It’s good to have a game plan for Thanksgiving, or for any big holiday for that matter. If you’re going home or to a friend’s place, you gotta know what you’re bringing to the literal table. Will you pick a reliable crowd pleaser or will you opt to get a little bit wild and take the culinary road less traveled and if you do, how many variables are there to go sideways? What else is being served and how will your dish compliment the spread and in turn, generate some compliments for you? A lot of questions.
And how about if you’re the one hosting? Well, good luck to you in choreographing chaos.
One person who is not confused about what he is bringing to Thanksgiving, or the morning after it, or any occasion here on out where he has the chance to shine as a surprised and newly capable cook with an impressive recipe he just learned, is DeAndre Jordan. Jordan joined Bon Appétit’s food director, Carla Music, in the BA kitchen to whip up a batch of vegan chocolate-banana pancakes and bloody marys for their Back To Back Chef series, and the result is truly delightful to watch.
The gist of this specific segment, if the name seemed unclear, is that the guest and the chef cook back to back. The guest must follow along by verbal instruction only, no visual cues. Jordan is initially quite excited, until he realizes they are going to start right away with not much a preamble, then he gets nervous.
Not to spoil anything for you, but DeAndre Jordan in the kitchen is a lot like an adorable fawn wobbling around on its long, luxurious legs mere moments after birth. He admits that this appearance is probably his 4th time ever in a kitchen cooking something and that much is clear as he struggles to identify the stand-mixer by sight. He first goes to the bowl with an unpeeled banana resting gamely in it, then another filled with flour, before he spots the mixer with great relief! He is also extremely gentle about plonking a can of chickpeas into a strainer over a measuring cup, too.
Much like the stand-mixer itself, Jordan chugs along, growing comfortable in his new surroundings. He tastes a single sugar granule to make sure it isn’t salt, he invents a new technique for classifying just how much a pinch of salt really is (“My pinch is bigger than your pinch, so should I do like a pinky pinch or an index pinch?”), he learns what aquafaba is (full disclosure: me too), and by the time he has to crank the mixer’s setting to 6 his confidence is on the rise because as he notes, that is his number. Not to imply we’ve got a 7′ Martha Stewart in waiting on our hands, but have you ever seen Martha hold a large glass mixing bowl comfortably in one giant hand, whisk in the other, just going to town on a buckwheat and cocoa powder blend?
That isn’t to say this adventure into the kitchen is without its challenges. Jordan is sheepish about the shape of the first pancake he drops into the skillet, noting its resemblance to Mickey Mouse, and gets a little bit chippy with Chef Music when she asks what pancake number he’s on out of five (“Okay, you’re bragging”). He’s happy for the break when it comes to mixing up the bloody marys, of which Jordan enjoys spicy and sour. He is kind of a perfectionist about garnishing, if you didn’t think your heart was breaking enough.
Give yourself a holiday gift and reprieve from prep and cooking, or arguing with your loved ones about proposed changes to the NBA regular season format, and watch this whole thing in its entirety. And if all else fails on Thanksgiving, just know you, and probably DeAndre Jordan, could be enjoying these pancakes and a stiff drink the morning after.