Very few people know this, but in 2005 the right food was discovered in New York.
It was a free night on the Upper West Side and a special occasion. I was 13 years old, which means I would choose the restaurant. I chose an upscale bistro laid out in our neighborhood with a lovely tile backsplash and real candle sconces. The order from our parents was perfect – Order whatever you want. I spread with steak, medium rare, plus a Caesar salad. My sister (smarter than me) has closed her menu with prosperity. “I know what I want,” she said. The waiter stared at him, expectant. “Please want french fries and raw potatoes.” “I think someone must have gasped. We were that weird.
More than a decade later, I’m still fascinated. This is often the subject of discussion – remember the time he ordered French fries And Mashed potatoes? A text sensation! It was so sad. It was so inspiring. Some have tried, some have not succeeded: there has never been a better dinner.
The combination is one that I’m coming back to that I think is unrealistic, sometimes not repetitive (we hope) thanks. Like many people, I am planning to celebrate the decline. Instead of the usual 20, we will both be – my boyfriend and I. And that would be a bit sad, of course. We will have less food to clean at the end of the night, but the period will also be shorter. There will be four courses. I will not bake three kinds of pies. I don’t get involved in the ones I like, get a little drunk and flush.
Where once I saw intimacy and warmth, now I can see pneumatic particles. It’s not Hunger.
I might be disappointed. Instead, I decided to innovate. Because of this sudden break in the date, new opportunities come. And when was the last time this season of similarity and isolation came to an end – so did the spirits and the unimaginable and the lack of decay – whatever Fresh And felt exciting even possible?
It’s 2020, and the old rules are repealed. We are too raw for harshness. We are too fragile to know what to do or how to fold our napkins. Once tolerated, never-preferred staples are out. There are several varieties of potatoes We eat green bean casserole topping, no green beans. We are polishing the ice cream outside the container for dessert. And we – repeat after me – eat side dishes for dinner.
Let’s be clear about this: I’m not one of those people who enjoys the fifth and most disgusting Thanksgiving food – the bird itself. In fact, I quite like it. (The story goes that when my mother was pregnant with me, she had such a sudden, intense craving for turkey that she tore strips of white meat from the carcass and ate them empty-handed. This was significant because – save for that mistake – He has been a vegetarian since 1972.) But Turkey needs a lot of attention. It takes time and effort and valuable real estate near the center of the plate. You have no one to look up to and no one to satisfy, so listen to the inner voice that claims that it is not Thanksgiving without it, listen. Listen? That’s what I’m saying, “Gratchen.”
Releasing from the main-course dogma I plan all the ready-made meals that under normal circumstances can be lost next to the dinner roll or no one likes to dive behind. This week, there will be no sauce or gravy, but there will still be fillings because I’m no monster. In a certain order, I will also whip: the aforementioned Hasselbach Potato Gratin (care of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, whose recipes I find foolish); Roast Brussels sprouts, varnish with sweet miso; A whole broiled cauliflower because no animal can make this dish without protein, but no one can do without this dish. Drama; A salad whose most important ingredients are almost equal portions of kale and pecorino cheese (like this, but with more cheese); Stuffing, plus chestnuts; Easy fried carrots to die; And these dates, unreasonable for their addictive qualities, are the favorite because creating them is a three-step process. For dessert, we would eat zero pie. (But I can make brownies if I feel like it))
It sounds a bit scary, blowing up conventions that we know and love. But it’s also a bit galvanizing, isn’t it? Part of the sacrifice. The temptation to break the rules that do not put one at risk of infecting another with a deadly virus. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
I’ve heard counter-arguments – that when there’s so much uncertainty, the menu should stay the same. But I am not a believer. And more importantly, either The Ina Garten, who, in a recent interview with the New York Times, said: “I hope people will allow them to do whatever they want this year.”
I’ll make that gratin, giving it top billing right in the middle of the table. I’ll eat it with a few good people I know – one with me at home, above the zoom, of course. And I’ll do what I can to recreate Thanksgiving as usual, but fade the 2005 dinner. Because in addition to Gratchen, I would also make Inner Fried Potatoes.