There are few things that give TLO more delight than ragging on The Pioneer Woman. My personal biggest complaint with her is that most of her recipes that I’ve attempted just turned out mediocre at best. I consider myself an able home cook, but I just can’t make her food taste good.
The most egregious was when I attempted Ree’s cornbread recipe, that probably had a huge lead-up about how “The Marlboro Man (my hubby) just hates food that isn’t raw steak, so I had to convince him to try my great-grand-mema’s recipes, and he LOVED IT!” The cornbread sucked, and after all the bad food blogger cornbread recipes that I’ve tried, these days I just resort to the boxed Jiffy stuff.
Anyways, since this is the season for potlucks between work, family, and friends, and we’re all obligated to bring home-cooked food everywhere, I thought I’d embark on the proud TLO contributor tradition of scrolling through the Pioneer Woman archive and – as opposed to being positive –finding her worst Thanksgiving recipes…
Look, I realllllllly love asparagus. It’s one of the tastiest and most hearty vegetables with the simplest of preparation. But there are two major problems with bringing this to the Turkey Day Table. The first is that most people don’t know how to cook it, and if it’s been sitting out too long, the stalks get soggy and soft and gross. Secondly, asparagus isn’t even in season this time of year. Sure, you can find it at the store, but it’s not seasonal until early spring and summer. This would be like cooking pot roast for the 4th of July.
The very first episode of 30 Rock, when we met the character Tracy Jordan, he ate at a restaurant with Liz Lemon where he was about to be served pumpkin ravioli, and was rightly infumed. Pumpkin is bullshit in everything but pie, and especially in something like ravioli. You wanna bite into that pillowy pasta and get a burst of savory ingredients, not a bunch of sweet gourd.
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
This is actually one of my favorite Thanksgiving foods ever. One of my friends got the recipe from his mom and he makes it every year and it’s the biggest hit on the table. I even drafted in on Free Queso’s fantasy Thanksgiving league. In fact, you should totally make this recipe, I’m only calling bullshit because Pioneer Woman appears to use fresh broccoli instead of the frozen bagged stuff. Call me pretentious, but this dish demands processed food to keep it as pure as possible.
Edna Mae’s Escalloped Cabbage
This one kinda falls into the asparagus category, where most people don’t know how to cook it properly, and it tends to just be stinky and soggy. And even though I’ve advocated for Velveeta in the above recipe, Cheez Whiz is a bridge way too fuckin far for me to cross.
I don’t care how good this is, if you show up to an American Thanksgiving party with a bunch of smoothies, it’s like you don’t even understand the holiday at all.
As much as we bash Pioneer Woman, I truly want to find some of her recipes that are enjoyable. If you’ve got any suggestions, let me know in the comments, particularly if they are for pies or veggie side dishes, because that’s what I’ve signed up for on my Friendsgiving!