Make Every Thanksgiving Meal Better by Adding More Crunchy Foods

When you’re cooking at home – even for Thanksgiving – there are always a few things to do to make you feel like a chef. Adding more oil and salt than you think is necessary, covering items in a way that is pleasing to the eye, and using real napkins can all help create a restaurant atmosphere, but I think the real key to improving the quality of your food is is the liberal – no, pointless – use of crispy nibbles.

Like a little fresh chopped herbs or a little olive oil, the crispy nibbles make your meal cook , but they also make it seem fun and fully fulfilled . (They can also distract from any low-quality elements, such as tinsel on a sad Christmas tree or glitter on a low-quality art project.)

I ask you: What’s the best thing about a green bean casserole? Don’t lie and say that these are green beans. You know these are not beans. These are fried onions. This is a crunchy bite. This is what attracts people to the green bean casserole, and you can use the power of the crunchy nib to create the same hype for any other dish you serve on turkey day.

Serve fried garlic chips with mashed potatoes, sprinkle with fried herbs on the turkey, and sprinkle with fried nuts on vegetable side dishes and salads. Saute a whole bunch of shallots and / or onions and place them on each casserole, not just the green beans. Put a few crunchy things on one dish, can you think of a reason you can’t have fried shallots and garlic chips and toasted nuts on top of a casserole that’s made from condensed soup and green beans? Because I definitely can’t! If you think things are getting too “roasted” – a thought that never crossed my mind – balance that with fresh herbs.

Now, if you really want to wow everyone – if you really want to “take it up a notch” in the style of the old Food Network stars – consider asking the butcher for an extra turkey skin. Take that skin at home, fry or bake until crisp , and crumble that crunchy goodness throughout every side dish. (Chicken skin can also be used; brains will break anyway.)

Oh, and don’t forget dessert: candied nuts, crunchy cookie crumbs, and any other slices go great with pies and the like. My favorite is the candied pecans.

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