A Thanksgiving Confession (with Two Recipe Suggestions)


One week from today is Thanksgiving, and it’s time to tell you the truth: I’m not cooking dinner this year!

No, after cooking last year (see here) and the year before (see here) I’m giving myself a break this year, and enjoying time with my family instead. So there will be no frantic posting, no group therapy, no live video feeds from dinner at our house.

But fear not; the funny thing about Thanksgiving is that a good Thanksgiving menu is still a good Thanksgiving menu from one year to the next. Which means that the PDF file I made last year, with all the recipes and detailed instructions and a game plan for getting it done (starting on Sunday), could still work for you–click here to check that out.

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Thanksgiving Wrap-Up


Are you sick of Thanksgiving yet? You should be! For the past few weeks, every website, every magazine, every food guru has been espousing the merits of dressing vs. stuffing, cajoling you to make your own cranberry sauce and badgering you to brine your turkey. Now that the big day is over, Thanksgiving Talk is as welcome as deconstructing the sex you just had: “I liked it when you put your right hand on my left shoulder.” Not fun. So, for the sake of knowing when to quit, I’m going to keep my Thanksgiving wrap-up short.

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Live Thanksgiving Broadcast #2

[Note: After posting this, I figure you may want some explanation as to who everyone is: are you ready? First you’ll see my mom and dad, then you’ll see the Johnson family–that’s my brother’s girlfriend Tali’s family–her father, Craig, her sister Mia and poking around there my grandmother (my mom’s mom); in the next room you’ll see my Aunt Ellen who is my mom’s brother Mark’s wife, then Gila, Tali’s mom, then Matt, my cousin (Mark & Ellen’s son), Craig, my better half (who has the same full name as Tali’s dad!), then my grandfather and my uncle Mark who, if you paid attention, you’ll remember is my mom’s brother. Phew!]

{Note 2: In the video I say, “The turkey carving video I posted” but I didn’t post that: A.G. Intern Kathryn did that. Thanks Kathryn!]

Thanksgiving Status Report


I’m not sure what I’m more stressed about: cooking this dinner for sixteen people or writing this post! There’s a lot to talk about so I’m just going to shoot this out like an email and hope for the best… are you ready? Here we go…

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The Amateur Gourmet’s Thanksgiving Game Plan

Attached you will find a PDF file that’ll either inspire great terror or great awe. It’s a massive document, with all the recipes broken down over the days I’m home to cook. My only fear, right now, is too much sweet stuff: I may need to add mashed potatoes. But, alas, it is 1:06 AM and I must pack for my flight tomorrow. Will I survive this year’s Thanksgiving? Will I crumble and fail? Tune in next week as I blog the whole experience…. until then, have a great weekend!

[Note: you’ll see on the menu I say I’m doing Alton’s brined turkey, but at the last minute I switched to a cider brined turkey from Epicurious. Feel free to discuss.]

View The Thanksgiving Game Plan PDF

Thanksgiving Recipe Testing: Pear & Beet Salad, Freezable Biscuits, and Pumpkin Mousse Parfait


This year, I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner for sixteen people. Let me say that again. This year, I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner for sixteen people. Pardon my French, but holy s**t what the f**k am I thinking?

Sorry for cursing (do you say cursing or cussing? I say cursing) but this is a bit scary. Last year was the first time I ever cooked a Thanksgiving dinner (remember?) and this year the guests have TRIPLED. It’s as if I wrote a book on food or something and all of a sudden people expect me to know what I’m doing. Hello! Did you read the title? Amateur Gourmet… not Competent Gourmet. Not “Cooks For 16 People” Gourmet.

Ok, ok, so it’s not all that bad. I leave for Florida on Saturday (this dinner will take place in Boca Raton, where my parents live) and I have five whole days to get things ready before the big night on Thursday. I’m already coordinating a game plan, a carefully scheduled program that I plan to follow to the letter in order to get things done ahead of time. When I finish it, I’ll post it as a PDF to the site: it’ll have a full menu and all the recipes typed out. My strategy is to do as much ahead as possible so that the only thing I’ll have to do on Thursday is cook the turkey, heat up the soup and side dishes and prepare a salad.

In anticipation of all this, I’ve started testing recipes here in Brooklyn to see how they’ll fare next week. Tonight I share with you my conclusions and seek your feedback on my plan thus far.

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