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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

If you know me, you know I am a Dance Moms FIEND. I can recite too many random scenes from the show, which is probably concerning considering I am currently having the hardest time memorizing the structures of the brain for my biology midterm. One of the most iconic elements of Dance Moms is the weekly pyramid: Abby Lee, head coach of the dance team, arranges the girls’ headshots in a pyramid shape, ranked from worst to best, using the previous week as a reference for each dancer’s progress. The funny thing about this pyramid is the repetition of locations–Maddie is always on the top, and the bottom is usually a range of everyone else (I would say Nia and Paige tie for the lead), depending on who messed up their solo, whose mother stood up to Abby, or who had a bad week in general. Definitely toxic, but entertaining nonetheless. So, with Thanksgiving coming up, I thought it was only fitting to create my own version of this pyramid using typical foods you would see on a Thanksgiving table, ranked from my least favorite to my favorite.



I have a hard time deciding if this is an unpopular opinion or not. I am one of those people who is a firm believer that fruit does not belong on meat and there is something about cranberry sauce that just gives me the heebie-jeebies. The way it moves like jello makes it hard to chew with other foods, and the sour taste takes away from the food it covers. I find it interesting because I love cranberries and cranberry juice, but I cannot stand the sauce. 


I know this is a strong preference. What is Thanksgiving without turkey? To be honest, I have a hard time understanding the appeal. I obviously eat it every year, as it is the main course and takes the award for the most popular dish, but I rarely finish the entire piece if it is not absolutely drenched in gravy. Turkey is dry and in my opinion, it does not have enough flavor to be the star of the show. I think what keeps me coming back is the gravy, which I could drink by the gallon. It masks the taste and adds moisture, which is definitely essential considering how bone-dry turkey is. I have tried turkey oven-cooked, air-fried, deep-fried. No matter which method I have tried, it consistently comes out dry like the Sahara Desert!


This one is a little biased because I am not a huge fan of green beans. I put it above cranberry sauce and turkey because I can handle the texture, and I do enjoy the addition of mushrooms and onions, but I would be perfectly fine if everything was made in the casserole with the green beans left out. When I make my Thanksgiving plate, I tend to avoid the green beans and gravitate more towards the carb overload. 



I am a huge sweet potato casserole stan–the only reason it is not as high up on the pyramid is because its competitors are just too strong. I like how it adds a sweet twist to the dinner plate. Most other Thanksgiving foods, excluding desserts, are savory, so I enjoy the switch-up it offers for my taste buds. The variety of ways to prepare sweet potato casserole is abundant–I have had it with brown sugar and pecans, marshmallows, and it is just as flavorful on its own. If I had to choose, my personal favorite would probably be with marshmallow topping. 


Writing this article right before dinner is dangerous because now I am having a major craving for stuffing. When deciding what to put on your Thanksgiving plate, it is important to assess which foods you are prioritizing, as there is only so much space you can occupy. Stuffing has been a priority for me through and through. It never disappoints and no matter how it is made, it consistently blows me away. Every Thanksgiving, I wonder why I don’t eat stuffing year-round. Why limit this amazing food to one day? Adding gravy adds even more depth to the perfection that is stuffing. 

#2: PIE

I couldn’t not include dessert food in my pyramid! Finishing off an amazing holiday meal with sweetness completes the circle that I strive to achieve every year. There is versatility in pie, as you can make it to satisfy whatever craving you might be having: apple, pumpkin, pecan, chocolate cream…the list goes on. If I had to choose, I would probably go with pumpkin for the seasonal effect. It also goes without saying that it is served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. 



And on top of the pyramid…mashed potatoes. They are the most well-deserving competitor of the bunch (biased). The texture, the taste, the explosion of flavor it brings…mashed potatoes are by far the food for which I save the most room on my plate. There are at least three hefty scoops being eaten by me every single time. My personal favorite type is garlic mashed potatoes, made with a lot of butter. I try to satisfy my need for mashed potatoes when they are served in Kimball, but nothing beats homemade. This is THE reason why I like Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes here we come!!!

Emily Johnson

Holy Cross '25

Junior English major at the College of the Holy Cross