It was a revelation to my family many years ago when we realized we could go out for dinner on Thanksgiving Day (not an option in the small town where I grew up). From there it wasn’t much of a leap to discover that we were free to order anything off the menu. It turns out some of us, Mom included, weren’t crazy about turkey.
Calvin Trillin proposes spaghetti carbonara (pasta with eggs, bacon, and parmesan) as an alternative in his funny, frequently-referenced (especially in food blogs around Thanksgiving) 1981 essay*. He says, ” . . . my spaghetti carbonara campaign . . . had been inspired partly by my belief that turkey is basically something college dormitories use to punish students for hanging around on Sunday.”
My favorite stand in for the traditional turkey dinner: enchiladas, smothered in red and green (we call it “Christmas” in New Mexico) chile, pinto beans and posole on the side with a honey-drizzled sopapilla for dessert.
But I’m not sure what I’ll have today. My family and I will sit down at a table in a seafood restaurant in California to celebrate and give thanks. A couple of us will likely order the traditional platter of white and dark meat with dressing, cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy, all topped off with a slice of pumpkin pie, but I’ll be looking for something different, maybe crab cakes.
How ever you choose to commemorate the holiday, may you and your family have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!
*To read the entire essay look for Trillin’s book The Tummy Trilogy.