Thanksgiving Dinner Disasters

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Turkey Day is the best holiday of the year for a simple reason: It's all about the food. That's great if Grandma is a gourmet cook. It's not so great if her main kitchen utensil is a can opener. To provide a little relief from less-than-appetizing family gatherings, Alive asked readers to share their Thanksgiving Dinner Disasters. The winner gets to take a break from oyster dressing and enjoy dinner for four from Shane's Gourmet Catering. The runner-up gets our sympathy - and, apparently, another serving of Johnny Marzetti.

The winner!

Baby Vomit & Saltines

Ugh! Disgusting! Oyster "dressing" - canned oysters, saltine crackers, cream and butter. There's no way to describe the salty, greasy, slimy way this tastes. The crackers absorb the butter and cream and it all congeals, leaving the oysters to float around, unmoored.

My father-in-law makes this dish every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, and the rest of my husband's family thinks it's the best. They can't figure out why I don't want seconds or thirds of something that, quite frankly, looks like baby vomit. I manage to down a spoonful or two to make them happy, but holy God, is it hard!

-Donna K.


The Meat of the Matter

My uncle is on his third wife, who is a vegetarian. There are two other vegetarians in my family. My grandmother tries to be welcoming, which is admirable, but her cooking suggests otherwise.

Our Thanksgiving fare is fairly normal: turkey (clearly a meat), stuffing, special rolls, green bean casserole and pies for dessert. My grandmother is very particular about the long-standing family recipe for green bean casserole, which includes ham (clearly a meat). She's reluctant to change anything about it, even to accommodate our vegetarians.

However, as a show of acceptance, my grandmother consistently makes Johnny Marzetti "for the vegetarians." In her mind, because it's a noodle dish, it's vegetarian-friendly - never mind the reality that it's cooked with ground beef (clearly a meat).

As much as we try to talk her out of creating this disastrous dish, it always appears - "for the vegetarians," of course. The first time this happened, we thought she was kidding. Years later, we just don't have the heart to tell her otherwise.

-Dan S.