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Turkey Day Dishes Ranked and Rated

Pumpkin Pie, illustration by Matt HinrichsWe have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and although I spend a lot of time thinking about family and tradition, blah blah blah, I often think about the food. It’s always the same things every year, often badly prepared, we eat too much of it, and yet we keep coming back for more. I think it’s high time to stack up the things we eat and compile them into a meaningless list. Here, in my humble opinion, are the best to worst Thanksgiving Day foods:

1. Pumpkin Pie What I spend the other eleven months of the year pining for. So essential to my happiness that any T-giving without a slice of golden-orange heaven seems incomplete. A+
2. Turkey with Gravy Good, not too dry mix of white and dark meat with a delicate drizzle of lumpless brown gravy deserves to be the centerpiece of the dinner plate. A
3. Buttered Dinner Roll An often overlooked part of the Thanksgiving table, but nothing beats a real oven-baked roll with a square of genuine butter. A
4. Stuffing As long as I don’t think too hard about eating something that was baked inside a hollowed-out turkey carcass, I love a thoughtfully prepared stuffing. My mom likes to use a recipe involving raisins, a needless addition which upsets the delicate flavor balance (sweets belong in the dessert, ma!). B+
5. Diet Cola An essential part of the meal when changing courses — a nice cool glass of your favorite diet cola (I like Diet Pepsi; Diet Coke has too much caffeine and the extra bubbles make me gassy.). It’s like Drain-O for the palate. B+
6. Green Bean Casserole Mushy and kinda gross, but really what would Thanksgiving be without it? Personally I’d prefer simply gorging on the French-fried onion topping. B
7. Cranberry Sauce I love the taste of cranberries — but when they’re presented in a gelatinous heap containing who knows what kind of mystery bits, my stomach starts to churn. Especially unappealing when served in the “straight outta the can” shape. C
8. Candied Yams When done well, cooked from scratch and coated with a lightly toasted marshmallow topping, these are excellent. I think I’ve only had them that way once, however, and mostly when I think of yams I picture a sickeningly sweet side dish which sucks away the specialness of the other foods on my plate. C-
9. White Salad This nausea-inducing grape and marshmallow concoction was a staple at the Thanksgivings of my childhood. It must be heaven for grape and marshmallow connoisseurs, of which I am not! D-
10. Egg Nog I associate egg nog with Christmas, but sometimes at Thanksgiving someone (with a sick sense of humor, no doubt) carts it out. The only way to consume this crap is to gag it down. F

One Thought on “Turkey Day Dishes Ranked and Rated

  1. interesting. i was just reading an article about how freaked out some people get if you alter their thanksgiving dinner. apparently different people get really attached to certain dishes. i think in the last 10 years i’ve only had one proper thanksgiving dinner.

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