Thanksgiving dinner is oftentimes a tradition unto itself: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Yet traditions vary between families; swap the turkey out for duck, or add in an extra infusion of Filipino flavors, and Thanksgiving is completely changed. One family’s stuffing will even taste vastly different from another’s.
So we asked chefs across the country what their Thanksgiving traditions were; that is, what is it for them that differentiates Thanksgiving from every other holiday? Some people get all up in the gravy and refuse to let others touch it, while others just watch football and take the day off. And while turkey is present at most chef Thanksgivings (with some mashed potatoes as well), it’s the little things that make them unique. Take Stephanie Izard’s suckling pig, or Matt Lightner’s egg noodles. And sometimes, it’s nothing like Thanksgiving at all. It’s a potluck between friends, or an annual visit to a Chinese institution.