BigOven Food Fight: Squash – Overload or Keep it Coming?

11.16 Squash

Let’s talk about squash. With over ten common varieties of winter squash, the options are endless. Soups, stews, baked sides, roasted mains – you name it, you can probably cook it with squash. With the colder weather comes a more limited selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, but squash is here, summer and winter, rain or shine. He’s a steady friend, there in whatever capacity we need him.

The thing is, he’s gotten a bit trendy lately. Suddenly he’s snuck his way into every soup, salad and side dish. Everywhere we look, there he is, dressed up in a new outfit, looking a whole lot more flashy than he used to. At first, it was a good look for him. But it’s November and we miss avocados and tomatoes and we’re starting to wonder if we’re ready to squash the squash.

Tell us, are you?

BigOven Food Fight: Cook Does it All or Passes Off the Cleaning Duty?

Cooking vs Cleaning 11.15

There’s little debate that preparing the Thanksgiving feast takes a fierce and not-easily-intimidated cook. After all, Thanksgiving is primarily about food (okay, and the pilgrims, I guess). We look forward to this meal – when else do we roast an entire bird or make homemade gravy?

Coupling high expectations with coordinating cooking times, oven space and guests’ dietary restrictions would make many a cook’s head spin. By the end of the meal, the cook may be ready for an extended period of (well-deserved) couch time. Time to pass off that cleaning duty – let others scrub while you veg out and chat with guests.

For the ultimate host(ess), perhaps Thanksgiving duties extend beyond the meal. After all, there are so many dishes and it’s easier for the person who knows where they all go to head off the cleaning.

BigOven Food Fight: Host Keeps the Goodies or Shares the Leftover Bounty?

Leftovers 11.14

Greed: an unavoidable emotion when leftover turkey, stuffing, and apple pie are on the line. But whose greed will ultimately prevail?

Most would say that the host, the almighty creator of Thanksgiving dinner, is automatically entitled to the leftovers. He or she did, in fact, slave over the kitchen stove while the remaining partygoers huddled around the television set and beer cooler. It’s only right that the Thanksgiving salvage belongs to the one that produced it? Isn’t it?

But what about this whole being a gracious host thing? Didn’t the host sign up for this gig in the first place? Graciousness is clearly defined in the dictionary as a Thanksgiving host that provides his/her guests with stowaways for the ride home. If this wasn’t the case, no one would come back.

Some will advocate compromise, the truly Thanksgiving thing to do. But bear in mind, compromise can be messy—there’s always a better piece of pie.

BigOven Food Fight: Assigned Seating or Free-for-All?

Assigned Seating 11.13

Have you ever shown up to Thanksgiving dinner, pumped for the merrymaking, only to discover that you’ve been seated next to Aunt Phyllis yet again? You sink into your chair, resigning yourself to tales of her 12 cats for the entire meal. You quietly curse the seating chart mastermind at the head of the table as you tuck into the turkey.

We’ve all been there. But there are also some great benefits of assigned seating. You might meet someone new and interesting you wouldn’t have talked to otherwise. Plus, the awkward standing-around-the-table-not-sure-where-to-sit moment is completely avoided.

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: Gorge Early or Build Some Anticipation?

Eating Time 11.11

When was the last time you sat down to a feast of epic proportions at 2 pm?

Perhaps it was last Thanksgiving.

Some ardent supporters consider “linner” (lunch-dinner) a Thanksgiving must. There’s good logic behind getting an early start. Eating in the afternoon allows the meal to stretch many hours and gives guests a fighting chance at combatting the L-tryptophan-induced post-turkey nap. Heck, your guests can conk out on the couch and still wake up with evening hours to spare for board games and chitchat.

But maybe you’re the type who has to stick to a consistent schedule, or your entire life with become out of whack. Eating early will ruin everything! In this case, you’re probably better off consuming Thanksgiving dinner at 6:01 pm, like all other sane people.

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: Telly – On or Not?

TV 11.9

Context is everything.

If you’re like me, and your roommates are your parents, the TV is a must. It acts to supplement dinnertime conversation—conversation that would otherwise morph into what my high school exes are up to. You can always divert your attention to the tube, an admirable tactic when seated next to an awkward stranger. And if you are that awkward stranger? Even better.

Oh wait, Grandpa just made a terrible joke about Aunt Jillian’s new haircut? Great news: no one heard because they were too focused on the game.

On the other hand, isn’t Thanksgiving a time meant for laughter and renewed relationships? Aren’t we here to spend time with each other and not the TV? From this perspective, television can most definitely counteract the would-be special moments. Thanksgiving should be dedicated to the family and friends around us, not a 60-inch flat screen.

With each argument in mind, how will you set the mood during Thanksgiving?

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…