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CHARM CITY COOK: Thanksgiving sides, family favorites and new traditions

Sides. Even the word indicates an afterthought. Not at Thanksgiving. Nope. Sides can really be some of the best things of the entire meal. Give me turkey, though, I gotta have it. And, honestly, for me, Thanksgiving is really about traditions. Maybe your mom made the best candied yams or your uncle was the bird carver? For me, it’s about that dollop of sauerkraut (this is Baltimore, after all) to remind me of my sweet dad. He was the absolute best.

I have a few big favorites. One is controversial: Stove Top stuffing. It’s a childhood memory thing. I will defend it til the end of time. And I have tried cranberry sauce every way you can imagine and I cannot get into it. (But I always put it on my plate and I try it.) That’s the best part about food, really…it’s all so subjective. There is really no “best” but there are definitely foods that evoke memories and foods that just make you really happy. Like, I love a plate full of leftovers the next day – not a sandwich – a full-on redo of the day before. And, in general I dislike leftovers. Thanksgiving is the exception to the rule for me. Bring it on. My mom’s all like “I know, I know…make extra..” (eye roll)

I’m especially excited for Thanksgiving this year, as I am working with the folks at Eddie’s of Roland Park to navigate what can truly be an overwhelming time of year – especially for folks new to cooking or entertaining. Here on my blog, on Facebook and Instagram, I’m going to talk about some of my favorite things at Eddie’s after being a customer for my entire adult life. Oh dear God, that’s almost 30 years of Caesar salads, Utz chips, blondies and lemon bars, to name just a few special things from this Baltimore institution – 75 years running.

First up, Thanksgiving prep and planning. My personal plan? Talk with my mom and see what she wants me to bring. My mom lives in an assisted living facility in Baltimore County and the last few years, we’ve been doing a mini-Thanksgiving there with one of my brothers. This year, I think I will spring for some of Eddie’s famous crab cakes. I am very picky about crab cakes…so much so that I don’t eat them out very often. And, funny enough, I have had three friends in the last few months admit to me that they buy crab cakes from the prepared food case at Eddie’s and pass them off as homemade. I’m not judging you people. You’re smart. Scrappy. ps.I think I might make oyster stuffing for the first time this year, but I might be the only one eating it!

One thing I didn’t know: for a small fee, you can bring your own platters to Eddie’s and they will arrange food on them for you. The cost is $6.95 per platter and I feel like that is something more people should take advantage of – it’s so old school – I love old school. Also, they have this “Dinner for Six” thing where for $75 you get a turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, your choice of two sides (For my Friendsgiving, I’m getting Brussels sprouts and carrots + parsnips) and a pie. And you can have it delivered. I mean, what kind of crazy world do we live in now?

So, now I have some questions. If you had to choose ONE SIDE as your most beloved, what is it? Do you have a dish you’re known in your family for? Does your family serve sauerkraut? What was your favorite Thanksgiving dish as a kid? What are your family traditions while you’re getting ready for dinner – maybe watching the parade…football…the dog show? Tell me all of it in the comments. I love this stuff.

I am feeling so thankful these days. Mostly for my friends and family and good health. Those are the most important things to me. Oh, and plate full of delicious food (some homemade…some from Eddie’s, duh.) Can’t wait. Here’s a little preview.

— Guest blogger Amy Langrehr (Charm City Cook)

Follow @charmcitycook on Facebook and Instagram to track her #charmtotable food journey through Eddie's holiday menu! Find more Thanksgiving inspiration on our Holiday pages.