The Thanksgiving Issue

New Bird on the Block

The Perfect Thanksgiving Bird Is… A Capon?

From The Horn of Plenty to the myriad mouths to feed, Thanksgiving is all about abundance. Your bird should reflect that. Perhaps on the basis of size alone, turkey is the default -- but there's a better way to feed your folks. A more delicious, more moist, more tender way. Its name: the capon. Chef David Waltuck, of Chanterelle fame, invited us to watch him prepare one the right way.

The Poor Man's Fondue

How to Make Raclette, a Peasant’s Meal for Friends

Seen as an instant fondue, raclette is a variety of cheese and pastime in itself: groups of friends collect around a heat source to melt, scrape, and gorge on delicious, full-fatty cheese. Though the culture has grown to include its own type of conventional raclette-style grills for any variety of gastronomic exploration, we recommend focusing on the essentials next time you and your friends find yourself around the campfire. Read our guide here.

Americana in a bottle

The Spirit of Autumn: Best American Apple Brandies

If you're into vintage -- your dad's aviators, reclaimed wood counters, old military watches -- then it doesn’t get much more old school than apple brandy, a spirit distilled from the hard cider of fermented fresh apples and then aged in oak.

An Atmosphere of Uncommon Scents

Your Guide to Home Fragrance

It's easy to change and improve the way our homes smell with comforting scents -- and we’re not talking about diffusers that plug into the outlet. These boutique home fragrances go the distance in creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for you and your guests.

A Toast to...

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is sometimes one of those holidays so fraught with stress we wonder why the hell we don’t just head somewhere warm and spend our days sipping something with a novelty umbrella in it. Without fail, there will always be at least one less seat than you need on your flight home, at least one utterly awful dish, and at least one imbibing family member who ends up somewhere between Winston Churchill and mid-‘90s Robert Downey Jr. But we all still do it. No ticket to Hawaii. Think hard enough about your last Thanksgiving and there might just be a couple -- or maybe a lot -- of moments where things were really great. Maybe it was that *cough* perfect turkey, maybe it was the impromptu talent show put on by the kids table, or arguing about "Who invaded Spain in the 8th century" during the annual Trivial Pursuit game. However trite it may sound, it’s these moments that make everything else worth it. So to everyone suffering through extended-family prodding or poultry that’s less than savory: hang in there and be glad you avoided the urge to walk past your gate and hop a plane to Kauai. It wouldn't have been anywhere near as good as the fracas that’s going on at home. From all of us at Gear Patrol: Happy Thanksgiving.

The everyman's Champagne

Tasting Notes: Donkey and Goat 2012 Lily’s Cuvée Chardonnay

In that casual game of preference, Would You Rather, we’re often faced with important decisions, like raising a child at 15 or never having kids, or losing a pinky toe or never eating steak again. During one of these games, when asked about giving up beer for eternity, we came to a realization: while undesirable, the parting of ways wouldn't be the end of the world -- and we could do it without becoming a hard-hitting liquor drinker. How? With a lifetime supply of sparkling wine, and specifically, a style of sparkling wine called pétillant naturel. One glass of the 2012 Lily's Cuvée Chardonnay ($28) from California’s Donkey & Goat winery and you’ll know what we’re talking about.

In [hot] vino veritas

Mulled Wine, Three Ways

Mulled wine is the perfect drink for the holiday season: just pleasant and alcoholic enough to warm everyone up, but not like handing out rounds of high-octane Manhattans that could turn Thanksgiving dinner into an episode worthy of Jenny Jones. We tapped the expertise of Jane Elkins, former and current barkeep at some of New York City's best cocktail haunts, for three variations of mulled wine, each rooted in tradition and brushed up with ingenuity from behind her bar.

Capon, Capon, Goose

Better than Butterball: 5 Thanksgiving Turkey Alternatives

The noble, courageous turkey. Subject of paintings by Claude Monet and Norman Rockwell; famed favorite fowl of Benjamin Franklin. For the past century and change, the beloved bird has complemented the traditional Thanksgiving feast. However, as home chefs and weekend warriors become more adventurous in the kitchen, many are eschewing tradition for pomp, presentation and flavor. If you're looking to join the nouveau-thankful, try embracing one of these five options.

Armed to the Gizzard.

Kit: Thanksgiving Dinner

The kitchen is one of the last bastions of respect and order in a society that mostly eschews hierarchy. Snapchat may be run by kids, but grandma's red sauce is no flash in the pan. Though we've proved our chops in the kitchen, for Thanksgiving we decided to bring in one of the big guns of culinary wisdom: Jim Oseland, former Editor-in-Chief of Saveur, one of our favorite food magazines. Here's his essential turkey-roasting kit.

Carving a Winner

The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

The Thanksgiving turkey is the one dish each year that’s make or break, and it’s all yours. Get the turkey right and you'll be giving warm handshakes and sipping bourbon all night; dry it out and you’ve brought a dark cloud over the extended family. The good news is, roasting the big bird is easier than running the fumblerooski against the in-laws -- and that works every year. To find the most direct route to turkey perfection, we consulted with chef Harold Moore for his foolproof recipe.