How to Buy a Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey Labels

This month, millions of us will find ourselves standing, dazed and confused, at butcher shops, supermarkets, hoity-toity gourmet stores, and farmers markets, wondering how to buy a Thanksgiving turkey. Once again we’ll be confronted, as we are each November, with every conceivable type of turkey, each labeled with terms that may seem straightforward but in fact don’t always mean what you’d think. Fresh. Frozen. Free-range. Organic. Kosher. Natural. Heritage. Self-basting. Wild. With such a litany of ill-defined information bombarding us, the task of choosing a bird for that holiest of holy food days can range from haphazard to hand-wringing. So I decided to find out once and for all what these dagnabbit terms mean and which few will cause spontaneous choruses of “We’re having Thanksgiving at your house again next year!” from your guests. Read more »

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Each autumn, it goes something like this in our house:

“Hey, The One. What do you want for dinner?”

“Something pumpkin.”

“What about lunch?

“Something pumpkin.”

“A snack.”

“Something pumpkin.”

“Dessert? Let me guess: Something pumpkin.”

“No, chocolate.” Read more »

Trick or Treat for the Childless

Stone Devil

Every Halloween, in the elevator of my apartment building, there’s a sign-up sheet for residents willing to welcome treat-or-treaters. It’s never a long list, mostly just a few names of people pressured into opening their apartments so desperate parents have a few places their kids can beg for candy. See, in the city it’s considered poor etiquette to hit up another hi-rise for Halloween hooch–some parents would even say it’s dangerous without a background check and saliva sample of every tenant.

And each October, with all good intentions, I promise myself that this will be the year I’m one of those people every parent is grateful for and every kid loves. The one who dresses up in some whacked-out bizarre—but not child-molester bizarre—costume and hands out high-sucrose booty by the shovelful. I’ve even gone so far as to come up with schematics of how I’ll transform my apartment’s gallery into a chamber of horrors rivaled only by Dexter, with synthetic cobwebs, red Karo-syrup blood, and a severed hand or two poking out of the coat closet for added effect. Read more »

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