Food & Wine Editor in Chief Hunter Lewis shares highlights from the November Thanksgiving issue.
Credit: Ramona Rosales

No other American Holiday has rhythms and rituals like the big dance of Thanksgiving. Like me, you’re probably already thinking about the menu, and shopping lists will soon give way to prep plans and table settings. Then the culinary musical chairs begins in kitchens across the country, that seasoned choreography of roasting pans, casseroles, and pies shuttling from oven and stove to buffet. Thanksgiving, without a doubt, is the most extra of all the holiday feasts.

And no one is more extra than Angie Mar. As a person, as a restaurateur, and as a chef, the 2017 F&W Best New Chef brings next-level flavor and style to everything she does. For this Thanksgiving issue, we joined Mar and Pat LaFrieda, her butcher and world-class meat purveyor, for two days of duck hunting and cooking at a lodge in Arkansas rice country. They lugged (as chefs do) two 150-quart coolers of the most extra ingredients from New York City (truffle butter, 120-day-aged rib eyes, magnums of Champagne) and conjured a menu filled with duck and beef that would not have been out of place at Mar’s opulent Beatrice Inn if it weren’t hung on a makeshift A-frame, smoked over bourbon barrel staves, and served in a rustic cabin in the woods.

You’ll find Mar’s spirit of extravagance all over this issue. It’s in the stunning smoked turkey on our cover and the lakeside Santa Barbara Thanksgiving dinner that goes with it hosted by Alecia Moore—aka pop icon P!nk—who, it turns out, makes great wine and sets a beautiful table. (Like Moore’s chef, I’ve taken to smoking my turkey to amp up the avor and free up oven space.) It’s in the modern classic desserts of pastry chef Joanne Chang (don’t miss the double-decker pecan-pumpkin pie). And it’s in the arsenal of new side dishes for your holiday table, from the pull-apart milk bread wreath to Ann Taylor Pittman’s kale salad with Gorgonzola-rye croutons—one of several contributions from our network of F&W Cooks.

When it comes to Thanksgiving recipes, everyone has their nonnegotiables. For my family, that’s sage-laced dressing with crusty edges, sweet potato casserole studded with pineapple, and a shaved brussels sprouts salad. Yet we should always make room for new traditions. Senior Editor Kat Kinsman’s essay reminds us that the most important prep work we can all do for this most over-the-top of feasts is to make sure that everyone at our tables feels welcome. From my table to yours, happy Thanksgiving.