Among the contenders for best Thanksgiving side are stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. I can limit it to these three because of their importance to the rest of the meal. White meat, when cooked with the entire turkey is often dry. It is best to break off the legs of the turkey and allow them to cook for longer than the breast. The white meat is made supremely dank with cranberry sauce or gravy. Gravy doesn’t need starch; you can just spatula the turkey gravy recipe from drippings back and forth in the pan until it gels. If you don’t have the twenty or so minutes, add some flour at the end. The necessity for gravy with mashed potatoes, and the way it increases the savoriness of my turkey and stuffing, it is, I must conclude, the most important Thanksgiving side.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t dig it when my cranberry sauce gets all up in my mashed potatoes. The Thanksgiving mush, as little Matthew says, is a good thing for him, but I like keeping my turkey away from my mash. De gustibus, I suppose.
I understand the importance of a fine gravy – a weak one has ruined many a Thanksgiving – but my personal favorite is stuffing. Stuffing is only had at Thanksgiving, at least in my family. A dry stuffing can only sometimes be saved with a dank gravy. You can mix it with any of the other sides, such as sweet potatoes, and chances are it will taste better. It is one of the most versatile dishes, and because I only see it once a year, it’s my favorite.