Because sometimes “Emma” works in a high school

December 1, 2008

I love buying fancy cooking magazines during the holidays. There are all kinds of recipes about taking ingredients from a regular Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and jazzing them up in fun, new ways.

But apparently the reporters who filled my issue of “Bon Appetit” with delicious recipe ideas weren’t so excited about the task. (Trust me, as a reporter myself, I empathize).

Well, whatever. I, personally, enjoy reinventing the classics and am lucky enough to come from a small, maverick-y family, so we rarely roast turkey on Thanksgiving. Which makes adapting the entire menu a whole lot easier. The only two things we insist upon (we being me and my brother) are butternut squash in some form and Pillsbury crescent rolls.

This year it was just me and my mom, which meant we could go WAY outside the box. Instead of a turkey, we roasted a chicken, Zuni-style. We didn’t have pie. We had pumpkin cake. (I think it’s this recipe, but we just ate the cake part with cool whip). And butternut squash found its way into our meal, not mashed with brown sugar and butter (although, OMG YUM), but as rich, creamy risotto.

We didn’t really have any traditional Thanksgiving goodies (although we did bake some sweet potatoes, because that’s what I found at the farmer’s market), but it felt rich and autumnal. It was also a great day that I spent doing one of my favorite things with one of my favorite people. And isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about, anyway?



  1. I love non-traditional Thanksgiving meals. When I was a kid and we did Thanksgiving with just my parents and sister, we’d always do random stuff like fried chicken or a good London broil.

  2. mmm butternut squash!

  3. M got mad at me when she realized I’d not yet taken her to dinner at Zuni Cafe. Not only is their chicken the most delicious chicken I have ever tasted, everything is delicious and perfect.

    Especially their cosmos.

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