The side dishes are really the show-stoppers at Thanksgiving. We enjoyed getting a peek into some family traditions (nice balls, Nana!), and some of us got a little bit of inspiration for this year's spread.

And the winners are ...

Celery Root & Potato Mash

 By  chezdeniseetlaudalino

Celery root isn't to everyone's taste, but this dish has the creamy richness you're looking for in a Thanksgiving mash, with the savory twist of celery root. Our food editor, Aïda, remarked that this dish would fit well among other Thanksgiving dishes.

CHOW editors say ...

The texture is nice, with the creamier potato and chunkier celery root.
Has a more vegetal flavor than plain mashers.
A step up from your usual mash.

Mashed Potatoes and Rutabaga (Scottish "Neeps and Tatties")

 By bookworm2211

Not a favorite in the CHOW test kitchen. We had only two tasters say that they liked this dish. We'd like to see our mashed potatoes doctored with celery root rather than rutabaga—but the voters disagree.

CHOW editors say ...

Bitter but good. If you're not prepared, you may not like it, but I am not that person!
Bitter.
My favorite by far. I love the bitterness.

Eggnog Sweet Potatoes

 By ssharp

For Honorable Mention, it was a tight race between Nana's Sweet Potato Balls and the eventual victor. Nana and her balls just sort of charmed us, but we couldn't imagine serving them (except "maybe at the kids' table"). The alcohol kick of the sweet potatoes, plus the suggestion to make leftovers into a milk shake, put the Eggnog Sweet Potatoes in the winner's seat.

CHOW editors say ...

An avant-garde idea, fusing Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Great flavor combo;
the nuts are the crowning touch.
This is more of a dessert. Would be right at home in a pie.
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This contest ended on Friday, October 31, 2008, 12AM PDT.