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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Kids vs Adults 11.7

Kid table vs. grown-up table: a historic rivalry between young and old. But what defines young and old?

The kids’ table generally consists of a scantily clad fold-out, situated somewhere within ear-shot distance of the grown-ups. Six equally messy patrons (aged 17 years-old and below) surround the table, bubbling with energy and tomfoolery. The pros? An atmosphere that is high in energy and excitement. The cons? Kids have a strong aversion to tableside manners, and to all manners for that matter.

Meanwhile, the lofty Thanksgiving vets feast in the formal dining room. Sophisticated wit and two-too-many eggnog cocktails drive the dinner conversation. One or two recently inducted adults glance periodically at the kids’ table, homesick and nostalgic. The pros? You can relax and enjoy your meal in a low-stress environment. The cons? Adults are boring.

And then there’s this limbo area, where the kids at the kids’ table are really 21+ year-old adults of the legal drinking age—in which case, I give the nod to the youngsters.

But we’ll let the panel decide.

BigOven Food Fight: Fresh or Frozen?

Fresh vs Frozen 11.6

Fresh or frozen? That is the question.

First off, let’s not kid ourselves. We can taste the difference between things that were at one time frozen and the real stuff. Fresh food inevitably tastes better, or else it wouldn’t exist. Thanksgiving is a once-a-year occasion, so shouldn’t it be celebrated by dining on the highest-quality groceries? Many would agree.

But with every argument comes a counterargument.

On top of being incredibly cost-efficient, frozen foods are timely. Purchase your groceries weeks in advance, and afford yourself several more hours on the couch while last-minute shoppers wage war at the local market. And we have to acknowledge the conspiracists… Is the difference in taste really that drastic? Is the market for fresh goods really just the result of a sweeping placebo? Am I nodding my head ‘Yes, this tastes better’ because I believe it, or because I know it’s organic?

Let the debate rage on.

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).

BigOven Food Fight: Color Orange – Hot or Not?

Orange 11.4

Orange could be considered one of the more polarizing colors. Some people love its brightness and association with fall. (Pumpkin lovers, we’re talking about you.) While others find it obnoxious and meant for Halloween décor only.

If you choose to incorporate orange into your Thanksgiving, there are a few rules you must keep in mind, that is, if you want to avoid burning your guests’ eyeballs out before they even get a glimpse of Cousin Jo’s scorched tartlet appetizer.

Rule number one

If you decide to wear an orange garment, make sure that your entire outfit is not orange. You don’t want your senile great-aunt mistaking you for the large bottle of Cointreau you purchased for the festivities.

Rule number two

Make sure your table setting is composed primarily of neutral colors, with subtle pops of orange. Less is definitely more here. You want your guests buzzed off of the delicious wine you’re serving, not dizzy from that garish orange tablecloth.

Rule number three (the final rule)

If you’re going to pair orange with green, do so with caution! No one wants moldy Cheetos to come to mind… ever.

Orange you glad we gave you that advice? Now you decide…

BigOven Food Fight: Pumpkin Soup or Any Ole Squash Soup?

Pumpkin or Squash 11.3

It’s a bit chilly outside and your festive sweater just isn’t cutting it. A warm bowl of comforting fall soup will solve this dilemma, heating up your body and soul, as well as your Thanksgiving guests’. Is your soup comprised of trustworthy pumpkin, or will a different squash grace your bowl this year?

Some are enthralled with everything-pumpkin and simply horrified at the thought of replacing this squash. There is no other way… it must be pumpkin!

Others may choose to cut ties with tried and true Mr. Pumpkin (he was getting a little too predictable *ahem* boring) and begin a relationship with nutty Mr. Butternut, or possibly sweet Mr. Kabocha.

BigOven Food Fight: Home or Away?

Home or Away 11.2

“Home for the holidays.”  It’s a phrase that launched a hundred romantic comedies in Hollywood.

Home-field advantage is a thing in sports. Is it also a factor for you at Thanksgiving?  Do you prefer being the home-team, or is traveling to someone else’s pad more your style?  As we see it, the main factors come down to three C’s: comfort, cost and control.


If your destination is close-by, traveling is often the easier choice.  But if you’ve got to make the trek to the airport, with connecting flights, delays, and crowds, hosting is bound to be the easier end of the bargain.


Our informal survey indicates that the home team usually picks up most of the tab, but this can be offset by asking attendees to bring parts of the dinner, especially the wine!  Or, of course, by rotating the venue.


Control-freaks host. No question, the home team gets to control the menu, the timing, the invitation list, who-gets-which-leftovers and key roles… like who gets-to-clean-up.