Thanksgiving Food Review

This is a food entry. If all works out as planned, it’ll be a long food entry, because if I don’t handicap the verbiage, my Meyer lemon meringue pie (tasty as it was) will never compete with the pecan pie, 4 feet in diameter, shaped like a Koch snowflake.

Since it is now three days after I started writing the post, it obviously hasn’t worked out as planned, and is short. But it has headings!


Thanksgiving has become for my social circle what Christmas is for so many others: a time to viciously compete with the memories of last year, backstabbing the turducken and the coolers full of MSG brine with… a DIY spit roast. It was an entertaining piece of machinery, but you fundamentally can’t beat boiling oil for a delicious bird, and I’m still hung up on the turducken.

However, a pit roasted duck-in-a-turkey-in-a-lamb would surpass everything, both in infrastructure and in deliciousness.

Cranberry Sauce, and A Brief Discourse on Recipes on the Backs of Things

I do cranberry sauce from the recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray bag. It’s one of those recipes that simply can’t be improved upon.

And it seems to me that there are two wholly separable kinds of recipes on the backs of things. The first is simple and perfect – there is an optimal sugar ratio, and the Ocean Spray bag has it. As does the Toll House chocolate chip bag.

The second, of course, is the kind with seven extraneous products from the same company mashed in to a casserole dish with chow mein noodles on top.


I took over the yams, as it’s not Thanksgiving without yams, and I don’t like mashed potatoes anyway. I tried an apricot brandy based glaze, which was fine but for N things:

  1. I have a problem with glaze texture. I always want it shiny and thick, but end up with something too runny and have to add flour. Which makes the glaze cloudy, and a bit floury-tasting.
  2. The yams were overdone and mushy.
  3. The apricot brandy taste was too strong.

With a little more attention to chemistry, it would have made a splendid topping for vanilla ice cream.


I have pictures of the fractal pecan pie on my camera; I’ll post ’em to the photoblog one of these days, really (here’s a teaser). Meanwhile, I made a meringue! And the meringue worked! And was tasty beyond measure! Unlike most lemon meringue pies, this one actually tasted like lemons. Not only did it taste like lemons, the Meyer-ness of them was intensified beyond what you can taste in Meyer lemonade or similar concoctions; I credit the double (almost treble) dose of zest. I substituted lemon juice for some of the liquid in the meringue proper, too (lemons do grow on trees, and abundantly) but couldn’t tell that it made any difference.

It’s good that my incipient experimental citrus meringue pie phase coincides with the beginning of citrus season.

And I was also planning to offer a stirring defense of the pumpkin pie, as a Platonic form of pie as well as in general practice, but the moment has passed.


  1. denisdekat wrote:

    Any connection between yams and yami?

  2. Ruth wrote:

    Try using corn starch as your thickener for a shiny glaze or gravy. It’s less likely to clump than flour, too.
    I agree totally with your cranberry sauce recipe source.

  3. Yanes wrote:

    I believe there is a THIRD type of recipe found on the back of the product: the why-the-hell-you-should-buy-this-bizzaro-product recipe. marshmellow cream’s fudge recipe comes to mind.
    some food products have greater difficulty justifing their existance, i guess
    Mm, if glaze is too thick, add a litte butter and a lot of powdered sugar. Cook a long time and she’ll go clear, a la orange frosting for cupcakes.

  4. yami wrote:

    Denisdekat: Only the incidental phonetic one.
    Ruth, Yanes: Will try. Tak!
    Also: I think the package that justifies its own product is just a special case of a set of products where each is justified by the recipe on the back of another.

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