this four-pack is hardcore, 24-7 World of Warcraft players who can't manage to leave the basement long enough to fill an actual plate with real food and eat it.
The vegan-tastic Tofurky was thrust on to the holiday foods market in 1995; after trying a slice again last year I can definitively state that it hasn't changed a bit since then. The uninspired soybean-stuff is as bland as it ever was, the wild rice stuffing in the middle is just as dry, and the meatless gravy is still the best part of the whole affair. The Tofurky deserves proper respect for being at the vanguard of the meatless holiday entrée movement, but that was almost twenty years ago, and it's time that Tofurky either goes away or gets a much-needed makeover to hang with the times.
Be real: Tofurkey just isn't very good. The meat substitute, when first invented, was convenient and filled a gap for vegetarians (everyone went vegetarian for at least three months in the '90s). It ignited a trend, but it's time Tofurkey got a few upgrades to make it edible since the novelty has long worn off.
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Add flavor, maybe? You can soak Tofurkey in tamari but it still tastes like eating a flip-flop.