Something on the Side
Although the stars of the Thanksgiving feast may be turkey, baked ducks, baked ham, or roasted wild ducks, the side dishes for the celebration table are as, if not more, important.
In Louisiana, you will find rice dressing (with or without oysters), cornbread dressing, some kind of sweet potato dish, and probably something or other served au gratin.There are some families who also might have maque choux (smothered corn), buttered carrots, and petit pois (small young green peas) combined with green beans mixed with a béchamel sauce in which grated cheese of some kind is included. Or what about a spinach casserole as well as one made with cabbage? There probably could be small chicken and oyster pies, and potato salad or perhaps a fruit compote, maybe both.
Elsewhere in the South, side dishes might include creamy corn pudding, warm dinner rolls, green peas, rice with giblet gravy, baked grits, beaten biscuits, perhaps sweet potatoes in orange baskets, and the inevitable mashed potatoes.
Up in New England, the turkey will probably be stuffed with a chestnut dressing. Other sides may include succotash, anything made with pumpkins and/or squash, applesauce, root vegetables, cranberries, and some kind of potatoes.
Follow your nose West, and along the way, you might be tempted by dishes made with every vegetable from A to Z---artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, corn, eggplant, green beans, parsnips, potatoes, peas, spinach, squash, tomatoes, and zucchini. Each region has its own preparations dictated by heritage, tradition, and style.
Whatever the sides are in your region, it's a guarantee that everything won't fit on your plate, but that's what it's all about---gathering with family and friends to enjoy the best, freshest, available ingredients.
If you're overwhelmed by getting a turkey, goose, duck, or whatever to the table, and can't even focus on sides dishes, the Bam Man has these suggestions. A few words of wisdom---visit your local produce stands, get organized, try to make dishes a day or so in advance, and keep it as simple as you can.
Spectacular Side Dishes