A Five-Course Thanksgiving Meal in Songs


It’s less than a week till our annual day of national foodie delight — a.k.a. Thanksgiving — and we know you’re gearing up to loosen your belt buckle and devour some of those classic holiday dishes. To warm up you eaters and inspire all you chefs out there, we’ve compiled a five-course Thanksgiving dinner in song. There are ditties about everything from hot butter rolls to pumpkin pie, a veritable cornucopia for your ears. Use it as a particularly literal soundtrack for your meal or just experience Thanksgiving over and over without that leaden, ate-too-much-turkey feeling.

Course one: Appetizers

1. “Maximum Consumption” by the Kinks

This one is sort of an amuse bouche, listing all kinds of delicacies — from apple pie to eggs to coffee — and serves as a useful reminder: “Don’t you know that you gotta eat food? /Don’t you know that it’s good for you?”

2. “Goober Peas” by Burl Ives and Johnny Cash (Traditional Civil War song)

In the South, “Goober peas” usually refer to peanuts, particularly those delicious little morsels spiced and boiled until you can squish the peanut right out of the shell. A great appetizer, and a weirdly catchy song.

3. “A Little Bit of Cucumber” by Harry Champion (Click to download)

Nothing starts the party like some World War I pop, right? Harry Champion sings about cucumber with the amount of verve that can only be inspired by, well, rationing. But ignore that. You like pickled onions, too.

4. “Big Cheese” by Nirvana

A way underrated Nirvana song that also happens to be an homage to cheddar! No, not really, but it’s still good.

5. “Mother Popcorn” by James Brown

It’s more of a song about a popular dance (“Do the popcorn! Do your little thing! Jump in a small ring!”) than a food, but it also has a suspiciously good beat for eating popcorn to. James Brown thinks of everything.

Course 2: Soup/Salad/Bread

1. “Bread and Butter” by the Newbeats

Super catchy, and also an anthem for those with blander palettes.

2. “Pumpkin Soup” by Kate Nash

Pumpkin soup is a delicious dish that the song unfortunately never mentions, but this one will be a good addition for your pop-obsessed tween cousin.

3. “Rockin’ Through the Rye” by Bill Haley and his Comets

And we hope you do rock through some rye. Bread. Preferably with butter.

4. “Buttermilk Biscuits” by Sir Mix-a-Lot

Sir Mix-a-Lot has a true genius for butt metaphors. Witness here, the magic of making biscuits transformed not so subtly into an ode to rumps.

5. “Polk Salad Annie” by Elvis Presley

Polk salad is traditional southern food, made by boiling the daylights out of a poisonous looking weed with berries that will permanently stain your teeth. Bonus fact: researchers are currently determining if polk berries have chemicals that can be used to fight cancer.

Course 3: Meat and potatoes

1. “All That Meat and No Potatoes” by Fats Waller

A jazz standard that doubles as a kitchen nightmare. Remember those starches!

2. “Big Fat Ham” by Jelly Roll Morton

Speaks for itself, pretty much. Mmmm… ham.

3. “I Like My Chicken Fryin’ Size” by Merle Travis

One of the country greats, Merle Travis was by no means ambiguous about his love of Southern cuisine. Another song of his praises Kentucky for its food.

4. “Gravy” by Dee Dee Sharp

A play on the popular mashed potato song, but also a popular sentiment among our family around the dinner table: “Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme gravy tonight.”

5. “Let’s Talk Turkey” by Ima Robot

The main event.

Course 4: Sides, sides, sides

1. “Solid Potato Salad” by the Ross Sisters

“Take my plate, fill it up, and bring it right back.”

2. “Green Onions” by Booker T. & the MG’s

This one is definitely among our favorite food-related songs of all time.

3. “Vegetables” by the Beach Boys

This one is in the same league as “Green Onions.” Plus, you can hear Paul McCartney chewing a carrot in the background!

4. “Stringbean” by Ray Charles

This one may be about a girl, but it makes us hungry for one of those casseroles that takes all the health value out of vegetables just the same.

5. “Beans & Cornbread” by Louis Jordan

According to Jordan: “I’ll be ready to party tonight — that’s what beans told cornbread!” And the party venue = our stomachs.

Course 5: Dessert

1. “Country Pie” by Bob Dylan

“Raspberry, strawberry, lemon and lime, What do I care?/ Blueberry, apple, cherry, pumpkin and plum/ Call me for dinner, honey, I’ll be there.” Our sentiments exactly.

2. “Cake” by the B-52s

The discussion of cake in this song seems almost Liz Lemon-esque. And that is a very good thing.

3. “Just Like Honey” by the Jesus & Mary Chain

A lethargic song to soundtrack your post-Thanksgiving binge food coma.

4. “Gingerbread” by Frankie Avalon

This is one of those songs that will produce a serious earworm. It’ll probably also gain you points with those members of the family who were around when this 1950s pop icon first debuted.

5. “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” by Rufus Wainwright

A good, winding down, patting your tummy while slipping into a food coma song. Don’t think about the dishes.