That's the rule: Don't mess with Thanksgiving dinner.
Here's the blueprint:
Roasted turkey with strips of bacon on the top. Internal temperature 170.
Cornbread stuffing with ground sausage, onions, celery and pecans.
Cheese scalloped potatoes.
Claire's fresh green bean casserole with mushroom sauce and onion bits.
Dad's candied sweet potatoes.
Brussels sprouts with roasted chestnuts
Those items are "fixed" on the menu and subject to change only after an experimental phase followed by general consensus. The green bean casserole, for example, was added several years ago after a couple of years as an unofficial side dish.
Molly's cranberry relish was added last year as a trial and survived another year as an experimental side.
Here are things that were mistakes from the get go: goose, fish, ham, turducken and anything not turkey. Mashed potatoes - not a hit. Grilled yams with mango sauce - just say no. Roasted potatoes and carrots were once on the list, but have fallen out of favor in the last decade or so.
I once offered to smoke the turkey. Vetoed.
How about deep frying the turkey? Uh, no, no and No. En Oh.
We could go out for dinner. Sure, and we'll skip Christmas, too. Not a chance.
It's not a bad rut to be stuck into. We have a few traditional items that we only make once or twice a year, for no reason other than it's what we do once or twice a year, and we bring in new items not as replacements for traditional fare, but to provide some new excitement to the dinner.
Thanksgiving Dinner is something we look forward to all year long. It's just not the sort of thing you'd want to prepare every day or even once a month. It's too special. Of course, in a few short weeks we'll be doing it all over again with Christmas Dinner but, you know, we're already looking forward to that!