How about some recommendations for some tasty and interesting variations on Thanksgiving classics — with links, if possible?
The rules: (1) no food that is too fun to cook. In other words, no deep fried turkeys. (2) Only variations on classics. No strange shit.
Why am I so timid?
Well, it's not me. My lovely and much-smarter-than-I-am wife has a rule: if it ain't in Freedom from Want, we're not having it. Normally she permits me to cook adventurous things. Not on high holidays. This may be a form of PTSD remaining from our first Thanksgiving dinner together, eaten at my grandparents' stuffy and white-as-bone downtown club, where they served (among other things) lion, and where she was exposed to a is-she-good-enough-for-our-little-boy grilling from the relatives so severe that it makes Gitmo look like a spa day at the Plaza.
So if you have any recommended turkey brines and/or rubs, creative ways to do mashed potatoes, tasty gravies, etc., serve 'em up — I'm the chef on Thanksgiving.