12 Reasons Why Bread Is Thanksgiving's Unsung Hero

Turkey. Mashed potatoes. Veggies. Cheese plates. Sweet potato casseroles. Fresh cranberries. Stuffing. Scores and scores of gravy coating every inch of your plate. You can pick tons of reasons to get excited over your upcoming Thanksgiving menu, but let's not forget to give credit to the dish that does its due diligence year after year — and never flaunts, brags, or seeks out compliments, OK? Let's give it up to the dish that really matters. Let's not forget to be thankful for that warm loaf. Let's not forget about BREAD.

It's the dish we all reach for because it's the true Thanksgiving staple. It's always on the table, always just a reach away, always warm, crusty and crunchy, but chewy on the inside. It's always tasty, whether you smother it in cranberry or with butter, or use it as a broom to sweep your plate clean. Bread is beautiful. We never have to ask for it, but we'd miss it instantly if it was gone. We'd be lost without it. (Or, at the very least, we'd be forced to lick our plates clean and, to be honest, who wants to see Great Aunt Agnes covered in crumbs from cheek to cheek?

So we can celebrate the turkey and the stuffing; we can talk about how much we looooveee potatoes; we can brag about just how much cheese we're going to eat, but, face it, it isn't Thanksgiving without bread. Need a reminder? Here are 12 reasons why it's the best:

1. It comes in many delicious forms.

Rolls; focaccia; ciabatta; loaf; sourdough; wheat; pumpernickel; white; honey oat; cheddar beer; jalapeño; garlic bread; zucchini bread; pumpkin bread; chocolate chip cherry bread; sausage bread... go on and try to tell me just how many different variations of turkey you love. I'll wait.

2. It's not only good the day after — it's good the week after.

Store it tightly (so that it doesn't dry out), and you'll be thankful all week long.

3. You can use it to make mini Thanksgiving sandwiches at the dinner table.

It might be further proof that you belong back at the kid's table, but who cares! You've got a plate full of food, and little sammies on the side.

4. You can make it at home.

Even if you're incapable of using the microwave, making bread at home is pretty impossible to screw up. For a beginner's recipe, try this. For a heavenly gift that involves a little more work, use this one instead.

5. You can always eat more of it, even if you're not exactly hungry.

Not hungry? Eat bread. Fit to burst? Sure, have another slice of bread!

6. You and your third cousin can bond over your deep love of those extra crusty pieces.

Who cares that you two have nothing else to talk about? You love bread, and that is enough.

7. You can use it as a mop to sweep up all that extra gravy.

And it's perfectly acceptable to cover your plate in excess gravy just so you have another excuse to wipe it clean with a piece of bread.

8. It tastes good covered in potatoes.

Starches taste better when you add more starches. It's science.

9. It's even good when it's smothered in cranberry sauce.

Cranberry sauce is slippery and slidey, gooey and tart. It needs someone like bread with a sturdy backbone to help it stand up straight.

10. You can use it as a spork.

Don't mind me, just using my bread as a fork + spoon combination.

11. It's perfectly acceptable to eat bread as an appetizer, an entree, and with dessert.

Cheese and bread for pre-dinner, bread with your meal, pumpkin bread for dessert. Yes, I'll have another.

12. No matter who makes it, it's always good.

Cousin Collin may have a penchant for ruining the jarred cranberry sauce year after year (seriously, how does he do it?), but bread is always good.

Image: moondawg, Stephanie Kilgast, Kristen Taylor (2), Bruno Raymond, Cook Jones, Ken Fager /Flickr