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Ranking the Most Popular Thanksgiving Foods

I’ll be honest with you: I am not a huge fan of Thanksgiving. The history of the holiday is questionable at first glance and upon closer examination, we should not be celebrating colonization. When I think about Thanksgiving food, I don’t have the best experiences with them. But I like other Thanksgiving foods, and Thanksgiving is a couple of weeks away, so I figured I would give my takes on popular Thanksgiving cuisines. Disclaimer: a lot of you may not agree with me, so it’s important to note that this is just my opinion. Please don’t take this too seriously.  

10. Turkey 

Starting off, the food most traditionally associated with Thanksgiving. In the words of Jake Peralta, “Turkey tastes like napkins”. I personally could not agree more. I find turkey unappetizing and dry by itself, and nothing I put on it masks the taste. I try a small piece every year just to see if my mind has changed, and it never does.  

9. Stuffing 

I realize that this is another bold take, but I stand by it. I hate soggy bread and that’s exactly what stuffing tastes like to me. Looking at the ingredients, it looks hearty and delicious, but it never tastes that way. Like turkey, I always try a small portion of stuffing to see if my opinion has changed at all, and once again, it never does.  

8. Mac and Cheese 

This one doesn’t really count because I don’t think I’ve ever had Mac and Cheese at Thanksgiving unless you count the boxed stuff I used to eat when I was a picky eater at a younger age. I truly love macaroni and cheese in all forms, it’s just not food I typically associate with Thanksgiving. In all honesty, I just needed more foods to fill out this list, so mac and cheese are what I chose to add. 

7. Pumpkin Pie 

This one also doesn’t really count, because I don’t always have pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving. However, sometimes we do, depending on who’s hosting the dinner. When I’m in a situation where pumpkin pie is served, I will have a slice happily. I don’t dislike pumpkin pie by any means, I’m just not as biased towards it as I am towards some of the other foods on this list. 

6. Cranberry Sauce 

Tasty on its own and paired with other foods, cranberry sauce rarely disappoints. I had to dock a few points off because the sourness and the aftertaste sometimes throw me off. But all and all, a yummy and classic staple at any Durso family Thanksgiving. 

5. Rolls/Bread 

A necessity for picky eaters everywhere, bread is the true neutral of Thanksgiving foods, which is why it sits in the middle of this list. It goes with everything and never seems to get old. When lightly toasted with a little bit of butter, it becomes addictive. For the past couple of years, we’ve had garlic knots at our Thanksgiving, and it’s become a game-changer. I highly recommend them to anyone who is looking to elevate the usual bread at Thanksgiving.  

4. Green Beans 

I’ve never had green bean casserole, but looking at the recipe, it seems absolutely vile. However, when roasted in the oven with a little olive oil and garlic, green beans by themselves are delicious. Green beans used to be my favorite vegetable as a kid, and I think it’s because I liked the smooth texture of them. Even though they were crunchy, I still got the best of both worlds. I still look forward to them as a tasty and reliable Thanksgiving side dish.  

3. Ham 

I don’t have ham at every single Thanksgiving, but when I do, it instantly makes me happier. As someone who hates turkey, ham is the polar opposite, in my opinion. Fatty, juicy, tender, and flavorful, ham during Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite. Since I am the only one in my family who really loves ham, it’s not enough to justify buying a whole ham for one person. But when my family eats Thanksgiving dinner with my uncle and his family, we get ham. It’s safe to say that those are my favorite Thanksgivings.

2. Pecan Pie 

The best dessert served at my house, this pecan pie is something I dream about year-round. Forget pumpkin pie, no Thanksgiving dessert spread is complete without this pie. Thinking about eating this fresh out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting down the sides makes my mouth water. It’s caramelized sugary deliciousness and is the best Thanksgiving dessert out there. 

1. Mashed Potatoes 

Now, I know what you might be thinking. You can eat mashed potatoes at any time of the year, why did you choose it as Number One on your food rankings? My grandmother has this dish that she makes for every Thanksgiving that we know as “Cheesy Mash”. It consists of loads of butter, mashed potatoes, and cheese. I still remember the first time I tried it, about six years ago when my grandparents moved to be closer to us. Ever since then, I can’t go to a Thanksgiving dinner without at least two servings of the most comforting, delicious mashed potato dish I’ve ever had.  

Rory is a sophomore from Glenside, PA at Loyola University Maryland studying Writing. In her spare time you will probably find Rory reading, watching TikToks, or FaceTiming her cats.
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