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Thanksgiving dinner power rankings

Where do you stand on the entree vs. side dish controversy?

NFL: New York Jets at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Sports news outlets love to do rankings and here at Turf Show Times we do our share. So I thought, here on a quiet Thanksgiving morning, why not do my own rankings article? Much better than another harangue about the Los Angeles Rams disappointing season, right?

There’s full slate of televised games later today, which I, like most fans will be watching from a food-induced comatose state. Why not rank those Thanksgiving dishes that right now I’m craving, but later will be gluttonously pushing into my face. And do it NFL sports media style. On a serious note, I will for certain, nimbly sidestep the hot-topic entree versus side dish controversy.

Enjoy, hope it doesn’t spoil you appetite. Happy Thanksgiving!

#1-Turkey and gravy

A perennial powerhouse at the top of the league. Once thought to be drying up, a younger generation brought their creative methods and have breathed new life into the old bird’s foundations. Smoking, deep-frying, and barbecuing were once considered small school schemes, but now are are common across all levels of the game. You decide, either game manager or gunslinger.


Talk about your multiple schemes. There is just no telling how this team will line up from meal to meal. Somehow they are able to meld different tastes, textures, and ingredients into a homogenous juggernaut. Even if a little gravy seeps into the formation, it is soaked up and the dressing still retains its core philosophy. Properly prepared, both meat eaters and vegans can appreciate the dressing’s team versatility and individual performances.

#3- Mashed Potatoes

People always remember their early days as a middle-of-the-road unit. They always seem to show up year after year and the rankings wouldn’t be the same without them. Whenever you think it’s time to count them out, they come up with a new variation and it powers them into the upper echelon. This current batch is not the same old butter and sour cream puree.

#4- Pumpkin pie

Smooth and silky, the ultimate finesse go-to choice. This team does not win with power, they take a group of normally contradicting individuals and blend them into a cohesive unit. On offense they show sweet moves and if you aren’t careful, can be gone in a hurry. On defense, they don’t show soft deep, offer just enough spice up the middle and are crusty on the edges.

#5- Sweet potatoes

It is a copycat league and the orange tubers, although looking different, have the same basic schemes and formations as pumpkin pie. Where they differ is the yams show the versatility to be a success both early and late. The post-dinner sweet potato pie matches up play for play and served as side dish, properly roasted unit soft and smothered in lightly toasted marshmallows, this unit is tough both at home and on the road.

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Rams
Everything is in good taste on Thanksgiving
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images


A huge contender south of the Mason-Dixon and with rural votes. It’s quest for the top spot will always be limited by the negative connotations that some fans link to consumption of swine. But most voters simply cannot overlook the succulence of a properly smoked hog’s leg properly slathered with mustard and brown sugar.

#7- Cranberry sauce

Fans either love or hate this team. But year after year they are contenders. What it lacks in originality, it makes up for in versatility. Appetizers, salads, entrees and children’s husher-uppers, cranberry does it all. In recent years, innovative saucers have gotten away from the traditional jellied scheme and moved to a more simple and uncontrived philosophy. Success is always the winning, but damn, jellied cranberry sure looks good on a serving platter.

#8- Rolls and butter

A long-time contender whose formations and overall philosophy are just a little conservative for the table at this level of holiday. Many of their problems come from the front office, who are preferring the more corporate attitude of pre-packaging. Many older fans remember when homemade and sweet local talent made them tough to beat. Reliability is this unit’s stock in trade.

#9- Pecan pie

Starting to turn the corner is another regional power that is gathering steam as national contender. Along with Macaroni and Cheese, these units are southern born and bred. In the coming seasons, expect these two to move up in the national rankings. Both have tremendous staying power and are texturally well-balanced.

#10- Green bean casserole

Barely hanging on ahead of mac and cheese, the game may have past them by. Changing tastes and trends have made them vulnerable. But on any given holiday, hotshot kitchen coordinators with guts and few wrinkles can lift this lumbering unit above its traditional canned beans, canned mushroom soup, and canned French-fried onions formations. Parity reigns supreme with most casseroles anyway.