There are some dishes that the entire United States share. Turkey is one clear example, as are others like some type of cranberry side (whether that be sauce, relish, or jellied from the can) and mashed potatoes. What fills the other parts of the Thanksgiving table, however, often depends on regional preferences and history.
In the Midwest, that means cheese, corn, and many, many types of casseroles (or hotdishes, if you’re in the upper Midwest).
“Side dishes at Thanksgiving often include one or more forms of casserole, usually a heavy or starch-dense dish like green bean casserole, au gratin potatoes with bacon and breadcrumbs, and sweet potatoes/yams with marshmallow topping,” Neel Sahni, a Midwest-based chef with the National Pork Board, wrote in an email. “Really, anything with a base ingredient, sauce or binder, and toppings works well.”
These are the dishes that define the Thanksgiving table in the Midwest.