Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash

What Thanksgiving classics are essential to your holiday menu?

If I had to choose my favorite Thanksgiving foods, they would have to be the side dishes. I can leave my Thanksgiving dinner content without having a slice of turkey or ham. However, everyone has their own acquired taste, so feel free to agree or disagree with what I put on my Thanksgiving plate. 

My favorite side dishes would have to be the warm and creamy mashed potatoes, with buttery rolls to go along with them. However, I’m not a fan of the dry turkey I have every year. I’ll muster up the courage to have a slice of turkey and ham, for the sake of the Thanksgiving tradition; but, I will say, I don’t enjoy the taste very much. 

My boss, Michelle Laporte, would have to agree with me when it comes to a shared love for mashed potatoes. She said she enjoys, “mashed potatoes with a little bit of chunk, with garlic and butter,” at Thanksgiving. I would have to second her on this statement because nothing beats warm mashed potatoes that melt in your mouth. 

Now that you’re familiar with my passion for side dishes, let’s talk about dessert. Pumpkin pie has to be the best thing about Thanksgiving — aside from gathering with my family and friends, of course! 

My friend Ashley Ghazaryan says, “pumpkin pie is an explosion of fall flavors. It’s autumn perfectly packaged with pumpkin cream and hard crust.” I don’t think I could have described the feeling of eating pumpkin pie better than Ghazaryan. She expressed her love for pumpkin pie in such a poetic way, getting me excited to have a taste of fall myself. 

Going back to side dishes, I must argue that no Thanksgiving meal is complete without a five-layer mac and cheese dish. When My co-worker Grecel Mares was asked what her favorite food at Thanksgiving was, she was very adamant that it was mac and cheese. Mares said she fancies mac and cheese “because it’s pasta, and who doesn’t love pasta?” 

So far, I have agreed that mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and mac and cheese all deserve a spot on the table. However, ham, and turkey do not. I don’t know about you, but the turkey I have is always dry. Maybe I need a new chef in the kitchen, but for now, turkey isn’t an essential food for me at Thanksgiving. In addition, ham is okay, but it doesn’t give me the wow factor. 

As for a green bean casserole, I don’t think I’ve ever tried it. Yet, I know I wouldn’t like it because I despise green beans. Therefore, I don’t want to see it at my Thanksgiving table next week. 

The star dishes of the evening are mashed potatoes, rolls and pumpkin pie.  One food that is neither American nor classically Thanksgiving is stuffed Mahshi. Mahshi is an Egyptian cabbage leaf, stuffed with herbs and rice. Although it’s not your typical Thanksgiving side dish, for my family, it’s essential during the holidays.

For me, the foods mentioned above make me feel nostalgic, especially Mahshi. As a kid, I grew up eating a lot of Mahshi during the holidays. It was a special dish my grandma would make only once or twice a year because it was such a hassle to prepare. Additionally, pumpkin pie is a staple for every Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a classic, so you can’t go wrong. I have a deep love for rolls and mashed potatoes because it warms me up inside. They’re definitely #1 on my chart of favorite Thanksgiving foods of all time. 

Lastly, I would like to say, what I’m eating at the dinner table isn’t as important as getting to spend Thanksgiving with my loved ones. I count it as a blessing that I get to see my whole family next week because I know some people don’t have the same privilege as me this year.