These daze

Planning for the weirdest ever holiday season

Hey, what’s your voting plan? Mine was to fill out my mail-in ballot and take it to an official drop box, which I’ve already done. Then I tracked my ballot.

MAKE A PLAN. VOTE.

The upcoming holidays have a lot riding on them. We want to recall the Before Times, so we’ll lean into the season’s nostalgia. We want something fun and light to focus on, so we’ll plan Thanksgiving menus starting now. We want some semblance of control, we want comfort food, we want someone else to do the dishes. And yet it’s hard to plan when everything seemingly changes by the hour.

There are two rules, in my book: stay safe and make the season work for you. Fewer obligations and more celebrating what and how we feel like celebrating, given the limitations. Maybe that means going full traditional and maybe that means serving scallops on Thanksgiving, I don’t judge. I, for one, have very nearly decided on my Thanksgiving menu because I’d rather “research” roast turkey with truffle butter than read the news. I’d rather pair wines to my (overly ambitious) menu than feel the rage of American politics these days.

What is your Thanksgiving table bound to look like this year? Perhaps you’re serving Thanksgiving for two. That’s not an oxymoron. Don’t get a whole bird, instead buy turkey breasts and/or legs, season them with fresh herbs and citrus, or get Cornish game hens for a less traditional and—yet sort of old fashioned—approach. Serve two of the following sides: mashed potatoes for two, green beans and sweet potatoes, beet and feta salad, half of this stuffing recipe. And an apple galette (above) with bourbon whipped cream. A couple of Manhattans and call it a night.

Maybe you’ve got more mouths to feed and you’re itching for something (anything) to feel familiar. The traditional route. Start with butternut squash soup and a Brussels sprouts salad. Creamy mashed potatoes, green beans almondine, herb and apple stuffing, cranberry sauce, and Ina Garten’s herb roasted turkey. Find room on the table for cheese and herb potato gratin. Pumpkin pie to finish, with homemade whipped cream. Classics, all. An old fashioned as a nightcap…at 5pm.

Or maybe you want an avant-garde Thanksgiving in an…avant-garde year. I love a fresh citrus salad to lighten up the rich meal, which you can serve to start with a roasted cauliflower soup. Mustard-crusted potatoes, Brussels sprouts with bacon lardons, a porchetta-style roast turkey, and oh I don’t know, garlic knots in place of dinner rolls. Red wine poached pears with cardamom and orange, and whipped cream. And a whiskey sour, thank you very much.

And for breakfast the next day, a Scandinavian-inspired spread using some leftovers.

In the meantime, there’s Tuesday (election day) to consider. This is what I’ll make for dinner that night and I’ll wash it down with this.

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A handful of links, in which we remember it’s Halloween already…

Oooh, 15 cookbooks to read outside the kitchen. I second Dinner at the Long Table. (Epicurious)

Super cool: Indigenous TikTok influencer (Instagram)

Have you seen Normal People? Either way, watch this chemistry read (Vogue)

President Hillary Clinton’s coronavirus taskforce (McSweeney’s)

Halloween recipes, since not all fun is canceled (Delish)

Hot take on hard tacos (J. Kenji López Alt)

Upgrading your dinnerware? These are my favorites (Snowe Home)

If you haven’t yet, take a moment to read Chrissy Teigen’s incredibly moving letter about her recent loss (Medium)

Halloween 2020 (Twitter)

And sometimes we need to remember this (Instagram)


Cooking Party
A menu that’s calm and cozy, cause it feels like nothing else is

Playlist Cooking Vol. 6, the one with all the remixes that make you groove

Pre-Dinner Drink A Boulevardier (basically a Negroni, but with whiskey)

Menu Pre-made naan or flatbread dunked into this pea chutney while cooking a bright and creamy coconut chicken curry served with white rice and a quartered lime. This (entire) bananas foster chocolate bar for dessert.

Wine Grüner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer, or a Grenache if you’d rather go red

Bonus, what to wear Chic cotton silk socks, cause we’re still at home

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Love from my kitchen where I don’t know what day it is,