Worst Thanksgiving Foods Ever

Ah, November. The leaves are turning colors, the air is getting cooler (at least in some places), and families all across the United States are preparing for the ultimate gorge-fest known as Thanksgiving.

This is a time where families get together to give thanks for the blessings they’ve received over the year and to appreciate one another. The story goes that when English colonists first arrived in America, they were greeted by the natives and received gifts of food and were taught to grow corn and fish and hunt the new land, and every year since they’ve had a big feast to celebrate and little kids wear paper pilgrim hats and feathered headdresses and cover their parents’ refrigerators with hand-drawn turkeys. (This, of course, is the traditional white-man history, and we can all imagine that corn being a little more bloody than they like to admit.) But the biggest part of Thanksgiving is always the food. Roasted turkey, stuffing, vegetables, breads, anything made out of a pumpkin, and the desserts! My god the desserts! A true feastival. But as you can probably imagine, some of these holiday “treats” may seem a little on the…well…disgusting side. Here’s a smattering of traditional Thanksgiving foods that even monkeys won’t eat:

Giblet Gravy

First of all, I don’t believe I’ve ever met a giblet fan who wasn’t alive during the Great Depression of the 30s, and sheer desperation is the only reason I can think of for someone wanting to eat the “offal” of a bird. It’s not quite haggis, but it’s still not quite right. Your general bag o’ giblets contains the heart, liver, gizzard, and neck (yep, the neck) of your turkey. The smell is, well, about what you would expect the inside of a turkey to smell like. And what the hell is a gizzard anyways? Isn’t it usually filled with dirt and rocks? Talk about true grit! Wikipedia’s “gizzards” entry remarks that “the demand for human consumption is low in most Western countries, so they are more often sold to pet food manufacturers.” And rightly so, my friends, rightly so.

Oyster Dressing

Alright, Yankees, pipe down. I know this is a favorite of many New Englanders, Midwesterners, even some Northwestern folk, who all love their seafood. But chances are, you’re the same people that keep Clamato on our grocery store shelves. First off, mixing poultry and shellfish is a little disconcerting, especially uncooked shellfish. (I take time now to exclude shrimp from this statement, because everyone knows that shrimp and chicken go together like Page and Plant.) There’s just something uncomfortable about bread that tastes like fish. Even Jesus kept his loaves and fishes separate.

Tomato Aspic

This one was suggested by my dear mother, who fortunately shares many of my culinary distastes. Apparently this dish is more popular in Europe, especially England (shouldn’t that tell you something?). From what I can tell, it consists of tomatoes blended into a gelatin (lemon Jell-O was suggested) with some sort of spices mixed in…I’ve seen recipes that called for onions, bell peppers, pickle relish, Tabasco, Worcestershire, olives, the atrocities go on. Even one layered with tuna salad. Often served with a mayonnaise or cottage cheese condiment, I honestly can’t think of anything less appetizing. How about I vomit, mix it with Jell-O, and serve it up in a nice little bundt pan with some congealed sour milk. Bon Appetit!

Jell-O Conglomerates

In a similar vein to the aforementioned aspic, these dishes in their many incarnations seem to show up at everyone’s Thanksgiving table, always brought by some aunt whose cooking skills have never been exactly top notch (chances are she’s also the one in the sweatshirt with the giant smiling cartoon turkey on it who talks too loud and does a lot of the cheek pinching). Now, I can understand mixing fruit into Jell-O, itself being a fruity desserty happy food. But when my relatives show up with lime Jell-O mixed with cheddar cheese and pecans and pineapple and maraschinos, the bile starts to rise a little. And here’s a tip for aunts/mothers/grandmothers the world over: putting it in a cute patterned bundt pan does not make it look more appetizing.

Canned Cranberry Sauce

This one is sure to be contested by many, and for the record it was included at the behest of the Magnificent Bastard himself. This Thanksgiving classic rounds out our Bad Gelatin Trifecta, because while it’s not outright offensive in conception or even necessarily in taste, there’s something that’s just unappetizing about can-shaped gelatin on a plate. It reminds me of something you’d see in one of the gut-wrenching portraits of starving families in slums during the Industrial Revolution: “Here’s your dinner, kids, and it looks like it’s still in the can!” And god forbid your family chef be the kind to go in for the “dented can bargain basket”, because as soon as you drop that fancy plate with its oddly misshapen lump, the whole family is gonna know that you’re the tightwad who just had to save twelve cents on an 88 cent can of berry-flavored goo.

Brussel Sprouts

Every child’s worst fear. As kids, we avoided these dreaded little cabbages, and i’ve got a secret for you…they’re still disgusting! If the smell doesn’t get you, the bizarre texture will, and no matter how much you drench them in butter, they’re still gonna taste like sour coleslaw. Now if you look at these little guys in their natural habitat, they grow on huge stalks reminiscent of the sleeping pod columns in The Matrix (which in itself is a little icky), but they’re also surrounded by spiny protrusions which, to me, screams “don’t eat me!” Take the hint, friends, leave them be.

Pickled Beets

I’m a firm believer that things that are not pickles should not be “pickled”. This mushy red tuber is no exception. Luckily my only real significant experience with beets comes from watching a lot of “Doug” cartoons when I was younger (Nickelodeon, anyone?), so I haven’t had too many forced down my throat. A good thing too, because besides being outright gross, beets have been known since Roman times for their properties as a strong laxative. Think prunes on steroids. Some defend the beet, remarking that it is an excellent source of boron, which is a key ingredient in the formation of human sex hormones…as for me, I’ll stick to chocolate and tequila. (Besides, being all revved up at the Thanksgiving table might not be the best idea, and having to drop a deuce while your in the sack is a sure-fire turn-off.)

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