The Best Thanksgiving Sides

The Best Thanksgiving Sides

For the past ten years, Alex and I have celebrated Thanksgiving at our friends’ house in Brooklyn. We’ve built a fire, enjoyed their cooking, and stayed late drinking wine. But! This year, our friends will be out of town, so WE ARE HOSTING 12 PEOPLE…

Here’s our plan:
My aunt is handling the turkey and gravy.
My dad is bringing wine.
We’re in charge of the rest.

In Sam Sifton’s funny (and incredibly opinionated) book Thanksgiving, he shares his rules for the feast. Here are three…

Keep drinks flowing. Start serving drinks the minutes your guests arrive, no matter the hour. Thanksgiving is not a time to judge.

Skip the appetizers. I did not sit in my kitchen on Saturday night making lists, and deal with brining a bird on Monday night, and bake pies on Tuesday night, and spend all of Thursday cooking turkey, sides and gravy, then set a table appropriate to presidents and kings, so that you could come into my house and eat a pound and a half of nuts and guacamole before sitting down for the Thanksgiving feast.

Desserts need not be extravagant. It absolutely should not be experimental or overly cute. It must not involve individual tartlets or parfaits, nor marshmallows in any form. Save the chocolate for nights of depression and anxiety. Instead, focus on the proper execution of the American classics: apple pie, for instance, with a mound of whipped cream, or pumpkin pie with same. These represent Thanksgiving’s highest achievement.

Thoughts? Do you agree with any or all?

Yesterday I tried out Food52’s menu genie. You answer questions about yourself and it gives you a menu to fit your personality and tastes. My menu included a delicious-sounding pumpkin pudding and ricotta toast.

So, here are my questions from the group: Do you have any side dishes you really love? Or overall favorite things? Do you do a kids’ table or cram everyone in? Please share… (My one big tip so far is to invite friends who are not American, so they won’t judge:)

P.S. A dinner conversation starter.

(Image by Norman Rockwell. Sam Sifton quotes via Dinner: A Love Story.)