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19 Foods You Might Find In A Christmas Dinner, Ranked

Warning: This post contains opinions.

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Note: In order to prevent this list from being 50% meat, I have only included the poultry options. Sorry, ham lovers.

19. Yorkshire puddings

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HEAR ME OUT.

Let’s be honest, 2016 didn’t quite go to plan. But despite the lying buses, and the fact that all but three celebrities are now dead, there is one thing that ensures that Britain is and always will be Great: the Yorkshire pudding.

Done well, it’s a gastronomical wonder – something the rest of the world should be jealous of, just as we are of France’s bread, Canada’s happiness, or Macedonia’s rather jazzy flag. So why so low?

If this was a ranking of Sunday roasts it would be fighting it out for the top spot, and rightly so. But it’s not. It’s Christmas. And Yorkshire puddings have no place here. Fight me.

18. Brussels sprouts

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It would have been very easy for me to put sprouts in last place, and I was certainly tempted. They’re not quite as bad as the world would have you believe – especially when you cook them in other things that taste nice (olive oil, chilli, bacon, etc) – but there’s always a certain “year 9 boys' changing room” taste to them that is hard to ignore.

The main reason they avoided languishing at the foot of the table, however, is that unlike Yorkshire puddings, they are inescapably festive. Though that's possibly because it’s the only time of year when people are drunk enough to eat them.

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17. Mashed potatoes

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I could, and one day – when I’m hungover and ideas are thin on the ground – probably will, write a long and powerful essay on the many ways in which mashed potatoes enrich our lives. The simple combination of potato, butter, and milk makes something far greater than the sum of its parts.

But again I say this: not at Christmas! This already crowded town is not nearly big enough for more than one type of potato, and Christmas without roast potatoes is like a Tuesday without gin: shit.

16. Cauliflower

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Cauliflower on its own is about as interesting as my opinions on cauliflower. Cauliflower covered in cheese is far too rich to include in a Christmas dinner that contains 10 or more constituent parts. Either way, I’ll pass.

15. Cranberry sauce

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Usually I have a very strict “get your fruit the fuck out of my main course” policy, but what can I say, I guess this time of year brings out my tolerant side. I’m OK with cranberry sauce, it’s totally fine, but in a battle against some of the heavy hitters of the Christmas dinner scene it was never going to finish above mid to low table.

14. Broccoli

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More likely present because you feel obliged to include it rather than because anyone has any great affection for it. A bit like your great aunt.

13. Turkey

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People who slag turkey off are, for the most part, wrong. It CAN be dry, it CAN be flavourless, but just like (nearly) everything else on this list, that’s nothing that can’t be fixed by taking the time to cook it properly. When cooked with care and attention a roast turkey is a worthy and delicious centrepiece.

That said, there are better, even more delicious alternatives that we’ll get to soon, so I'm reluctant to place it any higher.

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12. Carrots

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The argument over which vegetables do or don’t deserve a place on this list has already cost me a few friends, and they’ll be sadly missed, but there’s one that seems to be omnipresent no matter who you ask: the carrot.

Whether they’re roasted in honey and rosemary, or cooked in a saucepan in ALL THE BUTTER, carrots are much, much more than a brightly coloured afterthought. Unfortunately for them, there's some stiff competition, and they're very rarely anyone's favourite. A solid 12th place.

11. Nut roast

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Full disclosure: I have never eaten a nut roast. Seeing as I refuse to publish opinions on something I know nothing about *stares at entire internet* the only fair thing to do was to place it in the middle of the list. I have neither positive nor negative thoughts on a nut roast, but feel free to tell me yours in the comments.

10. Chicken

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Put simply, chicken is turkey for those who don’t care what other people think.

It’s tastier, it’s significantly more moist (sorry to anyone who gagged at the m-word), it’s quicker to cook, and don’t even get me started on how good crispy chicken skin is.

There is a reason ovens across the nation are filled with chickens each Sunday – they are very, very hard to beat. Stop lying to yourself; roast a chicken this Christmas.

9. Gravy

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This is a tough philosophical question. Without gravy every other ingredient on this list would suffer, but surely no one would choose it as their favourite. Should it even be included?

For all these reasons and more I’m sitting firmly on the fence and putting it near the middle. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong.

8. Cabbage

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More specifically, braised red cabbage. Now we’re talking.

This stuff basically defies science. You take an otherwise disappointing (and unpleasantly crunchy) vegetable, you add generous amounts of butter and wine, and you’re left with something more festive than a drunk Aled Jones riding a reindeer through John Lewis.

It's an absolute must on anyone’s plate next Sunday, and very nearly the top vegetable. So what beat it?

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7. Peas

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OK, so this is a hill I’m prepared to die on.

I love peas. I fucking love them. They’re vibrantly coloured, sweet, delicious droplets of joy that are at home in almost every conceivable meal. You don’t want too many, obviously – we’re really running out of room on the plate at this point – but for me they have to be there.

HAP-PEA CHRISTMAS.

5. Parsnips

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If I were to try to describe the taste of parsnips to an alien I’d go for, “similar to a potato, but a bit more like the ground, though not in an unpleasant way”. The caramelised “pointy end” is undoubtedly one of highlights of the day.

To be fair, an alien probably wouldn’t know what a potato tastes like.

4. Pigs in blankets

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At times on this list I have had to try very hard to come up with some sort of argument as to why a particular ingredient is worth including. This time it was easy: They are sausages, wrapped in bacon.

Also, like sprouts before them, pigs in blankets get bonus points for being exclusively festive. They’re so good that they even work as a bonus pre-dessert course when your mum forgets that they're in the oven until five minutes after everyone finishes eating, NAMING NO NAMES...

3. Goose

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Ignoring a couple of dark years in my late teens when we visited my cousins (sorry Auntie Sue, your turkey is excellent, I promise) I’ve been lucky enough to have goose every Christmas for as long as I can remember. It is, without question, my favourite part of this time of year – at least since mum stopped giving me a stocking when I was 24.

Try it, it’ll change the game forever.

2. Roast potatoes

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By now – if you didn’t already – you probably hate me. Fair. I have my opinions, you have yours. It’s not your fault that yours just happen to be significantly more wrong than mine.

But this is the time for reconciliation. Let’s put down our forks of disagreement and pick up the serving spoon of peace, because the joys of a roast potato are something that no one can dispute.

Goose fat–laden, crispy, ever-so-slightly waxy (but in a good way) balls of all that is good in the world, let us count the ways in which we love thee...

1. Stuffing

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What is a gin without tonic? A bacon sandwich without HP sauce? Ed Balls’ dancing without that woman he nearly dropped? This is what stuffing does to Christmas dinner. It is the thing that allows it to be everything you ever hoped it could be, and more.

I’m not talking about some fancy-pants sausage meat stuffing, and there’ll be no apricots or chestnuts on my plate this Christmas – sage and onion stuffing from a packet is truly one of this country’s culinary high points, so why mess with perfection?

Disclaimer: These views do not reflect those of BuzzFeed. I am frequently wrong, and there’s no reason to believe that’s going to change here. Please tell us your own Christmas dinner rankings in the comments below.

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