Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner, which means you are about to eat turkey. A lot of turkey. So much turkey, you need a few pairs of stretchy pants to handle the holiday season. Who decided turkey was such a great idea for Thanksgiving AND Christmas? Well, to early Americans, turkey was cheap, big, and didn’t have to be hunted, the perfect trifecta for a Thanksgiving feast. By the time Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863, turkeys were the norm.
Just because you’re going to eat turkey back-to-back doesn’t mean you have to stick to traditional recipes. A couple hundred years of eating too much turkey has made Americans pretty creative when it comes cooking up this bird. Try smoking your turkey this year, and serving it a range of barbecue sauces from around the country (this Eastern North Carolina vinegar barbecue sauce is a good start). Deep fry it for crunchy skin and juicy meat (but please, be safe).
Inspiration can come from beyond America’s borders, too! Challenge yourself by picking a country for a themed Thanksgiving meal. We like Mexico, of course! You could start with this avocado toast with mango, chili and mint as appetizers (and if you want to replace the ancho chili powder with chamoy sauce, go for it!). A simple roasted turkey would shine with some pumpkin seed mole in place of gravy and homemade corn tortillas, served with an avocado salad or simple sliced avocado as a side.
If you’re turkey-ed out by Christmas, skip it altogether and opt for something unexpected. This Korean roasted fish is completely flexible (use any mild white fish you like) and a pop of spicy, salty-sweet, and umami. Precede it with bowls of Asian avocado soup.
Whatever you do, though, don’t skip dessert! Apple and pumpkin pies may be the traditional desserts of choice for fall and winter holidays, but nobody will turn down your invitation to try another homemade sweet. Avocados from Mexico, which are available year-round, work well in pies, cakes, and breads, so stock up for the holidays and cook something different this year!