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 »

Share

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 »

Share

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 »

Share

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 »

Share

  Want to make Thanksgiving day easier on yourself and ensure you have the best gravy ever? Start now. (Or this weekend.) This, too, planning ahead, is part of mise en place, one of the most important cooking “techniques” to recognize. Mise en place literally translates as put in place. To a cook, mise en place refers to his or her station set-up—having all that you need, at your station and in place, to accomplish the work ahead. Mise en place is shorthand for being prepared, at your station and in your mind. (I write about this more completely in Ruhlman’s Twenty.) It’s the cook’s first order of business, at a restaurant, at home. Making a roast chicken dinner with green beens and baked potato? Get everything out on the counter before you pick that Read On »

Share