Top 10 Thanksgiving Hot Takes To Spice Up The Dinner Table

Joseph Montalbano

The season of giving is supposed to be special. It’s the season of spending quality time with family, enjoying a warm fireside, and eating delicious home cooking.

However, the season can also be a very stressful time. The meal can have a lot of expectations rolled into it. What if the turkey is overdone? What if you forget the cranberry sauce? What if the store doesn’t have a big enough ham? The troubles go beyond just the meal. Familial drama is never left at the door, and can often lead to awkward outbursts at the dinner table.

My point is, the holidays can be deeply stressful. To lighten that load on everyone, I have found a great way to have a good-natured laugh. So, I did just that, gathering a bunch of my friends from all over town to bring their Thanksgiving Hot Takes to argue over. They were good sports and brought their A-game, so I decided to share the interesting pieces of that night.

Most of these opinions are drawn from notes, and paraphrasing from a conversation I had with five of my friends. The people are real, but I am inserting information for clarity. Some quotes are my best recollection from notes I did manage to write before the conversation ran off in another direction, and may not be directly word-for-word of what was said. Not every Hot Take is originally from us; we just discussed them. I have removed the names of my friends for the sake of their privacy.

Hot Take 10:
Brussels sprouts have a place at the Thanksgiving table
This one caused an uproar. Brussel sprouts? They were pretty unanimously hated by the group, and the thought of wasting precious table space that could have gone to the good stuff really grossed me out. However, my friend pointed out a few benefits. They’re really good for your gut due to the high fiber, which helps regulate digestion. It makes sense to eat them during Thanksgiving (so her reasoning went) so that you feel less sick from stuffing yourself the night after.

Hot Take 9:
Rotisserie your turkey
This one didn’t really ruffle any feathers. None of them have tried rotisserie, so nobody had any strong opinions on this one, much to my dismay. I explained that I had eaten a turkey prepared this way for Thanksgiving with my girlfriend’s family. They had managed to keep their turkey incredibly juicy by letting the rotisserie baste the turkey in its own juices. The only objection I got was when I told my friends that the rotisserie died due to the weight of the bird, so the motor needs to be capable of handling the bird.

Hot Take 8:
Thanksgiving is best enjoyed with your friends
My friends and I were mostly in agreement about this one, but it was worth including on this list because it goes against Thanksgiving’s usual expectations. Thanksgiving is traditionally supposed to be spent with family. Celebrating the season of giving with anyone else just feels wrong. However, a Friendsgiving celebration can be a very rewarding experience.

A lot of the pressure is off when you’re hosting friends instead of family, and you can relax a bit more. Additionally, friends tend to function well despite confrontations that may have otherwise sent some more distant family into shock. Good friends laugh off slights or settle differences that can become awkward silences with family.

Hot Take 7:
Turkey and chicken serve the same function in Thanksgiving
Returning to food, one of my friends had a truly controversial opinion about turkey in general. “Not only is turkey so dry your mouth turns into a desert, but chicken tastes the exact same!” I was horrified that he could claim the two taste identical, but perhaps it’s a matter of taste. Maybe his taste buds have never healed from some unknown past turkey incident. This was by far one of the hottest takes expressed all night.

There’s so much of a flavor difference between a chicken and a turkey that I was floored to hear my friend could not pick up on that. But people’s opinions and beliefs are important, and I have incredible respect for him to be able to say something so bold in front of his peers.

Hot Take 6:
The ham vs. turkey debate is stupid
Amidst the controversial and heated fight over ham, turkey, or other entrees, I found this neutral opinion to be the real hot take. Everyone except one person felt that one or the other was the “objectively” correct option, for a variety of reasons. Turkey can be dry, turkey is delicious, ham is better leftovers… I heard it all.

However, my friend (the one who also thought chicken tastes the same as turkey) rationalized that the point of the holiday is to stuff yourself, and to spend time with your family or friends. Whether you serve ham or turkey, prime rib or chicken, he felt the difference was irrelevant. He went on to say that if you really cannot stand one entree or the other, the Thanksgiving table is full of other items you can enjoy. “Make turkey on your own time if you can’t or won’t eat ham,” was how he felt about it.

Hot Take 5:

Thanksgiving football games: distracting to family time, or a perfect bonding opportunity?
This was the most divided subject. In fact, it was an even split. Three are zealous football fans who felt that football games televised on Thanksgiving were a great opportunity to bond with their family. The other two were of the mind that it was a ridiculous way to spend the season of giving, which is supposed to be about connections with family and showing gratitude for the good things we are grateful for, not about shouting at the television over people we have never met.

By the end of this, I was split enough to include both perspectives as part of this Hot Take, so reach out to us at or @bozemag on twitter or instagram to let us know what you think.

Hot Take 4:
Eat pie for breakfast, not dessert
“Any kind of pie is better when you’re not already stuffed to the gills from dinner.” She had said, “Make the pies the night before to save yourself some trouble on Thanksgiving day, let them cool, then enjoy a slice with your coffee in the morning.” It all sounded rather cozy, and I personally will be trying it out this year to see how it is.

I imagine pretty much any kind of pie would be delicious to have early with coffee. The immediate thought for me was pumpkin or apple pie, but everyone has a favorite that would go great.
An important part of this opinion centers around the fact that fruit pie fillings will solidify when cooled down in the fridge, which can make for a more pleasant experience eating it. It’ll fall apart less and stay in the filling instead of collapsing at the slightest touch of the fork.

Hot Take 3:
Canned cranberry sauce is better than homemade
The argument over cranberry sauce was surprisingly vicious. Some people swore by their family recipes and couldn’t fathom why others were content with the canned stuff. It was a pretty heated debate on the merits of each; everyone compared price to time and quality to payoff over a side dish I previously hadn’t given much thought to. The experience made me appreciate the humble but important role that cranberry sauce has at the table.

Hot Take 2:
Thanksgiving food tastes better reheated the next day
The arguing had died down for the most part by now. “Leftovers are better than the actual dinner,” the woman at the other end of the table blurted out, breaking the silence. Everyone looked at her. Her reasoning was that, more than the dinner itself, she enjoys making sandwiches out of Thanksgiving food. She likes to take a dinner roll and half it, smear a little cranberry sauce on one end, then get a few pieces of turkey and stuffing in there and make a Thanksgiving sandwich. It does sound good, and I will definitely try it this Thanksgiving.

The reason this take made it onto the list is because the group didn’t unanimously like reheated leftovers, and a one person violently opposed the idea that leftovers were better than fresh, because fresh tends to be much more hot and moist.

Hot Take 1:
Do not put your stuffing into the turkey
This one really surprised the people (myself included) who weren’t big cooks, and sparked a debate amongst those who do know something about the subject. By the name alone, I understood that stuffing was ‘stuffed’ inside the turkey. However, one of my friends had something interesting to say about it. “Stuffing can be genuinely dangerous. Like, if you don’t cook it right in a turkey, it can give you something nasty.” I have to believe that there is some reason you would cook the stuffing inside the bird; otherwise, why would it be named stuffing? Possibly the stuffing infuses with turkey flavor in the cooking process. However, foodborne illness is no joke, so this one is a PSA for anyone trying to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for the first time.

I sincerely want to thank my friends for giving me considerable help in this article and allowing me to write about our discussion. This article would not be what it was without the funny and controversial takes everyone had, and I sincerely thank them for humoring me.
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, remember to love each other and be kind. Respect each other’s opinions, even if they are controversial.

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