The world is a bit of a scary, confusing place right now, so it seems especially important to sit down and take stock of the things that make it OK. So, in honor of Thanksgiving, the Extra Crispy team decided to sit down and write about what we're thankful for. Besides you guys, of course.
Kat Kinsman, Senior Food and Drink Editor: I am thankful for Champagne, which turns any liquid into a breakfast or brunch drink, and any occasion into a special one. Day drinking is the best drinking by far. If I’m doing that, it means it’s vacation or the weekend, and the addition of Champagne makes it socially acceptable to imbibe before the sun is over the yardarm. (I am also thankful for yardarms.) Anything can be mimosa- or bellini-fied: OJ, peach nectar, beef bouillon. You just have to believe, and then you get to be tipsy in the sunshine. My colleague Margaret recently told me that she would like to adopt my habit of casual Champagne drinking. (I am also thankful for Margaret.)
Margaret Eby, Senior Culture Editor: My mother is from Ireland, which means that the importance of tea was impressed upon me at a young age, by a variety of relatives. It took me until adulthood to appreciate the benefits of a mug of milky tea—preferably Barry’s, though any black tea will do. It’s a panacea, but the combination of tea and buttered toast offers a rare combination of instant comforts. In times of panic or sorrow or confusion or ennui, it helps to slow down enough to prepare toast and tea, to go through the ritual of putting the kettle on to boil and toasting the bread, diluting the tea with milk and spreading butter on the hot toast. I’m thankful for toast and tea.
Monica Burton, Assistant Strategist: I am thankful for eggs, in all their forms. I’ll eat them scrambled, fried, omelet-ed, or steamed (which beats hard boiled in my book). Eggs have a unique ability to turn almost any assemblage of ingredients into a meal. With a few eggs, a sad pile of vegetables becomes an omelet, which is unquestionably more appetizing than a sad pile of vegetables; and with the addition of a single fried egg, a bowl of pasta becomes a more-than-acceptable breakfast. This magical ability alone makes eggs a near-perfect food, but this year, I can also be thankful that according to this woman, they’ll help me live to 100.
Kate Welsh, Assistant Culture Editor: Less than a month ago on a weekend morning I sat in a booth in a diner in Ann Arbor with an old friend and ate more or less the same breakfast we ate a few weeks before when we sat in a booth in a diner in Brooklyn. The order, as it always is, was a classic morning platter: fried eggs (sunny side up), bacon, potatoes (home fries in New York, hash browns in Michigan), toast (wheat for me, rye for her), and lots of coffee. It’s a meal I have eaten countless times before, and one I will order again and again. I leave each of those breakfasts caffeine-shaky (diners are generous with the refills), extremely full, and comforted. There’s safety and consistency in them: a salve for whatever ails you, and fortification for what comes next. I’m thankful for diner breakfast.
Maxine Builder, Staff Writer: I went through a particularly nasty breakup in September, one that required me to suddenly move out of the apartment I had shared with my boyfriend for almost three years and into my parents’ house in the suburbs. So I am especially thankful for my parents this year, and their unshakable, unconditional, non-judgmental support. I am also thankful for their Technivorm Moccamaster KB 741, because that bad boy makes some seriously delicious coffee that got me through some obscenely early mornings, when I had to leave their house at 5:30 a.m. to get to the office by 8 a.m., and some tough weekends, when all I wanted to do was curl under the covers and hide from the world because boys suck. I've considered getting one of my own, now that I've moved out (again) and live in my own apartment with a roommate, not a significant other. But I have neither the counter space nor the financial wiggle room $300 on a coffee maker—and even if I did, it would feel inappropriate somehow. This machine is something that only parents would have, so I am also thankful that I live close enough to my parents to visit them and drink their dope coffee whenever I want and that they let me.
Meredith Turits, Editorial Director: I’ve always been an early riser, which, in a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, is difficult when your landlord so obviously did not invest in soundproofing between interior walls. It’s impossible to run the coffee grinder without waking my fiancé, who on weekend mornings wants only to have one single hour alone with the covers I aggressively steal from him each night. As soon as 8 a.m. hits, I walk directly across the street and into Lunitas, a small, rustic Argentinean café, and find my same seat among the benches. I always greet Diego, who always knows without prompt to pour a large, black coffee; and also that no matter what else I order—usually more coffee and the B.E.C.A., a bacon-egg-cheese-avocado with spicy aioli on a croissant—and however long I loiter in front of my computer, I’m always good for settling up at the end, even though it’s a pay-first kind of place. This is what I’m thankful for: that, if you don’t want it to, the idea that leaving home doesn’t mean having to leave home at all. It seems more important than ever.
Ryan Grim, Site Director: My breakfast-drink situation has been a wreck lately. Six years ago, after drinking coffee for a decade, I gave it up. I never talked to a professional about it, but I may have been abusing it. Last January, I started drinking coffee again and fell back in love. I don’t need to tell you, but coffee is so good and so tied to one’s routine, happiness, and vitality. But after an eight-month affair, sadly and predictably, I walked away. My substitute? The Naked juices I drank for years during my first break from coffee. Specifically, their Protein Zone line, which comes in purple, orange, and white flavors and is packed with whey protein powder along with loads of sugar. I would drink them quickly, in a few gulps, and the whey grit would stick to my teeth and tongue all morning. They’re gross, I know! One time I even drank a Naked while working on a story about how gross and unnatural Nakeds are. But, you know, protein. One day, when the bodega near the office didn’t have any Nakeds, I bought a Muscle Milk, which also has protein and is far less sweet. My Muscle Milk breakfast was roundly ridiculed at work. I’ve since managed to ditch the Nakeds and have landed on a protein- and caffeine-free solution that seems to be working: mint tea with milk and honey, so that’s what I’m thankful for. Sometimes it’s tea plus a small dish, like oatmeal. I don’t miss the sugar jolt, and I definitely don’t miss the grit.
Meghan Cetera, Audience Development Editor: I am thankful for store-bought bagels. That's right, I said it. And before all of you New Yorkers exclaim in horror, "but those aren't real bagels," I know they aren't, but that's not the point. I don't like them for all the reasons that people like quality bagels. I don't care about the chewy exterior, the shiny crust, or how puffy they are. I like them for a much more practical reason: Store-bought bagels literally never go bad. I can keep them in my pantry for weeks on end, which is especially useful when I neglected to go grocery shopping all week and wake up hungry on a Saturday morning. I don't have to get dressed and shuffle over to the cafe down the street for my bacon, egg and cheese. I can just pull some bacon from my freezer, fry an egg and put it on one of my undying bagels that is somehow still not moldy (thanks, preservatives!). Is it gross? Maybe, but at least I get to stay in my pajamas and for that I am grateful.
Jiselle Basile, Chef and Food Stylist: I moved into a new apartment in June. My brother moved into the same building about month after me. Within weeks his apartment was fully furnished and his kitchen was fully stocked. I cannot say the same about mine. I worked on my apartment in a very, very leisurely fashion; probably because I was perfectly content eating breakfast out of my "namast'ay in bed" mug and walking to the corner bodega to get a hot coffee. Unfortunately, after a few months I realized it was time to adult—especially since my brother is two years younger than me. So this year, I am thankful for my brother, Salvatore. Thanks for letting me steal your cereal bowls, raid your refrigerator and occasionally bringing me freshly brewed coffee. You rock.
Alex Tepper, Videographer: My first job out of college had me working some 12 to 15 hours a day, paid horribly, and operated with a legally dubious stance on overtime. Thinking back, I can remember my constant need for nourishment physically, financially, and emotionally. It was in my darkest hour that I found my love for the classic old-school New York City diner. If you are in need, the 2 Eggs Any Style (I choose sunny-side-up), loaded with bacon, hash browns, and coffee, all for a smooth $7.25, will be there for you. There will be a matronly waitress who will lovingly call you “hon” to refill your coffee and replenish your soul. I am thankful for the New York City diner because there, no matter your actual place on the totem, you can be king.