Thanksgiving is the ultimate day of gratitude and eating, so where’s the pizza? The way I see it, on a day devoted to giving thanks and indulging on carb-loaded delicacies, pizza is a natural fit. I know it doesn’t necessarily fit the traditional flavors of the Thanksgiving spread and doesn’t exactly match the classic ambiance we envision at the table with Grandma, but I believe there is a place for pizza somewhere.
It turns out many other people feel the same way. And no, I’m not suggesting I was the weirdo that brought a pizza to the Thanksgiving dinner table (though I’ve considered it). I’m talking about the pizza eating that takes place around the holidays when we are surrounded by family and friends.
Finding a place for some pie.
Many people enjoy their pizza the night before Thanksgiving to avoid cooking or to recharge after drinks with old friends. My Aunt Karen used it as an easy meal for traveling relatives with busy schedules in the days following Thanksgiving. She explained that she had limited time to connect everyone before they departed; pizza was the most viable option.
My pizza indulgence takes place the night of Thanksgiving, long after the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes have made their appearance, when a faint glimpse of hunger starts to resurface. I’ll be back at home, snuggled into my spot on the couch and while many may grab for the leftover Turkey sandwich, I spring for some pizza.
Pizza brings a little more zest to round-two.
For many years my brother Jeff and I have had a “pizza on Thanksgiving night” tradition. With all of the restaurants closed we always had to pick our pizza from the freezer section of our local grocery store or gas station (which ever was open).
Now after all these years I’ve swapped my brother for my my wonderful wife Tess. With this years festivities approaching we contemplated our frozen pizza options and decided to mix things up.
One of my favorite evolutions to take place in the frozen pizza aisle is the addition of cheese sticks. The cheese stick is basically a sauceless pizza crust, basted with garlic butter, smothered in cheese, cut in strips and dunked into sides of sauce. Over the years they’ve seemed to become more prevalent in restaurants (Toppers is king, but that’s a whole ‘nother post) and are now to my excitement even popping up the freezer section.
Portesi Cheese Fries.
So, with a hankering for some cheese sticks and with Toppers my normal go to closed on Thanksgiving day (they are only closed 2 days a year), I went with Portesi thin crust Cheese Fries. The Portesi Cheese Fries are native to central Wisconsin and hail from Stevens Point. I originally found out about the Cheese Fries from a friend Steve, who has a serious passion for the garlicky, cheesy breadsticks and firmly suggests you have to go thin crust (there is a rising crust option).
The Cheese Fries are loaded with more cheese than your typical item from the frozen section. They come prepackaged with a marinara sauce for dipping, but with the generous portion of mozzarella and garlic butter base it’s almost unnecessary.
Time to pop in a movie and preheat the oven.
The debut of the Portesi Cheese Fries into my Thanksgiving routine reminds me that the joy we take from such traditions is up to us and it’s fun to switch things up every now and again. Our lives will inevitably change and if we cling to traditions too much we can end up disappointed.
The entry for November 23 (Thanksgiving) in Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic is fitting “The things we are attached to can come and go, our reasoned choice is resilient and adaptable. The sooner we become aware of this the better. The easier it will be to accept and adapt to what does happen.”
What pizza taught me:
Embracing a tradition can bring a lot of warm nostalgia, but we shouldn’t be bound by old ways. We can change locations, invite new guests, or add some pizza, all that matters is that we enjoy ourselves and our favorite people.
What I’m eating: Portesi thin crust Cheese Fries
What I’m reading: Ryan Holiday The Daily Stoic