If our most famous historical Republican’s claim that a nation divided against itself cannot stand, we should take heed of Thanksgiving more today than ever. Food brings us together, and hallelujah for it. Let us praise and honor the food that brings us together on this day. I have been writing and thinking about the meaning of cooking food and sharing it with people you love for 20 years now. Its fundamental importance to our health and happiness only grows more profound in my mind. The daily ritual of cooking and eating arguably gave our species the advantage it needed to triumph over the other upright and four-legged competitors to become the most successful species on the planet. If we can all, in our valuable differences, come together around food, perhaps we might retain that Read On »

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Last year my cousin Ryan, feeling overwhelmed by the task of hosting his first Thanksgiving dinner, wrote to me for advice. I’m reposting the advice I gave him here, along with the roast/braise method. The bottom line is this and it’s the mantra I want all anxious cooks out there to repeat continually: Everything will be fine. Really. Everything will be fine. Really. (Thank you @SamSifton.)  Below is a collection of posts that cover all the fundamental dishes. Nothing new here; the good stuff always stays the same. Remember, no one step is particularly hard, so it’s simply a matter of being organized. For last minute questions, I’ll be taking them online at the @Food52 hotline, Thanksgiving day from 2-3. Homemade Turkey Stock The Original Roasted/Braised Turkey Post with Illustrative Photos and Slide Show. If you want Read On »

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I’m reposting this Cranberry Sauce and Gravy from scratch from November 21, 2012, because they’re every bit as good now as it was then: My dad made this cranberry sauce when my daughter was very young. He was mystified, as I recall, having never cooked cranberries before, always used the kind with can-ribs, sliceable. That his granddaughter loved it made it very special to him. He continued to make it. His granddaughter is no longer four but rather seventeen and she will be making it this year (and so did I, because I wanted to share it in this post and think of my dad while it cooked). It’s really simple, can be done today or the day of (or several days ahead, next year). Just throw everything in the pot, bring it to a simmer, Read On »

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I’m in the Miami airport, Cleveland bound, having been a part of the amazing Miami Book Fair to promote my new collection of novellas, In Short Measures, love stories. Met some hero fiction writers, such as Elizabeth McCracken, whose “Thunderstruck” is one of the best short stories I’ve read in years. Also Mary Gaitskill, who scares the shit out of me, Rick Moody, who does not, Mary Karr, on whom I crush, and new writer friends Les Standiford, John Dufresne, and Cindi Chinelly. What a great fair, thanks to Mitchell Kaplan and Books & Books. Reposting the following for those looking for a delicious and simple Thanksgiving dressing: The nice thing about blogging as opposed to newspapering is that I don’t feel the obligation to always come up with a new way of roasting turkey Read On »

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I received the following email today from my beloved cousin Ryan, husband to the smarter-than-he-is Tesse, father of a toddler with another on the way, and they’ve just moved into their first house: Michael, I am undertaking my first thanksgiving and have responsibility for all the cooking.  I am starting to think I am a bit over my head and was hoping you could help me get things under control.  I’m not even sure where to start?  Other than turkey. Ryan Dear Ryan, First, make a list of everything you’d like to serve, write it all down on a piece of paper, then make a plan for cooking it. (The last thing you want to be doing is entering a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving. You’re smarter than that.) Have plenty of onions and carrots Read On »

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