Before we get into what was grossly omitted, which I'm sure jumped out to everybody else right away, let's break down what was served.
As everybody knows, the President makes ita point to "pardon" a couple turkeys every year. This year being no exception.
(Fun fact - President John F. Kennedy was the first to pardon a bird sent over for dinner from the National Turkey Federation. After being presented with a turkey complete with a sign that read "Good eating, Mr. President," Kennedy responded by saying, "We'll just let this one grow." It was the LA Times that deemed the act a "presidential pardon." In 1987, Ronald Reagan was the first president to actually use the word "pardon" while being presented with the annual Thanksgiving turkey, according to NPR. George H.W. Bush later made the action a formal event.)
The one that didn't make the cut, or did actually, got cooked up with a crispy herb-rubbed crust.
Strong centerpiece. If you're going to build a team around one item, this is the one. Thyme goes hard in the motherfuckin paint. It's not one of those herbs that sits there and looks good, but doesn't show up in the box score. It's pungent on the nose and the tastebuds. Not overpowering like rosemary, but not easy to overlook like oregano. A little goes a long way. And don't forget the sidekick pearl onions. Pearl onions are one of the true unsung heroes of the culinary game. Garnish for a nice Gibson, great complimentary ingredient for potatoes and meat alike. Overall, a strong first pick.
This was the First Lady's family recipe and I wanted to knock it but after analyzing the ingredients, it's hard to. This sounds pretty fuckin legit-
My grandmom’s secret ingredient to her stuffing was stale Italian bread to soak up the stock, and Trisha’s grandmother used saltines for a nice crunch. On the show, we cooked up a combination of both of our family traditions!
Trisha there is, Trisha Yearwood, country music star and Garth Brooks' wife.
Personally, I'd rock with Ritz Crackers over saltines, because you'd get the same crunch but with the added bonus of the butter, but that's just me. (Fun fact - some of the best restaurant's meatball recipes include crushed up ritz crackers in place of breadcrumbs).
The real Italian bread plays. Stouffer's all day every day, but once you have a good, homemade stuffing, there's no going back.
3- Classic Turkey Gravy -
Duh. (we'll address this at the end)
Fat guys will shame this pick but give me a good root vegetable, lightly roasted with some olive oil, sea salt, and shallots (chefs magic weapon) all day every day. We're talking -
- Sweet potatoes
- Brussels sprouts
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
That's a murderers' row of a lineup. And the best part is you don't need to really do anything to them besides roast them and lightly season them. They do all the work themselves.
5- Sweet potatoes, Kale, and Button Mushrooms
Listen, Rachel Ray is my girl. I fuckin love her.
But what in the fuck is this?
This recipe is from DEEP DEEP in her playbook. I bet you even she didn't remember she cooked up this one.
So why is the White House on Thanksgiving???
If you're gonna go sweet potatoes, you go either marshmallow, or brown sugar, or nothing. None of this green superfood and mushroom caps that look like the head of a penis bullshit.
Awful choice. I can feel things beginning to fall apart.
6- Cranberry Relish
Yah, the wheels are officially coming off.
What the fuck is this garbage?
This looks like shitty Mexican restaurant salsa. I feel like the guys from the old Pace commercials,
I know my fellow New Englanders want to throw their computers through the wall looking at this abortion of cranberry sauce. It's maddening because why fix something that's not broke?
You have two choices when it comes to cranberries on Thanksgiving.
You either go all out and buy or make the real stuff.
It's actually easier than you'd think.
Or, you buy the canned stuff, honor tradition, and join in the universal surprise of how something that looks so bad can taste so good.
7- Apple Pie
We're already into the desserts which means that was it for the sides. Kinda pathetic if we're being honest. When I think White House spreads, I think lavish, buffet looking, with three or four different styles of everything. The leftovers go to the staff.
Apple pie is a solid, safe pick. Especially if you go dutch style with the extra cinnamon and layered top.
8 - Pumpkin Pie
I'm in the camp that doesn't get the hype around pumpkin pie. It's not bad. I wouldn't kick it out of bed. But if it's as good as all the pumpkin pie die-hards like to exclaim, then why do we never ever see it any other time of year? It's strictly a Thanksgiving thing and if it wasn't, we'd never hear it's name. To each their own though. It's a Thanksgiving staple and thus needs to be on the White House menu. Which leads me to the point of this blog, coming up…
9 - Coconut Cream Pie
Show me a man that claims to not like a good cream pie and I'll show you a liar.
10- Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
The President is known for his love of ice cream so no surprise here. Would I have gone regular vanilla, or vanilla bean here, to pair it with the warm apple pie? Yes, but what do I know?
That's it. That was the menu.
Notice anything missing?
If you said mashed potatoes, good for you. You're an American.
How the fuck do you not serve mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving?
I'm no expert like the rest of the Chicago brain trust, but they concurred
I'm not hating on sweet potatoes whatsoever. I love them. But you can easily go both. Sweet potatoes are a whole different consistency, taste, etc.
There is no comparison to some nice Yukon Gold's, mashed up, with lots of butter, and some cream or milk. Garlic if you really wanna be fancy but not required.
And you know what the craziest part of this all is?
They had gravy on the menu?
So what the hell did they do, use it strictly for the Turkey? Gravy doesn't pair with anything else on this menu. Which is why mashed potatoes were so imperative.
Just a total abomination. Not even mad at the White House Chef either. You know this was 100% FLOTUS overthinking and trying too hard.
p.s. - not to nitpick, but how do you not have any Parker House rolls, crescent croissants, or Kings Hawaiian dinner rolls served at Thanksgiving? Nothing better than wiping the plate spotless with the bread.
p.p.s. - that minx Martha Stewart dropped what just might be the greatest Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich recipe of all time