The Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu Tier List

I can taste, and your family’s food is no bueno


Spencer Isaacs

Staff Writer

November 23, 2021


November has rolled around and it is almost time for America (and lots of other nations you probably weren’t educated enough to know celebrate Thanksgiving too) to sit down for the annual dinner and political debate. As you get tired of arguing with aunts and uncles whose names you might not remember, you may want to change the topic to something friendlier—like food. This Thanksgiving food tier list will load you up with my good opinions like your father loads up his plate while saying, “don’t mind if I do.”


In case you are unfamiliar with the formatting, tier lists are a way of ranking items. All the Thanksgiving foods that aren’t too fringe or ridiculous (sorry, Jell-O) will be sorted into ranked categories (tiers), from worst to best.


F Tier—Feed to the dog


Cranberry sauce- Seriously, who thought this was a good idea? It looks like a bad horror movie prop. Actually, my mysterious aunt who only I can see once spilled this on her shirt when I was little, and I thought we were gonna need an ambulance. I started crying but my parents ignored her antics as usual. The runny cranberry juice and the lumpy berry texture mix like oil and water. If you can get over its visceral appearance you are rewarded with a food that tastes much worse than chocolate but somehow has the same amount of sugar.


D Tier—Do better


Corn- Come on, really? You know how much of this is in your regular diet. The whole point of a Thanksgiving meal is to be special. At least the other lame foods try to be something original, even if they fail miserably. My strange aunt who is slightly transparent raves about this for some reason. I have no clue why.


Sweet potato casserole- This stuff looks and feels like something you would feed to a baby. If you enjoy this, you should probably check that you are counting the years past your birthday correctly. I have also heard of marshmallows going on top of this. What are you, five? This isn’t the elementary school cafeteria. You can’t just mix sweets into your vegetables for no reason.


C Tier—Can’t be awful


Turkey- For being the most famous dish of the Thanksgiving holiday, turkey is disappointingly mediocre. All of the excitement surrounding turkey makes no sense. Both the texture and flavor are exquisitely middling. The overblown “light vs. dark meat” debate is totally irrelevant because the whole bird tastes like the food equivalent of a football jersey and jeans. Even if turkey does not really contain drowsy chemicals, you might get tired from wasting your time chewing this stuff. However, to its credit, there is also nothing remarkably offensive about turkey. The issue is how much it relies on its heritage and reputation as the main course—like a spoiled rich kid.


B Tier—Basic but fine


Pumpkin pie- This is the only orange food I will tolerate. It’s uniform throughout, so no surprises here. The unimpressive flavor makes it good for wishing that you had ice cream or something else that actually tasted like it was worth the sugar content.


Ham- If you are addicted to salt, then ham is the food for you. I once read that this stuff is what pirates used to eat on long sea voyages, and it’s pretty believable. At least you can tell that it is meat. The thinly sliced shape of it means that you can play various party games with it too, like Ham Jenga, Ham Twister, and Hamface (My weird aunt who can lower the temperature in the room at will always plays the last one, although my family always gives me strange looks when participating.)


A Tier—Aww yeah


Stuffing- A lot of people get their underpants all up in a bunch about stuffing. The whole point of Thanksgiving is to eat tons of starch, so if you are one of the stuffing-haters, it might be in your best interests to get off your high horse and sit down at the kid’s table where you belong. Unless you have a legitimate dietary restriction, complaining about stuffing just makes you sound like a whiny brat. At the end of the day, stuffing tastes like herbs and a warm hug, just as Thanksgiving food should.


Green Bean Casserole- The crunchy onions make or break this for me. It’s the perfect synthesis of creamy, savory soup and an also-savory crispy top layer. Something about this mix of textures is like enjoying a piece of classical music. Plus, it is a source of vegetables on a holiday characterized by carbs and sugar.


S Tier—Stack as much as you can fit on your plate


Buttered dinner rolls- Rolls are the friendliest and most welcoming of the Thanksgiving carbs. They make you forget about all of the problems in the world. When things get heated in our family, setting out the basket of bread rolls usually dissipates the tension right away. Even my eccentric aunt, who can pass through walls and is the subject of a running joke in my family where they all claim she died before I was born, stops with her weird ghoulish shrieks to enjoy a good roll.



Mashed Potatoes and Gravy- Finally, we have the mother of Thanksgiving foods. The way these fluffed spuds melt in your mouth is nothing short of a miracle. I would commit heinous crimes for a taste of mashed ‘taters. Adding the warm and gravy on top feels like a crime in itself for how delicious it is. This Thanksgiving, give mashed potatoes a seat of honor on your plate.


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