Don’t knock it: sauerkraut is great on the Thanksgiving table. And it’s a tradition that falls almost exclusively within Maryland’s borders.
When I moved away for my first job in Boston, I was surprised that Thanksgiving sauerkraut horrified my colleagues and housemates. Sauerkraut certainly horrifies a fair amount of people on an everyday basis. I’ve asked a number of Marylanders whether they also have sauerkraut at Thanksgiving, and the answer is almost always yes, even if the response is “yes, but I don’t eat it.”
Certainly, preserved fermented cabbage is a worldwide tradition, including 18th-century sailors that took it on board so that its vitamin C could help ward off scurvy. My great-grandmother made her own in a crock that now stores magazines. We prefer just to grab a can of Silver Floss this day and doctor it with caraway and brown sugar for the table. Like cranberry sauce, sauerkraut is another source of tang and sour to cut through some of the otherwise more bland and rich dishes on the Thanksgiving table.
Read more about Maryland’s Thanksgiving sauerkraut tradition in this Bon Appetit article. I might not care so much if the turkey didn’t turn up at Thanksgiving. But I would miss the sauerkraut.