What Genius Kristen Miglore Can't Do Thanksgiving Without

The four recipes and four kitchen tools 'Genius' columnist Kristen Miglore needs every holiday

October 26, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

Norman Rockwell, I am not.

I have a special fondness for the Thanksgivings that got weird. The one where I packed my Jiffy corn mix and poultry seasoning to visit my brother in Paris. The one where the turkey smoked mercilessly, so we threw open the windows and ate dinner in our winter coats. And, especially, the one with the Turducken.

Because in all of those Thanksgivings, the family adventure trumped the picture-perfect feast. And even though 2022 might be our most traditional in years, I want to remember that spirit: Of spending time with family—not ironing napkins, but talking about family lore and the simple tricks that made our turkey so juicy and green beans so bright.

Wishing you and yours the same,



1. Russ Parsons' Dry-Brined Turkey

There is no better way to de-stress Thanksgiving cooking than salting the turkey a few days ahead. (800+ Food52 reviews agree.)

2. Baked Sweet Potatoes With Maple Crème Fraîche From Nik Sharma

These steam-roasted sweet potatoes are the best I’ve ever cooked. And the parade of toppings brings welcome crunch and freshness that mini marshmallows generally don’t.

3. Habichuelas Guisadas al Estilo de la Costa (Colombian-Style Green Beans Cooked in Milk) From Maricel Presilla

These bright, make-ahead-friendly green beans will take 5 minutes in one skillet on the stovetop on the big day—no oven hogging.

4. Best Pumpkin Pie From Meta Givens

The simple step of caramelizing the canned pumpkin converted me from tolerant to eats-pumpkin-pie-for-breakfast. (It also bakes in half the time.)


1. Dansk Købenstyle Baker

I love a good oven-to-table baking dish, and that every generation will have a Dansk story to tell. (I keep my late grandma-in-law Virg’s big, orange Købenstyle baker out on the counter as a sunny fruit bowl.)

2. Reversible Cotton Crinkle Napkins

No judgment if you love ironing napkins, but I’m taking the time back. These look billowy and charming, just as they are.

3. Bee's Wrap Reusable Food Wraps

For both make-ahead prep and leftover management, these reusable beeswax wraps always make me so proud I’ve left the plastic wrap in the drawer.

4. Signed Copy: Simply Genius Cookbook, by Kristen Miglore

Host gift? Simple recipe treasure trove? Conversation starter? I’m biased, but I’d say our simplest Genius Recipes cookbook yet is all of the above. (Or go big and get limited edition leather-bound copies of its sisters.)

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.

  • Kathy Douthit
    Kathy Douthit
  • Alisa Wasserman
    Alisa Wasserman
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Kathy D. October 26, 2022
What is the pie at the top of the post?
Alisa W. October 26, 2022
Kathy D. October 26, 2022
Thanks Alisa! That looks delicious.