It’s a great day. Today, Americans get to sit around the couch, watch football, and eat their faces off. No, it’s not a football Sunday. Today is Thanksgiving, the only day where no one can get mad at you for sitting around the television and stuffing your face with food.
Football might be the appetizer, but food is the star of the day. Everyone loves the idea of Thanksgiving dinner, but deciding what food will go on your plate is the bigger issue. Not every Thanksgiving dish is created equal, which is why I decided to rank the following foods.
Thanksgiving Dishes (in no particular order)
Stuffing or Dressing
Mac and Cheese
Sweet Potato/Candied Yams Casserole
Note: I’m not counting gravy as its own dish. Many rankings will consider gravy its own dish. However, I believe it’s a universal condiment, not its own meal. Even if you don’t like gravy, the odds are high that you’ll dabble with some on your plate to wash down the turkey, potatoes, and stuffing.
Also, don’t shoot the messenger if your family’s special side is not on my list. Google “popular Thanksgiving dishes” and those 10 are going to come up the most.
I broke down my rankings into tiers.
Won’t Be Touched Tier
10. Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie doesn’t do it for me. If I eat it, I need to drown out the pumpkin flavor with ice cream or whipped cream. From the chewy consistency to the earthy flavor, I will be walking past the pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Give me apple pie all day.
Might Dabble, But Probably Won’t Tier
9. Sweet Potato/Candied Yams Casserole
I like sweet potatoes and yams. I like marshmallows. I don’t like marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes. Why do we add marshmallows to this casserole? Who OK’ed this? It’s something I will never understand. If the sweet potato casserole excludes marshmallows, then I’d move them up the list.
Who wants to eat yellow pellets that will end up in the toilet after dinner? As gross as that sounds, corn is a decent vegetable. However, I prefer it on the cob during the summertime. It’s the perfect side dish to pair with your cheeseburger and beer at your Uncle Brian’s house in July. I won’t be happy or upset if it’s on my plate this Thursday.
Can’t Have One Without The Other Tier
7-6. Dinner Rolls and Cranberry Sauce
Dinner rolls and cranberry sauce go hand in hand. Bread is a staple that should be consumed at least once per day unless you’re training for a Marvel movie. More importantly, if you’re eating cranberry sauce, it must be from a can. Screw the fancy stuff. If there are still lines from the can in your sauce, then you’re doing it right. Mashing up the sauce out of the can is also acceptable.
One Small Scoop On The Plate Tier
5. String Beans
It’s time to add some greens to the plate. If it’s just plain string beans, then I won’t be amped about it, but I’ll eat it anyway. However, if it’s a string bean casserole with some caramelized onions and/or bacon, then you’re sitting pretty. By the way, string beans, green beans, or the long green things are all acceptable names.
4. Stuffing or Dressing
First of all, I call this dish “stuffing” even though my family never stuffs it in the turkey. Therefore, I technically eat dressing. However, I call it stuffing and will always call it stuffing.
I like stuffing. It’s an above-average Thanksgiving side. If it’s not properly cooked, it will come out super dry, which means it needs a lot of gravy to make it edible. That’s not a bad thing! Stuffing is hit or miss for me. If it’s good, it’s an elite side. If it’s below average, it can ruin the meal, which is why it’s outside of the top three.
Going Back For Seconds Tier
“Turkey is actually overrated.”
The statement above used to be a hot take, but now it’s a cold take because people decided it’s cool to insult the star of Thanksgiving. The sides are better than turkey, but it’s insane to degrade the turkey. We don’t come together each year and sit around a table of stuffing and string beans (unless you’re a vegan or vegetarian, which is fine!). The turkey is still the star of the meal and yes, it’s still good! Without the turkey, there are no leftover turkey sandwiches. Put some respect on the turkey’s name.
2. Mac and Cheese
Out of all my rankings, mac and cheese will be the most controversial. I can picture the biggest argument against mac and cheese will be it’s origins at Thanksgiving. Is mac and cheese considered a Thanksgiving staple? For me, mac and cheese belongs at the Thanksgiving table. It’s warm, creamy, and a necessary injection of cheese to your plate.
Undisputed Champion Tier
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the reigning, defending, and undisputed champion of the world, mashed potatoes. What’s not to love about mashed potatoes? Whether you like them chunky or my personal favorite, velvety smooth, mashed potatoes are the star of the meal. What makes mashed potatoes so great (besides the taste) is their versatility on the fork. You can’t combine turkey with pumpkin pie on your fork. Cranberry sauce and string beans don’t go together. Mashed potatoes can be combined with anything on your plate and it will still taste delicious. When I sit down for my meal, mashed potatoes will be the star of my dish.
What are your rankings? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.