For those who are boring, the “American” staples of Thanksgiving are relatively consistent. However, there is an ongoing debate over the superiority of the different dishes and toppings served at traditional Thanksgiving meals. For decades, families have redirected relational angst over unresolved personal and political disagreements to discussions and arguments over food. A further contribution to these delectable debacles is therefore unethical since it perpetuates avoidance of underlying familial tensions in a far too easy and cathartic way. This convenient avenue of escape from relational turmoil can be eradicated by establishing a clear hierarchy of Thanksgiving dishes. In this author’s humble opinion, here is a definitive objective list of the top 10 best Thanksgiving foods.

10. Mashed Potatoes

Potentially very flavorful with a pleasing texture, mashed potatoes are an adaptable and popular side dish. Its longevity as a Thanksgiving staple and use in other meal contexts makes it a strong contender. However, dry, clumped or poorly seasoned mashed potatoes are common and unpleasant.

9. Cornbread/Corn spoon bread

Cornbread and its distant cousin, corn spoon bread, are a perhaps less common but delightful addition to a Thanksgiving meal when prepared properly. The correct levels of sweetness and moistness are key here.

8. Green Bean Casserole

A highly contentious dish, green bean casserole masquerades as a healthy alternative to high-carb options. It’s probably not much healthier, but it is flavorful and provides variety in texture and the coloring of one’s plate.

7. Stuffing

Another highly debated side option, stuffing is a flavorful and unique addition to the Thanksgiving meal. It mixes well with most of the other candidates, and it is also kind of like soft croutons, which may or may not be appealing. Of course, it is appealing since this is an objective list.

6. Gravy

Although it is a topping, gravy holds its own as a separate candidate for ranking. It is the unsung hero that can resolve issues of dry turkey, stuffing or mashed potatoes. Gravy may be the saving grace if you are having a meal with a subpar cook.

5. Turkey

Although turkey by itself is a rather unassuming, bland meat choice, it serves as the stage on which all the other dishes dance. Or the hull of the Thanksgiving cruise ship. Or the house party that gets all the other foods laid with sexy taste buds. Or the clever metaphor that would make this article even a fraction better than it is now. Though it is an established staple, it is easily dismissed as less than what it is, and if it is cooked so that it is not dry, it is actually pretty good.

4. Cranberry Sauce

Served almost exclusively at Thanksgiving, cranberry sauce brightens up a dinner plate like a bright light or a bright red streak of paint. Or Jack Harlow’s smile. It does everything gravy can do, such as saving dry turkey, but with more style. It adds a tartness that cannot be denied and any Thanksgiving plate would be sore without it.

3. Sweet Potato Casserole

This dish is dessert during dinner. There are no leftovers of this because everyone wants brown-sugary good stuff on their plate.

2. Pie (Assorted)

Do not believe people who say they are “not dessert people.” They just do it for attention. Dessert is the resolution (occasionally the climax) of the plot of the meal and an integral part of the Thanksgiving experience. Pie — especially homemade — à la mode or not, is the cherry on top of the sundae that is the Thanksgiving meal. Or the spire on top of the skyscraper. Or the bald spot on top of Harvey Stenger’s head (what a perfect man.)

1. Leftover Turkey Sandwiches

For some reason, after eating inordinate amounts of food the previous day, there is still an inevitable ravenousness that emerges after a good night’s sleep. There is nothing like groggily pulling together leftovers to make what is always the best turkey sandwich of the year. Yes, the best part of the Thanksgiving meal is not even a part of the meal, just as the best parts of reality have nothing to do with the slog of our miserable conscious experience.

This finally concludes the end of this objective top 10 list of Thanksgiving foods. After this is published, everyone will adjust their opinions accordingly and the debate will be settled. They will now have to prepare for next Thanksgiving, where the straw man of food-focused discussion is removed and people everywhere are forced to address their familial disputes head-on.