Reggie Noble: It must be pointed out that Thanksgiving memories are divided into two clearly defined categories. There are the magical times you had as a kid and then there are the times you think you remember having after you discovered alcohol.
Clearly, there is no better Thanksgiving tradition than getting shitfaced to deal with your increasingly dysfunctional family. Hell, half the time I forget what we’re even celebrating because my crazy uncle Clint is telling me I’m going to hell just because I live in New York City with all the gays.
So looking forward to Turkey Day, you guys.
1. Turkey: This is what it’s all about. Anyone that would tell you otherwise sucks. It’s delicious, coma-inducing and versatile. Growing up, I ate cold turkey and Miracle Whip sandwiches for lunch until Christmas break. Wait, was I poor?
2. Stuffing: The forgotten side dish gets its moment in the spotlight for one glorious afternoon and dammit if I don’t worship at its sweet temple like a deranged zealot. The great part about stuffing is that no salt is too much salt. HEY, YOU GUYS, I’VE GOT LOT’S WIFE ON MY PLATE! Death to anyone who puts cranberries in there, though. Heathens.
3. Mashed Potatoes: I have a grandmother that insists on making not only instant, but redskin from scratch. I love my grandmother. They don’t make them like that anymore. It’s absolutely crucial to create safe harbor for your gravy boat. Protip: Build the walls so high no one can see just how much liquid fat you’ve got swimming around there. It’s nobody’s damn business but your own.
4. Pumpkin Pie: The bad news is it makes you thirsty as Ishmael. The good news is it’s like two hot chicks having sex in your mouth. It’s another item that is beyond forgettable for 364 days out of the year but suddenly has the drawing power of crack cocaine on the holiday. What a fucked-up phenomenon.
5. Acorn Squash: Does any other family have this? According to my mom, and Wikipedia, this is something that would have been at the first Thanksgiving. Learning is fun.
1. Green Bean Casserole: Get the fuck out of here. This is supposed to be a celebration. Everything about GBC is disgusting. The visuals, the texture, the taste, cleaning the pan it was in. I just puked a little thinking about it. If this is the highlight of your day, you’ve got mental problems.
2. Sweet Potatoes: Potatoes shouldn’t be sweet. Only one kind of potato for me, thank you very much.
3. Cranberry Sauce: Who likes this stuff? My guess is that, 100 years ago, it was popular and children were too afraid to tell them it royally sucks. Cranberry sauce makes everyone uncomfortable.
4. Dinner rolls: What a tremendous waste of valuable stomach space. Only a short-sighted fool would load up on these empty, tasteless carbs when more delicious delicacies are on deck.
5. Anything That Is Not a Traditional Thanksgiving Food: Oh, so you want to be different and special and celebrate in your own way? Well, too bad. We decided a long time ago what to stuff our faces with and we’re sticking with it. Join or die!
Andy Moore: Last year was the first year I have been visibly hungover at the Thanksgiving table. This was the source, I think, of much unspoken consternation from everyone else involved. Wednesday night is widely considered the biggest drinking night of the year, but unfortunately the night’s next-day effects are not exactly pleasant to see. “Can you tell your eight-year-old son to be quiet, please? I just took a lot of Advil and am seeing two Bears games on the TV. Also there’s some puke to clean up in the backyard. Thanks.”
Anyway, this situation actually turned out not to be a complete disaster. I knew that I had limited room in my belly for all the delicious foods in front of me, and I knew I was going to have to take it easy the first go-around before really tearing into the meal during the dinner leftovers spree. If I wanted to eat without looking completely queasy, I was going to have to really separate out which foods sucked and which ones ruled. Here are my findings.
1. FRIED Turkey: Oh, God. The best. The best food of the year. The kind of dish that makes you wonder why we don’t have it more often and why there isn’t a chain of restaurants out there right now making a killing off selling it. (Actually, can someone get a recently retired pro athlete on the horn for me?)
What makes fried turkey—with its crispy skin that snaps off in your mouth, and its interior, juicy white goodness—so good is not just its flavor profile. It’s the danger. Every year, fried turkeys that go wrong cause 900 American homes to be destroyed along with $15 million in property damage.
Cooking a skillfully executed fried turkey is like killing a charging rhino in the savannahs of Africa. It’s the last challenging food for the American man.
2. Stuffing: Stuffing is not only a must for any plate, it’s the best thing you can possibly have the day after Thanksgiving. Cold stuffing, warm stuffing. A lot of stuffing, just a little bit of stuffing it’s always good. It’s versatile. It’s the Shawn Marion of holiday dishes.
3. Honey baked ham: Some people will quibble that honey-baked ham has no place on the Thanksgiving dinner table as it destroys the balance between the turkey and the vegetable spread. These people are idiots. No one complains when other meals also have the choice between two “main” meat dishes, and no one should complain that they get to eat the second-best product to come from a pig. Thanksgiving is a fine and good excuse to eat delicious ham. (Woah, just slipped into Ernest Hemingway mode there.)
I happen to find it delicious, HATERZ. Get those onion straws extra-crispy for me this year.
5. Alcohol: It’s a holiday! Just don’t get too crazy and decide it’s a good time to break out your still-in-progress Mayan Apocalypse theories.
1. Cranberry sauce: Nobody likes cranberry sauce. Let me repeat: Nobody actually likes cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is the “Wheel of Fortune” of Thanksgiving foods. It's been around for so long that no one has yet figured out it's universally loathed and it's okay to kill it off. When I'm president, I'll end its reign of terror.
2. Sweet potatoes: Not mashed potatoes? Not worth my time.
(Sweet potato fries, on the other hand, are delicious.)
3. Squash: Probably the only food on this list that was actually at the first Thanksgiving meal, squash is proof that everything sucked about living in the 1600s. Here's how squash fit into the first Thanksgiving:
“Sorry, again, about giving you that smallpox blanket.”
“Well, I’d like to use this rudimentary sign language to personally apologize for scalping your 12-year-old son.”
“It’s really fucking cold out here.”
[A pause. The pilgrim plucks a cockroach out of his belt buckle.]
“I’ve worn this black shirt and buckled hat for 427 days straight. My wife says I smell.”
“Well, I’m wearing a loin cloth, and haven’t been able to feel my uncovered feet since September.”
[Another pause. An elderly man dies nearby of hypothermia.]
“We never should have come to this country. But since we’re here… Friends?”
“I’ll gather the squash.”
So yeah, squash is horrible.
4. Dinner rolls: Everything Reggie said. If you eat more than one roll and you complain about being full more than 30 minutes into the meal, you should be forced to eat outside with your uncle’s Great Dane. Why do we even waste our time with cooking rolls during Thanksgiving? This is the one thing normal people and bulimic models can agree on.
5. Pumpkin pie: Yeah, I SAID IT. Pumpkin pie is overrated. It’s gloopy, its flavor is normally negligible, and it’s made of a food that shouldn’t be a dessert. It’s also an example of what I like to call the “Pumpkin Season” that takes over the lives of every under-30 female I know. Pumpkin Season is a lot of Instagrammed pumpkin pies. It’s breathless Facebook announcements that “PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES ARE AT STARBUCKS NOW, YOU GUYS.” It’s dragging your boyfriend to do pumpkin carving. Can you imagine how insane this would be if it was, say, for lemons? What a miserable vegetable.