Although I grow instinctively queasy at the notion of a cozy domestic scene, I am always supremely happy to cook and serve Thanksgiving dinner to the assembled blood relatives, co-workers, sporting enemies, friends and animals I call my family.
I begin preparing for it (making lists, ordering wine, lining up a few good turkeys) about a month in advance, generally while insects swarm around me in a country halfway around the world. When I started writing Appetites and thinking about the meals that mean the most to me, Thanksgiving came first. I love that it’s an inclusive holiday, without any overt religious overtones, and I love the taste of well-made stuffing, fragrant with sage and jacked with turkey grease.
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Thanksgiving dinner evokes strong sense memories: the smell of onions and celery bubbling gently in butter and mashed-potato mountain majesties. Apart from the radically flavor-boosting addition of Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce to the gravy, Thanksgiving is not the time for innovation, experiments or anything approaching “fusion.” Give the people what they want, and make sure it’s consistent with what they remember.