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Best thing I ever ate…at Thanksgiving

Author headshot of Carol Burnside, aka Annie Rayburnby Carol Burnside (aka Annie Rayburn)

Today we’re talking food, the BEST THING we ever ate at a Thanksgiving meal. Why?

Well, we’ve just survived one of the most food-gasm days in the year and there are more in store over the upcoming holidays. And there’s a ‘Best Thing I Ever Ate’ show on the Food Network that I watch occasionally. The best thing can be a sandwich, a pie, ice cream, or any food. Various chefs talk about their favorite ‘best thing,’ how delicious it is and where they ate it. Easy, peasy, so I’ll start off the PFHT version of ‘Best Thing’ by telling you that Southern Pecan Pie remains one of my all-time favorite things.

Rarely have we ever had a Thanksgiving meal without some version of a Southern Pecan Pie. Some like to make it using the recipe from the back of the Karo syrup bottle. Some like to add chocolate or a layer of sweet potato goodness along the bottom. Some prefer it a la mode, others with a dollop of whipped cream. Whatever the version, whatever the finish, I’ve tried them all and loved them all because at the end of the day, they’re pure Southern with that top of syrupy coated Pecans forming a satisfying crunch above that yummy layer of sweet heaven. Oh, man. Now I’m craving a slice.

This year my sister made the pecan pie and it was perfection. Thank you, Sue.

I could wax on, but it’s your time to share. What’s the best thing you ever ate at a Thanksgiving feast? Tell us all about the mouth-watering goodness and share recipes if you’d like.


Pam Asberry - November 26, 2012 - 7:52 am

My mom’s sweet potato casserole is to do for: whipped sweet potatoes with layers of coconut, pecans, brown sugar and spices. Delicious!

Pam Asberry - November 26, 2012 - 7:53 am

Make that TO DIE FOR. ;-)

Linsey Lanier - November 26, 2012 - 7:57 am

Southern Pecan Pie is the best. Didn’t get any of that this year. Because we usually go to a friend’s house for T-giving, we don’t get days and days of leftovers. So turkey, dressing and gravy remains what I crave–and the taste I associate with Thanksgiving. :) Yum.

Marilyn Baron - November 26, 2012 - 8:42 am

Pam, that sweet potato casserole sounds wonderful. This year, my favorite thing was a chocolate pecan pie with the stuffing taking a close second.

Dianna Love - November 26, 2012 - 9:13 am

Sounds like you had a delicious holiday, Carol. We’re a bit eclectic during our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals with everything from gumbo to turkey. But I had a taste for our sweet potato souffle recipe (yours sounds great too, Pam) this weekend (no had made it in a while!) and we made it last night as part of our meal with our friends. My husband watches those food shows and actually cooks things he sees. He served pulled pork last night that he’d cooked since 10 am with a jalapeno slaw he saw on the food channel and, of course, our sweet potato souffle. :)

Hope everyone enjoyed a great holiday!

Tami Brothers - November 26, 2012 - 9:38 am

Ok. Now I need to grab me some Pecan Pie…

This year I tried vanilla ice cream with some Godiva Carmel Liquor poured on top. Maxine gave me a small bottle to try for my b-day and it was ohhhh so yummy.

Everything else was just as amazing. I love the term food-gasm. Gonna have to use that sometime this week. :)

Have a fabulous week.


C.E. Hart - November 26, 2012 - 10:08 am

The best thing I’ve ever eaten during our Thanksgiving feast is my sweet potato casserole. The brown sugar pecan yumminess that forms the top crust is pure heaven! Yes–that sounds boastful–but it truly is the best! lol

Carol Burnside - November 26, 2012 - 2:49 pm

Sweet potato casseroles seem to be the big draw. Our family’s version is Sweet Potato Delight. I have no idea where I first got the recipe, but here it is:

Ingredients: 3 C. sweet potatoes (cooked, peeled, mashed)
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 T Vanilla
2/3 C butter
1/2 C. milk
1/3 C. flour
1/3 C butter
1 C brown sugar
1 C chopped pecans

Mix sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs vanilla, milk & 2/3 C. butter. Pour in greased casserole dish.

Mix in small bowl: brown sugar, flour, 1/3 c butter, & nuts. Pour over sweet potato mixture. Do not mix in.

Bake at 350º F. for 30 min. Top will be crunchy. Stir crunchy crust into the soft potatoes and serve. (Add marshmallows to top and brown for 5 min. if desired.)

Nicole North - November 26, 2012 - 3:53 pm

Great post! I’m not a sweet potato person. I’ll stick with the yummy pecan pie! It’s one of the best things I ever ate. :) Pumpkin cheesecake is also awesome. :inlove:

Carol Burnside - November 26, 2012 - 4:24 pm

Believe it or not, Nicole, I’ve converted several people with my Swt Pot Delight that hate sweet potatoes! I don’t blame you for choosing the pecan pie, though. They’re pretty awesome. The pumpkin cheesecake sounds worth a try.

Carol Burnside - November 26, 2012 - 4:27 pm

LOL, Pam. I knew what you meant.

It’s a shame you didn’t get to partake of the pie, Linsey. A real shame.

Oh, Dianna, you’re making me hungry!

C.E.: Your casserole sounds a lot like mine. Yummy!

Carly Carson - November 26, 2012 - 5:17 pm

Okay, I copied down the recipe. But I can’t help noticing a full cup of sugar and a full cup of butter. Have you ever tried cutting back any of that? Do you think it would destroy the recipe? I’m just curious because we like things on the plainer side. Ooops, I just noticed the cup of brown sugar. Maybe I’ll just sprinkle the nuts on top. lol My husband’s family loves the sweet potatos with marshmallows on top but me and my kids can’t eat them. I would love to make this for Christmas because it sounds good, but maybe I’d better experiment first. Any helpful hints? Thanks for sharing.

Carol Burnside - November 26, 2012 - 5:46 pm

Carly, it is a lot of calories, but I only make it once a year – maybe twice. Also, it makes about 12 servings, so all that fat and sugar aren’t in every serving. :)

However, it’s sweet enough to be dessert. I think you could get by with cutting the sweet potato butter and sugar in half. The topping I wouldn’t. Otherwise, it won’t crisp right. Opting to toast pecans on top could work for a little crunch and would look pretty.

Sia Huff - November 26, 2012 - 8:25 pm

I’m with the concensus here. Sweet Potatoe Souffle is the favorite in our house too. Yes, lots of sugar and butter, but oh so good. And my homemade apple pie, a la mode.

Susan Carlisle - November 26, 2012 - 8:31 pm

My mother’s homemade yeast rolls are my favorite. Hot butter and jelly. Best dessert I know. I always look forward to the holiday so that she will fix them. I do love my sweet potatoes too.

Keta Diablo - November 26, 2012 - 9:08 pm

You chickies R making me hungry all over again. I made the sweet potato casserole this year and it was a huge hit!

I’d love the recipe for the chocolate pecan pie or the recipe you use every year for pecan pie. This is loaded with calories, I know, but I adore pecan pie!

Great post, thanks, Keta

Carol Burnside - November 26, 2012 - 9:51 pm

Keta, A lot of people use the Karo Syrup recipe for regular Pecan pie. Here’s the original: However, I use my Granny’s recipe:
SOUTHERN PECAN PIE because it uses both light and dark Karo. I think it’s better.
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 C. Dark Karo syrup
3/4 C. clear Karo syrup
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp flour
1-1/2 C. whole pecans
1 unbaked 8″ pie shell
Combine eggs, molasses, syrups, melted butter, salt and vanilla in mixing bowl. In a small bowl, make a paste of a small amount of the liquid mixture and flour; stir into remaining mixture. Add pecans. Stir. Turn into unbaked pastry shell. Bake at 325º F for 1 hour or until firm.

And my chocolate version comes from the recipes included with Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate bars. I can’t find a link to the one I have. This one adds coconut: Coconut Pecan Pie

The one I use doesn’t.

1 pkg (4 oz) BAKER’S® GERMAN’S® Sweet Chocolate
2 Tbsp butter
1 C. corn syrup (I use Karo)
1/3 C sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 C pecan halves
1 unbaked 9″ pie shell
Whipped topping (optional)

Heat oven to 350º F
Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl at HIGH 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
Mix in corn syrup, sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie shell.
Bake 55 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Garnish with whipped topping and additional pecan halves, if desired. 8 servings.


Carol Burnside - November 26, 2012 - 9:52 pm

Ah, yes, Susan. Homemade yeast rolls are wonderful. My Granny used to make those too. I loved smelling them cooking!

Sandy Elzie - December 5, 2012 - 7:57 am

Hi Carol,
Your Pecan recipe looks great…and easy. I love to make sweet potato casserole at this time of the year. I top it with a little Brown Sugar & chopped pecans.

Great post.

Have a ‘yummy’ holiday! » Petit Fours - December 7, 2012 - 2:38 am

[…] I did a “Best Thing I Ate at Thanksgiving” post and shared several recipes, but they were in the comments and got a little lost. […]

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