Let’s not mess around. I could give you some spiel about Thanksgiving and what it’s all about and blah blah blah, but I know that’s not what you came here for. This is about food. This is about starting arguments. You came here to see me rip your favorite dish to shreds and I plan to deliver. Without further ado, here is the definitive ranking of every Thanksgiving dish:
t-14. Mixed Vegetables
It’s important that you and I are honest with each other. The last thing Thanksgiving is about is health. You can make your attempts to eat right on 99% of the days of the year. On most holidays, you can throw all of that out the window. This is especially true when it comes to Thanksgiving. This day is about meat, sugar, carbs and nothing else. *Most* vegetables have no business on your plate.
t-14. Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce is bad for two reasons. First of all, it’s a fruit. As we just established, we’re not trying to eat healthy today. But what’s worse? Cranberry sauce is LOADED with added sugar. So not only are you sacrificing room on your plate for the most mediocre member of the berry family, but you’re not even benefiting from the supposed “healthy” choice. It’s a SHAM!
As the years have gone on, the popularity of chicken on Thanksgiving has only risen. All I can say is you people sicken me. How you could abandon tradition to such an abhorrent degree is reprehensible. If you opt for chicken as your poultry of choice on Thanksgiving, I don’t want to know you. Chicken owns every other day of the year. Hop off turkey’s turf.
I personally prefer corn OFF the cob because it’s easier to funnel into your mouth, easier to fully cover in butter and doesn’t get stuck in your teeth as much. It’s the one *true* vegetable (were excluding potatoes from the vegetable family for the purposes of this argument) that I’ll let you get away with on Thanksgiving. The sweetness complements the meal perfectly, not to mention they can SAVE your awful mashed potatoes when mixed together.
11. Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are the most overrated of the Thanksgiving foods. Oh yeah, I went there. Mashed potatoes can be done right, but they almost never are. If you have a seasoned grandma in the kitchen, I’ll give you a pass, but most of the time they’re either a starchy, chunky mess or a soup-y disaster. Getting the consistency of mashed potatoes right is an art and most people can’t do it. Furthermore, people want to call out turkey for being a gravy delivery vehicle and won’t say the same for mashed potatoes? Give me a break.
10. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have all the same qualities you love about your regular potatoes without suffering from the blandness that requires you to bury them in butter and gravy. The superior potato gets the higher spot.
I’m grading brownies on a SERIOUS curve here, being that I don’t want to be the simpleton that just puts a bunch of deserts at the top of the list. We all know brownies are great. At the end of the day, it’s just not Thanksgiving-y enough. They’re honestly lucky I’m even including them in the discussion. You can have brownies whenever, which is less the case with many other items on this list.
9. Dinner Rolls
Dinner rolls will never be the star, but they’re a great role player. Get it? Role player? They always have a spot just on the edge of your plate and serve as a great clean up tool for all the gravy and juices that accumulate underneath all that delicious food. They’re reliable, but they’re not a main contributor to the meal.
8. Mac and Cheese
Like chicken, mac and cheese has every other day of the year to shine, but Thanksgiving is not its day. Most times, mac and cheese is just a throw-in just because everyone loves it, but it’s not really a traditional Thanksgiving food. It’s an outsider and it always will be.
I’m not a lunatic, I don’t think turkey is the best, but it’s definitely not the worst. Turkey is and always will be the most iconic Thanksgiving food and that isn’t going to change no matter how much the haters slander it. It may have lost its fastball in recent years, but it can never be dethroned as the GOAT Thanksgiving centerpiece. You’ll always get points for style and reputation when it comes to turkey and it does pair much better with gravy than chicken.
6. Scalloped Potatoes
If you want to have some real potatoes, this is the dish to have. Don’t mess around with finding the right consistency and the right chunkiness with that mashed nonsense, just slice these bad boys up, slather on some cheese and you have yourself a winner. Mashed potatoes will never be able to compete with the cheesiness that scalloped potatoes can provide.
Forget chicken and turkey. Ham is the best Thanksgiving meat. Especially a glazed honey ham. Talk about heaven. Nothing tops that. I’ll rarely go back for seconds on turkey, but I’ll always go back for more ham.
Nothing embodies carbs on Thanksgiving quite like stuffing. Unlike mashed potatoes, the varieties of stuffing are all good. It’s hard to mess this masterpiece up unless you’re one of those monsters that decides to put raisins in it.
The perfect toping for about 50% of your Thanksgiving dishes, gravy can improve almost every dish. I’m against the trend of diminishing the greatness of turkey, but absolutely for the acknowledgement of gravy being one of the most underrated Thanksgiving foods of all-time. Just because gravy can’t stand on its own doesn’t make it any less amazing. It’s a team player and the ability gravy showcases to work so well with all of the Thanksgiving teammates on the dinner table is a testament to its greatness.
A sweet northern cornbread is the perfect transition from dinner to dessert. It’s not quite either, so you can really dig in whenever you see fit. It’s the dessert before dessert and its uniqueness carries it to a high ranking.
I wasn’t going to separate all of these pies into different categories. The simple fact is pies win Thanksgiving. They’re the ultimate dish. However, I will rank my top choices for posterity. Just let it be known that all pies are #1.
Cherries are unquestionably disgusting, and any sane person picks them off of every sundae. I’m not eating an entire pie made out of a fruit I’ve consistently thrown in the garbage.
6. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato pie wants so badly to be pumpkin pie and it’s just not.
Normally I’d be totally against a “nut” pie, but pecan is ok. It’s not even close to the best though.
Classic. I’ve been against fruits and vegetables all day, but even I have to acknowledge the national treasure that is apple pie. Even still, it’s always a little awkward and unstable to eat.
Blueberries are everything cranberries wish they were. Sweet, but not too sweet. Decadent. Smooth. Delectable.
2. Chocolate Cream
It’s chocolate and crust. There’s no messing this up.
There shouldn’t be any doubt about this. I see your apple pie infatuation and will raise you a pumpkin pie. Especially on Thanksgiving. Every. Single. Time.
And there you have it. You know, we had a lot of fun today, but whether you’re a turkey person or a mashed potatoes person, a pecan pie person or a pumpkin pie person, I think we can all agree on one thing: Anyone who likes fruit cake should be stoned and jailed.
In all seriousness, Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your dish of choice, even if it is something as overrated as mashed potatoes.