From the start of time, people have debated which Thanksgiving food is the best. Turkey, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes — we all have our favorite dish. In the spirit of Thanksgiving being just around the corner, Technician staff members share their No. 1 Thanksgiving dishes.
Elyse Boldizar, Correspondent
By far the best Thanksgiving dish is the stuffing. Sure, the turkey, cranberry sauce and rolls are great, but nothing beats the stuffing. My mom and I always make a big batch of it, enough for us to have leftovers for a full week. To fully judge the goodness of a Thanksgiving dish, you must decide what you could enjoy if it was the only thing on your plate. Something about the mix of bread, celery, onion and chicken broth is so perfectly Thanksgiving. Turkey can be eaten all year, so can potatoes and green beans — but stuffing is purely for the holiday. There’s the woodsy flavor of the rosemary, the crunch of the celery, the comfort of the bread — it can’t be beat. I look forward to eating it every November and savoring it for the rest of the season.
Lauren Richards, Correspondent
No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without pumpkin pie. Compared to the dryness of turkey and the coarseness of stuffing, pumpkin pie’s creamy texture provides a soothing break for the palette. The aromatic pumpkin flavor provides the perfect level of sweetness that reflects the autumn season — not too high or low but a comfortable balance. Even before the fork reaches the tongue, the subtle orange hue evokes the warmness associated with fall. Sure, apple pie and pecan pie are great, but nothing will leave you wanting a second slice like pumpkin pie.
Emily Cooney, Staff Columnist
I always go back for second and third helpings of mashed potatoes, so I would definitely say that’s the perfect Thanksgiving food. Not only does it combine well with almost every other dish on the table, but it also offers an unmatched sense of comfort and savoriness. There can also be multiple gravies chosen to pair with mashed potatoes. They are super cheap and can be either homemade or simply via any Hungry Jack box at your local grocery store. They can be eaten year round — and should be eaten year round — but my Thanksgiving plate is incomplete without it.
On the other hand, I have always hated the jiggly jello texture and appearance of cranberry sauce and refuse to move past it. I cannot wait to double up on mashed potatoes and avoid all the cranberry sauce this holiday season.
Caitlyn Mahoney, Staff Columnist
I am sorry, but anyone who says sweet potato casserole is not the best Thanksgiving food is lying. The marshmallows and the brown sugar within the dish combine perfectly with the sweet potatoes to make a dish that tastes like dessert but passes as an entree. It is the perfect savory taste to pair with the darker taste of gravy and turkey. Additionally, there is no fussing from your mother about eating too much of it, yet it still gives you the sweet bliss of a sugar high.
Cranberry sauce, on the other hand, can go find another holiday to haunt. First off, why would anyone want to cover up the delicious sensations of any food with a tart, citric jelly that looks like a mix of human blood and flesh. Neither the look nor the taste of it is very appealing. Nope, you will find me skipping right over that option as I reach for my favorite, sweet potato casserole.
Mariana Fabian, Assistant Opinion Editor
Nothing completes my Thanksgiving without my mom’s rice and beans. She usually makes a couple versions of rice, so you can choose based on your tastebuds. She makes a regular, savory white rice which is deliciously culminated with lots of butter, spices and some onion. It’s perfect, always. She also occasionally makes coconut rice. I’m not such a big fan of coconut-flavored things, but these rice and beans are savory and sweet at the same time. They’re not paired with anything but they’re a great side dish if you’re not wanting anything too overpowering with sweetness.
Something I could go Thanksgiving without is turkey, ironically enough. Most of the time, turkey is waaaaay too dry for my liking, and it’s a bit overrated. I really dig some ham for Thanksgiving, but some people don’t cook one. I’ll still eat some turkey with a s--tload of gravy, like my mashed potatoes as well.
Shilpa Giri, Opinion Editor
I had never really tried ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving food till the Friendsgiving I had with my roommates last year, and I was immediately blown away by how amazing the stuffing one of my roommates made tasted. I literally love stuffing so much I’m tempted to make it throughout the year, but at the same time I try not to so it stays as special as possible for Thanksgiving. The flavor combination is elite and the fact that it pairs perfectly with every other dish on the table just makes it an S-tier dish.
It’s hard to pick a least favorite, just because I LOVE food (hot take, I know). But I’ll go with green beans as my least favorite Thanksgiving food, not because it’s bad, but just because it doesn’t feel like the most ‘festive’ dish. I still love it though :’)
Olivia Pagach, Correspondent
My favorite Thanksgiving food is definitely the dessert. I have a major sweet tooth and I love baking, this year making an apple pie. The best part about pies is undoubtedly the flaky, buttery crust which must be homemade. I don’t even like the filling of pies that much so when my family has them, people just donate their crust to me and I eat it plain like an animal. If you don’t want your pie crust you know who to give it to. I will also give an honorable mention to the autumn-y butternut squash soup that we serve as an appetizer. Also those addictive Sister Schubert’s dinner rolls... I can and will inhale at least four.
The worst food for me is stuffing, as it has always seemed a bit strange to me. A blob of mashed up bread? I’ll just take another roll.
Olivia Hille, Correspondent
No Thanksgiving food can compare to pumpkin pie. Hear me out, the other desserts like apple pie and ice cream or rhubarb pie and whatnot are great and all, but everyone makes them differently. I personally cannot get behind a rhubarb pie; it reminds me of celery and frankly the taste doesn't do it for me either. A good slice of warm pumpkin pie with a scoop of ice cream cannot be beat.
In terms of the main course of Thanksgiving, I've got to say the turkey is the worst part of the meal. Of all the turkeys I've tasted, 90% of them are dry and when they aren't dry I simply do not want to be eating an entire chunk of meat that is not seasoned unless you pour a mixture of fat and spices on to it. I will stand behind the argument that turkey is good for leftover lunches and meals!
Debra Mullis, Correspondent
This is going to be a controversial opinion, but I believe mac and cheese does not belong on anyone’s Thanksgiving table. This does not mean I don’t like mac and cheese, I LOVE mac and cheese, and I believe it should almost never be relegated to the role of side dish. Mac and cheese should always be topped with bread crumbs and served in a big bowl as the easiest, most comforting meal you can have. Sitting amongst the other Thanksgiving sides, it just sticks out; texture-wise, flavor-wise and even in appearance it just doesn’t make for the perfect autumnal bite with all the other classic Thanksgiving foods. I am also going to write another controversial opinion and say if you don’t like sweet potatoes, you have bad taste; they are delicious. I will not expound further.
Caroline Wilbourne, Correspondent
Honestly, the best Thanksgiving food to me is definitely whatever desert is being served. All types of pies are good to me since I just love any type of sweets, but if I have to pick a favorite it would definitely be apple pie. Of course, you can’t forget the ice cream or whipped cream with it, a combination my family and I love having every year.
The worst Thanksgiving food is sweet potatoes. I don’t know why, but I just never liked the taste and the orange color just throws me off. I much prefer regular potatoes over sweet ones.
Pearl Knight, Staff Cartoonist
My favorite “traditional” Thanksgiving dish is apple pie, but it cannot compete with my favorite nontraditional food: fried plantain. Plantain is essentially a banana you can cook. It can be baked, fried or boiled. Plantain can be enjoyed at any time of the year. That said, it is a specialty at Thanksgiving. It is best when eaten with rice and chicken.
My least favorite Thanksgiving dish is definitely cranberry sauce, simply because it's purposeless. I’m not sure what to eat it with and it doesn’t taste very good. Any time my family has it, there’s always a surplus not used.