What’s for dinner?

November 26, 2020 • 12:45 pm

I’m taking it easy today and am having a long, vigorous walk along Lake Michigan, followed by a shower and then dinner. Turkeys are too big for me (I wonder if those Butterball 20-pounders will go unsold this year), and so I am having a Jewish Thanksgiving: pork roast.

On the side there will be fresh biscuits and local tomatoes. But this modest meal will be washed down with a very fancy wine—the real centerpiece of the meal. It’s a great Rioja, a 2011 Prado Enea Rioja Gran Riserva from Bodegas Muga, which I bought as a three-pack (in a wooden box with a decanter included) for a pretty penny several years ago.  This is the last bottle of the three, and believe me, it’s ethereal. In fact, the food is just a vehicle to get this wine down:

Normally I’d be sharing this bottle with guests, but guests are rarer than hen’s teeth this year and so this puppy is ALL MINE.  I’ll drink half tonight and half tomorrow.

Of course the purpose of this post is to find out what everyone else is eating and drinking, on the holiday.  If you’re not American, though, you’re probably not celebrating.

71 thoughts on “What’s for dinner?

  1. Enjoy the wine! Happy Thanksgiving. We had the ‘usual’ plus a traditional Maryland side dish of sauerkraut. Best wishes.

  2. I am having the usual American dinner one of the few meals my wife (originally from Kentucky) will cook traditionally using grandmother’s recipes. I wish that I could join you for the pork roast and wine. Thanksgiving 1976 and 1977 I was a research fellow at the Museum Koenig in Bonn Germany and that Thursday was just another work day. I don’t recall if I attempted to put together an American meal.

  3. A traditional big meal for us, including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. We shall have a nice Merlot with it.
    Normally we have our recently married oldest son and the daughter in law over, but they said they will skip this one citing safety concerns.

    Something I read on the internet: Your stomach thinks that all potatoes are mashed.

  4. Just another work day here in Canada. But we’re having zoom drinks with a bunch of our American neighbours.

    That will be the substitute for our normal Yanksgiving feast with all these American neighbours. One of the guys is locally famous for his Yanksgiving signature cocktails (he also roasts the turducken for us).

    This year he suggested the following 2020-appropriate cocktail recipe:

    Step 1: Find a bucket.
    Step 2: Put some ice in the bucket.
    Step 3: Fill the bucket with cheap vodka.
    Step 4: Garnish with, I don’t know, a maraschino cherry or something.

    I think the idea is to stick one’s head in that bucket. It’s a kinda dark social group. But perfect for 2020.

  5. Turkey is sort of boring. This year will be just me and my wife. We’re having Italian Beef sandwiches. I made a wicked giardiniera last week which should be perfect by now. And roasted potatoes on the side.

  6. We’re having the traditional turkey dinner and missing all the relatives, who are texting photos of their more or less traditional dinners.

  7. Apparently Thanksgiving is becoming a thing in the UK. For some reason it seems to be particularly popular in the Birmingham area.

    I’m saving up my turkey appetite for Christmas. Tonight we’re having homemade salmon quiche.

    But I do envy PCC(E) that Rioja.

    1. Apparently we are having fried/seared bits of chicken in a barbeque sauce, with a baked potato. Oxtail soup to start.

      Not really a special meal, being in Canada n’ all.

      Grew up in Kings Heath though.

  8. We’re zooming this year. I’ll make some salmon. We’ll have the traditional mock duck, cranberries, and sweet potatoes. Some good local craft beer to wash it down, probably.

    1. We’ve been seeing pictures of mock ducks on this website lately but that’s not what you’re eating, right? So what is mock duck?

  9. Sorry, no holiday meals here. There are only two of us and no living relatives close around where we live. Those days are long past. Of those get together in the past I cannot think of any that were memorable. Thanksgiving day 1957 is one I always remember because it did not end well. We were all in the car driving up to mom’s parents in Des Moines, Iowa. A car pulled out in front of us on the highway about half way there and it ended in a sizable crash. There was a small child in the other car killed and we all went to a hospital. So we were just another holiday statistic that you file away and forget about.

    1. So tragic. Sorry that happened.

      After seeing pictures of airports, I feel a sense of foreboding about this holiday.

      Hubby and I are sharing a hearty Fieldroast with peas, wild rice pilaf and a Spanish merlot. then lemon meringue and pumpkin pies.

    2. That’s a tragic and upsetting story. It has made me unusually emotional even though I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving as I’m English. There’s not much one can say now so many years later. All I can do is offer my thoughts and sympathy to all involved.
      This sort of thing is one of the reasons that I’m not keen on pre-defined, set in concrete holidays. Feeling obligated to celebrate and be joyful on some arbitrary date strikes me as bizarre and unatural. Forced emotionality make me very uncomfortable.
      Personally, I have just got home from picking my mother up from hospital after her 4th cancer surgery.
      Me and the kids have had to make do with microwaved fish pies from Sainsbury’s. But to be fair, they were actually pretty good. Anyway the news on my mum is that she seems to be on the mend, so it’s not all bad!

      1. Good to hear about your mom’s improvement. Best for her. I did not mean to bring any one down with the story. It was so many years ago but did take place on the holiday. All six of us survived and the four of us kids in the back seat were hardly injured. My folks had some broken bones but all recovered in good order. Take care of the kids and your mom.

  10. Since I’m not US-ian there was no special Thanksgiving occasion, other than that we tested negative for Covid-19 (our ‘nanny’ fell sick and tested positive last week. Yes, she is much better now). So ‘out of isolation’ is an occasion.
    I made ‘Moroccan chicken’, one of my children’s favorites. I may not like Islam, but the cooking of these Muslim countries is second to none. And quite a simple recipe.
    Onions, garlic, small pieces of chicken fillet, ground coriander, caraway, cumin and a whiff of ‘all spice’, some mashed medium hot peppers, a bit of bone stock, lots of roughly sliced red paprika (sweet pepper), lots of pitted green olives and the zest of three limes, salt to taste (and I sneakily snuck in a glass of red wine). Devine.
    Served with rice.
    All that with a bottle of Glen Carlou Pinot Noir (an excellent local Burgundy-type wine). Don’t worry, the children drank milk or apple juice diluted with sparkling water.

  11. On Tuesday, my daughter came over and we had a Pre-Thanksgiving dinner of Chinese roast duck, with Yang Zhou fried rice, and sides of pickled ginger and artichokes.

  12. We did our dinner yesterday, for the simple reason is that when the turkey was ready to be cooked. Since we don’t have folks in from out of town, we have flexibility. But the menu was turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, and asparagus. Today we will have leftovers and perhaps pizza.

  13. Being Canadian, we celebrated our Thanksgiving over a month ago. Tonight we will dine on Mulligatawny soup and flatbread.

  14. Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all of the wonderful commenters here! I first want to say that I’m thankful for you, this wonderful website you built, and for the commenters who offer up their expertise, opinions, and often challenge me and my thoughts. Thanks to everyone here, and to Jerry for not only making his great posts, but also building a great community.

    I’ll be having dinner with only my parents tonight. I’m not sure what wine they’ll have, and I’m sure I’ll have a double of Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or with dessert. Green bean casserole, candied yams, and a prime rib. None of us like turkey, so there was no reason to make one like we normally would for company, and the menu is obviously pared down from the usual glut of dishes we would serve.

    Still, I’m thankful for my parents’ health and to be having dinner with them because there’s nothing for which I could be more thankful than that.

    1. Well, our first bottle of wine was a 2014 Tonel 46 Malbec. It was excellent! And while I can’t comment on anything but the 2014, the price is very low for their wine.

      I do love Malbecs.

    2. Lovely remarks, BJ. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. We did the Canadian one in October.

      I declared today hash day, so I steamed up a pot of Jasmine rice, baked a whole tray of shoestring fries (sometimes I fry up slices of potatoes), and sauteed a whole whack of sweet Spanish onions, thyme, corned beef from a tin, and lots of cracked black pepper. So good!

      1. Thanks! I love shoestring fries, although I prefer my fries just slightly thicker. The important thing is that they’re nice and crispy every time! Give me those and a nice aioli with a burger. Shoestring onions on the side if it’s a steak 🙂

  15. A boneless turkey breast roast is in the oven and cornbread stuffing with pecans and sausage (reflecting my rather deep southern roots)is standing by. And, of course, whole berry cranberry sauce with some orange peel and a cinnamon stick. We will be only three this year, so an actual turkey seemed excessive. Green beans have been plentiful this year at a local farmers’ market so we’ll do a batch of those to satisfy my mother’s belief that every dinner should include something green.

  16. Cheers to that!

    Stuffing : Beyond Sausage – hot, apples, bread cubes, celery, rosemary/sage/thyme, etc., sorta baked nice.

    Gravy : nutritional yeast ( glutamates), mushrooms (guanylates), non dairy butter, etc. – not ready yet. Some sort of starch…

    Apple pie
    Other things

    Here’s to being serious about not taking “The Holidays” TOO seriously!

    1. Also important :

      Subscribed to a music service, went right to jazz (good jazz) holiday list. Good meaning Marsalis big band, Ella, Louis, Chet Baker – you get the idea. Across the ages.

  17. A Salish Thanksgiving for me. A course of cracked Dungeness crab followed by a whole barbecued King salmon with local red wine. Traditional home-made pumpkin pie for desert. Except TIL that although the can label says pumpkin, it is actually butternut squash.

      1. Me too. At $20 per lb including shell, it had better be good. You have to take out a small loan to buy it. 🙂

        Happy Thanksgiving Smokedpaprika.

  18. First solitary Thanksgiving in all my 43 years. Attempted to make a reasonable facsimile of the usual meal I’d eat at my grandmother’s house. My homemade rolls were a bit overdone, the pumpkin pie didn’t set right, neither did the whole cranberry sauce, I ran out of butter, but with enough whiskey and a bottle of Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome, I can’t say I cared too much. I declare it adequate. Now it’s nap time while I watch old 1980’s movies while the cat rests on my uncomfortably distended stomach.

  19. We are grilling! Chicken breasts in a Caribbean Jerk marinade, backed potatoes and salad. Only two of us. With the traditional Thanksgiving margarita. Then three zoom calls starting at 6pm.

  20. Best Thanksgiving wishes to all here.

    We spent the last three Thanksgivings (since we took over the restaurant) being open, selling tickets, and serving turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, three kinds of stuffing, turkey gravy and vegetarian gravy, cranberry sauce, apple chutney, sweet potatoes, oven-roasted vegetables, plain green beans, green beans in green chile cream sauce, homemade rolls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie,
    and apple crisp.

    We’re closed this year because of the virus, so we had vegetarian meatloaf (made from lentils and oatmeal and cheese, with herbs and spices (NO TOFU), the last of the carrots from the garden (WONDERFUL), mashed potatoes and gravy.

    I have to say, it was a lot more peaceful than spending four solid days cooking and getting the dining room ready. We’ll probably be open again next year, but for now it was a welcome break.


  21. … … a BLT* w freah frozen garden peas,
    raw. BOLD ginger ale and C L O V E – spiced,
    vanilla pudding. THE Singer of Superb
    Songs, Mr Waylon Jennings, for company.
    Nap. Freethought Today for eyeballs.
    Solitude. Perfection.

    *along w that / arterial scrub cocktail

  22. No thanksgiving dinner here in the land of oz, and I’m very pleased since the predicted maximum temperature is 40 C. I’ll do my best to avoid cooking altogether! More than likely the Christmas dinner will be cooked outdoors on the bbq.

  23. We are having all the typical side dishes.
    I made cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with crumbly nut topping, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, green beans, portobello mushroom gravy and mock turkey. I am most looking forward to trying a 2016 Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Achaval Ferrer Malbec from Argentina. It will be my husband and I and one friend.

  24. My wife and I have turned down offers from both our families who are having small gatherings. Once you turn one side down, you have to turn the other side down too! We’re staying home and eating turkey and such taken out from Urban Plates, a small chain of restaurants that tries to be an alternative to cooking at home. Their meals are healthy, quite economical, and tasty for the price. Their most expensive dish is Osso Buco with sides for $17! They have locations in California and Washington, DC. And, no, I don’t work for them. 😉

    1. For some reason, that reminds me of my sister and her (now) husband bottling Italian wine with their friends back in the ’80s. You could go to a regional wine producer, choose your favourite from a tasting session, and then bottle it very cheaply using your own custom labels. As impoverished students, they and their friends went for the cut-price option which they labelled as “Bello e chiaro” (fine and clear) after a local drinking song. They and their circle of friends always took a bottle of Bello e chiaro to parties, leading someone who wasn’t in the know about the wine’s provenance, but who liked it and thought it was a ubiquitous local brand, to go to a wine seller and ask for it by name. She was baffled when the knowledgeable proprietor had never heard of the wine; she was very insistent that “everyone I know drinks it!” only to be embarrassed when she learnt the truth.

  25. Best wishes to all, and enjoy the fine wine.

    As I am by myself (ok, me and senior feline) I am going simple on the food, with a wild rice and wild turkey (the bird, not the bottle) jambalaya from the slow cooker. The turkey will be shared with my feline housemate, and came from a friend that bowhunts most seasons, and enjoys the favour of some of the wealthier property owners in the region for clearing the ‘farm’ properties of pest animals, like deer, without the need for a permit. The turkeys are actually considered a pest in some places around here, as they chip the paint on the Mazeratti when run through. (I wish I were kidding)

    It will be accompanied by a good lager (probably sam Adams, as my preferred local lager is not being made this year) This will not be shared with my feline friend, as he prefers chilled water with a slight hint of milk.

  26. Excellent thanksgiving day with all children andgrandchildren coming in and sitting masked in family pods socially distanced at the four corners of a 20x 20 tent canopy in backyard. Canopy kept last night’s rain off the ground but open sides allowed for good air circulation. We had theusual turkey breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn souffle, cranberry sauce. Daughter from foothills of northern va brought two excellent pies – pecan and apple from her local Red Truck Bakery in marshall, va and we drank a cabernet franc from her local barrel oak winery in delaplane, va. Weather, after rain, was a perfect sunny 68F with a light breeze through the trees and shrubs in our backyard. I think we might eat outside again next year weather willing. This was the firsttime since the pandemic set in that we have seen each other except by zoom. To avoid a super spreader, everybody returned to their homes after the meal rather than spend the night with us. Of course the good mood was heightened by the recent election results.

  27. “I’ll drink half tonight and half tomorrow” – I admire your restraint, and would do likewise, wouldn’t I Dom?!

  28. Happy Thanksgiving, all! My wife had her usual tilapia, and I had a Marie Callender turkey pot pie. Thank goodness for the microwave!

  29. The wine intrigues me, especially the ‘forest floor’ mentioned at the wineexpress website.
    “Wine Spectator scored this 94 points saying “Aromatic and alluring, this generous red offers forest floor, tobacco and floral notes that frame a core of black cherry, plum, licorice and orange peel flavors. Well-integrated tannins support the broad texture, and juicy acidity keeps this fresh through the spicy finish. Drink now through 2027.” “

  30. Can’t understand why the brits don’t make more of a big deal over thanksgiving, especially as it celebrates the safe arrival of the british and their continued survival in a new land.

  31. Turkey, stuffing of the usual mixture but with plenty of leeks, mashed potatoes, and a Brusssels sprout/parsnip/turnip medley what was quite good, and pecan pie for the finale.

    Which brings up something that someone might know about. My mother made the greatest pecan pie, which was Minnie Jackson from Alabama’s recipe. I fondly remember Minnie. Trouble is, the recipe, like the ending of It’s a Wonderful Life, is lost and has not been found. I never made it, I only consumed it. The filling – the part between the pecans and the crust – was translucent amber and as memorable as the other parts. I’m almost certain the 50/50 light/dark Karo syrup went into it, but the trick was in the eggs. I think it was either yolks but no whites, or the other way around. Does anyone here use a recipe like this that produces a finished product that sounds the same.

    I guess I ought to make two pies using the alternative-guess formulas and see which comes closer, but so far haven’t.

    1. I asked my wife who is an excellent baker and has made many pecan pies. She said: “I only use dark corn syrup and brown sugar and whole eggs.” I’ll put in my 2cents and say Trader’s Joe has the best pecans. The Cadillac of nuts. wink. Jerry will say Macadamia…I call tie.

      1. Thx yep, most all recipes call for whole eggs, and I think that’s what stiffens the filling and makes it opaque along the way. Minnie’s filling was translucent. Hard to guess whether the yolks or the whites would mostly do that. An experiment will be called for.

        I vaguely recall a container of egg yolks in the refrigerator but never egg whites, but without distinct correlation with pecan-pie-making. Still, I’m guessing the latter was what went into the pie. –

  32. A recipe from Pati Jinich’s book: chicken stuffed with chorizo, apples, pecans, and cornbread. With sides of a potato recipe with lime and parsley, and green beans with orange. And a quinoa-kale salad. Drink was a cider (alcoholic one) I made. Dessert: maple bourbon chocolate pecan pie. And an imperial stout.

    1. I “winced” (I keep kosher and found the remark snide and gratuitous) but I didn’t think there was any reason (or anything to be gained from) commenting.

      1. I don’t belittle anyone for their innocuous religious behaviors, be it keeping kosher or the Amish growing only beards because moustaches are supposedly associated with the military. However, one of the many shortcomings of organized religion is the lack of a sense of humor and an acknowledgement that many religious practices seem truly bizarre to non-adherents. The Torah has over 80 “shall be put to death” commands that I presume even a devout Jew does not support.

  33. Happy Thanksgiving US!
    And happy belated Thanksgiving Canada!

    Mine was: duck, turkey, veggies cooked in duck fat (delicious), mashed potatoes, baked pineapple, cranberry salad, candied yams, biscuits with FROG jam (fig, raspberry, orange, ginger).

    Bottle of 2011 Merlot.

    Topped off with a nice afternoon food coma…

  34. WordPress has dumped me again so I’ve tracked you down to say Happy Thanksgiving to all here, whether celebrating the U.S.
    holiday or not. Those of us who (so far) have avoided Covid-19 have much to be thankful for.

    Our extended family decided not to gather for Thanksgiving this year, so my son and I are celebrating together without the rest. Our waking, eating, sleeping patterns are totally messed up, so we have yet to prepare dinner. We’re trying to maintain a keto diet (son has high Triglycerides like his Dad did and this is the only way, after much testing, we have learned to control it) so our turkey will be stuffed with keto bread, onions, mushrooms, celery, pine nuts, seasonings, etc. Hope it turns out. No mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. Lots of green vegetables to choose from (probably asparagus). For dessert, either homemade cheesecake or a store-bought keto ice cream.

    We will look forward to the Turkey Vegetable Soup that will follow. It will be wonderful.

    1. Thanksgiving turkey is ALL about the soup. Our family tradition is putting the leftover turkey gravy in the soup. Adds a lot of calories, but oh so good.

  35. I live near Cambridge, England and my wife is American, so we celebrate Thanksgiving with a turkey dinner. We cook a “turkey crown”, which is just the white meat, and we eat it with sweet potatoes, stuffing (a traditional British turkey side-dish, called “dressing” by my wife’s family), green beans and Brussels sprouts. Also cranberry jelly. There’s enough leftover turkey for two more meals. And we will do the same thing on Christmas Day.

  36. I am vegetarian so my husband made a roasted vegetable lasagna. It was delicious and now we have lots of leftovers.

  37. I just discovered – after eating sandwiches of leftovers for years :

    Get the big burrito wraps with shortening
    Load it with hot ingredients
    Heat it up
    Apply cold ingredients
    Wrap it
    Eat it, with guac and salsa if desured

    A bit more interesting than sandwiches which get pinched into a crumbly mess.

  38. I got a turkey fryer for Christmas five years ago and have been frying turkeys for friends and family ever since. Most folks have seen too many YouTube turkey fryer fire videos to give it a try. Trust me, the risk to life, limb and property is worth it! Fried turkey beats baked turkey any day. Give it a try. Some grocery stores and delis will fry a turkey for you and I think the Popeyes fried chicken chain sells whole fried turkeys around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Anyway, this year I fried two turkeys for friends, injected with Cajun seasoned butter marinade then I fried a 20 pounder for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner Lorraine and I attended that afternoon. Some of the folks attending don’t like spicy food, so I injected the bird with a mild marinade made with butter, chicken broth, garlic powder, a touch of paprika and salt. In addition to the turkey we had mac and cheese, spinach salad, dressing, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, crescent rolls and about five different pies for dessert. The day was warm and sunny, so we ate outdoors by the fire pit in the backyard.

Leave a Reply