By Elizabeth Nguyen
Hi, loves! It’s Lizzy, back again in time for Thanksgiving, and today’s discussion will be about my Thanksgiving food preferences. Here’s a tier list of classic Thanksgiving foods and my personal justification for each tier’s contents.
Disclaimer: As a Vietnamese teenager, the majority of food at the Thanksgivings I attend isn’t what you’d typically expect. Generally, when I pull up to my uncle’s house in a fresh outfit, I’m dressed to leave room for seconds on the bún bò huế or the bánh cuốn instead of, say, the turkey. However, I do believe that I have tried enough classic American Thanksgiving cuisine to provide some input. Take my words as you will, and let’s hop right into it.
- Smells like comfort and tastes even better
- Heaven if served warm and gooey with vanilla ice cream on the side
- Arguably more aesthetically pleasing and complex in flavor than pumpkin pie
Mac and Cheese
- Very flexible with modifications (ex. additives like bacon, toppings like breadcrumbs, different flavors)
- I’m a sucker for both ends of the scale, one end being Kraft and the other end being a piping hot, creamy baked mac and cheese with cracked peppercorns, chives, and maybe a touch of Sriracha
- Worth ignoring my lactose intolerance
- I will savor every last bite of this I get for as long as I live
- Roasting is 100% my favorite way to prepare vegetables (if you’re not roasting them, get on it ASAP)
- Brings out both flavor and texture, no downside
- Seasoning potential is endless
- Sheet pan prep makes life incredibly easy
- What if insulting food became another method of cooking?
Sweet Potato Casserole
- Growing up, our family was always responsible for making the sweet potato casserole. Ben and I would mash the sweet potatoes by hand, dust in cinnamon and sugar, then lay marshmallows like masons laying brick.
- Seriously, we’d pack the surface with marshmallows before putting it in the oven to broil (hopefully without burning it).
- I didn’t really understand the glory of sweet potato casserole as a kid, so I used to eat the gooey marshmallows off of the top like some sort of maniac.
- But when I grew up, I realized how genius complex flavors like spiced sweet potatoes and caramelized marshmallows were when paired together.
- 11/10–culinary masterpiece that warms my heart
- I’m almost notorious for my massive sweet tooth
- Might be an acquired taste for some or single-note after a while
- Reminds me of the greatest pumpkin loaf I’ve ever had (shout-out to Mrs. Fletcher)
- Lots of variety in flavor and texture
- You physically can’t go wrong with flavored bread
- Herbs and sauteed onions, and smell great in the oven
- Keeps very nicely for leftovers
- Classic, enough said
- Fought over the drumsticks for at least a decade straight
- We store our baking equipment in the bottom oven, so whenever we made two turkeys, there would be pans and measuring cups spread out all across the kitchen counter
- I drink this twice a year – Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve
- Fun for pretending to drink alcohol
- I usually opt for Diet Coke or something similar instead to curve the sugar
Green Bean Casserole
- Tasty way to pretend like you’re eating a substantial amount of vegetables (but on Thanksgiving, is anyone really trying?)
- Apparently the reason behind 40% of Cream of Mushroom sales
- Interesting texture
- Growing up, the mental picture of these I had in my head was completely off (I was disappointed to learn one day that scallops are not part of the deal)
- Still, can’t go wrong with cheese and potatoes
- Buttery, flaky bread
- Dinner rolls but built different
“For the Experience”
- Great at practically any time of year
- Hits different if you add spices and/or butter, still alright if you don’t
- Easy prep but kind of boring
- Can range anywhere from fluffy clouds to crunchy shells
- Good for butter and soup but not much else in my opinion
- Completely blank canvas = room for creativity
- Used to add everything but the usual bacon, chives, and butter into these bad boys
- Don’t remember the last time I had these outside of the popcorn chicken bowls in the cafeteria
- I’ve never had a Thanksgiving with glazed baked ham, but chả lụa/giò lụa is a fire staple. Cut it up and put it on anything, mildly addictive.
- Works well with anything savory
- Accidentally ate half of a bowl of it thinking it was soup, 6/10
- Never really had much of a taste for it; would rather opt for the dinner rolls
- Tangy, sour taste contrasts interestingly with more savory items
- Not my cup of tea, though
- Had it exactly once; initially confused but it grew on me
- Sad if temperature is anything less than piping hot
- Nutrient-rich, overall great thing to eat and very versatile for both savory and sweet things
- Somewhat of an acquired taste
- When I think of fall and Thanksgiving season, I think of other foods first
- For legal reasons, I have no comment
- Unsettling both taste-wise and texture-wise
- Looks like opaque Jello
- Why do people like this? Who had the idea?
- Stench is absolutely revolting
- All right if roasted, though
In summary, here are my overall thoughts:
- I have a massive sweet tooth.
- Roasting your vegetables is one of the easiest ways to elevate them to another level.
- While vegetables are inherently awesome, you seriously can’t go wrong with carbs and/or cheese.
Hope you enjoyed this little list – no matter how you choose to enjoy it or what to enjoy it with, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!