Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Stephen Colbert and Chef José Andrés do their annual Thanksgiving cooking segment from the roof

Stephen Colbert, Chef José Andrés
Stephen Colbert, Chef José Andrés
Screenshot: The Late Show

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. While it’s been a truly, spectacularly, unprecedentedly crappy year, there remain a few precious things in this life that all stalwart souls can be thankful for on this November 26. Donald Trump got his ass kicked. There’s some promising COVID vaccine news. The new season of Big Mouth comes out next week. And Stephen Colbert is still plugging away on The Late Show (or A Late Show, as he insists on differentiating his virtual, audience-free experience in the empty, echoing Ed Sullivan Theater). Plus, hey, it’s Thanksgiving! And you know what that means—time for some fresh, briny gonads, washed down by sloppily poured cider, and inedible-looking pseudo-cake on a dirty New York rooftop!

But we kid Colbert, his annual Thanksgiving guest in World Central Kitchen founder and garrulous culinary goofball José Andrés, and the city of New York. Andrés is always a fine match for Colbert, the renowned chef and philanthropist rushing Colbert through some seasonal recipes that inevitably turn out way, way better for Andrés. This Thanksgiving, since all the responsible, sensible, and not-fucking-stupid people are maintaining quarantine during the COVID playground that is holiday season, the two moved their yearly food catastrophe up to the rooftops, set up at either end of a liberally laid-out 10-foot table, and only then whipped off their protective masks. Andrés, gabbling merrily away as ever, noted that his motormouthed Spanish accent is hard enough to understand when you can see his lips move, something that happened at breakneck speed as he led the always-behind Colbert through some unconventional Thanksgiving dinner paces.

How unconventional, you might ask? Well, how does fresh Thanksgiving sea urchin grab you? Especially as Andrés and Colbert made a meal out of the chef’s insistence on calling the drippy, orange goo inside those Maine-harvested spike-traps, “gonads.” “Some of the saltiest gonads I’ve ever had,” was Colbert’s assessment, as the always-enthusiastic Andrés touted the fishermen and farmers across his adopted America who need our support. “America has such a bounty of amazing things that we should be supporting them as we bring new traditions to our Thanksgiving,” said Andrés, making the case for bottom-feeding ocean gonads to take their place as America’s new side dish. The man has two Michelin stars, people.

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After that, it was time for a time-honored glass of Spanish cider, poured, as Andrés insisted is the custom, from a great, splashy height. And then there was this “cake.” Mr. Andrés called it a cake, so that’s what we’re legally bound to call the thing he whisked together from sugar, cream cheese, pumpkin pie filling, and [shudder] mayonnaise, before slamming it into a waiting rooftop microwave. Admittedly, his came out better than Colbert’s abomination, and his garnish game was solid. But it must be noted that neither he nor Colbert actually tried the resulting thing on camera. Still, while it was cooking (or congealing), Colbert did take the two minutes to extol Andrés’ truly excellent and tireless work as his World Central Kitchen continues to bring millions of meals to needy people across this COVID, hurricane, wildfire, and other catastrophe-riddled globe. “Sometimes, you know, the big problems have very simple solutions,” said Andrés, “Feed the hungry and bring water to the thirsty.” Or at least a glass of November-cold roof-cider, poured from over your head.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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