BigOven Food Fight: Giving Thanks vs. Saying Grace

11.19 Giving Thanks vs Prayer


On Thanksgiving, millions of Americans from all backgrounds and religions will come together, possibly watch a lot of football and definitely eat a lot of food. But before the festivities begin, tell us, what’s your pre-meal ritual of choice – giving thanks or saying grace?

Families who invite people of many faiths and beliefs into their homes may choose to give thanks. Going around the table, everyone will get to hear charming words of gratitude, stories that make us smile and fond memories. Sounds so lovely, right? It totally is while the first few in-laws, aunts and uncles, grandparents and even strangers say their piece. But as these words of thanks continue, stomachs may start to rumble, elbow fights may ensue at the kids table and the dog may cause some mischief because he’s not going to wait any longer for turkey scraps.

For other families, saying grace is the way to go. Grace can be led by the host or the kids, seated or standing, with hands held and heads bowed or hands clasped in prayer. Some guests remember the words, or perhaps grace is “freestyled” in your home. Grace is a time to pause before the feast and share a prayer for the year’s blessings – plus there’s the added benefit of being able to eat right away! Unless the host is exceptionally long-winded. You might just have to settle for cold turkey.





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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Roast Turkey vs. Fried Fowl

The breakdown:

  • 84% roasted turkey
  • 16% fried fowl


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: 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.