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November 16, 2022
Thanksgiving Is for Side Dish Lovers

When turkey is off the table, it’s time to go big with potatoes, squash, leeks, and…deviled eggs.

We’re on the brink of another Thanksgiving, one where the elaborate buffet meal, the helmet sports, and the closing chocolate pecan pie my mom always serves at my childhood home in West Michigan is set to be a little more joyous (and crowded with friends and family). Uncle Larry will be there with a case of Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir, and Uncle Jim will bring the “pink shit”—Rodbard parlance for Susan Stamberg’s cranberry, horseradish, and sour cream relish. And once again, I am lobbying for a programming change: Please, for God’s sake, let’s cancel the whole roasted turkey. Just this once.

Okay, so I’ve really, really tried to avoid being the guy who yucks another person’s yum. Who am I to banish a traditional foodstuff from the holiday table? Turkey brings joy to millions every November. But…yeah, nah. “Turkey is always just fine, and that’s fine,” Alison Roman writes in her newsletter. 

On the flip side, I’d like to recognize Thanksgiving sides for their excellence. Be it potatoes (roasted, mashed, or ribboned), Korean-style deviled eggs, or vegetables cooked with spice and varying styles of fat, the stuff that is supposed to go with the turkey is the stuff you should actually be cooking instead of the turkey. Here are a few ideas from recent cookbooks and TASTE recipe developers to consider as you plan your Thanksgiving feast. — Matt Rodbard