There seem to be two distinct camps regarding acceptable holiday food protocol: those who believe that tradition is sacred and would prefer to eat the familiar Thanksgiving menu they grew up with, and those who like to experiment with new dishes every year. The staunchly traditional bunch seem to be a lot more prevalent and a lot more vocal.
I'm pretty sure I fall in the second category. I love family traditions and, yes, there are a handful of holiday foods that I look forward to all year and wouldn't dream of ousting (Mom's braided onion bread anyone?), but I also recognize that much of my cooking pleasure derives from trying new things- new processes, new flavor combinations, the ever-present thrill of possible failure... The risks certainly increase when experimenting with unfamiliar dishes, but so do the chances of stumbling your way into food nirvana.
So, what do you think? Is it wise to experiment with your Thanksgiving menu on an already high-stress cooking day, or are you better off sticking to well-vetted standbys? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
P.S. The heavenly dessert pictured above is this pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust that I discovered several years ago when we decided to buck the traditional pumpkin pie. Now the cheesecake has become our new tradition. A perfect example of experimentation being oh-so worth it...
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