This or That: Thanksgiving Food Edition

Now that Thanksgiving is only a few days away, it’s about time we start thinking about the food. Sure, the days off from school are great; spending time with those we care about is also really nice. But the food! Can we talk about the food? Here’s my take on some slightly controversial debates on popular Thanksgiving food.

Turkey vs. chicken:

At least in my family, meat is the centerpiece of our table at Thanksgiving. In fact, we have both turkey and chicken every year. Turkey is a classic, a Thanksgiving icon. But honestly? It’s basic, takes hours to cook, and there aren’t too many ways to cook it. Chicken on the other hand? Also an icon, a bit less of a classic, but the variety is unmatched. Baked, grilled, fried even. And the flavors? Don’t get me started. There are more options than turkey can provide. So, although I will never hate the Thanksgiving staple, chicken wins. 

Mac ‘n’ cheese vs. mashed potatoes vs. stuffing:

Time for the battle of the carbs. Not only the most filling part of Thanksgiving, but also the closest race. 

Let’s start with mac ‘n’ cheese. Regardless of how you make it—baked, multiple cheeses, with or without toppings, vegan—most people love mac ‘n’ cheese. My niche food focus tends to be texture, and mac ‘n’ cheese covers all the bases. It has a firm base with the pasta, and the perfect amount of gooey-ness in the cheese. If it is baked, even better: some crunch is a great addition.

But, mashed potatoes cannot be excluded from this conversation. I know I said I’m a sucker for textures, but when something is so smooth, so soft all around, can I really complain? No. When made correctly—with real skinless potatoes, not powdered stuff, and with milk, not water—you can create a delicacy.

Maybe I’m still a child at heart, but does anyone else save all the croutons to eat last after you eat all the other parts of a caesar salad? No? Just me? Well, stuffing is the Thanksgiving edition of that. Something about softened (dare I say moist?) cubes of bread among other salty additions just hits the spot. It really doesn’t feel like you’re eating probably 4 slices of bread (which is probably better for my mental health anyway).

So who wins? I’m still leaning towards mac ‘n’ cheese. Regardless of how you make it, there is nothing quite like pasta with cheese.

Apple pie vs. pumpkin pie:

Call me biased, but I do prefer cake over pie. Anyway, I will put my bias aside to make this a fair competition. There is only one distinction that I can truly make between apple and pumpkin pie (aside from taste, which I honestly don’t have a preference for). You can eat apple pie anytime of the year: Christmas, Fourth of July, your birthday, the 34th anniversary of your grandparents, or even three Tuesdays from now. Pumpkin pie just isn’t the same when it’s not the fall. Sure, that might make it more special for Thanksgiving, but I feel like it lacks depth. Apple pie wins.

Canned cranberries vs. fresh cranberries:

This one might start a ruckus. But it’s got to be canned. It’s the consistency, really. There’s not much else to be said.

Yams vs. sweet potatoes:

I guess this one isn’t too much of a controversial take, but sweet potatoes over yams any day. Now, am I just going to use this section to tell people who don’t like sweet potatoes to man up and stop hating on non-artificial sugar? Partially. But, seriously, if you don’t have sweet potatoes on your table for Thanksgiving, what are you doing? There are so many ways to eat them: mash them, bake them in a casserole, bake them by themselves, add marshmallows to them if you must. Just anything over yams. Please. No yams.

Now you’ve heard my opinion. We can agree to disagree. Or maybe, you can take this super thorough, super convincing information and create an entirely new Thanksgiving tradition. You can thank me later.