Finally, I’m writing a Thanksgiving post. I spend so much time thinking about what I’ll be serving for Thanksgiving, that one would expect me to spend a little more time actually writing about it. Sadly, however, as soon as Thanksgiving prep begins, I’m forced to push most other thoughts and projects out of my head. The pinnacle of all food holidays, Thanksgiving is a time of very high expectations for those of us whose passion is cooking, so once mid-November arrives, I’m all in.
An important part of Thanksgiving lies in the memories it evokes. This makes it nearly impossible to alter the menu; we all have sentimental affinities for at least one of the staple Thanksgiving dishes, whether it be the stuffing, the green beans, or the sweet potato casserole. So, due to the fact that so many Americans are loyal to its marshmallowy cousin, I’m a bit hesitant to recommend the substitution of a savory sweet potato dish. But then again, I can’t be the only one who finds the traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato dish to be too sweet for its own good. Sweet potatoes already contain enough natural sweetness as is; a little savoriness is just the edge they need.
Like most people, I’ve always had one oven. At Thanksgiving, then, I’ve always had to prepare all side dishes either the day before, on the stove top, or last minute after the turkey comes out off the oven. But it is with great enthusiasm that I can now say I have a second oven. It’s in my basement, which is fitting because when I was younger, most of my Italian relatives had second kitchens in their basements so that their principal kitchens wouldn’t get dirty. I gave up on having a pristine kitchen long ago; as I like to say, I cook far too much to keep clean (in actuality, I just don’t like cleaning). But for busy times of the year such as Thanksgiving, the second oven proves to be very useful. I also get to feel like my great aunts, which is a great feeling because although I remember them being quite old, I mostly remember them being very happy, very Italian, and very loving… and who doesn’t want to feel more like that? But I digress. If you only have one oven at Thanksgiving, I recommend making this dish ahead of time, then reheating it just before serving. Read more.