Alternative Thanksgiving

By on Monday, November 22nd, 2010

A Thanksgiving menu can either be a tribute to traditional foods served year after year, or it can reflect the season in new ways. Either way, it’s all good. There is nothing wrong with returning to foods and recipes with a good track record. But for the sake of a good food story, we wanted to venture out to see if anyone was riffing on turkey day.

In American restaurants, chefs are offering a choice: turkey with all the expected trimmings, and then one or two other (usually meat) main courses. In Chicago, diners at bin36 can have Duck Three Ways as their first course, and then opt for either turkey or prime rib as the main course.

Chef John Caputo at bin36 in Chicago.

On Chowhound’s discussion board last month, readers chimed in with some unusual dishes they’ve either made in the past or or are planning to make this year. Several mentioned red cabbage sides, one described a red onion and cucumber salad marinated in sour cream and salt. There was an intriguing recipe for candied salami on pumpernickel toast in a discussion two Thanksgivings ago. Old news, but worth pulling out and dusting off like your dusty Thanksgiving cornucopia centerpiece.

On BabyCenter’s site, a couple of readers mentioned spicing up the table with a few African dishes such as jollof rice.

Turducken–we’re not touching that one. But turkey dinner in a bun sounds pretty good. The Eatery in Fort Worth puts turkey, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce inside a fresh bun, along with sliced boiled eggs and a side of jalapeno mashed potatoes.

If you’re lucky enough to be cruising around Half Moon Bay in California,’s Kristine Wong serves up a nice menu of holiday offerings at area restaurants. Check out the caramelized brussel sprouts and Alaskan Halibut or vegetarian baked crespelle with foraged wild mushrooms and bechamel sauce at Pasta Moon on Main Street.

Written by Erika Kotite

Erika Kotite is an editor, writer and owner of Toque.

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