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Mashed Potatoes or Stuffing: Which Side is Better?

by Danny Krastek

The salty tenderness of the sizzling turkey. The steaming corn and green beans. The sweet and sticky cranberry sauce. The warm, soft rolls.

I probably just made a lot of you hungry, and I apologize. Now that Thanksgiving is over we must discuss the most important part of the holiday: the food.

Okay, okay, calm down, let’s all be honest about this for just a second. Yes, Thanksgiving is a day for family and friends and giving thanks and all that… but what is it most people look forward to about the November holiday? The food. Yes, the parade is always nice, and reuniting with family is delightful, but there is just something special about Thanksgiving dinner that is just indescribable. It’s hard not to look forward to it, seeing as Thanksgiving is the biggest holiday in November, and it’s the last stop before Christmas and the Mariah Carey Apocalypse.

There is, however, one small problem. There are people who absolutely love mashed potatoes. There are people who love stuffing. These two sides (for whatever reason) seem to be the main competitors for the position of the best side dish. So, which one is the best companion to the iconic turkey?

I decided to find out what side the students at Montclair State University prefer. To find out, I polled multiple classes to get their opinions.

After polling for two days, nearly 67% of respondents said they preferred mashed potatoes over stuffing. It did seem that stuffing fans were more aggressive about their preferred side than mashed potato enjoyers, but these results are still completely opposite to the close race I would have expected.

Sophia Lazaridis, a freshman film and television major, voted in favor of mashed potatoes, citing the versatility of the potato.

“There [are] so many ways to make potatoes,” Lazaridis said. “You can make french fries, mashed potatoes, home fries, the works, but for Thanksgiving, mashed potatoes are perfect as they balance out all the other flavors you’re eating. It’s so filling and if you make them right, they’re so delicious.”

Alicia Gonzalez, a freshman film and television major, was able to see both sides of the debate, but ultimately did have a preference.

“I only started liking stuffing fairly recently, but I think the basic flavoring of stuffing is better than mashed potatoes,” Gonzalez said. “But mashed potatoes are like a classic, and it’s versatile too. You can eat it with multitudes of meals, whereas stuffing is strictly a Thanksgiving food. You never see stuffing with anything else.”

Mashed potato and stuffing might be the two most popular sides, but they definitely are not the only ones. In one of the groups that I interviewed, there was a movement to support cranberry sauce as the best side. They even made a new poll- though the only two options were “cranberry sauce” and “cranberry sauce.”

Brandon Matos, a freshman product design major, had an unorthodox idea for a Thanksgiving side: macaroni and cheese.

“It’s a good alternative for mashed potatoes [and it] goes really well with bacon,” Matos said.

The eternal feud: mashed potatoes vs. stuffing. As this research has shown, mashed potatoes seem to be the favorite, with most citing its ability to go with other meals besides Thanksgiving.

It certainly is possible to have both mashed potatoes and stuffing, and it’s easy to afford both. I’ll probably be trying macaroni and cheese at dinner next time, even if the rest of my family thinks I’m crazy.

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