It Wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without…

By Claire Pickens

If there’s one holiday to eat your heart out, it’s Thanksgiving. Everyone’s got their favorite dish on Thanksgiving that they keep towards their end of the table. I interviewed some people to find out what that dish is. Here’s what some of my interviewees had to say. 

“It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my homemade cranberry sauce.”

Cranberry Sauce- pic from foodnetwork.pngThis participant talked about her homemade cranberry sauce that she makes with her sister every Thanksgiving morning. The recipe is her great grandmother’s, and she’s never tweaked or changed a single thing from the original. Her mother first showed her how to make the recipe when she was five year old, she taught her younger sister a few years ago, and now it’s been a sibling tradition ever since. Her Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without it because “it makes Thanksgiving that much sweeter.”

“It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without apple pie and vanilla bean ice cream.”

Apple pie and ice cream- irishcentral.comWho doesn’t love a warm slice of apple pie with some rich vanilla ice cream to top off the turkey dinner? Like a lot of us, this interviewee always saves room for dessert on Thanksgiving because it’s her absolute favorite part. A classic that never disappoints, “It melts and your mouth and tastes heavenly.”


“It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my grandma’s mashed potato pie.”



A different take on the classic mashed potato dish, mashed potato pie gives creamy mashed potatoes a golden crunchy crust. Although I’d never heard of mashed potato pie until now, it seems to be a favorite for many. Here’s a recipe for mashed potato pie that I’m definitely trying out this year.

“It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without stuffing.”

Stuffing- from the foodnetwork

Out of all the people I spoke to about their favorite Thanksgiving food, the most common was, of course, stuffing. When I asked why, I often got the response, “It’s just that good!” One person told me it was the first food she remembers making with her mom, and after getting the hang of it herself, she took over its preparation every year thereafter. Who knew stuffing could be so special?


“It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without gravy.”

Gravy- from

We all know that one family member who cannot eat anything at Thanksgiving without a boatload of gravy on top. Why is gravy such a big deal? It can make a mediocre or dry meal into something absolutely perfect.


Thanksgiving foods are so much more than calories. They evoke special memories and traditions important to the people cooking and eating them. 

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