Thanksgiving is the best holiday for food. It’s the one day of the year entirely focused on gorging ourselves on a smörgåsbord of sweet and savory delicacies that we don’t always get to eat in other seasons. If you’ve been invited to contribute to a Thanksgiving feast, consider yourself lucky — and obligated to bring something spectacular. There’s no bigger bummer than arriving famished to Thanksgiving, only to find a table full of queasy casseroles and soggy sides that make you want to gag. We’ve ranked the 10 worst Thanksgiving foods you could possibly bring to the party so you can avoid the utterly embarrassing fate of showing up with a dud dish.
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Pro tips: How To Turn Your Standard Stuffing Side-Dish Into A Thanksgiving Legend
10. Dinner Rolls
Everyone loves a warm roll, but on Thanksgiving, the carbs are just redundant. People would rather get stuffed on stuffing and mashed potatoes than fill up on bread. Bringing dinner rolls is also like blaring, "I didn't care enough to plan ahead, so I picked these up on my way here." Surely you can make more of an effort.
9. Wild Rice Stuffing
We don't know who felt the need to "improve" on regular stuffing, but that person is wrong. Wild rice is nice -- in soup, on the side with fish -- but it doesn't belong at the all-American Thanksgiving table. It's too crunchy and packed with healthy-ish ingredients (raisins, celery, nuts) that no one wants on this binge-worthy holiday. Stick to the Stove Top.
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8. Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potatoes are already sweet. So are marshmallows. Stop trying to make this unholy, unappetizing combination happen. It's basically like dishing up diabetes.
7. Crudités Platter
We're all for offering a low-calorie, low-carb snack option at parties, but no one craves cold vegetables in frigid November. Bringing a crudités platter (which is fancy speak for everything in the produce aisle) is basically more work for your host, who's going to have to dump it out after it goes untouched all night.
6. Canned Cranberry Sauce
Why this edible oddity hasn't been discontinued, we don't know. Someone must be eating it (and eating a lot of it) for food companies to mass-produce it again and again every year (we blame you, Honey Boo Boo). Showing up at Thanksgiving with a can of this maroon-colored goo is guaranteed to get you the stink eye from the host(ess). You'll be lucky if you get invited back next year.
5. Jell-O Mold
There's a time and a place for Jell-O and it's called "childhood" or "in the hospital." With all the delicious holiday dessert options at your fingertips (by which we mean: you just pay for them, you don't even have to make them), why you'd bother whipping up something that looks like it belongs in Ghostbusters is beyond us. Bring a pie, people. You can't go wrong with pie.
4. Giblet Gravy
Gravy-making duties should be left to whoever is making the turkey. But if you insist on bringing your own turkey dressing to Thanksgiving, for the love of God, please do not include giblets in it. Gravy was meant to be smooth, not chunky. It's a supporting cast member, not the villain of the show. Unless you're trying to turn people off the food (more for you!) don't you dare show up with a boat of this terrifying sauce in hand.
3. Corn Pudding
Corn is no one's favorite vegetable, but it's low-maintenance and complements most other foods, so it gets a spot in most Thanksgiving spreads. When you try to make corn something that it's not -- namely, a casserole -- you've gone off the deep end. Even the name "corn pudding" is enough to make you lose your lunch. And with the consistency of warm barf, it's nearly impossible to swallow.
2. Creamed Spinach
At some point in food history, cooks were trying to figure out how to make vegetables more palatable. They came up with one answer -- cream it! -- that has endured across the ages and has been applied to every imaginable veg on the menu. Creamed spinach is especially cringey because of its flaccid texture. The only person eager to lap up this savory side dish is Popeye, and even he might turn it down because it's just that gross.
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1. Ambrosia Salad
The ingredients list of this "salad" (which includes no vegetables whatsoever) contains not one thing that you'd really want to eat on Thanksgiving: whipped cream, mini fruit-flavored pastel marshmallows, pineapple, maraschino cherries, coconut, and mandarin oranges. (OK, we'll take the whipped cream, but that belongs on pie.) Please, spare us this fructose-filled, blood-sugar bomb on Thanksgiving. We beg of you.