I'm halfway done with two other posts, but am just too scatterbrained the last few days to finish them coherently. Instead, I'll confess some of the strange, perhaps even distasteful holiday foods to which I am secretly devoted. I got to thinking about the subject while planning my Thanksgiving menu. Every year, the holiday season causes some of my funny obsessions to rear their embarrassing heads. What are these dishes of shame, these celebratory foodstuffs I anticipate each year?
Well, for one, Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce. I adore that wiggly, ridged log of delightful sweet-tartness. I'm fond of cranberries generally, particularly in more respectable preparations, but that blue and white can holds a special place in my heart for reasons that go deeper than nostalgia. For one, the rich, butter-laden holiday plate needs a bright flavor note just to keep the palate awake. Of course, a well-made whole berry sauce can fill that role as well, but there's just something about that jelly texture that enthralls me. And of course, the whole point of cooking a turkey is to have leftover turkey sandwiches. My mom and I prefer ours on whole-grain bread with spicy honey mustard, a layer of cornbread dressing, and a thick slab of gelatinous cranberry goodness.
Even more humiliating, I love green bean casserole. Yes, the kind with the cream of mushroom soup and French's French-fried onions. Lord knows why. I learned to make béchamel specifically to use it instead of Campbell's cream of what ever in those kinds of old-fashioned recipes, and yet, I can't bring myself to tart up green bean casserole. It tastes perfect already, soft and creamy and salty, laden with those addictive crispy onion bits. Actually, those may be the secret of my devotion to green bean casserole. I have to buy the big can when I make it so I have plenty to munch on. They look funny, the coat the roof of your mouth, and yet, as I write this, I've developed a craving so intense my stomach just rumbled a little. I don't have the excuse of nostalgia on this one either. Since basically everyone in the world but me things this stuff is gross, I didn't really grow up with it. My grandmother makes it now, but I don't know that anyone but me eats it.