Helen Lewis mug, Staff note, 9/27/21 (copy)

Helen Lewis, Managing Editor

I’m back with more Underinformed Foreigner talk about Thanksgiving, but now I’m pretty excited that Thursday is close because we got our menu ready.

Mini sausage rolls
Nutella stars
Oreo pie
Lamb roast
More wings
Mashed potato
Smashed potatoes
Potato gems
Apple crumble
Tim Tams
Fruit strips
Honey glazed carrots
Lamb burgers

The first year I tried to do Thanksgiving on my own I took it really seriously. I pulled out my Cooks Illustrated stack (a subscription gift from someone who really didn’t understand my lack of skill, but understood my obsessiveness) and stuck color-coded tabs on easily 50 things.

​​I worked like crazy and put out the most beautiful Thanksgiving table you could ask for. But my dinner crowd was a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old (we’d just moved back to America from Germany and Had No Friends) and they did not eat. They lifted each dish suspiciously, sniffed it, and put it down — even the requested mac-and-cheese which, fatally, I’d made from scratch with three cheeses, instead of from a box. The 7-year-old assured me that several things tasted “like snake’s blood.”

This year — nine years later — I told my daughter to pull out her phone and make a list of everyone’s absolute favorite foods. “Thanksgiving foods?” she said, looking like she might be thinking of my Cooks Illustrated foolishness.

“No. Favorite foods. Any foods — no rules except that I have to be able to find everything without leaving town.” 

There was some verbal tussling over whether foods “matched,” or were too stupid, or whether anyone else would want to eat them, in-what-universe. But my rules were that there were no rules — none. So here we are.

My best idea of Thanksgiving is that you invite whoever you want, and eat whatever you want, and do more cocktails than kitchen. This year I have a feeling that I don’t even know where our tablecloths are, let alone our serviettes, and I’m not making anything from scratch except the lamb burgers, because my favorite chef told me how. I might still do them badly.

No worries! No snake’s blood. Happy Thanksgiving.

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