Dish of the Week: Thanksgiving

I mean… Hard to top this, no? I love everything about this plate. A quick tour, nothing revolutionary: Stuffing on the left, mashed potatoes and gravy counterclockwise to the right, e coli salad, veggies in the middle, and as the star of the show, a big ol’ turkey drumstick, up top. (Not pictured: sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie. I don’t love sweets, ok?) For real, a lot of people knock it, but turkey is the best part of Thanksgiving. Turkey is chicken, but better. In every way. It’s deeper, juicier, more versatile and just better. Good mashed potatoes, tho, give that turk a run for its money. There is a time and place for a chunky mash, but I prefer my Thanksgiving taters smooth, creamy and delicious — with a healthy smothering of no-bullshit gravy. You know no-bullshit gravy. It’s the kind that makes you sit up and say, “Wow! This tastes like freedom!” It’s hearty but not chunky, with a, ahem, thickmouthfeel. (I didn’t just say “mouth feel” — you must be imagining that.) And it tastes like what it’s supposed to taste like: meat juice. Wow, OK, Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without turkey (and a willful ignorance of its dark past #freedom) — I’ll stand by that. But if the turkey is Simba, then the gravy is Timon and Pumba. The Lion King’s not THE LION KING without those idiots. (Also, who saw that trailer for the new “live action” Lion King?! They shouldn’t have remade it, but they did anyway and fuck it I’m #hyped.)

I also was not a big fan of stuffing in my early days — it was too dry and too shroomy. Thankfully, my palate has evolved along with stuffing tech. The bread chunks melted in my mouth and mushrooms provide a great source of umami, something I have come to appreciate ever since I started saying “umami” unironically. The two veggie dishes also tasted great, but it’s hard to justify putting gravy on those, so who cares? I skipped the sweet potatoes largely because there wasn’t room on my plate, and I don’t trust that canned cranberry sauce is actually good. As for pie, I know you, dear reader, probably save room for one of the three P’s (Pumpkin, Pecan, aPple), but if I’m doing Thanksgiving right, I don’t have room in the ol’ food hole. This year, I did it right.