Thursday, 8 Dec 2022

What to Cook Right Now

Good morning. Please return your seat backs and tray tables to their upright positions. Make sure your belts are snug. We’ve begun our initial descent into Thanksgiving International Airport.

Some words of advice, not for the hard landing, but for the day that’s coming, the feast itself, the long hours of fellowship with family and friends, the unexpected issues (man, it looks like it’s going to be cold here in the northeast tomorrow!), the guests who arrive early or late, the turkey cooking too slowly, too fast: Everything is going to be all right. Thanksgiving is what it is. Just breathe and let the holiday wash over you. Do your best with love and intention and nothing will be less than exceptional, I promise.

As a corollary, an obvious note that too many ignore: Listen more than you talk. Thanksgiving is not the day to litigate whatever it is that Uncle Pete has come to believe about the government, or that you have come to believe about rural life or social media or organized religion or millennial behavior or boomer retirements or celiac disease. Just hear people out, smile, say: Tell me more. Then reflect on all that you have to be thankful for in this life, even if it’s just a steady job and a big, dumb dog. Have a second slice of apple ombré pie (above).

Other notes in advance of tomorrow: You’ve defrosted the bird, yes? And either you’ve brined it or salted it well and placed it in the refrigerator to dry overnight? Also, you’ve moved your pie doughs from freezer to fridge? You could bake tonight. You could cut up bread tonight for a freestyle stuffing (that’s your no-recipe recipe for the week) or make your cranberry sauce. You could prep vegetables for use in the morning. Me, I’ll cook some sweet potatoes, in advance of finishing them tomorrow as sweet potatoes aligot.

As for dinner tonight? I’m thinking pizza from the House of Pizza and Calzone, quite frankly, unless the kids rebel and demand brats. For those, I’ll go no-recipe style and caramelize some onions, hit those with a big blat of Dijon mustard, use them as a condiment in a sandwich made up of baguette and the sizzled sausages, with some soft sautéed apples in there as well, against the salt and acid. That is a righteous sandwich.

There are thousands of other recipes that will come in handy in the next few days on NYT Cooking, including our most popular recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers. Go take a look at those if none above appeal. (Yes, you will need a subscription to do that. And if you have one already? Thanks. Now buy a gift subscription for family or friends!) You can also see what we’re up to on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter — there is lots of what the millennials call turkey inspo there.

We don’t have a Thanksgiving hotline running this year. But if you run into problems with recipe cards or the technology we use to power them on our site and apps, you can reach out to us at [email protected] until about noon tomorrow, Eastern Standard Time. We’ll do our best to get back to you. Also, Jonathan Beecher Field has a pretty good round-up of Thanksgiving helpfulness, on Decider.)

Now, before you head into the kitchen yourself, make sure to read Tejal Rao’s delightful romp with the turkey supermodels who star on the covers of this year’s crop of November food magazines, in The Times.

Also in our paper this week, Priya Krishna on the Los Angeles restaurateurs Chase and Chad Valencia, whose Thanksgiving feast is always 50 percent American and 50 percent Filipino. Read the article and you might crave their asado breakfast sandwich on Friday morning. Luckily, we got the recipe.

Read and discuss this Kevin Alexander piece in Thrillist, about best-of lists and the closing of a great burger joint in Portland, Ore. I’m not sure I buy the headline premise, but it’s a terrific read all the same.

Finally, a long way from the dining room and much as I hate to carry water for a corporate interest, credit where it’s due: This Elton John ad for John Lewis and Partners is a perfect three-hankie biopic in two minutes, 20 seconds. Have a very happy Thanksgiving. I’ll check in with you in the morning..

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