Last Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and bullshit the night away.
The Takeout will be spending the next few days with our friends and families—we hope you are, too—but before retreating to our barcaloungers, we wanted to kick off the holidays with a question for our staff and community of readers: What food are you most looking forward to eating this Thanksgiving? We’d love to hear your responses in the comments section.
My Italian-American family does not play when it comes to Thanksgiving—or any meals, really. I’m going to cheat and pick two things that I cannot wait to eat because I can’t decide on just one: First, my aunt makes the most incredible lasagna I’ve ever tasted. My sister texted me yesterday and said she was having sexual dreams about it. If I can ever convince her to give me her recipe, I’ll be sharing it here. Next is my dad’s herby, delicious mushroom gravy. I feel like I eat more turkey, potatoes and everything else just so they can be gravy vehicles. The man knows how to make a damn good gravy. Maybe we should feature him in our video series next year.
This Thanksgiving, I’m visiting my boyfriend’s family in Colorado, a magical land of mountains (of mashed potatoes). But for me, it’s all about the stuffing. I am a carb fiend, so cubes of bread + herbs + gravy + a dash of my cranberry sauce mixed in there for sweetness is a bite that hits all the notes. The only thing better than Thanksgiving stuffing is piling it on sandwiches the next day.
I love charred Brussel sprouts. That to me is the taste I associate most with Thanksgiving. A few years ago, a chef shared with me a recipe that I’ve been using since: I would take a whole slab of bacon from the butcher and cut into thick hunks (lardons). I’ll render the bacon crispy in a cast iron skillet. I’ll then remove the bacon hunks, and take halved Brussel sprouts and saute over medium-high heat, cut side down, right in the bacon fat. And I’d resist all temptations to touch it, leaving it for at least five minutes until it gets super dark. Then I’ll add the bacon back in. Here’s the secret move: I add a few dashes of Vietnamese fish sauce, toss everything around the hot pan for another 30 seconds, and after plating, grate in fresh lemon zest and squeeze over with lemon juice. It’s bright, fatty, savory, with that appealing bitter Brussel sprouts undertow.