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Overdid It on Thanksgiving? Recovery Advice From a Personal Chef to the Stars

In rural New South Wales, Australia, where Amy Chaplin grew up, Thanksgiving was a non-event. But at the vegan institution Angelica Kitchen, where she was executive chef from 2003 until 2010, it was a very big deal. “It was the biggest day of the year for us,” she said, adding that she and her staff would work for days roasting and stuffing squash, preparing homemade chutneys, heirloom beans, pickled vegetables, flatbreads and their signature nut-and-seed brittle for a five-course feast.

Today, Ms. Chaplin, 37, works with large food companies to help them develop recipes featuring whole grains and legumes, and cooks privately for clients like Natalie Portman, whose spindly figure she helped maintain throughout the filming of “Black Swan.” An East Village resident since 2000, she seemed like just the person to tell us how to recover from the turkey-day binge. Read more…

By The Numbers | A Meal For 5,000 …

Helen Zhang Curt Hencye, the head chef and a volunteer from Calvary Chapel in Sarasota, Fla., dashes between stations in the kitchen as the Bowery Mission prepares its annual Thanksgiving meal. Below: A volunteer peels yams.
Helen Zhang

As we scramble to figure out how much turkey and trimmings are needed to feed five or 10 people imagine planning for 5,000 Thanksgiving dinner spreads.

That’s exactly what the Bowery Mission has been doing for since 1879 for the city’s needy, and, as expected, the staff and volunteers have the preparations down to a routine.

A week in advance, thousands of pounds of donations begin rolling in from local residents and businesses like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and City Harvest.
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… Or Making Dinner For Just A Few

thanksgiving basket photo 2Simon McCormack Brydie Landreth holds the makings of her first attempt to prepare Thanksgiving dinner.

When it comes to cooking her first Thanksgiving dinner, Brydie Landreth, a 20-year-old college student, has a guiding principle: “I’m cheap and lazy.”

We’ll leave to her family of four visiting from Mount Vernon, Wash to decide about “lazy,” but her “cheap” turns out to be average, at least in terms of a turkey day dinner. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates that it will cost $43.47 to feed a family of ten with turkey and trimmings, including flour, eggs, stuffing, sweet potatoes, peas, cranberries, carrots, celery and pumpkin pie.

An informal shopping-cart survey of East Village shoppers found that most paid about the same as the national average cost but got fewer — and different — items than on the Farm Bureau list.

Basket #1: Brydie Landreth, 20, student, at Key Food Avenue, A and East Fourth Street.

Total: $44.95.

thanksgiving basket photo 1Simon McCormack Brydie Landreth’s Thanksgiving dinner shopping basket.

Shady Brook Farms turkey: $20.06
Ocean Spray whole cranberry sauce: $2 for two cans
McCormick Turkey Gravy: $2 for two packets
Idaho Mashed Potato Granules: $2.99
Stove Top Turkey Stuffing: $1.33
Green Bite Green Beans: $10 for two bags
Keebler Ready Pie Crust: $3.58 for two crusts
Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Filling: $2.99

“I wanted to keep things as simple and painless as possible.”—Brydie Landreth
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A Look At Some Multinational Feasts

Tired of the traditional turkey and stuffing? Try an East Village restaurant that celebrates a post-Pilgrim immigrant cuisine.

East Village ThanksgivingSamantha Ku Brick Lane Curry House, 306 East Sixth Street.

Brick Lane Curry House
306 East Sixth Street

Brick Lane Curry House on Curry Row will have all the elements of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, but with a twist. “What we’ve done is given it a little Indian kick, if you will,” said Vivek Deora, the general manager. “Robust flavors, robust spices.” Dishes include turkey seekh kabab, turkey biryani with cranberry chutney and raita and pumpkin halwa for dessert.

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East Village, With All the Trimmings

FxCam_1289336440232Timothy Krause

They say there is a chemical in turkey that makes you sleepy.

Now, it’s safe to say no scientific institution or study has actually proven this information. The truthiness of this bit of knowledge goes unquestioned because on every Thanksgiving day the fact is loudly announced by the obligatory young and obnoxious cousin/child of a neighbor/stranger’s nephew to a room full of people who are wiping gravy sweat from their brows. Often, it’s the last thing many people hear before drifting off into a tortured, caloric slumber.

It is for this reason alone that Thanksgiving shouldn’t be celebrated at home. Since our fair collection of loud and populated street corners means this city never sleeps, we certainly can’t be sleeping on Nov. 25 ; we have things to do. Funkmaster Flex and Swizz Beatz will be at Webster Hall, and after that it’s straight to Union Square to stand in the line at Best Buy. If we sleep, someone will steal our spot.

However, some East Village residents who actually admit to having a family – and maybe, god forbid, a life before their days of wearing a leather jacket – do get nostalgic for sweet potatoes and gizzards. Luckily, a few restaurants are providing prix fixe menus for gobblers of gravy and gratin. And, thank your holy fowls, it’s all the same delicious East Village food at the same reasonable prices.
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