Thanksgiving Dinner Approacheth

This year I have two Thanksgiving dinners to attend, one on Thursday and one on Saturday. I’ve been pondering what the best part of a Thanksgiving meal is. I’m talking exclusively about the food. What is the best?

I believe the players are turkey, stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. You can throw in miscellaneous salads and vegetables, but they are mere foils. Here are the grades:

Turkey: Apart from Thanksgiving my turkey consumption is limited to sliced turkey coldcuts. So roast turkey has a novelty factor in its favor. I’ll give the big chicken a solid B+.

Inquiring minds want to know if consuming turkey will really make you tired. Well turkey does contain a fair amount of tryptophan, which is an amino acid involved in the production of seratonin (a chemical linked to sleepiness). However, tryptophan works best on an empty stomach. If have eaten a considerable amount of food, the various amino acids compete and the production of seratonin is slowed. So if you eat a big meal and feel tired on Thanksgiving afternoon I’d blame overeating and being sedentary, not the poor bird. 

Stuffing: There are many kinds of stuffing. In my humble opinion the best style is the type baked separately from the bird. My grandmother makes a stuffing that contains oysters. It is the only “seafood” I can actually say I like (if you selected one hundred people off the street and had them do a taste test, not one of them would guess oysters were in it . . . unless they were allergic to them . . . in which case they would have a reaction . . . which would clue them in). I only have this style of stuffing at Thanksgiving, so the novelty factor is high. I give it an A.

Candied Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are all right. Alone they do not rank very highly on my list of foods. But some brilliant person thought of chopping sweet potatoes up coating them with caramelized brown sugar. Genius. From mediocrity to an A-.

Pumpkin Pie: I’ve never really appreciated pumpkin pie. If pies were presidents pumpkin pie would be Warren G. Harding. I give pumpkin pie a rather uninspiring C.

Thankfully my Thanksgivings are graced with a pumpkin pie alternative. My Aunt Rose makes a pumpkin roll that is spectacular. It has a pumpkin flavored cake-like layer with a creamcheese-based filling rolled up in it. It’s more like an Abraham Lincoln.

Conclusion: So my conclusion is that stuffing is the best part of Thanksgiving dinner. It is also worth mentioning that turkey, stuffing, and gravy have a synergistic effect. The sum is greater than the parts.

So what’s your opinion? What is the best part of Thanksgiving dinner?


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