What Amanda Hesser Can't Do Thanksgiving Without

The four recipes and four kitchen tools our founder considers essential

October 25, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

I have a Thanksgiving confession: I’m not that into the traditional holiday foods. Sure, I like stuffing. I won’t turn down pumpkin pie. And mashed sweet potatoes will do. But I like each on its own. Together, I find it all suffocating. It’s the biggest holiday of the year for Food52, and our business is being led by a holiday heretic!

Back when I worked at The New York Times, I wrote a Thanksgiving story about a Vietnamese-American family in southern California. They made Alice Waters’ brined and roasted turkey recipe but served it with a stuffing made of ground chicken, lotus seeds, shallot, shiitake mushrooms, fish sauce, and sweet rice flakes. Dessert was fresh persimmons, rice cakes, and coconut cakes. It was wildly delicious.

Ever since then, I’ve felt empowered to celebrate Thanksgiving with dishes that I like. One year, we had shellfish rather than turkey, another we had guinea hen. Last year, I made Rick Martinez’s Cranberry Salsa Macha, a chunky blend of dried cranberries, sesame seeds, garlic, chiles guajillo, and chiles de arbol, and Hana Asbrink’s Pumpkin Cotton Cheesecake, a Japanese-inspired recipe. In this spirit, here are a few great recipes that’ll help you break from more traditional recipes and roam free!



1. Five Two Essential Roasting Pan & Rack

This roasting pan, which we designed with help from our community, has low angled sides, which allows for more even browning and for many uses beyond turkeys. Also, the handles are easy to hold with potholders, which many roasting pans can only dream of!

2. Just Add the Turkey Serving Set

I think of this set as field supplies.

3. Handmade Ceramic Pie Dish, by Looks Like White

Because I love our community of ceramicists who are constantly reimagining our kitchen serving pieces.

4. Stackable Wine Glasses

In case you have a bunch of guests coming, these are stylish, well-priced, and don’t take up space.

What are your go-to Thanksgiving recipes? Share with us in the comments!
52 Days of Thanksgiving
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52 Days of Thanksgiving

Top-notch recipes, expert tips, and all the tools to pull off the year’s most memorable feast.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Judy
  • Charlene V
    Charlene V
  • Peggy
  • Diana
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


Judy October 27, 2022
Is there literally anyone who can help me with customer service at this company? I received the wrong items in my order and would like to return them but have received no help whatsoever. I’ve order so many amazing items from the shop and love them but this experience has been a nightmare.
Amanda H. October 27, 2022
Hi Judy, I’m so sorry to hear this — I’ll have our team reach out immediately. Thank you for letting me know.
Charlene V. October 27, 2022
We are a pescatarian family of two. For many years we have had roasted salmon with mushroom-cream sauce , Dorie Greenspan’s Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good (sans bacon), and a couple of vegetable purées from The Silver Palate. Classic pumpkin pie from the back of the Libby’s can finishes it all off. I experiment the rest of the year, but this menu is pretty much our go-to.
Peggy October 27, 2022
Last Thanksgiving, I ended up celebrating at home with my husband, sister, my son & daughter-in-law. I just could not conceive of making a whole turkey dinner for the five of us. It turned out that we had several courses of various types of seafood. We did it course by course and savored it. I think we even forgot something and enjoyed it the following day! This was quite a different way to celebrate the special day since I grew up in a family of 6 children with 2 wonderful parents! We loved our traditions and our food, most of which was filled with lots of calories. Most of us have had to deal with weight issues because we all ate so quickly. One reason for that was because you had to eat fast if you wanted seconds! Haha. I bet it was that way in many families. This year my husband and I are traveling to CA to visit my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. They are buying a new home and we may be eating there. I am looking forward to initiating new ideas for the menu.
Diana October 27, 2022
Love the non-traditional Thanksgiving recipes... can't wait to try the pumpkin flan! Last year I had no time to cook an elaborate meal, so I bought a smoked duck from a fabulous farm in Modena, NY, and turned it into Reuben sandwiches. Raclette, homemade remoulade (with tomato paste, not ketchup), sauerkraut. Delicious, easy and people loved making their own.
sierrathomp_ October 27, 2022
Ooh raclette sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving addition!