Top Nine Thanksgiving Side Dishes
By Lou DiPietro
Thanksgiving Day is upon us, and for those of us here at The Niner (and probably many of you), the fourth Thursday in November is usually spent watching 12 hours of NFL football and eating until our pants are too tight in the company of distant relatives.
Thanksgiving is nicknamed Turkey Day (or, perhaps in the Madden and other households, Turducken Day) for a reason: The gobbler is, for most, the dinner meat of choice, and whether it's white meat or dark meat, you just can't lose. But as any glutton would tell you, it's the trimmings that make your holiday feast an epic one. We wanted to show those sides some love on this Thanksgiving Eve, so we've compiled a comprehensive ranking of the delicious dishes that take your turkey dinner to the next level.
And on a serious note, we here at The Niner hope all of our readers have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
It doesn't matter what you put in with them, green beans are green beans ... and while delicious, they're also eaten a lot on the other 364 days of the year, so they get the No. 9 spot and like it.
What looks like an onion, grows like a potato and tastes like poison? That'd be the turnip, a vegetable so good for you it actually contains cyanide. Seriously, Wikipedia told us so. But hey, much like "Miracle on 34th Street," it's seemingly contractually obligated to be there every Thanksgiving.
We could just say "See No. 9," but corn was a big part of the first Thanksgiving, so it gets a little more love than our leguminous friends above. Plus, no one ever talks about how good "green bean bread" is, so score one more for corn!
Acorn, butternut, it matters not, because there's likely to be one or more squashes on your Turkey Day table. It's a solid if unspectacular addition to the side dish depth chart, but it's expensive and takes forever to cook ... so it's probably a good idea to have Aunt Gladys take care of that one.
It seems almost criminal to think about a hot turkey dinner without some mashed taters and gravy. So why are they so low? We blame the fact that we picked this list out of a hat. A pilgrim hat, sure, but a hat nonetheless.
Pumpkin as a vegetable was a part of the first Thanksgiving, and some still keep that tradition today. Thankfully, in the 400 years since Plymouth Rock, we as a society have come up with a much more delicious way to serve our discarded jack-o'-lanterns. Thanks, electricity!
It doesn't matter whether you use real cranberries or the canned gelatinous sphere that maintains its shape under any conditions, cranberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment to all the other sides, and it makes one heck of a spread for those leftover turkey sandwiches!
Whether in a pie or in a casserole (with brown sugar and marshmallows, please), sweet potatoes are tops when it comes to vegetable sides. And, as a double bonus, sweet potatoes are actually the root of an offshoot of the morning glory plant, which makes them both tasty and beautiful.
Call it stuffing, call it dressing, call it what you will ... we call it No. 1 on our list, because turkey and stuffing just go together like the Yankees and pinstripes. Gobble Gobble!