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Which Thanksgiving sides reign supreme? A ranking of Turkey Day’s companions

Graphic by Ethan Nelson

Aside from family traditions and home favorites, there’s a definitive hierarchy of Thanksgiving that shouldn’t be argued. I won’t include the heavy centerpiece (turkey, ham, etc.) as they aren’t sides, but rather the main show. 

At the top of the list is mashed potatoes. You might be thinking, “What a basic side to have in the first place.” However, it’s the steady beating heart of Thanksgiving dinner. A dabble of gravy and you have the starchy side that goes well with every aspect of the meal. 

Dinner rolls (or a crescent roll equivalent) would have to be next. A little butter or a dip into gravy, and it’s a perfect pairing in addition to your protein. They may become monotonous if consumed in large quantities – I’m a sucker for “straight out of the oven” rolls – so you must enjoy them strategically. 

Green beans, corn or any primary vegetable takes third place. When you have a protein coupled with two heavier sides, you need something to lighten the meal and that doesn’t mean the tang of cranberry sauce. If you’d like to try something different, pickled red beets are always a highlight of my Thanksgiving dinners. 

Sweet potato casserole is adorable. It’s a classic and if it doesn’t have marshmallows, I’ll nibble on it. I love sweet foods like pumpkin pie. However, I can’t seem to wrap my head around a dessert pairing with my turkey. It may invoke nostalgia for some; I know a grandma or two that holds a casserole dish near and dear to their hearts. However, it’s just not for me.

I apologize to all the stuffing lovers but it must be last. It’s literally seasoned dry bread. I can’t grasp the appeal, especially if you already have buttered bread. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never had “good” stuffing, but I guarantee you won’t ever see it taking up space on my plate. 

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