We asked, you answered: If you could only have one item from a Thanksgiving meal, what would it be?

FILE - A Thanksgiving dinner is displayed on a table in Concord, N.H., on Oct. 22, 2012. Families are navigating the vaccination divide for the holidays. Thanksgiving is a bellwether for how the rest of the season will go among those facing family conflict over the shot. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead, File)

By Patrick Berkery

November 20, 2023

We asked our newsletter readers to select one turkey day food item they can’t do without, and not a single person picked turkey. Maybe we should start informally referring to Thanksgiving as “stuffing day?”

Everyone has a Thanksgiving dinner favorite. Maybe it’s one of the the staples like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, or green beans; an outlier like creamed onions or macaroni and cheese (the latter of which is NOT an outlier, according to my southern friends), or the many delectable desserts like pumpkin pie, pecan pie, or apple pie.

In a recent Question of the Week in the Keystone newsletter (which you can subscribe to here) we asked readers to name the one Thanksgiving menu item they simply can’t do without. Spoiler alert: Not a single person responded with turkey, but a whole lot answered with stuffing. Maybe we should start informally referring to Thanksgiving as “stuffing day,” not “turkey day?”

Here’s what your fellow Pennsylvanians can’t do without on Thanksgiving (answers have been edited for length and clarity).

“Mashed potatoes! What can I say? I’m Irish. It’s my comfort food.”

-Dale, Philadelphia

“My sister’s apple pie, hands down.”

-Suzanne, Jenkintown

“My own cranberry relish. I especially love hearing the berries ‘pop’ as they are boiled.”

-Beth McMullen, State College

“The one Thanksgiving food item I’d eat if forced to choose is stuffing/dressing.”

-Melvin, Philadelphia

“Baked Cranberry Apple Sausage stuffing with gravy.”

-George Trunk, Geigertown

“Gotta go with stuffing!”

-Cory Spotts, Mill Hall

“The one essential for a Thanksgiving meal is filling, aka stuffing or dressing.”

-Karen Poe, Carlisle

“Sweet potatoes. Either candied or a sweet potato casserole.”

-Karen, Union County


-Reed Williams, Pittsburgh


-Ellen Franko, Schuylkill County

“Sweet potatoes. In any form. I love sweet potatoes and have since I was a little kid. I prefer a casserole that has pecans and brown sugar on top rather than the marshmallow one but I’m not picky. Just gimme all of the sweet potatoes.”

-Duke Slifko, Greensburg

“Candied sweet potatoes.”

-Paige Katz, York

“My mom’s stuffing/dressing. Mom’s recipe includes homemade croutons, parsley (and lots of it), celery, onion, fresh sage, and nuts.”

-Laszlo, Rostraver Township




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