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Oct 21, 2007 09:13 AM

Bon Appetit Thanksgiving

Has anyone seen the Bon Appetit Thanksgiving issue? The one with the different "chapters" on each dish in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner? What do y'all think?

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  1. love it. i've already read it twice. i think it was a brilliant, inspired idea, and there are some excellent recipes in there.

    i wish i could say the same for the thanksgiving issue of food & wine. they really missed the mark this year, imho. it's irritating the way they stereotype age ranges.

    thanksgiving in your 20's: an "irreverent, indian take" on the holiday
    thanksgiving in your 40's: "means family and plenty of kids" so the meal is "easy to make."
    thanksgiving in your 60's: "elegant and luxe."

    i'd have much less of a problem with it if they hadn't assigned each menu personality/style to a specfic age group. so when it comes to planning a thanksgiving meal, are we to believe that only people in their 20's will be adventurous? that everyone in their 40's lives the suburban, white picket fence lifestyle and therefore only wants a quick & easy menu? and that no one under the age of 60 might prefer a more elegant, luxurious meal?

    yes, i know i'm being extreme, but for some reason i'm just really bothered by their approach. they should have just labeled/titled the menus according to style instead of age.

    7 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      all of these magazines do the "Thanksgiving Special" issue every year. I'd think it inevitable that some years it's just not going to come off well. Then again, I almost never find anything of interest in Food and Wine.

      I didn't find the Bon Appetit special issue this year to be worth much. They did one a few years back that I liked a lot and held onto...if I can find it (moved not too long ago, still in a box) I'll post which year it is.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I haven't seen this month's F&W, but that sounds awful. It's funny, too, since I'm in my twenties and find that most of my friends want a really traditional Thanksgiving meal. We are pining for our families, so if we are in the position of being away from home and making dinner, we really want to do it mostly how our families do it. We're not old enough to have developed our own traditions. I can't speak for the other age groups, but I would assume that people of any age who are reading magazines for holiday recipes want twists on old favorites, good techniques for traditional recipes, and advice about how to incorporate new ingredients that are becoming readily available. As you said, having the different menus isn't so much a problem as assigning them age ranges. How strange of them.

        I am really loving the BA issue. I have never made a whole turkey myself, so I was going to do Cornish hens. But I think my boyfriend really wants turkey, so I thought I'd try one of these recipes. Do you think they sound like good ways of making turkey? I'm a pretty confident cook, and none of the techniques or ingreidients sound intimidating to me. I've made stocks before and cooked large pieces of meat. I'm just not that familiar with turkey, so I'm having a hard time judging the recipes. Would you use one of those recipes?

        1. re: alysonlaurel


          i think it's wonderful that you want to start developing your own traditions, and yes, i would use many of the BA recipes. i think it's a great issue.

          as for F&W, you can find all their menus & recipes online, but here's a link to the "thanksgiving in your 20's" menu so you can see what i'm talking about...

          it's an unfortunate misstep on their part. i do typically enjoy the magazine.

          best of luck with your turkey, whichever recipe you choose. i'm sure it will be delicious.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Oh my lord. I didn't look at the recipes, but the dishes sound dreadful. They might be fun as parts of leftover menus, or in some other context, but I can't imagine serving all that stuff to geusts as the actual holiday meal.

            Thanks so much for the advice. I think I'm going to do the Herb Mustard Turkey with my own cornbread dressing, and then mess with one of the sweet potato recipes. I really want to do the lemony green beans, since I'm dying for a departure from green bean casserole, which my family generally insists upon. My boyfriend and I just moved to NYC from North Carolina and don't have time to go home for Thanksgiving, so I'll miss our families a lot. I'll stick to a lot of our favorites, but I am excited to try some new things.

            I, too, usually enjoy F&W. One of my former coworkers read only the wine parts and brought me the magazine so I could read the food parts. She used to like to pick out recipes for me to make for her. Their recipe department isn't my favorite, but definitely worth the look.

            1. re: alysonlaurel

              The Sweet potato recipe in the November Saveur, with ginger and scallions sounds like a real winner to me. You might like to check that out.

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Yes, I hate such age stereotypes as well. I'm in my 50s, and wouldn't be caught dead in a single-family house in a suburb. On the other hand, I know 20-somethings who are happily living so.

          Do they have any vegetarian options this time?

          Of course "Thanksgiving" menus are too late for us, as Canadian Thanksgiving has already come and gone. But it isn't a very important holiday here in Québec - I'd keep the ideas for "Les Fêtes", between Christmas and New Years, and even les Rois.

          We did do a Thanksgiving supper this year though, also a fundraiser for Hurricane Ike victims in Haiti and Cuba. In consequence, we combined turkey with a variety of seasonal vegetables (always with an emphasis on the Three Sisters) and such Caribbean dishes as rice and black beans.

          No dessert. None of us are sweet-tooth people. Find squash and sweet potato plenty sweet.

        3. As a reader that updates all my food magazines subscriptions to keep 5 years of each....I really liked the concept. Mix and match.... Did it also include wine - can't remember, that might have been a nice touch. PS My favorite BA Thanksgiving issue is 1995 and I even have it in the main cookbook bookcase in my kitchen. TOTALLY agree on the F&W issue - does anyone really make India inspired Thanksgiving??? And, while I get dressing and accessorizing for my 30's, etc., I don't like to think that cooking is such. I do like F&W though, and have liked it more recently.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rgfoodie

            I'm sure my grandma has that BA. I might ask if she can find it for me. We've been making BA recipes for years and have been rarely disappointed.

          2. I completely agree that the BA issue was a thousand times better than the F&W Thanksgiving. This may have been one of my favorite Thanksgiving issues ever. The food media try to find a new take on Thanksgiving every year and that's when they start throwing around some silly ideas - like F&W. I'm in my 20s, but there is no way I'm serving Mango Rose Water Cocktails with Indian Turkey (though the Chai-Spiced Caramel Fondue sounded good for the future). BA was able to update the classics with recipes that were fresh and delicious. This is what I would make:

            Lemon-Herb Turkey with Lemon-Garlic Gravy
            Cornbread Dressing with Roasted Fall Vegetables
            Cranberry Sauce with Port and Cinnamon
            Potato Gratins with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone Cheese
            Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots
            Smashed Rutabagas with Ginger-Roasted Pears
            Parker House Rolls (not in magazine)
            Birthday Cake (my birthday is on the 18th, my sister's and Dad's is on the 25, so we always celebrate them on Thanksgiving).

            I also noticed that these magazines never recommend brining, but Cook's Illustrated is a big believer.

            1. I have to say that it was not all that great. I am old enough and a collector of such magazines that I saw recipes or "close" to others I've already seen. Nothing terrible, just not their best work.
              I love my 1992 F& W, with recipes that you can count on every single time.
              I love recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers (although I adore my turkey, dressing and cranberry conserve sammys).
              I love Chicken Paprikash and homemade Spaetzle, so using left over turkey to make Turkey Pakrika soup with Spaetzle is about as good as it gets!
              A dessert that's not only gorgeous but a crowd pleaser, the Cranberry Swirl
              Cheesecake! Nothing so special, but I seem to find better recipes there....

              2 Replies
              1. re: chef chicklet

                chef chicklet,

                which recipe do you suggest for the Chicken Paprikash with Spaetzle????

                1. re: LindaR

                  I can paraphrase Give me some time to get it for you. It is a nice change to the usual turkey "leftovers".

              2. I bought the issue because of the photography. I'm usually pretty skeptical (or perhaps cynical would be a better word) of holiday issues that give you variations on the same-ol-same-ol but try to sell it as something almost all-new. Though I will say that the mushroom gravy looked good enough to try. And I learned a little something about sage.

                But I did like the photographs. I liked the (faux) rustic backdrops & tabletops, and the pottery-like dishes, serving plates, & bowls used throughout the spread. That kind of somewhat-refined rural motif is what I'd like my Thanksgiving table to look like & taste like.

                1 Reply
                1. re: alanstotle

                  Yeah, I have thought a lot about all these magazines doing holiday issues every year. They are often nothing new, which isn't helpful to a lot of people, but can be good for those of us who are just starting our own traditions. Also, I like the organizational ideas. I wouldn't use the particular menus they suggested, but they're good as guides for flavors that go well together that people may not think of. I think the main merits of the recipes are this same principle. For instance, I thought the green onion gravy sounded strange at first, but the more I think of it, I like it. I like onion-y gravy anyway, so the green onions add a brightness that I hope will be good.

                  But if you are not in your twenties and needing guidance, then the pictures are definitely the best part. And you're right, those pictures are gorgeous. The whole article was beautifully laid-out.