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Thanksgiving side dishes: Power ranking the top 10

The turkey is going to get all the attention on Thursday, but let’s face it: What makes Thanksgiving memorable are the side dishes.

The brother who insists on putting olives on all his fingers. The annual debate about whether the cranberry sauce that slides out of the can is better than the berry-looking stuff. The knowing looks about how there were 12 people and 12 crescent rolls and you KNOW your uncle had at least four.

So before we dig in, let us bow our heads and pause for a moment to give thanks for the gluttony we are going to commit and then consider the question: Just what are the best Thanksgiving sides?

And on a related note, is “too much pie” even possible?

Gravy

The ultimate side dish because it covers otherwise regrettable cooking in a blanket of rich, creamy absolution, earning its own prayer of thanksgiving.

Gravy ranks as Andrew Galarneau's top side dish for Thanksgiving. (Flickr/dinnerseries)

Gravy ranks as Andrew Galarneau's top side dish for Thanksgiving. (Flickr/dinnerseries)

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Mashed potatoes

For all the lives saved when the turkey cook has been reading too many quirky recipes on the Internet, or let the turkey roast until it caved in like an abandoned shed.

Trusty standby mashed potatoes rank among Galarneau's top sides. (Flickr/sbogdanich)

Trusty standby mashed potatoes rank among Galarneau's top sides. (Flickr/sbogdanich)

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Sweet potatoes

Because kids love parents telling them to eat a vegetable that tastes like an ice cream sundae, and parents love a chance to serve marshmallows on the good china.

Sweet potatoes are a change of pace from other savory sides. (Flickr/stevendepolo)

Sweet potatoes are a change of pace from other savory sides. (Flickr/stevendepolo)

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Stuffing

A bite of bread soaked in savory broth and sausage crumbs would be a guilty-pleasure bite at any meal, but one day a year you get to eat it by the shovelful.

Whether crunchy or smooth, stuffing is a favorite at many family Thanksgivings. (Flickr/aon)

Whether crunchy or smooth, stuffing is a favorite at many family Thanksgivings. (Flickr/aon)

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Pumpkin pie

Because pumpkin is a squash, justifying claiming a slice on your first plate, and it’s never too early to start dessert.

Pumpkin pie, whether it's a side or a dessert, is a beloved conclusion to the Thanksgiving meal. (Flickr/psharpley)

Pumpkin pie, whether it's a side or a dessert, is a beloved conclusion to the Thanksgiving meal. (Flickr/psharpley)

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Cranberry sauce

Whether it’s cylindrical Jell-O or artisanal versions with orange rind, something needs to wake up your palate after carpet-bombing it with fat and carbs all day.

Cranberry sauce may be jellied or berry-centric. (Flickr/artbystevejohnson)

Cranberry sauce may be jellied or berry-centric. (Flickr/artbystevejohnson)

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Dinner rolls

Because if you spread a slab of butter on a handful of stuffing, anyone who loves you will knock it out of your hand.

Dinner rolls lend some starch to the Thanksgiving spread. (Flickr/jeffreyww)

Dinner rolls lend some starch to the Thanksgiving spread. (Flickr/jeffreyww)

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Wine

Because you deserve a reward for sitting there in your seat like an adult and enduring situations you would otherwise flee, with fingers in your ears yelling “lalalala.”

Wine goes well on other days besides Thanksgiving, of course. (Flickr/Jing-a-ling)

Wine goes well on other days besides Thanksgiving, of course. (Flickr/Jing-a-ling)

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Green bean casserole

Because someone influential always insists that tradition is more important than actual flavor, and people will too eat canned green beans, so the price of peace is one casserole-shaped concession everyone else can studiously ignore.

As long as the green beans remain crunchy, this Thanksgiving casserole can be an asset. (Flickr/lotherington)

As long as the green beans remain crunchy, this Thanksgiving casserole can be an asset. (Flickr/lotherington)

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Brussels sprouts

There ought to be one dish that was added to the lineup after the end of the Cold War. Crispy caramelized sprouts with maple mustard can thrill the kids as well as Aunt Picky.

Creative Brussels sprouts recipes abound. They're not that bad! (Flickr/21359963@N07)

Creative Brussels sprouts recipes abound. They're not that bad! (Flickr/21359963@N07)

Did we snub one of your favorite sides? Let us know on Twitter at @buffalodotcom or comment below the article.

email: agalarneau@buffnews.com

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