Hot Dish

Turkey Rut? Try ThanksPIGing

Here’s a reader's clever way to spruce up the holiday.

BY November 18, 2016

There may be no place like home for the holidays, but what if you're one of the few people who just doesn't get jazzed for turkey—or you’re someone who relishes any opportunity to let your creative juices flow?

Valerie Cope, a Fort Myers resident and marketing director for the Mercato in Naples, says she came up with her idea for an alternative Thanksgiving feast from not being a “turkey person.” Her friends and neighbors quickly embraced the concept, too.

"Last year we did ThanksFISHing with raw and smoked oysters, whole salmon, ceviche, etcetera," she says. (See their maple-cayenne salmon at right.) "This year it’s ThanksPIGing with an emphasis on you know what."

Some of the dishes they’re planning include parmesan-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, homemade chincharrón, Vietnamese pork tacos with slaw, oyster stew with bacon, porchetta, smoked ham with jalapeńo mac and cheese and a dark chocolate torte with bacon. Plus, not to leave any leaf unturned, candied-bacon Old Fashioneds as tipples.

The Copes keep the mood convivial (and family-friendly) by putting down butcher paper and crayons and paint, and then letting everyone go to town. Their whole neighborhood gets into the spirit—another house even hosted a Thanksgiving potluck last Saturday.

And that's just it—even if you're not willing to completely abandon tradition, you can always do a festive Friendsgiving in addition to your normal holiday meal.

“There’s so much pomp and circumstance (and anxiety) surrounding Thanksgiving that we decided it should be no drama, no frills,” Cope says. “For us, it’s a fun, memorable and truly enjoyable day with family and friends that often ends sitting around the fire pit late into the night.”


Get the Hot Dish every Wednesday and Friday online and every month in Gulfshore Life.


Related Images: