Life

All The Best Thanksgiving Foods, Ranked (Except All Of Them Are Stuffing)

It was a sad day, the day I left UPROXX to work on Nancy Drew. A day filled with tears from all those who worked at the company. Of course, most of those tears were from the people I ran over with my car when I crashed through the office wall, Kool-Aid-Man-style, to say goodbye. But hey, I’m the kind of lady who knows how to make an entrance. And an exit. And convince a jury that there isn’t enough evidence to convict.

But aside from all the tears and the “please take your car off of me!”s, there was a sense of relief. See, my doctor had told me that if I ate even one more french fry in the name of Power Ranking, my heart would literally explode. And I figured that was some advice I should probably follow… months later, after seven emergency heart transplants. So I left. And I’ve been off the comfort food for about six months now. Or at least, I was.

Until last week, when I got a call from the Laguna Beach State Penitentiary telling me that an inmate there was getting out and needed a ride. My former boss and fast-food pusher, Steve Bramucci.

***

I picked Bramucci up at the entrance. He was exactly as I saw him last. Wearing a wet suit. So many puka shell necklaces around his neck that it was clearly a cry for help. And a bowl of sticky rice that he wanted to keep in my car to bake in the sun while he cleaned a yellowfin tuna and mixed homemade buttermilk frosting for a food challenge focused on who could make the best cheese pizza.

“Good to see you, Sanchez,” he said, sliding into my car. “Stop for chicken nuggets on the way home?”

“Absolutely not,” I said, shaking my head. “You know I’m out of comfort foods game. You’ll never drag me back in. I’m not that kind of writer anymore. I eat salad, now. Almost monthly.”

Bramucci had that glint in his eye though. A glint that said he was going to offer me a small-to-reasonable amount of money. When I saw that, I knew I’d take it. Because, money.

“What have you heard about Thanksgiving?” my ex-editor said.

I blanched.

“Lots of food at Thanksgiving,” I said. “On a normal day, you can barely find stuffing in LA county. But on Thanksgiving, you can nab ten varieties on the same city block. Get the right invites and you could walk away with cornbread stuffing, sourdough stuffing, and rye stuffing in ten minutes flat.”

“And I think you’re just the gal to pull it off,” he said.

I choked back a cry for help. Bramucci flashed me a $20 bill and promised to expense my debauchery.

“I’ll assemble a team,” I said.

***

There was nothing I could do. I love Thanksgiving food. All of it. But when I say that, I actually mean stuffing.

I think about Thanksgiving in terms of what foods will best complement the stuffing. I dream about stuffing. I think about it for months before and after. I’m a woman who is going to be eating in a San Diego restaurant for Thanksgiving this year and chose that restaurant by calling multiple options to find out the kind of stuffing they were planning to serve.

“Um, it’s regular stuffing? I think?” multiple hosts said on the phone to me. “Do you…want to make a reservation?”

“What do you mean by regular?” I replied, incredulous — in a tone of voice common to the unhinged. “Regular means different things to different people. WHAT’S IN YOUR STUFFING? GO ASK SOMEONE!”

The hosts inevitably hung up. And called the police. Probably.

But I don’t care, because I remain steadfast in my conviction that not all stuffings are created equal. Some stuffings are great. Some greater. Some slightly less great. And I can’t let you people live your whole lives thinking a mediocre kind of stuffing is the best kind of stuffing. I’d never do that to you.

So, once and for all, here are the best Thanksgiving foods power ranked. As long as by “Thanksgiving foods” you actually mean stuffing. Because if you wanted like, all of them, you’re going to be super disappointed.

7. Cornbread Stuffing

Cornbread is WONDERFUL. Let’s have it at Thanksgiving! Let’s have it every day. Hell, every meal! I LOVE cornbread.

But you know very well that it’s too sweet for a stuffing.

Oh really? It’s not? Okay. Let me ask you a question, hotshot. If it’s fine to have cornbread stuffing, a dish that will be mixed under your turkey and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, tell me: Are you going to pour gravy upon all of that (as is custom)?

Well, let me ask you a FOLLOW UP question, hotshot. Would you just pour gravy on a piece of cornbread?

The answer is NO.

Butter, sure? Honey, of course. BUT YOU WOULDN’T PUT GRAVY ON CORNBREAD AND SO, YOU SURE AS HECK HAVE NO RIGHT TO CALL IT AN ACCEPTABLE STUFFING. When I show up to an event or a meal in which stuffing is claimed and then cornbread stuffing is offered? I burn the place to the ground.

Sorry, Grandma. You don’t have a house anymore. Better luck next year. If you make it through the winter, hotshot.

But this kind your favorite? If you’re a monster, try this recipe!

6. Stuffing With Nuts In It

Like hazelnuts or pecans or like whatever. Ugh.

You people think it’s okay to put nuts in stuffing? A food which should be soft and warm and gooey? You think it’s okay to put little surprise pebbles inside? Well, that makes me SICK (I mean possibly literally if it’s cashews. I’m ALLERGIC. DO YOU WANT TO KILL ME?).

The thing is, if I wanted to eat nuts, I would have eaten nuts like a stupid squirrel. But I don’t. I don’t want to bite into anything hard in my Thanksgiving mush. I want to be able to eat it if all my teeth fell out tomorrow because of all this meth and if I can’t eat it, you’ve done it wrong.

PUT IT IN A PIE, PECAN MONSTERS. THAT WOULD BE LOVELY. I MEAN IT. THANK YOU FOR MAKING A LOVELY PIE.

This kind your favorite? Fine. You’re going to do what you want anyway. So, try this recipe!

5. Mushroom Stuffing

I’m not anti-mushroom. You won’t find me at any rallies banning the fungi. No, sir. I’ve eaten a few cream of mushroom soups and stuffed mushroom appetizers from Trader Joe’s in my day. That’s for sure. But you know what mushrooms are in stuffing? Slimy. It’s like, someone has added extra slime somehow. Like we’re in 90s Nickelodeon show What Would You Do and we got slimed but it all went into our mouth and ruined my favorite holiday of the year and I hope you’re happy with yourself.

I can eat around mushrooms if I have to. I can close my eyes and pretend they aren’t there, mostly. I can allow the salt of my tears to mask them in the bigger problem (which is now the stuffing is way too salty), but WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO? Mushrooms don’t add any flavor to stuffing, they just add a texture that none of us needed or asked for. It’s the Young Sheldon of Thanksgiving foods.

This kind your favorite? If you won’t listen to reason, try this recipe!

4. Sausage Stuffing

We have turkey and turkey gravy. And if we’re not monsters, there’s probably also some ham on the table. Ham is delicious. And maybe there was a meatball appetizer. Perhaps some bacon in the brussel sprouts. Who knows, maybe there was a cheese and bread platter that involved prosciutto or salami. But at some point, meat is diminishing in returns.

No one wants a turducken. Everyone was grossed out by that chicken sandwich where the bread was just more chicken, and sausage has no place in stuffing. Do you really need to add another meat to a meal, that frankly, already borders on too much meat? It’s confusing. And selfish. And you should have quit while you were ahead like the Big Bang Theory. I’ve never watched it, but they made some money. NOBODY WANTED YOUNG SHELDON, OKAY? Have you imdb’ed it lately? It’s on like its 3rd season? Time is a flat circle.

This kind your favorite? I’m not your real mom. So, whatever, try this recipe!

3. Stuffing In A Thanksgiving Sandwich

God, I love a thanksgiving sandwich. Some people would say stuffing, which is primarily bread, between bread, is too much bread. These people are wrong. You can never have too much bread. Anyone who says so is a character in a Stephen King novel. They’re looking to stir up trouble, there’s something deeply unsettling about them, and you should avoid accompanying them into the sewer. Like Young Sheldon. (Honestly, I think you should avoid accompanying anyone you just met alone into a sewer but perhaps that’s just me. Let’s talk about it down in a sewer, okay?)

The best thing about a Thanksgiving sandwich layer of stuffing is that it allows for some variation if you or someone you love made some poor life choices. Did you make a stuffing with cranberries in it? I don’t agree with it. But I like a Thanksgiving SANDWICH with cranberry sauce in it, so your mistake has been covered up. This time. Did you put mushrooms or sausage in? THERE’S A LOT GOING ON, I BARELY TASTE THE DISAPPOINTMENT I FEEL IN YOU.

This kind your favorite? I actually am your real mom. Yep, we’re in a Back to the Future type thing and yeah, you should feel grossed out about the incest and whatnot. But you might enjoy trying this recipe!

2. Sage Stuffing

I don’t want to say this is the classic? What is classic? Is All About Eve more classic than say, National Treasure? Of course not! Would you teach Citizen Kane over Sister Act 2? What, are you crazy? Is Gone with the Wind more of a cinematic treasure than the 2019 film Hustlers starring Jennifer Lopez. Don’t make us laugh.

We get that classic means different things to different people. Mostly, it’s what you grew up with!

That said: A CLASSIC sage stuffing is objectively the best stuffing and if you think otherwise, it’s because we’re in a simulation and your tastebuds glitched out. Sorry. The flavors are perfect with just about any bread. It pairs with turkey and gravy and rolls and potatoes and yams like fine wine, but a wine that is stuffing and melts in your mouth. But gets you equally drunk.

There’s only one thing I believe in and that’s this: Sage stuffing is the only stuffing one can truly enjoy at Thanksgiving. All others are imperfect, each in their own way.

This kind your favorite? Good choice! Make it with this recipe!

1. Sage Stuffing Slathered In Maybe Too Much Gravy

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#stuffingandgravy #yummyfood #dinner

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Is this a cheat because it’s the last entry just, with a lot of gravy on it? Perhaps. But while stuffing is delicious, it’s the heaping of gravy on it that takes it from wonderful to orgasmic. It’s comfort food with all your hopes and dreams wrapped up into some old bread.

And that’s something we can all aspire to on Thanksgiving.

And every day. A bread induced orgasm in your mouth.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

This kind your favorite? You’re correct! Try this recipe!

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