Thanksgiving can challenge even the most accomplished cook. So much food! Such high expectations! I must confess that I find the meal daunting to make, since I’m much more confident as a host than as a cook. (I reveal the embarrassing details of my culinary blunders in my new book, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen.) In addition to the volume of dishes and the imperative to prepare family favorites, there is another issue: Like a lot of people, I don’t get much practice making Thanksgiving recipes. I never roast a whole turkey at any other time of the year, for example. Nor do I make stuffing, cranberry sauce or gravy. Perhaps I should! It would certainly improve the quality of the meal I serve on the fourth Thursday of November.
This year, inspired by the chefs who helped me master my cooking mistakes for my book, I decided I’d finally learn to make a flawless Thanksgiving meal—and share the lessons. I asked the wizard of great American cooking, chef Jonathan Waxman of New York City’s Barbuto, to teach me. He has a brilliantly simple (and effective) fix for every one of my errors. My favorite trick concerns the issue of lumpy gravy: Jonathan suggests using a sifter to add flour in a light dusting. Read on to find the recipes I’ll be cooking this Thanksgiving, with Jonathan’s advice for avoiding the pitfalls.