How to Do Thanksgiving This Year, With Andrew Zimmern

How to Do Thanksgiving This Year, With Andrew Zimmern
Photo: Micaela Heck/Elena Scotti

This week we’re joined by Emmy- and four-time James Beard Award-winning chef and TV host Andrew Zimmern, who talks with us about how to do Thanksgiving in the U.S. during this pandemic year… if you choose to do it at all. Listen as Andrew lays out strategies for paring down your Thanksgiving meal, shares the safest ways to host an outdoor feast, and makes the case for skipping the holiday altogether this year.

Andrew is well-known in the food world for hosting shows like Bizarre Foods and The Zimmern List. His latest series, What’s Eating America, is on MSNBC.

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Highlights from this week’s episode

From the Andrew Zimmern interview:

On one alternative way he’s considering “hosting” Thanksgiving this year:

So I have this thing that keeps the garage at like fifty five degrees. So if I move everything out of it and I open the window in the garage, the side door…and the front thing, I can bring two or three people at a time in shifts to have a piece of pie and a cup of coffee and sit 4.57 m away from them and tell them that I love them and that I’m grateful for them to be in my life. And I think the spirit of the holiday is not having 20 people piled into a downstairs room, giving each other Covid, watching the football games, complaining that they ate too much turkey. I think the spirit of the holiday is to tell people we love them and that we’re grateful for them in our lives.

On how to plan if you’re still hoping to host a small group this year:

So let’s say you’re going to do Thanksgiving with what you consider to be your safe group. So there are a lot of things that you can do: cook your turkey in an alternate way, get a small one. They sell 12 to 16-pound birds. You can take the dark quarters off and do something with them later in the week and just roast what’s called the airline breast, the full breast with both sides. You could save the frame and actually stuff it, that breast will cook in much less time. You could do it in a rack, you could cut the breasts and legs and thighs off of the turkey frame or ask your butcher, do it and grill them and do stuffing in a smaller container and then eat off that grilled turkey for days afterward. You could not grill it and just roast a small bird, but shop in mind with making turkey soup, turkey tetrazzini, turkey king. Those are things that can be put in containers and frozen. So a little bit of menu planning is smart.

On why you should think twice before proceeding with a Thanksgiving gathering:

You know, we have an obligation to our society as human beings to act in accordance with what is best for everyone. That is a piece of selflessness that we need more of in America. You can’t think your way into right acting, but you can act your way into right thinking. This is about treating other people with kindness, dignity and respect and caring as much about your fellows as you do about yourself…I just think we need to do some things differently to get a different outcome, because what we’ve been doing isn’t working. And I would just encourage people at this time of year when we tend to be a little more other-centered to really take that to heart.

To hear more of Andrew’s tips for a having safe Thanksgiving safely this year, listen to the full episode.

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Episode Transcript

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