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People Are Debating the Absolute Worst Thanksgiving Side Dishes—Do You Agree?

Redditors call out the very worst creations to hit their family's holiday table.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, we all have our favorite side dishes (in my family, a meal is not complete without a big fluffy bowl of Stove Top). But when one Reddit user started a discussion about the absolute worst Thanksgiving side dishes of all time, the comments were brimming with vivid, not-so-tasty memories of vintage Thanksgiving tablescapes.

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"Worst"old school thanksgiving side dish.
byu/Otherwise-Flamingo93 inOld_Recipes

And fellow Redditors did not disappoint with their responses.

"I'm just here to see all the answers detailing abominations in jello," commented one person.

"I LOVED my grandmother's jello abomination!" replied another, who went on to detail the dish containing lime Jell-O, Cool Whip, marshmallows, cream cheese, pineapple, and pecans. "Maybe maraschino cherries," they wrote. "Maybe I will make it this Thanksgiving in her honor!"

ambrosia salad

In fact, many of the best of the worst side dishes did include the use of fruit-flavored gelatin and mixing lots of random things with it, including peas and carrots. Still, other commenters posted about their family's penchant for baking up creamed onions, "salads" that involve pudding mix (whaa?), and even a dish containing canned pears, shredded cheese, and mayo (cue the vomit emoji).

"We made Black Cherry jello with cherries stuffed with toasted pecans, in individual fancy molds," commented another person. "My mom made a sort of topping out of cream cheese mixed up with nuts…The cherry juice was used instead of water in the jello so it was an intense, and sweet, flavor."

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Grandmas and nanas across the country are apparently famous for their ambrosia salads and cottage cheese-filled concoctions, and not all the memories are bad. In fact, many posters were nostalgic for foods containing Jell-O, Cool Whip, and pudding mix that became popular at potlucks across America and naturally made their way onto our holiday tables.

Other dishes conjured up a creepier image.

"…My boys when they were young called any of the cool whip or jello pudding mix based 'salads' dead man's salad because they were at every funeral," wrote one person.

Others offered their family's take on a vegetable side dish.

"We do creamed onions, which is just jarred peal onions in bechamel. It's really tasty but not very pretty."

"Oohh, my favorite!" a fellow poster unironically replied. "If there's room in the oven, put them in a baking dish with buttered bread crumbs on top, just for 5 minutes to brown."

jello with meat and vegetables

Aspic, aka "meat jelly" was also on the table for some. "Tomato aspic. Tomato flavored jello," wrote one poster. "A wiggly blood clot for your holiday table! Festive!"

"My mom added sliced green olives and finely chopped celery to hers," replied another person with fond aspic memories. "We used to laugh about it being a jello Bloody Mary."

"My MIL puts shrimp in hers," added another person.

Moving away from Jell-O, one person shared a recipe for what might be the winner of the best worst side dish—a pear "salad." A Reddit user shared their family recipe: "…canned pear half with a blob of mayonnaise in the middle, a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese and a maraschino cherry on top."

Ronnie Koenig
Ronnie Koenig has written about food, drink, travel and culture for The New York Times, TODAY, The Atlantic and many others. Read more about Ronnie
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