A taste of the Thanksgiving tradition
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For Times reporters who cover food and cuisine, the holiday season can be one of the busiest and most demanding times of the year. When they’re not writing about food, developing their cooking skills in the test kitchen, developing recipes, or trying out new dishes, they always take the time to celebrate with their families and dine. ‘improve their own Thanksgiving spreads. Below, three Times reporters, Priya Krishna, Food reporter; Eric Kim, culinary editor for the Food section and NYT Cooking; and Genevieve Ko, editor-in-chief for the Food and NYT Cooking section, share how they prepare and spend the holidays.
What are your Thanksgiving traditions?
PRIYA KRISHNA: As far back as I can remember, we’ve treated Thanksgiving like a big family reunion, where we have a mostly Indian feast. My mom does all of her biggest hits: kaddu, matar paneer, chole and, interestingly, cranberry sauce (we treat it like a chutney). My fiance makes pies for dessert and my mom makes shrikhand.
Since Thanksgiving is the only time a year my cousins are all together, we always celebrate Bhai Dooj on this day – it’s a Hindu sibling celebration (it was November 6th this year). We feed each other sweets and exchange gifts. It’s always one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving Day.
Do you have any special Thanksgiving traditions unrelated to food?
ÉRIC KIM: I go hard on Thanksgiving specials from old Nickelodeon shows like “Hey Arnold!”, “Rugrats” and “As Told by Ginger”. When I was growing up in the 90s, the children’s programming on this network had such amazing storytelling. But I’m also a nostalgic person and love reliving those touchstones from holiday TV.
Have any of your Thanksgiving recipes been passed on to you?
GENEVIEVE KO: My parents immigrated to the United States for college and were the ones who organized our extended family’s meal throughout my childhood. Because we didn’t have generations of Thanksgiving history to lean on, we served what we wanted year after year, often incorporating Chinese dishes into the mix.
How do you prepare for the holidays?
KRISHNA: Despite being a food writer who also wrote a cookbook for my family, my mom can be pretty territorial when it comes to Thanksgiving meal prep. She often does most of the cooking on the day of – she makes it look very easy, casually preparing a meal for 20-30 people without really messing up the kitchen or starting well in advance. It helps that Indian food is often even better the next day. What we do very early on is set the table: my dad buys poinsettias and we pull out our fancy plates. Having the table set well, even if it’s a few days before Thanksgiving, always makes the house feel festive.
How long do you prepare?
KO: Because I have been developing and testing Thanksgiving recipes for food carriers for almost two decades, I have become accustomed to preparing the Thanksgiving meal frequently starting in the summer each year and through that I have learned how to do it. treat like any other dinner. To get everything on the table on time, I prepare the meal as I would professional cook roles – making checklists of what needs to be done and when. I usually did all the shopping on Tuesday, cook a bit on Wednesday, then cook on Thursday.
Do you have a secret hack?
KIM: When I was growing up in suburban Atlanta, my cousins and I always did all of our Thanksgiving shopping the night before (Wednesday). Can’t speak for groceries in other areas, but in our town it’s kind of a local secret (and I guess it’s not that secret anymore) as late night Thanksgiving shopping. Wednesday’s are actually when the stores are most empty – there may be one or two other shoppers there. Maybe it’s reverse psychology, because who would be foolish enough to wait so late to shop? (This guy.)
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