Thanksgiving is the cook’s holiday. More than any other holiday, it centers on food, on abundance, on dinner. Foodies across America have been planning their menu for weeks — lovingly printing recipes, brining turkeys, baking pies. It’s really the time for a cook to shine.

As for me, I’m not cooking Thanksgiving dinner. There’s no turkey in my oven. I’m not stressing about gravy or setting the table. I’m going over to my aunt’s house to eat with 15 members of my extended family. Sure, I’m contributing. I bring sweet potatoes. My mom is cooking stuffing. My cousin decided it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without green bean casserole. And my grandmother is making her famous mashed potatoes. But the meal won’t be carefully art directed by me, with recipes from the last issue of Gourmet magazine or the latest Thomas Keller cookbook. It will be a mishmash of tastes and ideas that make up family. And I will eat it with my family.

And that is what Thanksgiving is REALLY about.

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