I come from stirring stock. That is to say, my people are stirrers. It’s how my grandmother, avó Costa, cooked. She stood, facing the stove, for hours in her pink housecoat and pink slippers, her tiny hand planted on her hip, singing in her thin, reedy voice. She stirred all kinds of Portuguese comestibles: spicy stuffing with chunks of homemade chouriço; her famous pink (of course) chicken, rice, and potato soup; and vats and vats of kale soup. When she grew too old to stir her soups and stews for long, I’d do it for her. By then, age had stolen a few inches from her, but she still managed to peer over the tops of the pots and instruct, “Mais devagar, queirdo, mais devagar.” Slower, sweetheart, slower.
You have about 144 hours until the big day. The Super Bowl of holidays. The highest of High Holy Food Days. And we’ve been slamming you with recipes both brand-new and beloved for the past several weeks. But have you been listening? If you’re like me, the answer is a resounding “NO!” I’m only now starting to figure out what the hell I’m going to make next week. (We’re lucky because we have it easy this year—we’re guests of our friends Matty and Janet, as we alternate being hosts each year. But we have our dear friend Nora coming for the holiday. She’s from Uruguay, and this is her first New England Thanksgiving. How can I possibly NOT make something, right?!)
So to help me, and all you other procrastinators, we’ve put together this quick reference guide for all things Thanksgiving, including recipes for everything. Including how to buy a turkey, how to deal with Thanksgiving disasters, and, the biggest question of all, where in hell is the thickest part of the thigh? Happy, happy. Gobble, gobble. Now go grocery shop, for God’s sake. This post has been updated. Originally published November 21, 2014. Read more “Procrastinator’s Thanksgiving Guide”
I have an odd habit when it comes to food. Certain recipes remind me of certain people. I’m sure there’s some scientific explanation for this, but I prefer my Theory of the Heart. It’s as if I’m conjuring these people in the kitchen when I cook. My white chocolate cake with pistachio buttercream frosting brings to mind my friend Carlotta, as does my lemon curd cake, American’s Test Kitchen’s Beef in Barolo, and all things coconut. Anything chocolate is The One—all the better if it’s chocolate and peanut butter. Shrimp and leeks is my not-quite-legal sister-in-law, Diane (I call her that because, as most of you know, The One refuses to marry me). The wintry snowflake cake evokes my niece, Megan. Yes, sometimes I even talk to them in absentia. And no, it’s not dementia.
These bow tie cheese straws are all about our dear friend Deborah, who passed many years ago. I haven’t made them since she died. It would be too painful. To have her sitting on the counter or hovering over my shoulder (I’m not quite sure exactly where the dead hover as they watch you cook), yammering away as I mix, fold, roll, and cut, would be too painful. Read more “Bow Tie Cheese Straws”