10. Green Bean Casserole
You ready for some controversy? Stuffing is okay. Not good or bad; just okay. This is basically a bread salad—what’s so exciting about that when you have actual bread (well, cornbread) and collard greens on your low-vibrational plate?
8. Cranberry Sauce (Homemade)
Here’s when this starts to get very difficult and choosing one side dish over another is an even bigger ethical dilemma than the trolley problem.
7. Sweet Potatoes/Yams
When I was younger, I believed “yams” was just AAVE for “sweet potatoes.” It was a revelation to learn that this is both true and untrue. Regardless, the starchy goodness and sugary flavor from orange fleshed sweet potatoes and white fleshed yams are simply divine. They lose points here for not being a pie, which is the best non-fruit pie of all time if you ask me.
6. Mashed Potatoes
It hurts my soul to put mashed potatoes so low on this list, but it’s probably the only thing that might be (or should be) a staple in your dinner repertoire, whereas everything else is more ceremonial. The velvety, buttery, garlicky concoction suffers from its non-flex potential.
Without gravy, would you even want to eat that turkey? It needs lotion.
3. Collard Greens
Collard greens are a testament to Black people making due with what we got. There’s no reason for them to be this damn good, and yet here we are. Turning a big-ass leaf that looks like triceratops food into leafy liquid gold is a thing of beauty. The no-pork-on-my-fork version with a smoked turkey leg is good, but nothing beats those bits of bacon and ham hock trickled in. Nothing.
2. Cranberry Sauce (Canned)
This is the only thing that you’ll eat during the holidays that tastes better when it’s store bought. Don’t meddle with tart perfection.
Related: The Layers of a Turducken, Ranked
1. Mac and Cheese
The crown jewel. Only the most goated chefs have the responsibility of cooking this because it requires some skill—and when prepared with love and patience—is far and above the best thing on your plate. And it ain’t cheap if you’re making it from scratch with good cheese like you should be doing, so you better really appreciate it. This goes for both the baked or unbaked varieties, but if it’s baked, you know I’ma need me a corner piece, right?