Good morning. Thanksgiving planning begins in earnest today, even if you’ll be serving only yourself on the day. It’s self-care of a sort to clean out the refrigerator and freezer to make room for your disks of pie crust; your unbaked biscuits; your make-ahead stock. It’s self-care to shop for the dry goods you’ll need, the wines you want to drink. The work is soothing and intentional. It has a little hope to it, too: that together, apart, despite the pandemic, we’ll somehow make something special of the holiday this year, sacrificing our usual excess in the name of Thanksgivings to come.
Melissa Clark writes that this year especially you ought to rope the children, if you have any around, into the work of preparation and execution of the feast. And she delivers three great recipes to help do just that: scallion-Cheddar cornbread stuffing; sweet potatoes with sour cream and pecans; and a pumpkin fudge torte (above) that you might want to try out this weekend.
Genevieve Ko, meanwhile, is thinking about socially distanced desserts, recipes for sweets you can share safely in a yard or out on the sidewalk, after the meal: pecan pie sandwich cookies; cranberry lemon bars; and mini sweet potato pies.
Me, I’m thinking about the gravy I’ll make while my bird rests, the pork chops I’ll cook tonight, and what I want to cook this week to come.
On Monday, maybe this big lemon-garlic-kale salad, with crusty bread and this awesome marinated sheep and goat cheese from Meredith Dairy that my friend Miriam put me on the other day. (It’s online everywhere, so I won’t link to a particular seller.)
Tuesday seems right for huli huli chicken, which I’ve never tried in a hot oven with a broiler finish and want to, since grilling’s out for so many, this time of year.
For Wednesday, a tough day of cooking for many, I’ll embrace ease, with Gabrielle Hamilton’s recipe for scratchy husband pasta, which in her words is “a wholesome, non-benzo, non-opio, pure-carbo salve for the frazzled and the freaked out.”
Thursday seems right for a speedy fish chowder, maybe with a splash of sherry added at the end.
And then on Friday, I might run out the week that was with a honking big mushroom potpie.
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Some items on the Thanksgiving shopping list are obvious, but there are several other ingredients that will prove invaluable to have on hand. See our full guide on How To Cook and Plan Thanksgiving and our list of staples below.
- Butter, lots of it. Choose European-style high-fat butter for pie crusts, and regular unsalted butter for everything else.
- Stock. If you haven’t made your own, look for homemade stock at the same butcher shop where you buy your turkey, or in the freezer section of your supermarket. The canned and boxed stuff should be a last resort.
- Fresh herbs. Not only do they add freshness and flavor across your Thanksgiving table, but they’re also pretty, lending a touch of green to a meal heavy on earth tones.
- Garlic, onions, leeks, fresh ginger, shallots. An assortment of aromatics keeps your cooking lively and interesting. You’ll need them for the stuffing, for stock and gravy, and for many side dishes.
- Fresh citrus. Lemon, lime and orange juice and zest contribute brightness to countless Thanksgiving dishes, from the turkey to the gravy to the cranberry sauce to the whipped cream for pie.
- Nuts. These go a long way to give crunch to otherwise texturally boring dishes. (Ahem, sweet potato casserole.)
- White wine/vermouth/beer. Even if you’re not drinking any of these spirits before or during the meal, they can be splashed into gravy or vegetable dishes, or used to deglaze the turkey roasting pan. (Bourbon and brandy work well as deglazers, too.)
- Fresh spices. If you can’t remember when you bought your spices, now is a good time to replace them.
- Light brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup. These sweeteners are more profoundly flavored than white sugar, and they have an autumnal richness.
- Heavy cream, sour cream, crème fraîche, ice cream. You’ll need these for topping pies and cakes.
- Please, wear a mask. It protects both yourself and others from coronavirus, and aim to maintain several feet of distance from other shoppers in stores whenever possible. If you opt for grocery delivery, tip as generously as you can.
- See all of our Thanksgiving recipes.
And please don’t hesitate to ask us for help if anything goes wrong along the way, either in your kitchen or on our site and apps. We’re at [email protected]. Someone will get back to you.
Now, it’s a long day’s drive from empanadas and Earl Grey tea, but if you have five minutes, I think we can make you love sopranos.
Here are 11 hotels to visit in your dreams, from T Magazine.
Finally, local newspapers are the greatest. Here’s an accounting, in The Nome Nugget of Alaska, of a man who came to the city 42 years ago by canoe, all the way from New Orleans. It took him three years. I’ll be back on Monday.