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How To Win Thanksgiving (HINT: More cloth napkins, fewer mixed nuts, and a trip to Mount Vernon)

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Nov 10, 2014

This week's episode of The Sporkful is up! Listen through the player and subscribe in iTunes.

I experience a lot of emotions around Thanksgiving: excitement, anticipation, stress, focus, and of course, hunger. This week on The Sporkful I’m conquering holiday anxiety with help from an all-star panel of guests.

First up, Mo Rocca tells us how he copes with the feelings of inadequacy that come with his total inability to cook on Thanksgiving (or ever). And Mo shares tips for steering clear of family strife.

“Life is not a movie of the week,” he says. “The best you can do it manage situations, and you should feel proud about that.”

And two New York Times food and drink experts stop by to share holiday hosting advice and give me a lesson in autumnal mixology.

Times food editor Sam Sifton, author of Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well, joins me to debate stuffing versus dressing, the proper place for appetizers (if one exists), and the merits of napkins folded into birds. Plus Sam tells me the one thing you could do at his house at Thanksgiving that he'd consider a grievous insult.

In the end, he lifts our spirits.

“Everything is going to be alright,” he says. “There’s going to be plenty of food, and if it looks as if there’s not, you’re going to pour double-size drinks.”

Speaking of alcohol, I go to a bar called South in Brooklyn to see Times drinks columnist Rosie Schaap, who shows me how to make the perfect cocktail for a fall day in the kitchen--the Autumn Bonfire. It’s definitely not your mother’s mulled cider.

Next week on The Sporkful we'll cover the science of turkey cooking with Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats and Thanksgiving for vegetarians with Slate's L.V. Anderson. Plus I'll call the Butterball Turkey Talk Line and attempt to cook with On the Media's Brooke Gladstone--to disastrous effect.

Then in two weeks, it's holiday eating with Radiolab's Robert Krulwich and holiday hosting with the great Amy Sedaris, taped live at WNYC's Greene Performance Space!

Links and Such

- Sam Sifton's recipe for Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovy Bread Crumbs, from his excellent book, Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well

- Rosie Schaap's recipe for an Autumn Bonfire cocktail and her excellent book, Drinking with Men: A Memoir


Music in this episode by BWN Music:

- "Mother Tucker" by Steve Pierson

- "Agree To Disagree" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

- "Playground Panic" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

- "Brotherly Love" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

Photo: Flickr CC / Jeremy Crantek

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