Thanksgiving is here again, and even though it won’t be a typical holiday, it’s still a good time to appreciate all the deliciousness we enjoy throughout the year. So I’m thinking about the foods I’m most thankful for. (What’s on your list?)
I am thankful for pork tenderloin. Quickly and easily it cooks up juicy and tender. And it satisfies my carnivorous cravings without the heavy feeling that sometimes comes with a steak. A pork tenderloin is the perfect roast for a two-person household. Sometimes I marinate it in wine and rosemary, sometimes with olive oil, cumin, and paprika. Sometimes I slather it with hoisin sauce, barbecue sauce, or even mustard straight out of a bottle. (Pictured, Honey-Mustard Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Carrots and Parsnips from “100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love,” a perfect pairing for Pinot Grigio.) Always, I enjoy it.
I’m thankful for salmon, and that there are guilt-free, sustainable salmon options, both wild and farmed (here are recommendations from Seafood Watch). I’m thankful for salmon’s deep, sweet flavor and the way the meat is so rich that it sticks to my back molars as I chew it. I love its bright coral-pink color, and how that always dresses up my plate. And I love salmon’s versatility—that it can be casually broiled or delicately poached in wine, that it goes equally well with chunky salsa and smooth hollandaise sauce. Cured, it’s my favorite part of Sunday morning brunch at Dad’s.
I’m thankful for sushi. Sushi is the only food that I’m always hungry for that’s not weight-inducing or otherwise bad for me. And I’m very thankful that there’s at least one food for which that’s so.
I’m thankful for wild mushrooms, and heirloom tomatoes, and fennel-y Italian sausage.
I’m thankful for arugula. Noting its tender, nutty taste dotted around a salad mix is always a happy surprise. But I also love arugula on its own, as a green salad, as a bed under a chicken breast or sautéed scallops, or as a pizza topping. I’m thankful I can grow it so easily in my garden.
I’m thankful for chocolate—and that there’s a food that so universally makes people moan.
I’m thankful for ice cream. I love how a simple scoop of vanilla is the perfect accompaniment to almost any dessert, providing smooth, sweet, cold, creamy contrast to whatever lies under or next to it. I love how a bowl of ice cream is the ideal antidote to whatever ails me—be it a sore throat or a broken heart. Ice cream is reassuring, healing, hedonistic, and delightful, in almost any variety. All of which I am very thankful for.
I’m thankful for cheese, especially small, triple cream Brie, pretty artisan goat cheeses, and Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk, any and all of which I love to serve at cocktail parties (we’ll be having those again one day, right?) and bring on wine country picnics.
When my husband and I were first dating, he used triple cream Brie to turn me into a football fan. Because watching football with him wasn’t a beer and chips sort of occasion. It was a Brie and Chardonnay kind of time. A comfy sofa, a gorgeous man sharing something he’s passionate about, a glass of wine, and buttery-soft cheese slathered on crusty baguettes—who could blame me for succumbing to all four? And I’m thankful that I did.
I’m thankful for my mother’s pot roast, my grandmother’s chopped liver, and New York’s cheesecake. I’m thankful for nectarines and peaches. For rosemary and basil and homemade pizza. And I’m thankful for carnitas, my favorite dish at any good Mexican restaurant.
Above all, I’m thankful there are people I love to share my favorite foods with. And I’m hopeful we’ll get to do that again soon.