Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bloggers' Bites: Thanksgiving Edition

Bloggers' Bites is a series of posts chronicling the foodie adventures of Penn Appetit's blog staff. We bring you a Thanksgiving-themed post in honor of the truly-foodie holiday.

The question: What dish do you look forward to the most on Turkey Day and why?

Laura Sluyter: Mmmhhh... stuffing. Given my general love of all things starchy, it should come as no surprise that stuffing tops my Thanksgiving food list. Each year, we go to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving and her stuffing, with a little extra sweetness from dried cranberries, is worth getting fat over. Being a vegetarian, my aunt cooks some of the stuffing inside the turkey but also reserves some to cook separately in the oven. Despite my omnivorous nature, I much prefer the out-of-the-bird version, which, unlike the mushy in-the-bird version, develops a crisp crust that complements the softer layer below. Daydreaming about it makes me wonder why I don’t ask for the recipe and make it all year round, but I suppose waiting for Thanksgiving makes the stuffing all the more special.

Samantha Field: My favorite Thanksgiving dish without a doubt is mashed sweet potatoes. I look forward to the sweet taste and smooth texture each year. My aunt has the best recipe and I refuse to try anyone else’s. On the morning of Thanksgiving, my mouth begins to water in anticipation of what is to come. Mashed sweet potatoes are the perfect compliment to any Thanksgiving meal.

Abigail Koffler: I'll be honest: I don't like Thanksgiving foods. I think turkey is dry, stuffing is usually bland and the desserts don't really excite me. My favorite thanksgiving memory involves two rather unexpected foods: a bagel and a chocolate chip cookie. My childhood thanksgiving tradition involved waking up early to watch the parade. However, I didn't watch on tv. Family friends graciously invited us to their apartment, which conveniently sits along the parade route (ah the joys of growing up in New York). The apartment is classic New York with tall windows. My childhood strategy involved staking out a spot near the window and pressing my nose against the glass. As the less exciting parade attractions (marching bands and clowns) passed, I rushed to get a mini bagel with lox and cream cheese and a chocolate chip cookie (my family's annual contribution to the event). At my most adorable/lazy I could sometimes get an adult to deliver a bagel to me, so as not to not miss a single event. I scurried back to my nook, ready to see the next float, whether it was an old favorite or a new entry. After a morning like that, turkey was really just an afterthought. Happy Thanksgiving.

Carissa Gilbert: I look forward to sweet potato crunch the most! Sweet potatoes are my favorite vegetable and when they are mixed with candied walnuts and syrup, they taste even better. Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without my family's tradition of sweet potato crunch on our plates.

Hoi Ning Ngai: One of my favorite things to have on a brisk cold day is a bowl of piping hot soup. With the leaves outside turning bright yellow, orange, and red, I love sitting in my pajamas and drinking seasonal soups, like butternut squash, chestnut, apple, and sweet potato. My soul is already warmed and heartened by the delicious purees, but a touch of cream adds just the right amount of richness. As a result, anything called a bisque naturally grabs my attention and leaves me asking for more.

Jessica Chung: Stuffing! Because it's absolutely delicious! It's unlike any other dish with its mix of sweet and savory flavors, as well as soft and crunchy textures. There is also a recipe for stuffing that has been passed down through my family that makes it personally special too.

Monica Purmalek: My Thanksgiving is a little different from most in that it combines the most savory foods from two cultures. I guess I like to think of it as more of a “Persian Thanksgiving”, especially because my mother’s turkey is decorated with a saffron rub and a side of “Baghali Polo” (a dill rice dish with lima beans). My favorite American dish is stuffing with a Persian twist that includes the subtle yet brilliant flavors of saffron laced throughout and the bold essence of an assortment of herbs. I hope it is clear that Persians use saffron in literally everything from desserts to soups to rice to meats to breads. This is no exception on even the most American of holidays. My favorite Persian dish on Thanksgiving is called Fesenjoon and is the perfect addition to a table of hearty and savory dishes. Fesenjoon is a pomegranate and walnut stew made with butternut squash and served with chicken over rice. This sweet yet tart dish is an absolutely delicious crowd-pleaser and I can’t wait to enjoy it with friends and family! Happy Thanksgiving!

Brittney Joyce: This may not be the most unique food to look forward to, but what I am most excited to eat on Thanksgiving is turkey. Turkey seems to be the food that brings all the other dishes together and gives them relevance. When I was a vegetarian, I experienced four turkey-free Thanksgivings and found them to be rather lacking. Eating extra mashed potatoes and mac and cheese can only do so much when compared with devouring succulent roasted turkey. This year, I'm hoping to help actually cook the turkey, which should make eating the final product all the more satisfying!

Elliott Brooks:
A leftover open-face sandwich. Let me explain: in my opinion, turkey is dry and bland and only good with copious amounts of gravy poured on top of it. Which seems to be an easy fix, the only problem is that when served on a plate, gravy manages to slide off the turkey and cover everything it wasn't supposed to. Consequently, I have found a solution for this problem that makes eating leftovers much more enjoyable. A piece of toast, spread with cranberry sauce, topped with turkey, with gravy poured all over. The gravy soaks into the toast, making each bite so flavorful you forget the dry turkey is there at all.

Nicole Woon:
There's nothing more American than apple pie, so what could be a better dessert on the most American of holidays? I look forward to not just the apple pie (although my favorite is the apple pie my uncle brings each year, courtesy of The Filling Station), but all the pies on display during Thanksgiving. From silky chocolate satin to caramelized pecan to classic pumpkin, the co-mingling of crisp, buttery crust with sweet, decadent fillings makes my taste buds water just thinking about it. What truly puts these slices of deliciousness over the top is pie a la mode; the best ice cream to grace the top of your pie is Fosselman's rich homemade ice cream.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo courtesy of Monica Purmalek


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