Burnt Toast Podcast

Happy Thanksgiving! Serve Some Spaghetti Carbonara

November 24, 2016

In 1981, Calvin Trillin proposed a campaign: He was trying to change the national Thanksgiving dish from turkey to spaghetti carbonara.

“It does not require much historical research to uncover the fact that nobody knows if the Pilgrims really ate turkey at the first Thanksgiving dinner,” he writes. “The only thing we know for sure about what the Pilgrims ate is that it couldn’t have tasted very good.”

In honor of his essay—referenced nearly every year around this time—and the holiday in question, he offered to read Spaghetti Carbonara Day for an episode of our podcast, Burnt Toast:

Play the episode above, find it on iTunes, or listen to it using your favorite podcatcher.

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Listen while you cook—or travel— today, and blame Calvin if you make a detour to the grocery store for spaghetti.

This article originally appeared in November of 2015—we're running it again today because, well, it's Thanksgiving!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Terry McKenzie
    Terry McKenzie
  • Niknud
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
  • leggyloulou
  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Terry M. November 25, 2015
I love this essay and was really looking forward to hearing it read but, really, when I got to 3 minutes and 30 seconds and there were still promotional ads and introductions going on and not a syllable of Trillin had yet been broadcast, I abandoned the effort. Who has time for all that?
Kenzi W. November 25, 2015
You were so close! His wonderful reading voice comes in right after these ads. Sorry you feel that way, but ads are a big part of how we're actually able to bring you stories like these! (And for what it's worth, The Message is a fabulous podcast....) This entire episode is almost 20 minutes shorter than most—hope you'll find the time to make it to minute 4.
Niknud November 25, 2015
Anything that ends with me eating more carbs and bacon I'm totally on board with! And you don't have to advance plan your carbonara so that's just a bonus. The drawback is that the leftovers aren't really good in a sandwich the next day. But I'm willing to give it a whirl!
leggyloulou November 25, 2015
Leftover spaghetti carbonara sandwich; I won't knock it til I've tried it.
Sarah J. November 25, 2015
Spaghetti frittata!