The Thanksgiving Meal: To Tweak or Not To Tweak

Opposite the bar, I’m sitting with Jhonny Rincon, the sous chef at Paradiso on East Passyunk, his girlfriend Cameron, and Joel Mazigian, the exec chef at MilkBoy Philadelphia. My idea of adding confit turkey feet to my family’s meal gets mixed reviews.

“It’s interesting, because a lot of Americans don’t eat the feet,” Rincon says, alluding to how we favor overly polite cuts of chicken and turkey.

“I don’t like dealing with the bone, the cartilage,” Mazigian says before I add that, as someone who eats tongue, pig’s feet, and tripe, yet skips chicken feet at dim sum, I was probably motivated mostly by the possibility of grossing out my sister in-law (that said, the Chris Cosentino recipe I found sounds amazing).

As for the standard Thanksgiving dinner, Rincon says, “I’m not from this country, but it’s always amazing,” his face lighting up as if a turkey was resting under aluminum foil in the other room. “Of course, I always end up mixing some hot sauce with my turkey and gravy,” he says.

“In Mexico, we make turkey mole or tacos and we always have spicy and sweet. If I was going to change it, that’s how I would do it—maybe some rice and beans too,” he adds with a laugh.

“But the American way—I really fucking love it. To me the, gravy, the fat, it tastes sweet,” Rincon says, a turkey floating before his mind’s eye.

“It’s not pastry sweet. Any meat that has that color, it has it through caramelization,” Mazigian says, making us all even hungrier.

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