Thanksgiving Foods: A Definitive Ranking

Thanksgiving, better known to college kids as the holiday of eating, is around the corner.

This week Loyola students will board planes, trains, and automobiles and head home to celebrate the holiday with friends and family.

Thanksgiving offers the opportunity to spend an entire day focusing on family, football, and food.

What could be better?

Family gathered around Thanksgiving dinner table

Now, there are many elements to a proper Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone has his or her favorites—as well as dishes they’ll pass without taking a helping.

Today I give you one person’s opinion on the definitive ranking of the Thanksgiving dinner elements.

1. Mashed potatoes

Otherwise known as the glue that holds the meal together, no Thanksgiving meal is complete without mashed potatoes. Trust me, I didn’t have them one year, and the whole meal got thrown off. The turkey was dry. The stuffing was not enough to save the meal.

A solid Thanksgiving Day bite always has mashed potatoes in it, preferably with a little bit of gravy.

But Teddy, you ask, what if I want my potatoes prepared a different way?

Well, that’s fine—but you’re doing Thanksgiving all wrong. Nothing is better than the sight of a big bowl of freshly whipped mashed potatoes.

2. Stuffing

Yes, I’m aware turkey hasn’t made the list yet, but as I said earlier, turkey cannot survive alone during the big meal.

The bird is like a superstar player who’s stuck on a small market sports team: He or she is only going to be as good as his or her surrounding teammates.

Stuffing pairs perfectly with the gravy, mashed potatoes, and turkey to work in harmony for good bites. And while I’m not sure what exactly stuffing is besides bread and spices, I do know it’s good. Real good.

3. Turkey/Gravy

The big bird finally makes an appearance on this countdown!

Don’t get me wrong; I love turkey. I think it’s great both during the actual Thanksgiving meal as well as in the days that follow, when it plays a lead role in leftover sandwiches.

My only problem with turkey is that it can be hit or miss…

Most of the time, it’s spot-on. The turkey is moist, juicy, and flavorful. However, should you choose to focus on other aspects of the meal for a little bit of time, when you come back to the turkey, it’s cold. Nobody likes a cold turkey.

My solution for this problem is to pour some more gravy (which has likely also reached room temperature at this point) on the turkey, and eat it as fast as you can.

4. Cranberry Sauce

The dark horse.

I am quite partial to cranberry sauce. It allows the taste buds a break from all the rich, salty foods. It is a fruity wave, providing the diner with second wind during the meal.

It has come to my attention that not all families celebrate with cranberry sauce. This is an absolute tragedy.

The colonists had cranberry sauce. Why wouldn’t you?

5. Green Bean Casserole


I guess I have to include some vegetables in this countdown in order to appease my mother, who is always trying to get my brother and me to eat our vegetables.

This combination of cream of mushroom soup, green beans, and French fried onions is really quite good (and a great way to eat veggies in a not-so-healthy way). Win.

6. Rolls

Ahh, the roll. It is small, and yet so multi-functional.

You can use rolls to make mini-sandwiches (credit to my cousin) out of all your Thanksgiving meal items. You can use them to mop up all the excess juices on your plate. You can eat them with butter.

When you think about it, the roll is a utility—and yet, it’s the most often forgotten part of the turkey day meal.

If any of the items listed above aren’t included, people notice. They get upset.

The roll is unique in that when you don’t have rolls, you can easily replace them with a piece of bread or a normal sandwich roll. Problem solved, and now we have even more to be grateful for.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, Greyhounds!

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