They’re not fancy. They have all sorts of chemicals. The ingredients are neither organic nor locally grown. But we love these dishes anyway.

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Green Bean Casserole

I recall fondly the Lutheran family who took me in for my first Thanksgiving dinner when I was a 7-year-old Vietnamese refugee. Those generous souls introduced me to the allure that is the Green Bean Casserole. The salty, crunchy, French’s Fried Onions were as addicting as Doritos. And what is this magic potion called Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup that bound all the ingredients to a bubbly finish? It was everything a cherubic boy could ask for, and the only way you could get me to eat green beans back then. My eyes grew wide when my hosts showed me how easy it was to make. I was as excited as a kid riding Space Mountain at Disneyland. I recall thinking, “America — I’m gonna like living here.”

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— Tan Vinh, Seattle Times staff reporter

Jellied cranberry sauce

You know the stuff; it comes in a can. Open it and dump it onto a plate, and it’ll make a distinctive “plop” as it falls out, retaining its beautiful tin-can shape. A bit sweet, a bit tangy, this cranberry “sauce” is all about its weird texture, not quite as gelatinous as Jell-O but bouncy all the same. How much of this substance comes from real cranberries? Don’t know; don’t care.

— Paige Collins, Seattle Times assistant features editor

Sweet potatoes with marshmallows

Our family holiday dinners involve more highbrow sweet-potato recipes now: roasted with lemon-lime vinaigrette, puréed with fresh ginger and orange zest. But when I was little, sweet potatoes existed in only one format: baked with butter and brown sugar, topped with mini-marshmallows. I don’t much care for marshmallows anymore — not even the gourmet, not-made-with-horse-hooves type — but roasted sweet potatoes with a layer of Stay Puft on top, broiled until toasty, will always sound good to me.’s Bon Appétit recipe for Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows fancies it up with the addition of almonds and spices for the “big kids,” but I think I’d skip the almonds.

— Bethany Jean Clement, Seattle Times food writer