Thanksgiving Dinner Menu: From the Traditional to the Bizarre
Much like Halloween, the foreign tradition of Thanksgiving was pretty much unknown in Malaysia except among some expatriates. Thanksgiving is celebrated among most North and South American countries including Canada, the United States, and Brazil. It is a harvest festival where people gave thanks for the blessings they have received for the past year. The central focus of Thanksgiving is the Thanksgiving dinner, a large meal typically with a large roasted turkey as the centrepiece. Thanks to the influence of Hollywood in bringing American culture to Malaysia, most people here know a thing or two about Thanksgiving dinners, with many local hotels even touting their Thanksgiving dinner specials.
Because of the size of the US, there exist many different dishes that can legitimately lay claim to being a traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting recipes for a Thanksgiving dinner.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted garlic mashed potatoes are a classic dish that can be found at almost any Thanksgiving dinner. The secret behind a good mashed potato is the choice of the main ingredient, which is the potato itself. Potatoes with high starch content are ideal, and one of the most preferred types are Yukon Gold because of their natural buttery flavour and creamy consistency.
Fried Mash Potato Balls
These are a modern take on mashed potatoes, so if you want to have a side dish that is a little more unique than classic mashed potatoes, you can also choose to make your mashed potatoes into little balls, combine them with additional ingredients of your choice such as bacon and cheddar, bread them using eggs and breadcrumbs, and then deep fry them. And voila, now you have mashed potatoes that you can amaze your family with.
No matter how much someone tells you they don’t like turkey, they will still get upset if they are invited to a Thanksgiving dinner and there’s no turkey. Done right, these big birds can taste quite delicious, especially with good gravy. Most people’s gripes about turkey are because it tends to be dry, but according to science, what’s really going on is that it doesn’t make people salivate as much when they’re eating due to the overabundance of mild-flavoured breast meat and not enough of the delicious skin to go with it.
If you’ve never seen food that can be described as both a monstrosity and a delicious curiosity, you’ve never seen the turducken. What in the world is a “turducken”? The answer lies in the name: the turducken is a chicken stuffed into a duck, which is in turn stuffed inside a turkey, hence you have turkey and duck and chicken all put together to form the turducken. Apparently, however, the practice of stuffing multiple birds inside each other is not such a modern practice, as even the turducken itself existed about 1985; as early as 1807, an insane recipe was invented involving 17 different birds stuffed inside each other. What’s even more bizarre than that is the cockentrice (not to be confused with the mythical cockatrice): a pig’s upper body sewn to the lower body of a capon (a castrated cockerel), which apparently was a regular dish during the Middle Ages! If you want to show your friends and relatives just how far you can go Medieval on your meals, you should definitely prepare a cockentrice for your next Thanksgiving meal.
Even though pumpkins are generally associated with Halloween, pumpkin pie remains a classic staple for any traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Pumpkin pies are made not just from pumpkins, but also a spice mix that includes cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, among other spices. This combination is commonly known as pumpkin spice and has become such a craze as recently as 2003 thanks to Starbucks introducing their pumpkin spice latte back then.
Pumpkin Pie Popsicles
Pumpkin pie popsicles aren’t really strange, they’re just a little unorthodox for a Thanksgiving dinner. They’re still pumpkin pie in a way, but as a different form of dessert. You just need the same ingredients for the pumpkin pie filling, but instead of a crust, mix in either goat’s milk or Greek yoghurt and pour that into popsicle moulds with sticks so you can enjoy them after freezing them solid.
And that’s our list of Thanksgiving dinner dishes. Which ones do you prefer? The traditional classic dishes, or the terrifyingly impressive ones like the turducken? Perhaps a mix of both? Let us know in the comments if you have any Thanksgiving recipes of your own that you would like to share!
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