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Plan Your Thanksgiving Dinner (and the Rest of Your Meals) with Recipe Webcomics

Maybe you waited until the last minute to plan your Thanksgiving menu, or you’re still looking for the perfect side dish to bring to that potluck. Perhaps you need some new drink ideas to survive time with your relatives, or maybe you just want to forget about the holiday and cook something — anything — that isn’t turkey. Whatever your food or beverage problem, webcomics come to your rescue with irreverent and easy-to-follow recipes to help you survive Turkey Day.

Earlier this fall, we highlighted Saveur‘s excellent Recipe Comix series in which cartoonists, largely webcomic creators, share their favorite recipes in sequential form. More recently, Saveur has added a handful of Thanksgiving-appropriate recipes to their growing collection, including Jillian Tamaki’s spanakopita, John Donohue’s spinach Madeleine and Cat and Girl creator Dorothy Gambrell’s recipe for a perfect Thanksgiving Alone:

Note: The Thanksgiving Alone can be applied liberally even when you merely wish you were spending Thanksgiving alone.

It was just after Thanksgiving last year that L. Nichols launched his food-themed webcomic Drawn Butter, where he shares his secrets to the perfect pumpkin pie (with an apparent cameo by Johnny Wander‘s Yuko), plus the pastry crust:


If you’re still looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, try his walnut maple scones, peach cobbler or lemon butter cookies. And for less-Thanksgivingy savory options, Drawn Butter offers everything from chicken and dumplings to French onion soup, and how to make essentials like chicken, beef and shrimp stocks.

When Sarah Becan originally launched I think you’re sauceome, her goals were twofold: to improve her body image and pay more attention to what she eats. But as she started eating better and liking more of what she saw in the mirror, her comic gradually shifted focus to become a celebration of food. In between food porn illustrations of her favorite Chicago restaurant dishes, she shows off her new-found love of cooking. Sushi is a particular obsession of Becan’s, and she has a multi-page primer on rolling your own maki. Her illustrated alter ego can also teach you to sear scallops, grill portobello burgers, bake lamb meatballs and marinate taco-bound shrimp, although for Thanksgiving, caramelizing onions and stuffing peppers might be more useful skills. And, if you’re looking for a fowl alternative to turkey, consider Becan’s cider roasted chicken:


Tyler Capp’s Cooking Comically serves up photo recipes with a side of dancing stick figure dudes. He’s tackled 2 AM chili, teriyaki burgers, sexy pancakes and caramel apples. Now that winter is coming, he has the perfect food for friends gathered around a warm fire: hobo pies:


Lucy Knisley’s mother was once a chef, so it’s no surprise that many of her comics revolve around food. In her comic travelogue French Milk, she ate her way through Paris, and she occasionally posts recipe comics online. If you want to make your own pickles or chai tea syrup, Knisley is your comic gal. Plus, once you’ve gobbled up those leftovers, she has some ideas for that forgotten fish fillet sitting in your freezer:

If your Thanksgiving tastes run more liquid than solid, there are drink recipes aplenty. In addition to Dorothy Gambrell’s Thanksgiving Alone, you could test out Dr. McNinja creator Chris Hastings’ ginger cocktails, A Softer World co-creator Emily Horne’s Noonday Reviver (perfect for the morning after) or Sarah Becan’s favorite mint julep. Drawn Butter takes the classic route, with advice on mixing martinis, sazeracs, whiskey sours, Bloody Marys and milk punch. Cooking Comically recommends spiking the whipped cream with a healthy dose of bourbon to keep your blood alcohol level up all through dessert.

But if you’d prefer something festive that won’t kill your liver, Johnny Wander has the ultimate non-alcoholic party drink: the Ecto-Cooler smoothie:

Of course, Thanksgiving isn’t just for stuffing your face and drinking until you’re too numb to argue about politics. It’s also a time to reflect on the things we’re grateful for and remember those who could use a little extra help during the holiday season. With that in mind, TGT Media released Webcomics: What’s Cooking? earlier this fall. The book features recipe comics by more than 50 cartoonists, including Caanan Grall (Max Overacts), David Reddick (Legend of Bill), Eben Burgoon and Dan Bethel (Eben07), Lora Innes (The Dreamer) and Emy Bitner (Trying Human), and the proceeds go to food banks in the United States and Canad. So you can sample the talents (and recipes) of a variety of cartoonists while helping to feed families in need.

Now I just need the perfect comic to describe that most delicious crime against nature, the turducken. It takes the starring role at my family’s Thanksgiving dinners, and I have a perverse desire to see a cartoonist take a crack at all that butchering.

Do you have any comic recipes you swear by? What’s going on your table this Thanksgiving? And has anyone dared to try the Ecto-Cooler smoothie?

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