Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Food Power Poll: Thanksgiving Side Dishes

The king of Thanksgiving sides
Photo Credit: TH
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it revolves around food. In unrelated news, I have no idea how I've gotten to be over 300 lbs. in weight. Oh well. Anyway, for most households, turkey is the main attraction, although some people may substitute ham, strip loin, goose, or some other protein. However, everyone knows that Thanksgiving is all about side dishes, as far as the eye can see. I will now rank the top ten side dishes in descending order. These rankings are final, and if you argue with them, I will kill you*:

10. Roasted Asparagus - Kicking off the countdown with a Holzerman Hungers favorite, asparagus! The noble vegetable belongs on your Thanksgiving spread to give your undoubtedly rich table some balance and fiber, and because it's really tasty, especially done up with garlic and olive oil. If you don't have room in your regular oven, you can always pop it in the microwave for similar effect.

9. Cornbread - Cornbread works as a stuffing, but by itself it's so good that it doesn't need the extra stuff. If cornbread is your bread option at Thanksgiving over rolls or what have you, you're blessed.

8. Corn Casserole - Get the fuck outta here with your canned corn or even creamed corn. Once you've had corn casserole (or pudding), you have no way back.

7. Cranberry Relish - My wife makes a cranberry relish with apples and walnuts in it that is delicious and is an improvement over regular cranberry sauce. You need something tart and a little sweet on the main table to cut through all that rich fat, and cranberry relish seals the deal.

6. Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon - I know The Chive ruined bacon for most people, but it really does make most things better. Rich, salty bacon rendered down to crisp up slightly bitter and savory Brussels sprouts really hits the spot.

5. Macaroni and Cheese - I'm going to be honest here; until I started doing research for this thing, I had no idea people ate mac 'n cheese with Thanksgiving dinner. However, I am not morally opposed to the idea, despite never having it. I put it at five, not because it's necessarily "worse" than the top four, but because it doesn't feel "seasonal." Maybe that's a shit reason, but it's best Thanksgiving side dishes, not best overall. God, I hate when I drag myself into semantics.

4. Biscuits - Biscuits are definitely the superior bread product on a Thanksgiving table. They stand up well to gravy, and they're the best avenue to make leftovers sandwiches on the same night (although if you're going to make one the next day, get yourself a sturdy Italian roll).

3. Mashed Potatoes - If any side dish can be considered the ubiquitous American starch, it's the mashed potato. Loaded with milk, cream, butter, cheese, and/or sour cream, they smooth and creamy and act as the glue that holds the food bomb together in your belly.

2. Cheesy Cabbage - This might seem unconventional to you, but my wife started making it every year when she wanted to replicate the dish from Miller's Smorgasbord in Ronks, PA. Basically, you take cabbage and bake it en casserole with American and Swiss cheeses.

1. Sausage Stuffing - Stuffing is the undisputed king of Thanksgiving sides, but it has so many variations. My wife and mother-in-law make giblet stuffing, which I personally don't like. One could make cornbread stuffing or potato stuffing or even Stove Top (not judging, one might have one of several valid reasons to make it on Thanksgiving), but sausage is the king for me. I make a sausage stuffing with challah bread and leeks every year (except this year because we're moving around Thanksgiving), and it is the best. I wish I could make it for you.

Honorable Mention: Cornbread Stuffing, Regular Old Bread Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce (preferably homemade), Dinner Rolls

* - Relax, just kidding, I won't kill you. I'll just frame you for voter fraud.