BigOven Food Fight: Play it Safe or Join the Dark Side? White Meat vs. Dark Meat

White-Meat-vs-Dark-Meat--11.22

Ahh turkey meat. The source of Thanksgiving brawls year after year.

Fans of pristine white meat argue that it’s much healthier and frankly, not gross like that slimy dark meat. What part of the turkey did that dark piece come from anyway? Breasts are always better, than say, those inferior thighs.

Dark meat lovers vow that dark meat is a million times more flavorful and moist. White meat is so dry… so very dry! In order to make white meat palatable you need to smother it in gravy, and then the healthy factor goes straight down the drain.

Of course white meat devotees and dark meat buffs are almost always feasting at different homes on Thanksgiving, resulting in either everyone bickering over the breasts or everybody throwing punches for the dark pieces. Maybe you should check with your neighbors and do a meat swop if you’re on a different turkey team. And if you’re the one carving the bird, go ahead and slip some of your favorite turkey parts into your pocket. (No one will know it was you, except maybe the dog.)

BigOven Food Fight: Sit-down vs. Buffet Style

Sit-Down-vs-Buffet--11.21

Food placement. A seemingly minor detail that’s actually a big deal.

Perhaps you enjoy sitting down with your family and friends all at the same time and passing around various platters and bowls to one another, helping each other out by scooping for the young ones, holding heavy dishes for the members lacking upper body strength, and informing your senile great-aunt what food is in front of her. This route requires some prior planning and coordination. Clockwise passing or counterclockwise? You take the gravy boat from me as you simultaneously pass him the potato bowl while he pushes the turkey her way… and so on.

For the more clumsy families, a buffet might be the way to go. All the dishes remain stationary (unless your buffet table gives out) and all food items are placed in an order that works for everyone. Gravy last! The only downside is that hungry, often hangry, people have to wait in line, and the line order has to be determined based on what? Seniority? Favorites? Whoever is most hungry? This once again gets complicated and there is bound to be some resentment when your sister discovers that her favorite Jell-O salad is gone before her turn arrives.

BigOven Food Fight: Round Two Recap

Assigned Seating 11.13

Kid Table vs. Grown-Up Table – Who Really Has More Fun?

The breakdown:

  • 55% want to socialize with the grown-ups
  • 45% would rather hang with the kids

Conclusion:

A majority prefers to converse at the grown-up table while politely nibbling small bites of turkey and sipping on fine wine. Translation: a majority prefers to gossip at the grown-up table while inhaling turkey and gulping bottles of bottom shelf wine.

Your Mama’s Green Bean Casserole vs. Roasted Almond Green Beans

The breakdown:

  • 54% roasted green beans forever
  • 46% casserole fans

Conclusion:

At this rate, casseroles will become extinct in approximately 87 years. Take a trip to the museum and you’ll find a green bean casserole next to Mr. Tyrannosaurus rex.

Telly – On or Not?

The breakdown:

  • 51% the telly must be on
  • 49% leave that thing off

Conclusion:

Just over half of families and friends out there can be considered a bit awkward and prefer not to interact with others on Thanksgiving. Can we blame you?

The Canned Stuffed vs. Homemade Cranberry Sauce

The breakdown:

  • 57% believe cranberry sauce must be made from scratch
  • 43% think sauce from the can is perfectly fine

Conclusion:

Save the can for another day (or never) because homemade cranberry sauce clearly is the way to go. Yes it might be a bit more work, but tacking on 15 minutes to your 19 hour cooking schedule really won’t make much of a difference.

Gorge Early or Build Some Anticipation?

The breakdown:

  • 58% all about linnertime
  • 42% all about dinnertime

Conclusion:

If you’re going to eat a lot, you might as well start as early as possible. Linner lovers can eat, take a nap, go back for seconds, take another nap, go back for thirds, go to bed, and then get up for a midnight snack. Sounds like the perfect game plan to maximize turkey consumption.

Creamy & Plain vs. Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes

The breakdown:

  • 54% love garlicky herbiness
  • 46% prefer creamy and plain

Conclusion:

Haven’t you heard? Herbs add a ton of fresh flavor and garlic has health benefits galore. We know the real reason you chose garlic herb mashed potatoes though… to ward off your friend’s weird cousin Harry with your gnarly garlic breath. Props.

Assigned Seating or Free-for-All?

The breakdown:

  • 78% want to choose their seat
  • 22% are fine leaving it up to the host

Conclusion:

Why would you even consider allowing the host to choose your seat? Of course you’ll end up wedged in a corner where the only means of escape involve crawling under the table and maneuvering around swinging legs and smelly feet… and the drooling dog who is still hoping to get some of those Brussels sprouts.

Host Keeps the Goodies or Shares the Leftover Bounty?

The breakdown:

  • 75% Thanksgiving is all about sharing
  • 25% the host deserves all the leftovers

Conclusion:

Clearly 25% of the people who answered this question will be hosting Thanksgiving this year and 75% will be guests.

Cook Does it All or Passes Off the Cleaning Duty?

The breakdown:

  • 91% the cook should take a rest
  • 9% let the host take care of everything

Conclusion:

Cooks, you better be resting after dinner! Go ahead and let your drunk aunt clean the fine china. You definitely deserve some couch time after stressing out for the last 24 hours.

Squash – Overload or Keep It Coming?

The breakdown:

  • 60% can’t get enough
  • 40% sick of squash

Conclusion:

Don’t worry squash, you’re still popular.

Roast Turkey vs. Fried Fowl

The breakdown:

  • 84% roasted turkey
  • 16% fried fowl

Conclusion:

Frying a large bird is indeed a scary thing. You’re definitely better off roasting your turkey in the oven… unless you find using your oven scary too. In that case, we recommend someone else cook your turkey. (You can scoop the cranberry sauce out of a can.)

Round two of our BigOven Food Fight is settled. Check back on our blog every day for a fun, new topic. We still want to hear from you!

BigOven Food Fight: Mac & Cheese – Gimme or Pass?

11.18 Mac n Cheese

It’s creamy. It’s comforting. It’s cheesy. It’s mac n cheese! A childhood favorite, mac n cheese is hard for just about anyone to resist. (If you’re lactose intolerant… please do resist and dig into some dairy-free mac instead.) The main question here revolves around mac n cheese’s place on the Thanksgiving table. Is it a must or absolutely unwelcome?

If you love it, then you should be able to enjoy it whenever you want, even on Thanksgiving. Your birthday only occurs once a year, and you need another holiday (yes, your birthday is considered a holiday) to dedicate to gorging on a golden brown hot cheesy pasta bake. Who cares about turkey anyway?

But… maybe it is all about that turkey. Thanksgiving should be about tradition. The Pilgrims and Indians probably didn’t enjoy a serving or three of cheesy baked pasta. Wait… did they even serve turkey back then? Hmmm.

Before you traditionalists start to panic, let’s bring our focus back to mac n cheese. Will this decadent dish appear on your Thanksgiving table?

BigOven Food Fight: Roast Turkey vs. Fried Fowl

Roast Turkey vs Fried Fowl 11.17

Much of Thanksgiving stress starts with the turkey itself. What size? Fresh or frozen? Organic or conventional? And most importantly, how are you going to cook the thing?

A tried and true method for preparing your Thanksgiving bird is to simply roast it in the oven. All you have to do is give it a good ole butter rub down then season with salt and pepper. Tent with foil, pop that sucker in the oven and you’re good to go. Just don’t forget it’s in there! Smokey Bear is an unwanted guest, particularly on this day.

If you’re feeling up to a challenge, you could consider deep frying your turkey in a vat of boiling oil. (Frying novices, please don’t get any ideas.) A crispy skin with a moist (and cooked) interior is what we’re going for here.

Vegetarians, don’t despair! Here’s a tasty tofurkey recipe for you.

 

BigOven Food Fight: Creamy & Plain vs. Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes 11.12

Do you like em creamy and plain, no-frills no-dill? Or perhaps you prefer them infused with garlic and laced with herbiness? You guessed it, we’re talking potatoes.

Some believe that Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes have no place on the Thanksgiving table. Mellow potatoes should accompany your turkey and serve as a neutral note to balance that tart cranberry sauce. Plus, it’s the only thing your picky teen will eat.

Others argue that simple mashed potatoes are a bit too plain, maybe even a waste of time. Add some zing and bam! Your potatoes got a makeover… heads are turning.

So it all comes down to your objective: be a people pleaser or make a statement. It’s your call!

BigOven Food Fight: The Canned Stuff vs. Homemade Cranberry Sauce

1

Running low on time? Bust out a can of cranberry sauce that’s been sitting in your pantry since last Thanksgiving, scoop it into a nice bowl and serve. No one will ever know, right? Tangy and tart with a hint of sweetness, many Thanksgiving eaters can’t even tell the difference between homemade sauce and the canned variety. The turkey is supposed to take center stage anyway, so you might as well let that bird shine.

Perhaps you’re a perfectionist and serving anything out of a can is in no way acceptable. What would Beyonce do? She would whip up some homemade cranberry sauce, send that can “to the left to the left” and have everyone wondering how cranberries stole the show. So channel your inner diva and work that sauce.

Anyone still up for the can?

 

BigOven Food Fight: Your Mama’s Green Bean Casserole vs. Roasted Almond Green Beans

Green Beans 11.8

Comforting and familiar, your mama’s green bean casserole is the definition of Thanksgiving. It’s dependable and consistent. Crunchy and creamy. You can count on it to appear on the Thanksgiving table year after year. You might not know what exactly is in that bubbling casserole, but it doesn’t matter because mom made it and you can always trust mom… or can you?

How did it get so creamy, and why is it still bubbling!? Umm pass! How about some of your brother’s vegan girlfriend’s roasted almond green beans. Who cares about tradition anyway?

 

 

BigOven Food Fight: Round One Recap

Sweet Potatoes 11.1

Marshmallow Topped Sweet Potatoes vs. Naked Sweet Potatoes

The breakdown:

  • 61% bare naked
  • 39% gooey mallow

Conclusion: 

It’s safe to say that sweet potatoes should be enjoyed without those sugary, sticky mallows. Don’t worry, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth by eating an entire pie. (You have our permission.)

Home or Away?

The breakdown:

  • 58% host the feast
  • 42% rather attend

Conclusion:

A majority prefers to stress out in the kitchen rather than on the road. You can always hide in your room if things get too out of hand.

Pumpkin Soup or Any Ole Squash Soup?

The breakdown:

  • 63% prefers another squash
  • 37% faithful to pumpkin

Conclusion:

We’re sorry Mr. Pumpkin, looks like you are a bit too boring on the palate. Might we suggest you stick to pie? Fresh whipped cream and a buttery crust will console you.

Color Orange – Hot or Not?

The breakdown:

  • 61% include orange in the festivities
  • 39% avoid it like the plague

Conclusion:

Whip out your festive orange sweater, this loud color is apparently in. But please, keep that orange tablecloth in the closet… too much of a good thing can actually be bad.

Brussels Sprouts – Stinky or Delicious?

The breakdown:

  • 75% devour them yourself
  • 25% feed them to Fido

Conclusion:

Fido won’t be getting lucky this year, since you stingy Thanksgiving feasters will actually be eating your stinky sprouts.

Fresh or Frozen?

The breakdown:

  • 55% fresh and flavorful
  • 45% frozen and fabulous

Conclusion:

Perhaps frozen is really not that fabulous, especially if you forget to pull that ice block of a bird out of your freezer on time. Whoops!

Well that wraps up week one of our BigOven Food Fight! Check back on our blog every day for a fun, new topic. We want to hear from you! Things are about to get interesting…

 

 

BigOven Food Fight: Brussels Sprouts – Stinky or Delicious?

Brussels Sprouts 11.5

Brussels sprouts. These fall vegetables are both healthy and cute. How can you say no to a veggie that looks like a baby cabbage? Coat the cherubs in olive oil and roast ‘em until they are tender and golden brown. Green beans step aside! Chubby sprouts are taking over Thanksgiving feasts around America.

Despite their angelic gaze, Brussels sprouts fail to win over some folks, who see right past those puppy dog eyes. Alas, sprouts can be real stinkers. Who wants to eat something that smells like Grandpa’s socks? Perhaps the family dog, sure to receive some smelly green handouts under the Thanksgiving table this year (and for years to come).