Confessions of a Thanksgiving Slacker

A pie from Restoration Farm.

A pie from Restoration Farm.


I know Thanksgiving is a sacred foodie holiday. It’s the day the food-obsessed bring out the big guns. I read the magazines and the blogs and watch the cooking shows.  I’ve even been tempted a bit by the luscious images of burnished mahogany turkeys, pumpkin crème brûlée, and the redesigned, politically correct, green bean casseroles from scratch.

In the past, I’ve slathered my share of turkeys in butter, perspired over pies and noodled over nouveau-style macaroni and cheese. But, I’ve reached the conclusion that the role of top Thanksgiving chef—while perhaps personally gratifying and certainly a boost to the ego—may just be overrated. It’s just too much work.

Does anyone remember the name of the chef who cooked the first Thanksgiving?  No! It’s the Pilgrims and Native Americans who “ate” the dinner that get all the press.

It may be sacrilege, but this year, I’m taking a break. No elbowing shoppers in crowded grocery aisles. No cooking until all hours on Thanksgiving Eve. No hands groping in a slick, raw bird to find the giblets. No piecrust that doesn’t quite hold together. And especially, no ovens that start to smoke just before the relatives arrive.

I’m cooking nothing.

Instead I will practice the time-honored tradition of “dinner guest.”

“Guest” is the best job ever. The most strenuous responsibility I’ll have is to crack open a robust cabernet sauvignon and pour. Not to mention, the incredibly important job of transporting the pies—that I purchased.

Don’t judge me yet. My purchased pies were baked from scratch with love by the team at Restoration Farm and are filled with a tasty purée of winter squash grown right in Old Bethpage. I haven’t completely abdicated my local food credentials.

Yes, this year I’m a Thanksgiving guest, and I’m darn proud of the part I’ll play in consuming the meal. But I haven’t lost sight of my primary responsibility. I’ll certainly take every opportunity to give thanks for the chefs who labored hard and cooked the feast.

 T.W. Barritt blogs at