Another week in the books at Serious Eats. It’s been nothing but utter chaos over here as we prepare for one of the biggest food-centric days of the year, but…we’re managing, as always. Anyway! We’ve got lots of ground to cover this week—much like last week, and the week before, and so on—including our own Thanksgiving plans, gift guides galore, and what turned out to be a non-controversial Cincinnati delight. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Turkey Day Slay
Ladies and potatoes, the time has come—well, almost. We’re in the home stretch! Less than a week from now is The Big Day. No, not the Super Bowl, as Tess seemed to confuse it with when I used the term earlier this week (Editor’s note: Amanda agrees with Tess). Turkey Day! Most of us are usually tasked with making sure our families’ Thanksgiving dinners go off without a hitch—whether that means making a few dishes or taking charge of the whole dang show. This week, we went around the (virtual) table and shared what’s on the menu for said Big Day:
“I’m flying down to NOLA with my family for a big Thanksgiving with 30-plus of my in-laws, and the meal will be catered. I’m actually pretty stoked for it: It’s all coming from Cochon Butcher, which I know from prior visits does great food, and the menu reads like exactly the kind of marriage of traditional turkey-day fare with Cajun and Creole influences I would want. One turkey will be smoked, the other stuffed with boudin. The cranberry sauce is flavored with local Satsuma mandarins and the dressing includes shrimp and eggplant. There will be jambalaya and pimento cheese finger sandwiches, platters of cold cuts galore, plus oh-so-many pies and tarts along with a salted caramel doberge cake. The only thing I’m worried about is that I under-ordered, but that’s always an anxiety I have and every other time in my life it’s led to me grossly overestimating how much we need. Fingers crossed there’s too much food this year as well, not because I like waste but because I adore Thanksgiving leftovers.” —Daniel Gritzer, senior culinary director
Amanda’s deviled eggs will not look nearly as nice as these.Serious Eats
“So for the first time in forever, we’re not cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. (Although my version of “not cooking” still includes roasting the turkey, making a pumpkin pie, and probably a lasagna still). We’re going to stay with my mom for the week in OC, NJ and celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. We’ve decided to order dinner from our favorite local butcher (I guarantee it won’t be as amazing as Cochon). I will definitely cook from all of the leftovers, though. Our (new-ish) family tradition is leftover turkey with mole (I don’t know what kind yet this year) and freshly made tortillas. I might turn it into leftover turkey enchiladas, and reference Kenji’s chicken enchilada recipe.” —Leah Colins, senior culinary editor
“I found out someone who has a dairy, egg, grape, and cruciferous vegetable allergy is coming to my Thanksgiving. So I don’t want to talk about anything. Suffice to say, ALL MY PLANS WENT OUT THE WINDOW.” —Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, senior commerce editor
“1) Leche flan (pumpkin-ified). CANT STOP WONT STOP. 2) After hearing such high praises of SE’s sage and sausage stuffing, I’ll be making that to compete with classic, beloved boxed stuffing for a seat at the table. (It might come to blows, idk). 3) John is making Kenji’s smoked turkey, and we’re looking to get the skin all crackly and crispy (rather than tough and chewy, an issue we’ve had with chicken skin in the past). Fingers crossed!” —Grace Kelly, associate commerce editor
“We always do a different country’s traditional Christmas meal for Thanksgiving, so this year we’re doing an Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes with cioppino and maybe this squid ink pasta.” —Jesse Raub, commerce writer
Our culinary team not cooking much this year? We’re shocked! But also, they deserve a break. Grace making leche flan for the 3587th time this year? That tracks. Jesse, we’re obsessed with your family’s tradition and can’t wait to see the results. And Amanda, deviled eggs are always an excellent choice—let us know how many you end up downing. Our condolences to you Riddley for the loss of your dream Thanksgiving, but we’re eager to know what you come up with to still make it special. Please share!
As for me? My family will have the usual suspects (turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc.), along with my mom’s “world-famous” stuffed mushrooms (if I say it’s famous on a food website circulating the internet, then that makes it true, right?)—those will probably be the first to go. I’ve also taken it upon myself to switch up our typical Costco pumpkin pie with Arlyn’s pumpkin chiffon one instead, which I haven’t stopped thinking about since I made the decision to make it this week.
If our own feasts don’t inspire yours, we don’t know what will!
Time for Some Cincinnati Chili. Play Nice, Everyone!
Here at SE, we love food opinions—yours, ours, anyone’s really. A little controversy never hurt anybody! When we started working with Jed Portman on a Cincinnati chili recipe, we were ready for an onslaught of reactions. To locals, the dish is a delicacy, but to many outside of the city and the state of Ohio, it can tend to induce horror. But as Jed notes, “It’s noodles, Mediterranean-spiced meat sauce, and cheese. What’s not to like?” Louder, Jed!!!
To our surprise, once we dropped the recipe on Instagram this past Wednesday, the comments were nothing short of pleasant and lovely. Even those who weren’t a fan of the dish encouraged others to enjoy it as they see fit. Jed even mentioned that he was “tired of defending the dish,” but looks like he didn’t even need to. See what happens when we all play nice? Well done everybody, I had faith.
The only question we’re left with is: How much cheese is too much cheese? Does the limit exist? Just say when!
‘Tis the Season
Mariah Carey may think she was the first to welcome the holiday season on November 1st this year, but it—news flash—it was actually our commerce team! They’ve been hard at work for weeks—nay, months—putting together a slew of gift guides to kick off your holiday shopping. No, these are not your boring list of 20 products you already thought of or that no one needs. These babies are curated, okay!!
The 25 Best White Elephant Gifts for Fun (and Affordable) Festivities. We’re listening!The 40 Best Kitchen-Related Stocking Stuffers for the Cooks in Your Life. We will never not need this list. 40 of Our Favorite Gifts for Someone Who Really, Truly Loves Coffee. Jesse, you’ve done it again!!The 50 Best Gifts Under $50 for Cooks and Food Lovers. Say less. The Best Cooking Gifts for Kids, from the Tiniest Tots to Budding Cooks. What better way to get our little ones in the kitchen?
There is—and we cannot emphasize this enough—truly something for everyone. And if you need even more of a reason to start shopping, check out these early Black Friday deals our commerce team discovered! As the saying goes: happy shopping!