Cranberry sauce is kind of like the uncle you don't like: It's not you favorite part of Thanksgiving, but part of you would miss it would miss it if it wasn't there. More of a tradition than a tasty food, cranberry sauce is the worst part of the essential Thanksgiving foods, but it still deserves it's spot in the spread. At the very least, it goes good as hell on a sandwich the next day.
Turkey itself is....well it's not that great. It's fine. I don't hate it, but despite the fact that it's the most famous part of a Thanksgiving dinner, I also think it's by far the most boring part. If your Thanksgiving plate is an episode of The Fresh Prince, then turkey is the Uncle Phil: You don't hate it, but you're clearly watching for Carlton and Will. Don't get me wrong, it's a necessary part of the plate. It just can't compete with the likes of the higher ranked foods on this list.
Okay, if you're like me, mac and cheese isn't actually a part of your Thanksgiving dinner. That said though, why not? WHY THE FUCK NOT, AUNT JULIE?!?!?!?! It has all the makings of an essential holiday side, and yet it hasn't yet managed to make its way onto the table yet. This right here is my call to arms. It's time we all stand up and fight for mac and cheese. With any hope, by next year it will be given its due so I can place it higher on the list where it deserves.
To be clear, I've never actually eaten any green bean casserole. I have, however, eaten those little French's onion bits off the top of one, and for that alone it has earned its spot on the list.
Gravy can be very hit or miss, and if you think about it for more than two seconds, you realize just how disgusting it is. That said, there's nothing as satisfying as unifying all the disparate elements of a Thanksgiving plate by drenching them all in gravy. Gravy is gross but satisfying, and that's also how I would describe the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.
Rolls are a toss up. If they're good **Cough**Pillsbury crescent rolls**Cough Cough** they're the absolute best part of a meal. If they're bad, then they're forgettable and disappointing, but still useful in sopping up superior parts of the meal. With that in mind, I decided to split the difference and place them smack dab in the middle of the list.
Mashed potatoes taste great! They are satisfying and no Thanksgiving meal would be complete without them. There is very little negative I can say about this wonderful side dish. Honestly, the only reason it's not higher is that I feel like they are often directly compared to stuffing, and that's a match up they simply can't win. We'll get to that later, though.
Any food that allows you to eat marshmallows for dinner is alright in my book. A yam casserole is the kind of over the top food that makes Thanksgiving great. I have no desire to eat it the 364 other days of the year, but on the big day there's hardly anything that beats it....Hardly.
I could do an entire list ranking the various flavors of pie, but why choose? They're all the best. Do you know how I know pie is delicious? Because by the time it's served, I usually feel like I'm being stabbed in my gut with a turkey shaped dagger and I still somehow find a way to eat at least six slices of it. Pie is the perfect ending to a perfect meal.
Could anything else be number one? Stuffing is the undisputed king of Thanksgiving.