It may not have been pretty, but it sure was delicious and four days after the fact, I'm still dreaming about this meal. We do an awful lot of asking people to finish the sentence, "It's not Thanksgiving without..." but I suppose I've never answered the question here myself.
That'd be the plate above, laden with turkey, my husband's squash casserole, and sweet potatoes, barbecue and collard greens made with skill, practice and a whole of love by my friend Eric. He's a talented cook to be sure, but I happen to believe he's got a certain amount of divine guidance on his side in the form of our friend Mama Diva, with whom we used to gather and eat this very meal each year.
I said it several weeks ago on Twitter and I still believe it to be true:
It's true that there are dishes best served a la minute for optimum enjoyment; people aren't generally prone to stashing omelettes and pancakes into Tupperware containers for midnight noshes. Thanksgiving foods, though, tend to benefit from a night hunkered in the fridge, melding flavors and becoming exponentially more delicious.
The big meal is nigh on upon us and ya know what? You'll get through it. No matter what happens, in a few hours it'll all be a memory and ideally, you'll have a few luscious leftovers and warm, fuzzy feelings toward mankind.
We're here to get you through to the other side. Just submit your questions in the comments or hit us on Twitter @eatocracy and we'll get you an answer as soon as you possibly can. Your queries may be culinary - or even just a plea for solidarity and moral support.
Pull up a chair - we'll be serving up support in this here post all the way through T-Day and have a pretty thorough help list right here.
High & Dry
We're sharing our time-tested Thanksgiving hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Thanksgiving with a confident smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on the other side with your sanity intact.
Economically speaking, it's pretty scary out there, and plenty of people are feeling the pinch at the supermarket. iReporter Ecotraveler submitted this simple and thrifty budget for a full Thanksgiving meal.
"I was surprised that a family of four to six, plus a few friends, could enjoy this holiday dinner together for under $30," she said. "And they were all name brands, which this year were less than generics. Great news for families on a budget and in this economy."
Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday. It’s the one day of the year that’s off-limits on my calendar for anything other than family, dear friends and my complete and total domination of the kitchen. No work, no crazy international travel schedule; it’s all about bringing loved ones together to share an amazing traditional holiday meal complete with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, the works.
This year, however, work and my favorite holiday collided. My team and I at EarthEcho International, the environmental education nonprofit I co-founded with my mother and sister, had just taken the wraps off of a new tool for educators and students to help them explore the environmental and health impact of daily food choices called What’s On Your Fork?
In fact, the main element of this resource is a guide created in collaboration with the Meatless Monday campaign to help students start each week with options for healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives. You can see where I might be feeling a little conflicted about my poultry-centered food extravaganza.
Should the bird stay on the menu?
LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @locs_n_laughs
I was told the substance in the glass casserole dish in front of me was potato salad - but I wasn’t buying it.
Why was it white?
Why was it smooth?
And where was the red stuff that goes on top?
It was 1998, and I was having my first Thanksgiving dinner with white people.
Our favorite question to ask folks at this time of year how they'd finish the sentence, "It's not Thanksgiving without..."
Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley, John King and Soledad O'Brien share the dishes that make their holidays shine bright.
Even the most adventurous eaters often give their inner food warrior the day off on Thanksgiving – nothing but the same turkey, stuffing (or dressing!), cranberries, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie they've been eating since childhood. If one of those dishes goes missing, the whole meal just doesn't feel right.
Other families stray away from the standards (some friends of ours have to have collard greens, whiskey sours and banana pudding for the day to feel right, while another family dives into duck) and develop their own must-indulge traditions.
Thanksgiving is an American holiday, but because so many of us have roots in other countries, there are many international dishes on Thanksgiving tables. CNN Radio’s Jim Roope was invited to a Filipino family Thanksgiving celebration and discovered the addition of Lechon, roasted pig, next to the turkey, stuffing and sweet potato pie.
“All [Filipino] festivities are religious in nature so we always have an offering, a Lechon at the table,” said Nora Hizon, who immigrated to the U-S 40 years ago.” “We have the turkey, but we also have the Lechon,” she said.
After some coaxing, Jim Roope finally agrees to taste the Lechon. Listen to the audio player below to hear what happens.