Side dishes and desserts deserve their own tunes.
Turkey is the dish of Thanksgiving, which is why it’s no surprise that people have cooked up so many playlists to honor the holiday bird. But what about all the other foods we set on the table as part of our holiday feasting? Thanksgiving side dishes have gotten significantly less musical spin, despite being integral to the warm, celebratory and food-coma-inducing experience. With the holiday right around the kitchen corner, here are eight songs to help you celebrate the other underappreciated, but equally as tasty Thanksgiving dishes.
"Beans and Cornbread" Louis Jordan
Since 1981, the food contained in the title has also served as the celebratory meal offered to NASA crews after a successful shuttle launch. This out-of-this-world jump blues song was released in 1949 with lyrics that tell a story of a literal food fight between beans and cornbread. It’s a jam that will have you dancing to the moon and back (to your kitchen) as you make your favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
Released as part of the artist and chef’s 2014 Food album, this sweet and tempting song isn’t quite a double entendre, but it comes oh so satisfyingly close. With lines like “You smell just like the sun” and “you got this feeling like a holiday” it's clear the sultry singer is referencing someone she fancies. But the confession of love could also easily be applied to the warm, baked (fruit-filled) good which makes us want to “go for tons” and “hit notes that [we] never sing.”
"Biscuits" Kasey Musgraves
You can’t have a Thanksgiving meal without a warm, flaky biscuit, but many of us also can’t have a holiday meal without people getting in our business. In this catchy country tune, Musgraves reminds us that the best recipe for life, friends and family time (not to mention a full stomach) is minding your own biscuits. If you can do that, everything will be gravy.
Speaking of gravy...
"Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)" Dee Dee Sharp
Unlike Kelis’ single, Dee Dee Sharp is using food as a very obvious euphemism for getting some love and attention. Seems fair considering Thanksgiving is about the joy of sharing and what’s better to share than a little kiss? This danceable tune about gravy should be followed up with the R&B singer’s other dance-inspired track, which is more strictly about mashed potatoes.
"Champagne Supernova" Oasis
Beyond the title’s celebratory aptness (because what Thanksgiving meal doesn’t feature alcohol), the song embodies a lot of the Thanksgiving aura. From traveling to cooking, it’s a day that can put us out emotionally and socially, but it can also be incredibly nostalgic. Holidays are about people come together to toast the wild ride that is life, and this Oasis hit is the perfect song for that.
"Pass the Peas" The J.B.’s
You can always expect to see things like green beans, corn, squash, and yes, peas, on the dining room table. Beyond providing all the right nutrients, eating your vegetables will help fill you up and battle that raging appetite monster desperate for sweets. Give your body and soul the loving that it needs by passing the peas and playing this near straight instrumental from James Brown’s band.
"Pecan Pie" Golden Smog
It wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving playlist without mentioning some pie-inspired songs. This folky jam from alternative country band Golden Smog has all the right ingredients for the perfect pie song: a catchy beat, sweet harmonies, and desperate declarations for a simple but tasty holiday dessert. Just try not to sing along as you make your Thanksgiving pies.
"Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" Jay & the Techniques
And to cover the rest of your fruit pie options, this peppy 1967 tune puts them all into the top of its hook, with pumpkin pie getting prime placement at the end of the run. The lyrics are about pursuing a long-lost love, which, if you haven't had pumpkin pie since last year, is kind of fitting.
"The Yam" Ginger Rogers
While many people opt for sweet potatoes (which are then baked into even sweeter pies), some folks turn to candying the other bright orange root vegetable as a main Thanksgiving dish. This song and dance classic from the 1938 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film Carefree will encourage you to move your feet as you prepare your candied yams.