Let's admit it. Thanksgiving is about the food.
For many families on Thanksgiving, a quiet moment of reflection is followed by drumsticks, thighs and breasts; stuffing, cranberry relish, an assortment of sides, all covered with gravy -- not to mention the parade of sweets and pies to follow.
But every year it's pretty much the same menu. Like the memories a favorite song triggers or the power of a good book, today, we're talking about food as an experience. What's your best meal and why?
From 'Apple Pie: An American Story'
2/3 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
½ tablespoon salt
2 cups flour
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
With a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the shortening and salt into the flour until the mix is pebbly. Add the water and stir with a fork until the dough becomes somewhat sticky. Form dough into a ball, and then cut the ball in half, handling the dough as little as possible. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate, preferably for at least an hour.
3 large apples, peeled
½ tablespoon dry sherry
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
Squeeze the lemon into a large bowl. Grate the lemon peel into the same bowl, taking care to avoid the white pith. Grate the peeled apples coarsely and toss in as well. Pour in the sherry and stir in the sugar. Mix well. Beat the eggs until light. Cream the butter until soft and add the eggs, blending well. Stir the butter and egg mixture into the sweetened fruit.
Heat the oven to 400° F. Roll the dough into two circles that are 2-3 inches wider in diameter than your pie shell or plate. Place one crust in the pie plate. Save the other crust for another use in the refrigerator. Lay the crust into the pie plate. Prick all over with a fork, and spoon in the pudding. Bake at 400° F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F and bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving it warm.
Nancy Leson, Seattle Times restaurant critic
Chang-Rae Lee, professor at Princeton University where he teaches creative writing. Has written about food for Gourmet and The New York Times Magazine
George Foreman, former heavyweight champion. Author of "George Foreman Indoor Grilling Made Easy.
John T. Edge, director of Southern Food Ways Alliance at the University of Mississippi. Author of APPLE PIE: an American Story
Vertamae Grosvenor, culinary anthropologist. Author of Vibration Cooking or the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl and Vertamae Cooks in America's Family Kitchen