The Bizarre Thanksgiving Food Trend We Never Saw Coming
When it comes to holidays, Thanksgiving can be pretty predictable. Even if you’re lukewarm about turkey, there’s a good chance you’ll roast one anyway (88 percent of people do, according to the National Turkey Federation). And you probably stick to roughly the same menu, year after year, even if you spend hours scrolling for inspo for new sides, appetizers and big-batch cocktails to get you through all that togetherness. It’s a holiday rooted in tradition—even if those traditions may not be historically accurate—but this year, a handful of brands are betting big that you’ll want to mix things up in the most Willy Wonka-esque of ways. You can now have your turkey…and drink it, too.
Like Violet Beauregarde enjoying a feast while chewing a single stick of gum, you can down an entire Thanksgiving dinner by noshing on a handful of candy corn, or while sipping soda. (Though, thankfully, minus that whole turning-into-a-blueberry part.) Companies ranging from Brach’s to Salt & Straw are infusing their classic treats with traditional Turkey Day flavors—like stuffing, apple pie and green bean casserole—to get you psyched for the holiday.
After sampling Thanksgiving Dinner candy corn, we’re not sure we’re ready to snack on these on the regular, but there’s a certain intrigue to trying them. You know, in a “how closely could this cone of waxy sugar mimic the actual taste of cranberry sauce?” Or even a middle-school-ish, “ew, this is gross! Try it!” sort of way. It’s a conversation starter, and a way to bond while distracting relatives from the “why are you still single?” or “what did you do to your hair?” topics that inevitably come up as everyone waits for the bird to get out of the oven.
If you want to mix things up this year, try one of these Thanksgiving dinner-themed treats.
1. Salt & Straw Friendsgiving Series Ice Cream
You already dream of having ice cream for dinner, and this five-pack of pints officially gives you license to do so. While many of the flavors are dessert-inspired—pumpkin and gingersnap pie, candied walnut cheesecake and sweet potato pie with double-baked almond streusel—two are sure to elicit a chorus of “no, you try it first!” dares: Parker House rolls with salted buttercream, and caramelized turkey & cranberry sauce. (The latter involves crumbling roasted turkey bacon into a thyme-pepper brittle, which is mixed throughout the ice cream, alongside swirls of housemade cranberry sauce.)
2. Brach’s Turkey Dinner, Apple Pie & Coffee Candy Corn
Consider it Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, only not quite so putrid. The cranberry sauce, apple pie and coffee-flavored candy corn pieces are surprisingly pleasant, but beware of the vegetal aftertaste and gritty, gravy flavors rampant in the green bean and roasted turkey varieties. As for the stuffing one? It’s herbaceous…which isn’t exactly something we’d want from candy corn, but that’s just us.
3. Jones Turkey & Gravy Soda
Originally launched in 2003, Jones Soda’s Turkey & Gravy flavor hasn’t been sold in stores in more than a decade. But, in honor of the brand’s 25th anniversary, it’s making a comeback as a very limited release. We’re talking 35,000 bottles total, all invidually numbered for collectors out there. The recipe’s been tweaked to taste even more like roast turkey, and to get your hands on a bottle, you’ll have to sign up for Jones’s email list to be notified of the drop—or scour your closest Kroger or Albertsons Safeway.
4. Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving Stuffing Seasoned Kettle Chips
Celery, sage, thyme and salt make for an odd pairing in sweets, but as the seasoning for kettle chips, they’re a standout combo. It’s no wonder Trader Joe’s fans look forward to this limited edition release every fall.
5. Wongducken Ice Cream
You’ve heard of a Turducken, that infamous chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey. Well, leave room at your table (if you dare) for the Wongducken, the Thanksgiving ice cream cake you never knew you needed. It’s made with layers of cranberry sorbet, butter pecan ice cream and chocolate ice cream to mimic the hues found in an actual Turducken, and it gets its “crispy fried” look from a coating of caramelized white chocolate and cornflakes. It’s a pricey dessert, though at 7 pounds, you’ll have plenty of leftovers, just like the real meal. And you’re pretty much guaranteed to talk about it for years to come.