With Thanksgiving, our national holiday, just around the corner, what could be more American than engaging in some friendly competition? Before we could think better of it, we decided to pit HOMEGROWN.org against that estimable giant, The New York Times, and match the paper’s supremely awesome United States of Thanksgiving recipe for recipe, horchata for mofongo.
Sure, this contest is a little lopsided. (Hi, worldwide newspaper of record! What, you’ve never heard of HOMEGROWN.org? We’re an online community celebrating the culture of agriculture!) That’s the beauty of both the American dream and our country’s rich and flaky food heritage. So what if every recipe doesn’t line up perfectly, state by state? Each dish does come from the real kitchen of a HOMEGROWN member—and that’s pretty sweet. Or savory. Or better yet, both.
If you ever read this, NYT, thanks for being a good sport. And happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
ALASKA: Like The New York Times’ Russian salmon pie? Try Rösti with smoked salmon & horseradish cream!
ARIZONA: You could make cranberry sauce with chiles. Or you could take those chiles and turn ’em into magnificent mole.
ARKANSAS: Heritage turkey? Try our resident homesteader’s failsafe turkey technique.
CALIFORNIA: Sourdough stuffing? Why just bake it when the Bay Area’s very own Rachel can show you how to feed your own starter?
COLORADO: Pecan pie bites? Or healthy, homemade granola? How about both?
CONNECTICUT: There’s quince with cipollini, quince, and bacon. And then there’s Rachel’s from-scratch quince jam (at right).
DELAWARE: Turkey with truffled zucchini stuffing? We’ll pass. Gotta save room for Ohsweetie’s zucchini gingerbread!
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Masala pumpkin tart, meet Christa’s pumpkin donuts. Everybody wins.
FLORIDA: Mojo turkey? If you really want to heat things up, try Tory’s turkey on the grill!
GEORGIA: Pecan pie from where? We’ll have to take your word for it. But Jennifer from Texas—where folks love the nut so much, they made it the state tree—has her own pecan pie recipe (at right).
HAWAII: Mochi rice stuffing, meet Cynthia’s rice cooked in bone broth.
IDAHO: Hasselback potatoes? Sounds like—well, a hassle. Try these ridiculously easy grilled spuds, heavy on the lemon.
ILLINOIS: Pumpkin potage? We’ll raise you a bowl of Cornelia’s butternut squash and apple soup.
INDIANA: OK, Times. You win this round. We couldn’t touch persimmon pudding. But we can make it even better with homemade vanilla extract.
IOWA: Thanksgiving cookies sound like a contender. But Amanda’s grandma’s cinnamon-cranberry biscotti is the holiday breakfast of champions.
KANSAS: Candied sweet potatoes, get a load of Rachel’s coconut sweet potato soup.
KENTUCKY: We’ve never heard of pocket dressing. Then again, we didn’t know how much we loved mushroom pasties until we tried them (at right).
LOUISIANA: Shrimp-stuffed mirlitons? That’s a squash, right? Try honey-chile glazed shrimp and long beans. They’re like green beans. But longer.
MAINE: Lobster mac and cheese, meet Kirsten’s pumpkin mac. BAM!
MARYLAND: We can’t argue with sauerkraut and apples. But we still have room in our hearts and stomachs for winter slaw.
MASSACHUSETTS: Clam and chourico stuffing? How about Lisa’s clam and chorizo paella?!
MICHIGAN: You can hold at German potato salad. Or you can double down on Deutschland with sautéed red cabbage, apples, onions, and Bratwurst (at right).
MINNESOTA: What’s more autumnal than grape salad? Mud Pies’ home-canned fruit!
MISSISSIPPI: Ale-braised collard greens with ham? Why guild the lily? Keep it easy and veggie-friendly with these sautéed collards.
MISSOURI: Mmmmm, butter cake. More mmmmmm, evaporated-milk scones with burnt butter glaze.
MONTANA: Big Sky Countrymen and Women don’t let anything go to waste. Instead of venison steaks, try canning your own venison. (See Torry’s comment for details.)
NEBRASKA: Standing rib roast: Yes, please. But Penny’s lemon-rosemary roast lamb? We’ll take seconds (at right).
NEVADA: Turkey French dip? Sounds fancy. Maybe that’s how they do it in Vegas, but frugal folks know a sandwich doesn’t get any better than a grilled cheese with bacon grease.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: A roast bird is classic—if, ahem, a little boring. Flavor up that fowl with Penny’s lemon sage turkey.
NEW JERSEY: We’re curious about crepes manicotti. But we’re crazy for Cornelia’s buckwheat crepes with—wait for it—sweet potato filling.
NEW MEXICO: Red chile turkey? Delish. We can use the leftovers to make turkey posole (at right).
NEW YORK: What’s richer than double apple pie? Jackie’s homemade apple cider caramels.
NORTH CAROLINA: Sweet potato cornbread? Or Jay’s sweet potato enchiladas? Why choose just one?
NORTH DAKOTA: We’re new to lefse, AKA Scandinavian flatbread. We’ll have to ask Penny, HOMEGROWN’s resident Fin and maker of a mean sourdough rye (at right).
OHIO: What’s more seasonal—not to mention Midwestern—than English pea salad? Split pea soup with ham hocks.
OKLAHOMA: Who doesn’t love a good green bean casserole? But when you want to modernize it, try this green bean and red potato salad.
OREGON: Pinot noir cranberry sauce sounds good. Or take things down a notch on the hipster scale with Jay’s cran-apple chutney.
PENNSYLVANIA: We can’t knock glazed bacon. Heck, we’d love it on a sandwich with Kirsten’s green tomato bacon jam.
PUERTO RICO: Because why not chase down that mofongo stuffing with some homemade horchata?
RHODE ISLAND: What’s fluffier than Indian pudding? Turnip puff!
SOUTH CAROLINA: Salty pluff mud pie sounds mighty tasty. But so does Anne’s chocolate sweet potato pie (at right).
SOUTH DAKOTA: We’ll save the pear kuchen for dessert, after we’ve had our fill of acorn squash and pear soup.
TENNESSEE: There are roasted Brussels sprouts. And then there is Brussels sprouts and chorizo pizza!
TEXAS: Why stop at turkey tamales when you can throw down a festive tamalada (at right)?
UTAH: You might like caramel pudding. But have you tried Kirsten’s pumpkin, cranberry, and maple kugel?
VERMONT: We’ll take a dollop of Cheddar mashed potatoes. Just as soon as we finish this slice of Cheddar beer zucchini bread.
VIRGINIA: Corn pudding is good. But a Southerner worth her salt knows everything is better with pork. Try Kirsten’s roasted squash with corn and sausage casserole.
WASHINGTON: Glazed mushrooms with bok choy sounds heavenly. But Rachel’s great-grandma is our very own guardian angel, thanks to her onion celery dressing with shiitake.
WEST VIRGINIA: If you can’t find pawpaws for pudding, get your fruit fix with Penny’s apricot fennel stuffing (at right). Secret ingredient: hard cider!
WISCONSIN: Wild rice with mushrooms or Cindy’s mushroom celery stuffing? Yes, please.
WYOMING: Gotta love the timeliness of three sisters stew. But add some corn to Cindy’s butternut squash and white bean chili, and you’ll have a sibling trio that sings.