Lunchtime poll – holding back on the holidays
November 17th, 2010
12:45 PM ET
Share this on:

'Tis the season for a food editor's inbox to fill up with press releases about slimming down Thanksgiving staples and holding back at holiday dinners. We'll say this about that: we're a food blog - not a diet blog, and unless you plan on having Uncle Merv jam a foie gras gavage funnel down your throat so you can ingest more giblet gravy, chances are this one meal probably isn't going to undo you.

So far as we're gonna tell you, use real butter, don't skimp with skim and by all means, nibble that crispy skin. Just eat sensibly at the non-Big Event meals and don't make your guests have to pretend to relish abstemious gravy and stingily-sweetened pumpkin pie.

We're not advocating gluttony but for this one day, relax, enjoy, indulge and give thanks for a gracious plenty. The gym will still be there tomorrow - just perhaps a tad more crowded.

Posted by:
Filed under: Buzz • Holidays • Lunchtime Poll • Thanksgiving

« Previous entry
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. kate

    I Like to read about thanksgiving yams with marshmallows.Got your page on Friday.Your Post Lunchtime poll – holding back on the holidays – Eatocracy – Blogs is really Nice.Thanks.

    January 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  2. Jenny

    There are certain days you should kick back and enjoy yourself. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays and the occasional celebratory dinner party. Eat 3 times the recommended calorie intake. Seriously. It's just a day. You have the rest of the year to worry about your waistline. Be thankful for your delicious feast and dig in.

    November 19, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  3. becky

    i eat well 364 days of the year, but thanksgiving is a full-on calorie fest. i cook with real butter, real cream, salt and the rest. for one day, i will not feel guilty!

    November 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  4. Elizabeth

    Americans were a lot healthier before we started in with all the fake replacement food. Just know when to put the fork down! Serve some naturally low-fat foods (e.g. green beans instead of green bean casserole, which as a culinary school student, I find absolutely disgusting) along with the full fat favorites. There's no reason mashed potatoes should be made with chicken stock when butter and heavy cream taste so much better :) If you're concerned about your waistline, eat a small healthy meal before heading to the feast, limit portions, and stock up on the healthier options.

    November 18, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  5. Les

    thnx for making me laugh so hard this morning. lurv this thread. mmmmmm – pumpkin pie w/ real whipped cream...

    November 18, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  6. Jess

    My MIL ALWAYS tries to slim down holiday dinners. Everything from no butter and skim milk in the mashed potatoes, no fat in the cake, to fat free cream cheese. It just isn't right, to make everyone else suffer on the holidays because you want to eat healthy. She used to be a good cook, and now everything tastes bland and unseasoned. I've taken to volunteering to make anything I know she will try to skinny down, so I know I can sneak the full fat in there. Mind you, I usually eat healthy and am not opposed to slimming down food the rest of the year, but it's the holidays, dang it, leave my mashed taters alone!

    November 18, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  7. Bill

    Fat is flavor...but I do insist that everything be fresh and natural. Nothing from a can, real butter, real lard and when I can get it raw milk and cream. No preservatives in my meal!!

    November 18, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  8. nodat1

    for all you afraid to eat, mamby pamby out there; nothing better then a then a deep fried butterball turkey that has been injected with a 1/2 pound of butter and Cajun seasoning, smoked port shoulder, Lima beans with hammock, collard greens, corn bread stuffing, dirty rice, giblet gravy, homemade elderberry wine, candied yams and sweet potato pie with a pecan topping followed up with beer and watching the games after the meal!!!!!!! or you could sit around complaining about the world, boasting that you have a better lifestyle, eat tofu that been formed into meat shaped parts, chomp on some grass, drink an expensive imported wine (just because your "friends" do) and sit around dreaming how you are improving the world by not enjoying at least one day of indulging

    November 18, 2010 at 8:27 am |
    • LTBD

      I love hammocks in my lima beans, and port shoulder... who needs the wine then?

      November 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  9. Netreacher

    I like to add chicken broth to my mashed spuds ... replaces milk and butter, yet still gives richness.

    November 18, 2010 at 8:11 am |
    • Jerv

      My pop does that and it makes them soo good.

      November 18, 2010 at 8:15 am |
    • ER

      I've wanted to try this... sounds yummy!

      November 18, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  10. billy900T

    i try to keep as much fat as i can out of my cooking. i use smart balance and skim milk to make my mashed potatoes and everyone raves about them but I steam rather than boil the potato, and i whip it on hi with my mixer.

    November 17, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  11. The_Mick

    The cheese sauce I make for "Traditional English Cheddar Cheese Cauliflower" works just fine with just a tbsp margarine and a cup of 1% or 2% milk, so why not? If it didn't, though, I'd fatten it right up: I wouldn't hold back on Thanksgiving!

    November 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  12. fob

    I just bought 4 pounds of butter today in preparation for next week!

    November 17, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  13. mdanger

    I LOVE making something fat free and not telling anyone. It's usually my spinach dip or cheese soup (made with skim milk) and people RAVE about both. When I tell people I literally have to CONVINCE them it's fat free/low cal food.
    The fact of the matter is that all the cream and butter are just covering up your food. Use quality ingredients and prepare them thoughtfully, no one will miss the butter.

    November 17, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  14. JS

    I figure that since I eat healthy and exercise regularly, I can eat whatever I please on special occasions. I'm one of those freaks who enjoys running, so come Thanksgiving morning, I plan to treat myself to a 5-mile run on one of my favorite routes so I'm extra hungry when the food comes out.

    November 17, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  15. Ruth

    I can't eat anything with butter in it, tastes horrible.

    November 17, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
    • Snow

      Say what??

      November 17, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  16. Thomas

    America is fat. They don't hold back on anything.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • RichardHead

      I ain't fat,just bigboned!

      November 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
      • Snow

        Do these pants make my butt look big?

        November 17, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • Ron Jeremy

      I'm fat in my pants.

      November 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
      • ER

        Your mom really needs to quit telling you that.

        November 17, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  17. Tyler

    When did we get so health crazy that we started holding back on an anual indulgence?

    November 17, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  18. Dimitrios

    Funny, touching, memorable short Thanksgiving stories about holiday disasters, family & friends.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  19. Amanda

    I tend to try to cut calories where I can (non-fat half and half in my coffee, etc.), but am a big believer in "everything in moderation." When I use butter (which isn't often) I cook with real butter. For things like mashed potatoes, I have found that non-fat greek yogart and non-fat buttermilk are a good substitution for butter and whole milk or sour cream.

    We did have a Thanksgiving where my Aunt insisted on making a low-fat green bean cassarole. I think the recipe called for 99% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom soup (which seems like an oxymoron to me)... but anyway, it wasn't very tasty, in fact, I'm not sure anyone ate it. I would have much preferred roasted or sauteed green beans. I do not see the point in making something that tastes bad so you can eat more of it, I prefer to make food that tastes good and limit myself to when I'm just about full. Add that to a normal work out routine and I'm not so worried about a day of full-fat cooking.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  20. lance corporal

    at our house we already have good eating habits, so some of the less fat oriented cooking has become the norm, so veggies will be steamed because that is the way we have come to like them, no one is used to having everything slathered in butter so it doesn't come up BUT thanksgiving is one of maybe 2-4 times a year we will have gravy, portion control will be thrown out the window and cookies and pies will be much more available than normal, we celebrate as a family, as a nation and as a people and we loooove a good party so go a head and pour some gravy on my real butter made mashed potatoes and don't worry about saving room for pie.... i will find a way to stuff it in...... yeah yeah yeah, next week I'll be doing extra work out and stopping any food intake at 6 pm but for now give me a sweet smile and pass the bird!!

    November 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • Sir Biddle-Dee-Bobity-Boo

      "Save the neck for me Clark!"

      November 17, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  21. Bill

    Definitely don't skimp on the recipes. If it calls for 4 packs of butter, you better put it in there. I agree with the poster above. I watch what I eat most of the year and I'm very aware when I'm allowing myself a glorious pigout. Thanksgiving will hopefully never be a day where I have to count calories or worry about how much fat is in mom's oyster dressing because that's something we only get once a year and it is AWESOME.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  22. lance corporal

    it's OK to over indulge once in a while just make up for it with extra hot sweaty athletic bendy loooooong s e x and burn off the cals

    November 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  23. K

    "we're a food blog – not a diet blog"...a person's diet is whatever they eat, good, bad, low fat, low carb, healthy etc. It doesn't make a difference, what you eat is your diet so your diet is FOOD. (If we eat it is is food.) NOT all diets are designed as diets to lose weight.

    That being said, use good, quality ingredients, high or low calorie doesn't matter, what matters is moderation in how much you eat. If it is higher in fat content, you usually feel fuller soon and eat less. Low fat versions just tend to make people think they can eat more of it and they end up with the caloric intake.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  24. Momof2

    I normally cook with non-fat milk and lower calorie butter, so it wouldn't be considered to be a change at my table, but I so no reason for families to switch they way they prepare their dishes for one day of pigging out. It's like Halloween, who gives out sugar free candy on Halloween? No one. It's one night a year. Live a little.

    November 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  25. Amber

    Well when it comes to cooking thanksgiving dinners I do my best to please. This usually leads to:

    Sweet potatoes cooked two ways (sweet/mashed and roasted/cubed and this year cheese/mashed)
    Various roasted vegetable offerings and then versions like green bean cassorole.
    Homemade cornbread stuffing and Stovetop Chicken stuffing with goat cheese.
    Whole wheat and white bread rolls.
    Sometimes a ham as well as a turkey.
    Two types of gravy (and yes, one of these is low fat "diet" gravy)
    Cranberry sauce with and without berries + wild rice and cranberry relish
    And at least 4 kinds of desserts.

    And so on.

    So yes, I have "diet" food at the table and everyone gets to serve their own butter.
    It's everyone's holiday and I'd rather everyone is happy, so long as the food all gets eaten (or at least claimed as leftover).

    November 17, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerPants

      Would you please me? I'm a virgin.

      November 17, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
      • *

        "Stroke Me Stroke Me"HA!

        November 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        imPoster! I never capitalize the 'P'. You're insults would be more funny if you could come up with an original handle.

        November 17, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Sir Biddle-Dee-Bobity-Boo

      Sounds good except for the diet gravy. How do you make that when you need butter or the fat drippings? What's the point, that's like a virgin Bloody Mary. If you're going to all that trouble, go all the way.

      November 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
      • Truth@SirBiddle

        It is like decaf coffee, nonalcoholic beer or "lite" ice cream???
        What is the point?????????????????

        November 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • lance corporal

      sounds like a good menu, what time should I be there???? ;-)

      November 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  26. Erica

    The picture of the potatoes and butter look so yummy.... I want some of that!!

    November 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      Something familiar about this post. Hmm. I know it's early. But........I........must...........say......

      I'D HIT THAT!

      November 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
      • Jake

        You SERIOUSLY need to get laid dude.

        November 17, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
      • Truth@JDizz

        You getting a little premature for 5@5 there4 Dizz???

        November 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        Was having ED issues and had to psyche myself up for the 5@5.

        November 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
      • PairAZZHilton

        Who is ED?

        November 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
      • ED

        Me. =(

        Been 'down' in the dumps lately.

        November 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
      • PairAZZHilton

        Tried Viagra?

        November 17, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  27. jillmarie

    I can't not eat low-fat foods. I'm an excellent cook according to others, and they say they prefer my slimmed down dishes to the originals! That's the true test.

    November 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  28. Sir Biddle-Dee-Bobity-Boo

    November 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      Well played, sir. Well played.

      November 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  29. Erica

    It's the holidays.. enjoy!!

    November 17, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  30. Sir Biddle-Dee-Bobity-Boo

    Do everything in moderation including moderation at times – eat up, enjoy the holidays and then go join the gym with its waived enrollment fees that you know you will stop going to mid-February.

    November 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  31. Cieje Valentine

    @abbyful- i concur, too much sacrifice of taste for too little "healthier" benefit...

    November 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
    • RichardHead

      Looks like The Real Cooks{Ms.Valentine & MsAbbyful} are on the mark here. You GO Ladies!

      November 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
      • Jerv

        Got that right. I want to eat Thanksgiving with Abbyful.
        When full, shut the pie hole.

        November 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  32. E

    I cut out fat when you can't taste it or if it improves the flavor. I've never had anyone guess that my pumpkin pie was made with fat free evaporated milk. I'll make my green bean casserole with reduced fat cream of mushroom soup since the french fried onions have more than enough fat to enhance the flavor. I use fat free chicken stock in my stuffing because the mushrooms, onions and celery get sauteed in dang near a stick of butter. My grandma used to add a block of cream cheese and a stick of butter to the potatoes...I add half of that and add more salt to enhance the flavor.

    The reason I do this is because I LOVE thanksgiving and always make plenty to have leftovers for DAYS. And every little bit helps the long as it doesn't effect the flavor!

    November 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  33. Truth

    Holding back on holiday cooking is the worst idea since someone put Jennifer Lopez in front of a movie camera..

    November 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • RichardHead

      I concur,as they always use a wide angle lens to get around the size of her butt!

      November 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants


      November 17, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  34. abbyful

    I always only use full-fat versions of things. Butter, whole milk, etc. Real food is tastier and healthier.

    And no I'm not fat; in fact, my BMI hovers on the "underweight" line.

    Eat real food and put the fork down when you're full.

    November 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Amber

      "put the fork down when you're full."

      Which is the real trick. Not just at Thanksgiving but year 'round.

      Although it's probably worth noting that "Full" does not mean your stomach hurts so it's time to stop, "full" means you've eaten just enough to sate your hunger.

      November 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  35. RichardHead

    Butter,butter butterI love Elsie the Cow cause she gives me Butter!Don't need No stinkin fork,that's what hands were made for!

    November 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  36. Jdizzle McHammerpants

    There is no reason to be concerned about the amount of calories you ingest one/two days out of the year if you eat correctly. Time for some to attend Camp Putdaforkdown the rest of the year.

    November 17, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Senator Larry Craig.

      “I have a wide stance” and love the essence of Johnson during the holidays.

      November 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Sort of true that eating right year 'round is important. But lots of people over-indulge during the holiday and not at other times; the problem arises when you put on a pound between Thanksgiving and New Years, and hang onto it. Next year, you pack on another. And another the year after that. After 25 years, you're carrying an extra 25 pounds.

      Ya gotta either abstain in the first place, or work it off.

      November 17, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        That's what bonin' is for. If you aren't sweating, you're doing it wrong.

        November 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
      • Senator Larry Craig

        Mmmm bonin'.

        November 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
      • Jess

        Really tired of the 18 year old comments on these threads.

        November 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
      • Justin Bieber

        Meet me MSP, concourse D

        November 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        These comments aren't 18 years old. Look at the time stamp, they were made today.

        November 17, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
      • Sir Biddle-Dee-Bobity-Boo

        SCORE!!!! Jdizzle – 1, Jess – 0

        November 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
      • Jess

        OK, 19 then McNizzle.

        November 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
      • AmosN"Andy@Mr.Jdizzle

        Me an Andy gots da minners and blood bait ready so we can go and catch this troll! Den,I gots this here new hook and we can throw him in da swamp and go after Old Henry. Gramma will be berrry happy when we ketch him cuz that will feed us tru da wekend. Lords Yes!

        November 17, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
      • Beth

        I have to disagree with Jess. Juvenile comments are the only things that get me through the day...

        November 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
      • Truth@Beth

        I agree!
        And anyone who does not is just a big doody-head!

        November 17, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • PrimalOne

      Bah humbug to the calorie cutting foolishness. I'll be eating succulent meats of many and varied variety this Thanksgiving, (and at Xmas as well), slathering my sweet potatoes in gorgeous mountains of creamy real butter, imbibing dry flavorful wines and scarfing many a baked/fried/boiled vegetable. But what I won't be doing is eating any of the grains or sugary foods that make so many of us sick. Fat is not the enemy.

      November 17, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • Bob Boise

      The healthier alternative is to get rid of the potatoes. Serve baked yams instead. Much less on Glycemic Index. Butter is fine, much better than hydrogenated margarine.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • Texas Pete

      Since it takes 3500+ calories to gain one pound, it would be tough for someone to actually gain more then 1 lb in a day.

      November 19, 2010 at 11:26 am |
« Previous entry
| Part of