Thanksgiving 2020 has come and gone, and for many Americans, it was a much different holiday than usual. With the CDC advising against travel and recommending celebrations with your immediate household only, many people's holiday tables were smaller. And while that meant increased demand for smaller turkeys, some people ditched the bird altogether and created new holiday food traditions — PEOPLE editors included!
As our offices remained closed, we currently have staffers across the country (and abroad!) who found new ways to celebrate with their loved ones. Read through to see what we cooked up and perhaps pick up some ideas for the coming holidays.
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"For the entire month of November, I had been developing scaled-down recipes for turkey, stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes—so when it came to the big day, I didn't want anything traditional. Since there were only two of us at my Thanksgiving, we took it really easy and finally thawed some New York Strip steaks we had been saving in the freezer for a special occasion. Because what occasion could be more special? I actually enjoyed being able to cook whatever I wanted!"
—Shay Spence, Food Editor
"My husband, daughter and I stayed home this year and didn't see any friends or family on Thanksgiving. We decided that a full dinner with a turkey would be way too much food (and work!) but we wanted to get into the spirit and cook something special for the holiday. We decided to treat ourselves with lobster tails in the oven and some pan-fried scallops as well. We did hang on to one classic Thanksgiving Day tradition to complement the meal: sausage and cornbread stuffing! It was actually a very delicious combo of flavors and we had plenty of stuffing leftover for the holiday weekend."
—Elizabeth Favre, Director of Audience Engagement
"My fiance and I had a last-minute change of plans, and ended up having Thanksgiving dinner just the two of us at home. The only issue was that I had made enough dessert for about six people, in preparation for our previous plans. So we ended up eating mostly all dessert (lemon cranberry bars, sweet potato marshmallow biscuits and ice cream) with a little bit of food we had around the house. It was delicious and also led to the same two-hour nap I expect after eating turkey."
—Kelli Bender, Pets Editor
"We were only cooking for three people, so doing a whole turkey was a non-starter. We decided to cook Ina Garten's turkey meatloaf recipe, which uses tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce to provide the needed umami. We served it with a Brussels sprout slaw, heirloom potato fries and Buffalo cauliflower."
—Greg Hanlon, News Editor, Crime
"I knew it was going to be hard to get a small turkey (they were a hot commodity according to a segment on Today) and I was not going to add "attempt to cook a large turkey for two adults and two toddlers" to my list of things to worry about this year. So I served the kids chicken (I told them it was turkey) and the grownups had strip steaks from the local butcher. And thanks to my personal food advisor, Shay Spence, I know the secret to cooking the perfect steak is to let it rest for five minutes before you serve it — and don't forget the butter!"
—Andrea Lavinthal, Style Director
"Celebrating Thanksgiving in London is different for obvious reasons, but one I didn’t see coming? The lack of turkeys! While my boyfriend was able to nail a few of our favorite classics — he even found fried onions for green bean casserole — he couldn’t find a turkey that was less than 20 lbs. That would have been way too much for just the two of us. (In defense of the U.K.’s fantastic grocers, this was a last-minute attempt at just a few stores.) We considered ham and even lamb but eventually settled on another familiar bird: chicken. Ours was stuffed, helping us keep at least one more tradition going."
—Nick Maslow, Editor
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