Thanksgiving is really a spread more than a meal, if you think about it. Cranberry sauce, gravy and turkey notwithstanding, dishes don't necessarily appear together because they compliment one another. Whether they're part of a family routine or a conviction of what the holiday meal is supposed to include, tradition demands that the dishes share a table. While in the right cook's hands, the homeliest of dishes can be wonderful -- when it comes to the soft, mashed, beige-toned universe of Thanksgiving sides, some traditions, even well-established ones, ought to perish along with that pitiful Broad Breasted White you hauled home from Trader Joe's.
4. Corn Pudding:
Corn is good and all, but fresh corn is not usually putting its best kernel forward come late November. And on a holiday where sticks of the yellow stuff [editor's note
: that would be butter, although this is kind of a Kubrick moment here] drop like bodies in a World War II flick, there are infinitely better butter-delivery systems than a dense thick slab of this. Maybe add macaroni and cheese and take away the corn and egg?
3. Oyster Stuffing:
Our stepmom does this pretty well, but we've had some stinkers: A mealy specimen riddled with celery chunks and studded with whole, slippery, canned oysters seemingly the size of deflated tires. We don't mind a brined bird, but we cannot suffer a brined stuffing that smells like the floor of a grubby fish market.