Extra helpings

Sweet potatoes, apple pie, Brussels sprouts. . . . What will you serve on Thanksgiving?

By Devra First
Globe Staff / November 17, 2010

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Devra First: I just got an e-mail with this subject: “Tired of Turkey? Starkist Offers Delicious Thanksgiving Alternatives.’’ They call it turkey of the sea, don’t they? At any rate, it reminds me to ask what you all are cooking for the holiday. Favorite sides? Favorite use of leftovers?

Meg: I’ve decided to cook two turkey breasts this year for Thanksgiving. I am the only taker on the dark meat in my family. Seems like such a waste to cook the whole bird. And so hard to get the timing just right. Does that seem like copping out?

D.F.: That seems wholly sensible, Meg. Though I’m a little sad you won’t be getting any dark meat. Because it’s the best part. Scratch that, the soup is the best part, which you’ll still be able to make. Oh, and the sandwiches. Is it Thanksgiving yet?

Sarah B: My two favorite Thanksgiving leftover creations are turkey croquettes and leftover wraps. I put everything in those wraps.

D.F.: I love turkey curry for leftovers.

Kimba: Turkey with cheddar cheese on wheat with cranberry horseradish. Can’t wait!

Meg: Open-faced turkey sandwich with hot gravy, stuffing, and cranberry on the side — on oatmeal bread.

Marc H: For Thanksgiving, I might be making a pepperoni and beer mac and cheese as a side dish (did a trial run of it last week and it came out pretty nice).

D.F.: That could become a tradition.

Somerville123: Brussels sprouts — for sure!

Joel: Mashed potatoes, butternut squash, and pearl onions.

Sarah B: Honey apple pie is a must. Corn pudding is my other specialty. I’ve been making cider gravy the last few years with my turkey but am thinking about doing something different.

D.F.: Honey apple pie. That’s like a poem. It makes you feel all is right in the world.

Sarah B: My mom used to make creamed pearl onions in a sherry sauce with nutmeg on top. Haven’t had those in years. Mmmmm.

Allstonian: Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, baked sweets, stuffing AND dressing, cranberry sauce, and gravy. If there’s a decent-size group, add carrots and/or green beans, but even when it’s just hubby and me, all of the above. No fancy preparation on most of the veggies — steamed or boiled with butter, salt, and pepper.

Joel: Pumpkin chiffon pie and pear-ginger pie for dessert, and maybe Jennifer Verrill’s apple-raspberry too.

Allstonian: Desserts are even more of a challenge for just the two of us: pecan pie, buttermilk pie, apple pie, and either pumpkin or sweet potato pie are all required. We eat quite a lot of pie and get very old-school-Yankee-pie-for-breakfast through the weekend after the holiday itself.

Sarah B: Poll: marshmallows on sweet potatoes or no?

D.F.: Both!

Joel: No to the marshmallows!!

Guy: I prefer sweet potatoes and butternut squash unadorned, or maybe with just butter — I can’t stand them “doctored’’!

Allstonian: Marshmallows on sweets — no, no, a thousand times NEVER.

Matt: Had a nice brunch at Toro this weekend. Didn’t realize they did brunch. What are your fave brunch spots?

D.F.: I don’t get to brunch too often, but I like Gaslight and Craigie. I love Winsor for dim sum. And the Gallows’ new brunch is really good. I had great huevos rancheros with carnitas, and their brown bread is excellent. How about y’all?

Sarah B: Everyone should go to Centre Street Cafe in JP for brunch.

D.F.: I’ve had some really good brunches there, but not for a long time, because that line can be a killer.

Marc H: I love going to Centre Street Cafe for brunch. Fresh, organic food and OK prices for the most part.

Sarah B: It isn’t bad if you get there 15 minutes before opening. They will hand out mugs of coffee to sip as you wait.

Kimba: I like Craigie’s brunch but usually just cook eggs, bacon, and pancakes at home with a fresh pot of Illy while reading the Globe. . .

D.F.: The McRib is back. I’ve never had one. Should I bother?

Marc H: The McRib isn’t even a rib, is it? Isn’t it a rib-shaped pork patty? I think I’ll pass on that, thanks!

Somerville123: What kind of meat is in the McRib exactly? Or maybe it’s better not to know. . .

D.F.: McMeat.

Guy: Read “Fast Food Nation’’ about the food labs in New Jersey, and then you’ll probably know how well engineered the McRib is.

Excerpted from Devra First’s weekly chat. First is off this week. Go to today at 11 a.m. to chat live with food editor Sheryl Julian about Thanksgiving sides, favorite holiday recipes, and how to cook the perfect turkey. First can be reached at