Above the Fold

A digital 'zine by Original Fuzz about creativity and making stuff.

★  Jul 21, 2024  ★

Mark's Mailbag: Thanksgiving Feast Edition

Featured photo for Mark's Mailbag: Thanksgiving Feast Edition

This month our resident advice columnist, Mark Harrod, gives us his sage two cents on what goes on his plate at Thanksgiving and why it should be on yours, too. 

 Got a question for Mark? Throw it in the pile for next month's issue here.


Thanksgiving is finally upon us! What are your thoughts on traditional Thanksgiving grub?

Topeka, Kansas

Thanks for writing in, Blake. Always love hearing from America's Wheat Belly. I mean Wheat Belt. Whatever. Here are my rankings:

1) Mashed potatoes. These deserve 1/8 to 1/6 plate coverage at any Thanksgiving feast.

1a) Hash Brown casserole. If this is available, which is rare at Thanksgiving, it goes to first on my list. I can really gobble up some potatoes if you know what I'm saying.*

*I said that to give y'all the first Dad-Joke of the holidays before you got earholed by one at the supper table. Gotta keep that head on a swivel!

2) Green Beans. I don't necessarily crave green bean casserole, but if that's available I will have some. I simply don't need my green beans to be heated in cream of mushroom soup in order to enjoy them. I'm a Simple Man. I just want those legumes.

3) Depending on who makes it, I think I rank dressing third. And by dressing, I do not mean stuffing; the idea of this gloppy mess cooked inside a turkey which is then scooped out and slopped onto plates makes my food poisoning warning flares go off. Or would that be a warning fart? Anyhow, people from coastal areas seem to have oysters in theirs, which sounds good, but probably not in the middle of the country. I prefer the more traditional cornbread variety. Crispier the better.


4) I bet y'all have some great Thanksgiving rolls out there on the plains, Blake. If I talk about Sister Schubert in the context of a Thanksgiving feast, do you even know who that is? Are her confections just a Southern thing? If so, I can FedEx you some to try. Every holiday meal involves me making a small sandwich of the main course and a spare Schube or two, "I celebrate the bounty of the harvest with a sandwich during the meal—not as the meal."

On a related note, the blessed Sister now makes breakfast rolls / cinnamon rolls in addition to the traditional yeast rolls. Those are dynamite as well. I once ate nearly an entire pan of the cinnamon roll variety in a shameful act of over-indulgence as a sophomore in college. Those puppies expand in your stomach, so I advise you to watch your quantities.

5) Corn. Creamed or on-the-cob, it doesn't matter to me. +10 Thanksgiving points if one of your plates is loaded with only yellow/tan/brown food.


6) Pecan Pie. I will probably also eat a little bit of pumpkin pie just to check that box for the year, but it's not my thing. Pecan pie is more or less congealed simple syrup. I appreciate it when folks put chocolate chips in there to cut the abject saccharinity.

7) Turkey.

8) Macaroni and Cheese. The reason this is so low is that I don't see it as a Thanksgiving food. I agree—it's definitely pale brown in color, so it matches everything else on your plate, but I haven't seen it much in my thirty-three Thanksgivings. Feel free to fire off an angry email about how low it is in the rankings. Put "Your Grub Rankings are BULLSHIT" in the subject line and Fuzz staff we be sure to forward to me.

9) Cranberry sauce. There are two kinds of people who eat cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving: 1) Those who loudly proclaim, "I actually LOVE this stuff,” and 2) Those who try to coolly say, "I really prefer the canned cranberry sauce. If it retains the shape of the can it came out of, all the better." This second type of person also "ironically" goes to McDonalds as a way of lying to themselves about what type of diet they have. Don't be that person.


Both types of cranberry sauce fans are liars. I KNOW you all don't actually like cranberry sauce. Why? Because you NEVER eat it any other time.

Blake, when is the last time you saw somebody actually eat cranberry sauce at any meal other than Thanksgiving? That's right, you haven't ever seen it. People serve that stuff because you are supposed to serve it. We all know it just goes on the compost pile after the meal. And don't you dare taint the sacred Thanksgiving leftovers with that maroon goop.

Mark is a former lawyer who lives in Nashville. If you see a guy that looks like a former lawyer in Germantown, feel free to say "Hi." You can also find him on the internet at basketofchips.com and @cmharrod.