Every year around this time, Andy will turn to me and say something like “I think it’s time to shake things up a little at Thanksgiving.” Mmmm hmmm, I’ll respond, and if I wore glasses, I’d raise my eyeballs over the frames for a sec before turning back to doing what I was doing, which is, most likely reviewing last year’s menu with my mom. It’s not that I am ignoring him, exactly. It’s more that I know myself by now. I’ll spend a lot of time poring over books and websites looking for interesting twists on tradition, only to end up right back at…tradition. Our menu, as outlined in How to Celebrate Everything, is classic, and, I might add, perfect: My Mom’s Herb-Roasted Turkey with Gravy, Confetti Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Raisins, Sausage and Apple Stuffing, Cranberry Relish, Potato Gratin with Gruyere, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes (yes, two potato recipes, need I explain?) and my mom’s world-famous Chocolate Pudding Pie. We definitely introduce new recipes into the equation (application permitting) but other than that cranberry relish from a few years ago, I can’t remember a dish that was good enough to be permanently entered into the rotation.
One thing that happily, evolves, however, is the crew in the kitchen. The older the kids get, the more they want to partake in the preparing, realizing, smartly, that the kitchen is the center of the action. When my nephew, Owen, texted me last week to ask me for a Thanksgiving assignment, I told him I’d send him a few options because most of the MVPs were already taken by his sisters and cousins. Turns out I came up with a pretty comprehensive list of options, excluding the turkey, that I thought you’d be interested in, too. Maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit in your house? Let me know how it goes.
Cocktails & Snacks
Epic Thanksgiving Cheeseplate (photo: Gaby Dalkin)
Crudite with an array of these dips
Best Shredded Kale Salad (vegan; photo credit: Oh She Glows)
Hasselback Butternut Squash with Bay Leaves (photo credit: Bobbi Lin)
Stuffing & Potatoes & Casseroles
Herbed Potato Gratin with Roasted Garlic and Manchego (photo credit: Petrina Tinsley)
Thanksgiving Casserole for Everyone (gluten-free, vegan)
Pies & Tarts
Salted Caramel Apple Pie (photo credit: Jennifer Causey)
The Thanksgiving menu from How to Celebrate Everything begins on page 49.
Gratuitous Chocolate Pudding Pie pic. (Photo by Chelsea Cavanaugh for DALS)