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Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

Food Posted by glen 2 years, 7 months ago

Because Thanksgiving is essentially about food (and football and shopping and togetherness, to a lesser degree), I thought I'd keep the discussion going about everyone's favorite meal.

Dovetailing the Best Way to Cook a Turkey thread, I began to think of the side dishes. What are everyone's favorite sides at Thanksgiving?

Here are my two:

  • My wife's pumpkin pie. This is a pie passed down from her grandmother, and it is amazing. The crust is homemade, and the filling is more like a pumpkin custard than traditional pie filling. I garnish mine with cool whip at a 2:1 whipped topping/pie ratio. I'll eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, elevensies, whenever.
  • Stuffing. I know everyone loves stuffing, but a grandmother makes the tastiest stuffing I've had to date. She hand-crumbles the bread and adds sausage and apples. Describing it is really no good, it just has to be consumed. I've also eaten this dish solely as a meal, topped with some brown gravy.

11 replies

  • Chet_Manly

    Elevensies... HA! I bet it’s good for both first and second breakfast too!

    I enjoy the running Thanksgiving theme.

    I may be simple but I love mashed potatoes. Just so long as they aren’t from flakes or powder.

    My wife is constantly baking all kinds of dessert type things. Some are really good. They aren’t always the holiday classics but she seems to be especially inspired by the the cold weather setting. So I can’t narrow that one down but I’d have to just say that her Thanksgiving/Christmas concoctions are also at the top of my list.

    My mom makes a cranberry salad that is complex but surprisingly good. We only get it at Thanksgiving and Christmas so it is special in that regard. And I like it, even if partially for the sentimental enjoyment.

    Not exactly on the list but I enjoy a good thanksgiving movie in the evening... a Man With No Name movie, or an Indiana Jones flick. Smokey and the Bandit is ok too. Star Wars was passable in the past, but I’m so tired of that. I guess it has to be a classic and to have come on tv on thanksgiving back when I was growing up to be an appropriate Thanksgiving movie. But I could be unusual in that regard.


    • glen

      Cranberry salad is so underrated. I'd consider it an essential side when having a turkey. I guess you could pass with just gravy, but cranberry salad is so great.

      Thanksgiving movies! Excellent addition. We used to watch It's a Wonderful Life, but I'm always a fan of the classics. Last year I was sick on Thanksgiving, so while the rest of my family ate a big meal at the in-laws, I stayed home and plowed through 4 James Bond movies. It was great. Well, watching the movies anyway.


      • Chet_Manly

        James Bond would be an excellent Thanksgiving movie option. Classic Connery or even Roger Moore would work! Nice call.

        Watching...or being subjected to “It’s a Wonderful Life” is used as a threat among our family. I balk about watching it, but if it’s on and the family is watching, I’ll join them. And the last two times it’s been on I’ve managed to fall asleep. It’s a great movie to sleep through. But I can’t do Christmas movies until December. Just where I draw the line.


  • jordan

    Pie. Crescent rolls from the tube.

    And most importantly, my mom makes sauerkraut. My mom's side of the family is German and we always had sauerkraut as a side for Thanksgiving, so I was a bit surprised when I found out almost no one else has it. So when I say mom makes sauerkraut, like she actually ferments cabbage for a few weeks and then cooks it with some bacon and other magical things for a hot side dish. It is great with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and everything. And great on turkey, swiss, and rye later, but last time there were no sauerkraut leftovers.


    • glen

      Crescent rolls are excellent. My brother and I usually have a roll eating contest at either Thanksgiving, Christmas, or both.

      Oh man, I forgot about the sauerkraut dishes. My wife's grandma made these amazing dishes with bacon, much like what you describe. That said, I'm sure she used some store brought variety. That said, making real sauerkraut is impressive, and is probably much better. I'm jealous.


    • Chet_Manly

      I’m going to need you to post the address where your family meal will be occurring as well as the date and time. And ask your Mom to make extra sauerkraut.

      Sincerely, your long lost cousin and/or various other family member that would be most appropriate,
      Chet Manly


  • daemon

    Mashed Potatoes. Hands down favorite.

    Stuffing: Stove Top does it for me EVERY time. I am a Chef by trade and have made and tried every possible combination of this staple, both traditional and unconventional, from all regions of the US. Still like the cheap shit out of the box, with some additions and flair, like my Grandmother used to make it. It reminds me of childhood, and that is a grand thing.

    Fresh Green Beans: From my garden, with Smoked Bacon and Onions. Don't give me any of that casserole creamy, crunchy nonsense. I want a taste of Summer and the earth in the Fall. I take the best from the garden in season and flash freeze them to bring out for the Thanksgiving family feast. I will remember and pine for them, until Summer returns once again.

    Pumpkin Pie: With Cool Whip. Once again, I know this is anathema in culinary circles, but I prefer this fluffy whipped oil crap to real whipped cream with powdered sugar. I cannot account for my juvenile tastes on this beloved of food holidays except for nostalgia and comfort. I will save the good stuff for when there is someone to impress.

    My Dad's hot, spicy pickles. He grows French cornichons each year and we carefully can and put them up each season. With the right amount of dill and garlic and PLENTY of peppers...they add the perfect zing in the cool, crisp day of heavy, carb laden food.

    Apple Cider: Louisburg Cider Mill and Orchard. 'Nuff Said.


    • Chet_Manly

      I must heartily second your opinion on green beans not in casserole form. I have grown to despise vegetables in casserole form. As I child I needed it to help trick me into eating vegetables I didn’t like, but as an adult I find it to be insulting (sometimes). I like my vegetables to be vegetables alone. I’d assumed that was just me because no one else in my family seems to agree with me... (I wonder why they don’t mind being wrong, but that’s a separate issue.)

      And I’m not in fine culinary circles so I shouldn’t be surprised, but I did NOT know whipped topping was frowned upon. My world is shaken! Whipped topping is my diet cheat for ice cream. One large table spoon is 25 calories (probably closer to 40 as generously as I scoop) but it gets me through. My thought was always that it should be’s not from a pressurized can. Good tastes, sir.


      • glen

        I also like the whipped topping hack instead of ice cream. You can put some chocolate chips in it as well and you've basically got dessert.


  • Razorback

    We tried this stuffing recipe and it was really good. Super easy to make. The everything bagels add most of the flavor so it cuts down on prep time.


    Prep time: 30 mins
    Cook time: 75 mins
    Servings: 8

    • 3 - 4 large everything bagels, thinly sliced, then cut into 2-inch-long pieces (about 6 cups)
    • 12 slices bacon (12 oz.), chopped
    • 1 red onion, chopped
    • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    • 2 eggs
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

    Place a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 300 degrees . Spread the bagel pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once, until toasted, about 30 minutes; let cool. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees .

    In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring often, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the onion to the bacon drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the broth and the eggs; season. Add the bagel pieces, bacon, onion and parsley; toss to combine. Let stand, tossing occasionally, for 15 minutes. Transfer to a greased shallow 2 1/2-qt. baking dish. Bake until the top is browned, about 45 minutes.