Column: Constructing the perfect Thanksgiving plate
November 23, 2022
Along with a slice of New York style pizza and a perfectly cooked piece of prime rib, Thanksgiving dinner has to be my favorite meal.
While some people might not put in as much thought as I do about constructing the best plate possible on Thanksgiving, I think of it often, especially when I am hungry, which seems to be about every 20 minutes.
For me, the star of the show is the turkey. I always prefer to eat at home or at my mom’s house in Wyoming because I know I won’t have to worry about a dry turkey ruining the best part of the meal.
I also have an Aunt who gets crazy and lets her kids eat ketchup with their turkey, so I cannot be around for that type of nonsense.
Melissa has a special marinade she uses following a brine, and it always delivers a moist turkey that receives multiple compliments throughout the meal. The only time she did not deliver is when we decided to make a turkey dinner in April, and both took naps thinking the other was going to take the turkey out. We still argue about who was supposed to take it out, but I know I was correct. My mom also does a fantastic job. We cannot let her make the gravy because it takes her about four hours, and everyone starts to get crabby. But as far as turkey, she knows what she is doing.
The next important part of my dish is the mashed potatoes and gravy; much like the turkey, I need to grab a double portion. I should invest in a Thanksgiving Day plate about four times the size of a normal one because there is not much room after the turkey and potatoes.
Next on the plate goes a gigantic helping of stuffing. I have tried all sorts of stuffing recipes and enjoyed all of them. My mom has been known to put oysters in hers, and while that sounds gross, it tastes terrific. When in charge, I will throw in some Italian sausage and apples, which also turns out wonderful. The kids hate it when we stuff it in the bird, but it is not the same without doing that, so they get their special stuffing that does not involve the actual stuffing process. I’m not sure why Melissa and I do that because they don’t eat stuffing anyway.
What’s next is two rolls. I’m sure someone reading this might ask why I need two rolls, but my answer is, why do you only take one? I later both rolls with butter and try to fit them on an open spot on my plate.
This might sound controversial, but besides an occasional spoonful of cranberry sauce, this is all I will eat. I have no interest in green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, or anything else, and I take enough of my favorites that I would just be wasting food.
It usually takes me about a half hour to finish the ridiculous amount of food I put on my plate, but I always do, and will always go back for seconds and, on rare occasions, thirds.
For the next hour, I will complain about how full I am, but about two hours after dinner, I am ready for pie even though the rest of the house is asleep. I’m not quite sure if turkey really does make people sleepy, I think part of it is that people over eat and that plays a huge role in the afternoon nap.
Probably my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the leftover turkey. Some people might get sick of eating turkey sandwiches for a few days, but I’m pretty sure I could eat one every day. When I feel extra ambitious, I will make a “Moist Maker” popularized by the TV show “Friends” that involves three pieces of bread, the middle one soaked in gravy, and stuffing and cranberry sauce.
I’m hungry writing this and will stay that way until Thursday around 1 or 2 p.m.