In 1981 Calvin Trillin wrote a hilarious piece for the New Yorker openly campaigning for spaghetti carbonara to replace roast turkey as our national Thanksgiving dish. In 1995 he wrote a follow-up to that story suggesting that a case for deep-fried turkey could be made. Neither campaign managed to gain much traction, but I must admit that as I dragged my 16-pound turkey home from my local supermarket last night (the bus never came, so I ended up walking half a mile with that damned bird), I started thinking about alternatives that would be easier on my back and balky hamstring.
New Yorkers might make a case for brisket or pot roast with potato latkes, which is what we serve the Levine family for Hanukkah. But that is a fairly radical suggestion—not as radical as Trillin's spaghetti carbonara, but fairly extreme all the same. Plus, brisket and latkes might give Thanksgiving a regional and religious skew the rest of the country might not find so appealing.
So I have a better idea, one I believe the whole country could get behind.
I want to propose a Thanksgiving repast inspired by one of Trillin's beloved Kansas City restaurants, Stroud's:
I think the following line-up is pure genius, as well as a marked improvement, over what we're all going to eat on Thursday. Think about it:
- Pan-fried chicken is way better than roast turkey. It's got more crunch, more flavor, and is in general more delicious
- Mashed potatoes are, in my estimation, better than sweet potatoes with marshmallows. They may not provide the same health benefits as sweet potatoes, but how healthy is it to eat sweet potatoes loaded with butter and marshmallows?
- Cinnamon buns replace the stuffing, which is to my way of thinking the best part of the Thanksgiving feast. This is the hardest change to justify and to swallow, but good, warm cinnamon buns without the yucky icing are one of life's greatest eating pleasures
- Pie stays in the picture, because, well, because it's pie. There can be no substitute
This meal is one that I would be most thankful for. I would like Serious Eaters everywhere to consider my idea and also propose their own alternative Thanksgiving feasts. I do think my idea could garner more support than Trillin's spaghetti carbonara.