Talking Turkey with Gourmet's Ruth Reichl

Every Thanksgiving we check in with food magazine editors around the country to see how they have gone about putting together their Thanksgiving issues. Today we talk to Gourmet editor in chief Ruth Reichl.

20081015-rreichl-thumb.jpgHow did you approach Thanksgiving at Gourmet this time around? I feel like every year we think about what people want to EAT for Thanksgiving. So we turned it around. Instead of thinking about the people eating around the table, we thought about the people doing the cooking. Me personally I cook for four or five days for Thanksgiving, so I want a meal that's going to keep me occupied and interested for a long time. So for the magazine I said to my staff, "Let's come up with a challenging menu.

You even included a vegetarian Thanksgiving menu. Why not? There are lots of serious vegetarian home cooks out there. Vegetarians love Thanksgiving, too.

You also have a great Thanksgiving menu in the magazine for those of us who are time-challenged. Let's not forget about the home cook that really doesn't have time. So I told the test kitchen to come up with a real no tricks, no silly shortcuts three-hour path from kitchen to table. We even had a stopwatch, so we timed the whole thing from start to finish. In the end we figured out that it will take people closer to four hours, so that's what people will find in the magazine.

How did it turn out? It's a great menu. Everything is in it is completely delicious. It's a real meal, all really serious food.

You even have a Latino Thanksgiving menu this year? Last year we did all these different ethnic Thanksgiving menu variations, but regrettably we didn't include a Latino menu. So we decided to do it up right this year. Boy do I love this one. The chipotle meatballs are so delicious, as is the chorizo cornbread stuffing.

What are your personal favorite recipes from this year's Thanksgiving issue?
Haricot Verts with Bacon and Chestnuts
Chipotle Meatballs
Mango Pomegranate Guacamole
Wild Mushroom Bundles
Turkey Jook, really easy and it's a really big improvement on turkey tetrazini.

What's Ruth Reichl's Thanksgiving like? I can't wait for Thanksgiving to come. It's my favorite holiday because we all get to think about delicious food all the time.

I make this delicious fruit and nut stuffing for my husband Michael Singer. My son Nick does the mashed potatoes. He's gotten really into food and cooking at college. Michael insists on having a traditional pumpkin pie every year, which I make for him. I usually make four or five pies for Thanksgiving. I love the pie-perfumed air that fills the air at our house on Thanksgiving weekend.

What else is going to be on the Reichl-Singer table this year? The truffle butter turkey from the Thanksgiving issue. I think I'm going to make the wild mushroom bundles, and the Seckel pear tart. It's so adorable, so beautiful and wonderful. From last year's Gourmet I'm going to make the white sweet potatoes with miso butter. I've been struggling with what to do with sweet potatoes my whole life, and these are so good I'm never not going to have them on my Thanksgiving table.

How big is your turkey? We have 25 people coming over our house Thanksgiving weekend, so I am cooking a 28 pound bird that I do not turn over the way we tell people to do it the Gourmet Cookbook. I will never turn a turkey over again. Did you ever try to wrestle a 28-pound turkey? It's not pretty, I can tell you that.