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Public health officials urge COVID booster ahead of holidays

Speaker 1: (00:00)

And the status of COVID ahead of holiday gatherings

Speaker 2: (00:04)

Sleep. There's going to be lots of gatherings, but there are things that we can do to make sure they're safe for everyone.

Speaker 1: (00:10)

I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid-day edition. Our investigation continues into the racial covenants found in San Diego, housing deeds, and one family who fought against them.

Speaker 3: (00:32)

My mother was the Turman that, uh, um, she wanted the house

Speaker 1: (00:38)

And it's the season for beans greens, yams potatoes and Turkey. Chef Brandon Sloan joins us with expert advice for Turkey talk that's ahead on midday edition, The push to distribute booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine continues across the country. And just recently, Dr. Anthony Fowchee recommended the overwhelming majority of Americans should receive an additional dose. And with many families gathering again for the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow health officials continue to press Americans to keep their guard up and take every precaution to prevent a deadly winter surge. Joining the program now with a look ahead is Dr. Eric Topol director of the Scripps research translational Institute in LA Jolla. Dr. Topol, welcome back to the program.

Speaker 2: (01:36)

Thanks Jay. Great to be with you again,

Speaker 1: (01:38)

Our definition of fully vaccinated has changed somewhat given me addition of booster doses into our vaccine regimen. Uh, will we continue to need boosters as the pandemic goes on?

Speaker 2: (01:50)

Absolutely. We should consider fully vaccinated is three shots. That is the booster shot. When a person reaches six months, all these vaccines have significant waning. So by five or six months, a lot of that initial protection, which was terrific. 95% efficacy is faded. That is, it can get down to 60% or 70%, which is a big dropdown from 95%. So that's why it's imperative that everyone who's gotten the first two shots goes ahead and keeps that protection level as high as it can be. It is restored fully to at least 95%, which is terrific. And it may last for quite a long time.

Speaker 1: (02:31)

The deadlines for many San Diego vaccine mandates are approaching. What role do workplace mandates play in the fight against COVID-19?

Speaker 2: (02:39)

You know, it's really unfortunate. We had to go to this mandate route because you would have thought if you follow the science, these vaccines that have been given in billions of people that we would all want to get down and all be protected, but because of all the anti-vaccine and science, that's why the mandates became inevitable here, and we need to accelerate them. We need to get everyone vaccinated in order to deal with Delta, which is a hyper contagious virus stream. We need to get 90% of this country's population vaccine we're at 59%. We're so far short and we're in attrition because a lot of people that are had gotten early vaccinated have now gotten past six months and have had some declined protection. So we've got to get moving mandates work. They are really working well. And it's just so sad. We had to resort to that.

Speaker 1: (03:27)

The CDC has seemingly moved away from herd immunity, even as a tangible goal. Why is that?

Speaker 2: (03:33)

Well, we got, we're not going to get population level immunity. When we have 90 some thousand cases a day that are new and we're going up, the only way we could get to where we need to be as containment, which would be a few thousand cases a day in this so-called endemic state. So we get out of a pandemic. We go endemic, that's the goal no longer are we thinking we can squash zero. COVID no place really in the world can do that because it's such a hyper contagious strain and it could get worse. That is the virus could still evolve. So our goal is containment and we're going in the wrong direction right now. And unfortunately, we'll see the effects of that in California and San Diego as well.

Speaker 1: (04:14)

We haven't, COVID vaccines been able to reliably block transmission.

Speaker 2: (04:19)

We do block transmission in some respect. So first of all, before Delta, they had a great role in blocking transmission. Mo most of the transmission was reduced substantially with Delta, even in household contacts, which is a high risk zone for transmission spread. That is a there's reduction, but it isn't as much as it was in prior strains of the virus. But if you prevent infections, you prevent spread. And that's the greatest contribution of the vaccine. They prevent the darn infection to start with. And so that is why in Israel and in the UK, and now in Belgium, we're seeing the use of boosters on top of the initial vaccinations are blocking, spread, blocking new cases. And so that is really vital information that we're not incorporating in this country.

Speaker 1: (05:11)

What's the FDA status of the Merck antiviral COVID pill. And when can consumers expect it to hit the market. And do we know if it's safe to use with vaccines

Speaker 2: (05:21)

That hearing by the FDA is going to be next week and the publication of the trial is coming also next week. So we'll see more data. Uh, it certainly looked good. That is, there was about a 50% reduction in death or hospitalization. And the Pfizer drug similarly looks quite good as a pill that's taken for five days early in the course of, uh COVID. So it will work. There shouldn't be any reason why people who are vaccinated wouldn't benefit if they get COVID. But the key is to prevent COVID in the first place, but the pills are going to help us is give us yet another dimension of, uh, a powerful way to block the progression of the virus. Once someone has become infected, it does rely on getting tested early and we still don't have the best scenario for getting rapid testing, but that's something that will be necessary for the pills to work well.

Speaker 1: (06:14)

Several countries across the globe have recently re-instituted lockdowns and the world health organization is warning of a surge in deaths over the winter months is the same to be expected here in the United States.

Speaker 2: (06:27)

No, I don't think we're going to see any lockdowns in this country, but, uh, we don't even have mass use. I mean, we have no mitigation, so we have a long ways to go with it and scale that up. We're starting to see places in the country, bring back the requirement for mass it's. It's going to become inevitable that as this new fifth wave in the U S gains momentum, it's already started in the Midwest and the north new England states, as it gains momentum throughout the country, we're going to need to get back with masks and up our protection, the colony season, we know from last year with the monster wave, you know, breed spread. And so we're not doing enough to counter that, but we won't need lockdown

Speaker 1: (07:10)

Is COVID seasonal

Speaker 2: (07:11)

Well seasonal, depending on how you interpret, interpret that word when it gets cold colder. As we're seeing in states like Michigan and Minnesota and Vermont and New Hampshire people go indoors, and they're not only people gathering in doors often without mass, but also you have the air that's not unified, uh, not without filtration. And so that adds to the spread markedly. And so this was the problem now in Canada, which is colder than the U S colder than the states. I just mentioned. They're doing really well because they use mass plus vaccination. So our problem is we could cope with this change of season and the colder weather, if we were to up our defense mechanisms and we're not using them fully as we should.

Speaker 1: (08:01)

You mentioned long COVID earlier. Do we know if vaccines prevent this form of the disease?

Speaker 2: (08:07)

Well, there's a really good view reviewing the general nature of everything we know about the interaction between vaccines and long covert. And the bottom line is we still don't know that much, but if there is protection from vaccines from long COVID, it's, it's modest. It's not enough people who get COVID after vaccination. That is a breakthrough, have a risk of long COVID, that's substantial. Uh, it's reduced perhaps some, but not nearly as much as we would have hoped. Uh, and so, you know, that's another reason why boosters are important. We have a Washington post, um, essay today, Mike Foster home. And I, uh, about the necessity of boosters, even though the CDC has not urged them for people under age 50, all the data, all the data supports, how is essential that we use the boosters as a critical defense mechanism.

Speaker 1: (09:00)

Are there any variants of concern out there that officials are currently tracking or is Delta still the dominant strain?

Speaker 2: (09:07)

Delta? Is it, I mean, we have no new variant that is of a functional significance. Delta is so potent in terms of its transmission capability, that it will take, uh, be very difficult for another strain of this virus to overtake it. It is now taken over the entire world and all the sequencing that's being done now with the virus, there's no meaningful difference. This, this is it. And hopefully we won't have something beyond doubt that we just, this is bad enough. This is really, uh, take, if we had never had dealt that we would be past this pandemic now, but this is what's given us, uh, such a grand challenge.

Speaker 1: (09:48)

And you've said before that one of the biggest tools against COVID is testing. What are the major obstacles in getting more widespread testing at this point?

Speaker 2: (09:58)

Oh, gee, I, I don't understand why this country has not gotten it at his act together for testing in countries that are successful in managing even the Delta weight. They have free tests for everyone, an ample supply that either is mailed, or you can just pick up at a local pharmacy for free. We don't even have the tests here in, in the, in Europe, there's over a hundred rapid tests that are available. We have one not available and expensive. It should be free. It should be available to every household to pick up and it can be used like for the holiday gatherings. It's perfect that everybody does a rapid test before you gather and do it on a daily basis. You then, you know, you're not infectious. And if your test is positive, you stay away from other people. We're just not using this. And it's unfathomable. And we're still relying on antiquated means that are not these PCR tests that started the pandemic, or is not the answer that just tells us if you've been, if you've had the virus even remnant it, doesn't tell you if you're infectious and there's just no excuse that this country hasn't gotten this right yet. I am just so frustrated about it.

Speaker 1: (11:12)

We are still in a pandemic. We are coming up on the holidays here. Is it safe to, to travel and gather?

Speaker 2: (11:18)

Yeah. Well, if you've had your booster shot, yes, I'd say it is. But if not, I'd be worried if you're five, six months out. And as far as gathering, I would want to know that everybody I'm gathering with is fully vaccinated, which means if they're past that six month mark, they got a booster. So those are the considerations that I consider now, as far as safety for gathering, I mean, obviously there's going to be lots of gatherings for Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, but there are things that we can do to make sure they're safe for everyone. All

Speaker 1: (11:51)

Right. I've been speaking with Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps research translational Institute, Dr. Topo, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having me For decades in San Diego and across the us housing deeds with racist restrictions, blocked people of color from buying or renting homes. I knew source reporter Roxanna, Papa SKU has this story about how one San Diego family pushed back.

Speaker 4: (12:24)

Tom Hom is at the door of the house. He used to live in 74 years ago, but no one's home. If Hamas disappointed, he doesn't show it. Actually he's all smiles. He's remembering the big attic bedroom he used to share with his brothers, family gatherings, watching fireworks from his upstairs bedroom,

Speaker 3: (12:42)

Fond memories at this house here, all the dinners and things, bringing friends over. And here's where the family grew

Speaker 4: (12:53)

Up. His family lived a good life here. I

Speaker 3: (12:56)

Feel we're very fortunate to have spent all those days in this house.

Speaker 4: (12:59)

This home would never have been his, if it weren't for his mother's courage, the year was 1947 and whomps mother and her 12 children needed a bigger house. They set their sights on this spacious fixer upper in north park, but there was a problem. The family was Chinese American and the house was in a neighborhood where many properties had racially restrictive covenants,

Speaker 3: (13:20)

A restrictive covenant is that they designate, uh, who can live there, who, who are not allowed to live there. And most of these covenant were against minorities.

Speaker 4: (13:32)

These racial restrictions were prevalent throughout San Diego on properties from Julian to point Loma. In fact, I knew source found racist language and more than 10,000 historic property records across San Diego county, Mary Jo Wiggins, a law professor at the university of San Diego says restrictive covenants were a powerful deterrent for both buyers and sellers. That's because neighbors could Sue. If someone sold a house to a home buyer who wasn't,

Speaker 5: (13:56)

It was understood among the residents that these covenants were there. So that from day one, dis-incentivized any resident from selling their home, marketing their home, advertising their home to anyone who wasn't a member of the favored group

Speaker 4: (14:13)

In 1948, the Supreme court ruled that racial covenants are unconstitutional. But a year earlier when Hamza family was trying to buy a home, they were still in full force to land a home. His mother fought back with friendliness. Home describes her unusual way of winning over the neighbors.

Speaker 3: (14:30)

Uh, she went to house by house within four blocks and introduced herself and said that she had a number of children.

Speaker 4: (14:39)

She promised her kids would be well-behaved. And then she invited the neighbors over for tea, telling them

Speaker 3: (14:44)

I would like you to any time, come over the house and have tea with, with us. And so she may say made friends and nobody complained

Speaker 4: (14:53)

At his current home in Chula Vista, 94 year old home pulls out old photos of the house and his family.

Speaker 3: (15:00)

That's my mother. And then James is my brother because brother

Speaker 4: (15:07)

Moving into that home changed the course of Tom Holmes life and many other lives. In 1963, he became San Diego's first minority city council member. And as a real estate agent, he knocked on doors, just like his mother did to help Asian Americans buy homes in segregated neighborhoods. He says his mother was brave and determined and taught him the value of community connections.

Speaker 3: (15:29)

The other course was an immigrant, but we were raised in the city of San Diego. And, and, and so we're as American as anybody else.

Speaker 4: (15:40)

Eventually society caught up with the Supreme court and racial covenants fell out of fashion. More recently, a new law was signed in California in September. That will make it easier for homeowners to look up restrictive covenants and erase them. Hom says that while amending covenants is an option, it's more important to ensure that people are welcomed and not just on paper for KPBS. I'm I new source investigative reporter Roxanna, Papa Popescu.

Speaker 1: (16:03)

This story was co-produced by Cody Delaney and Mary Plummer. I knew source is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS.

Speaker 6: (16:19)

This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Jade Hyman. After last year's pandemic locked down Thanksgiving. This year celebration with family and friends gives us so much to be thankful for, but it does raise one big question. After last year, did we forget how to cook a big meal? So now more than ever midday additions, annual show Turkey talk is here with answers to your Thanksgiving questions. And before we begin, we'd like to salute our Turkey talk guests for many years. Chef Bernard GS, chef Bernard is retired now enjoying family life and cooking up something marvelous for his own Thanksgiving. Thanks so much chef Bernard for sharing so much with us over the years. Now this year, we are delighted to welcome chef Brandon Sloan culinary chef at Pendry San Diego's provisional kitchen. He's our Turkey talk expert, and we've heard from listeners who need some help preparing their special holiday meal. So chef Brandon happy Thanksgiving. Welcome to the show.

Speaker 7: (17:24)

Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 6: (17:26)

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and maybe your culinary journey?

Speaker 7: (17:31)

Sure, absolutely. I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Um, I'm now out here in San Diego at the Pendry hotel. I started culinary school back in Phoenix, Arizona. I went to Arizona state first and couldn't really find my niche until, uh, I got into the culinary world really started getting in the kitchen and I just kinda fell in love with it from there.

Speaker 6: (17:53)

And what are you looking forward to the most? This Thanksgiving?

Speaker 7: (17:57)

Well, you know, as a chef, we're usually spending Thanksgiving cooking for other people, but afterwards they usually on Friday get to spend it with my family. At least my family here in San Diego, which is mostly my friends and people that are also in the industry that get the day off after Thanksgiving. So we celebrate it together on that day.

Speaker 6: (18:18)

Now you recently hosted a chef's giving meal. Can you tell us about some of the dishes you made and what does that mean? Chefs giving?

Speaker 7: (18:25)

So we started this about four years ago. Um, every year we invite about six to eight different chefs around San Diego to do a version of their favorite Thanksgiving dish. And we do about a four-course meal. There's just two courses on each one $30 of each meal goes to the San Diego food bank. Each ticket sold, we'll provide 150 meals for each member of the community. And it should, it's just a really good time for the chefs to get out of their normal kitchens and to do something fun and different instead of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, I'm usually in charge of the Turkey. So this year we do something a little different, you know, like I said, out of the ordinary. So we did a more of a Greek style Turkey. We did a rotating shwarma with the leg and the breast meat. We slice it off and rolled it in a house-made PETA served over three different types of hummus. We also took the stuffing and combined it with falafel. So we had fried falafel stuffing on the plate and then cranberry to Ziggy. So you have, um, you know, traditional flavors with the Greek style Turkey dinner

Speaker 6: (19:35)

Just goes to show you can do Thanksgiving, Jen, just about any way possible.

Speaker 7: (19:40)

Yes. Yeah.

Speaker 6: (19:42)

Let's, let's get into some of the questions from our listeners.

Speaker 8: (19:45)

Hi, this is Ben from Claremont. I've never made a big Thanksgiving meal before, so I'm just wondering if he had any general advice and what's some of the easier stuff to make for those who don't have a whole lot of experience doing the sort of,

Speaker 7: (20:01)

Well, I guess we got to start with the Turkey. Um, when you have a big group of people, um, they say about a pound per person. So I actually think that's pretty accurate. Um, I like to cook like a big 20 pound Turkey. It's just more fun when you have a big Turkey, as opposed to like more of a 10, 12 pound Turkey. Um, it does take a little more experience, I would say, um, you don't necessarily have to cook a huge Turkey for Thanksgiving. You can actually just order Turkey breasts and do it that way. If you have like a smaller family of four, a whole Turkey is, is almost unnecessary, unless you love the Thanksgiving leftovers. Like I do, you don't necessarily need today. You can just get a Turkey breast from those store and roasted whole just like that. So typically I would just take one large Turkey breasts, salt and pepper symbol on the top.

Speaker 7: (20:52)

And then you want to put a little bit of Turkey stock in the bottom of the pan to keep it moist, and you can roast it in the oven and it'll be a much quicker, easier process to get that Turkey breast to the proper temperature. Um, I think a lot of people get stumped with, uh, with gravy and, you know, kind of stress over that as well. One tip I have for, for gravy nowadays is they, they sell really good bone broth, um, at different stores. And if you pick up like a nice thing, a bone broth, the only thing you'd have to do at that point is to create a roux. So you just get some flour and some butter and you cook that down in a pot and you add your bone broth slowly, and you have a really nice gravy. You don't even have to, you know, spend the day taking all the bones from the Turkey and roasting them and making a traditional Turkey stock to have a nice gravy.

Speaker 6: (21:43)

I like that. Now a few of our listeners have questions specifically about Turkey preparation and here they are,

Speaker 9: (21:51)

The Thanksgiving shift, Brandon, this is Kurt from marina Del Ray. Do you have to fight the Turkey before cooking? Or can you cook it frozen,

Speaker 7: (22:00)

Cannot cook a Turkey frozen. I would not recommend that. So you definitely want to get your Turkey a few days ahead of time. Don't wait and scramble at the last minute and get your Turkey because most of the time they are frozen from the store. And you want to give yourself a couple of days in the refrigerator to naturally Thall out. That's typically the best way to be frosted Turkey, the safest way. Um, once your defroster Turkey for me, I do it the same way every year. I take the legs off of the Turkey and then you can cook the legs and the breasts properly separate. So for me, I like to cook the breasts on the bone. I season it, or I Brian at first, then once I brine it for about two days, I take it out. I season it with salt and pepper and I let it dry for a day in the fridge.

Speaker 7: (22:49)

And that's, what's going to help create a really crispy skin on the outside. Cooking for just the breasts is pretty simple. I, I turned the oven up to about 500 degrees, uh, very hot at the beginning. We put it on a rack and put it into the oven until you start to see some color on the skin. Once you start to see the skin starting to turn a golden brown, you're going to want to turn down your oven to about three 50 and allow the breasts to cook to 1 55 internal temperature after removing it from the oven. Let it sit on your counter for about 30 minutes and the heat should carry over the Turkey breasts to about 1 65, which would be perfect temperature for a moist Turkey breasts.

Speaker 6: (23:31)

I can testify chef. You cannot cook it frozen because I tried many years ago. It's just not possible.

Speaker 7: (23:40)

Yeah, definitely. Don't try and cook it from frozen and definitely don't put it in your deep prior.

Speaker 6: (23:46)

Okay. So here's another question.

Speaker 10: (23:49)

Hi chef. My name's Connor. I'm from San Diego. And my question is what is the best way to season the Turkey?

Speaker 7: (23:55)

So as described before, I like to Brian, my Turkey first, the Brian that I like to use, I like to do fennel with orange. I think those two flavors really go well together and add some nice freshness and acidity to the Turkey as well. So once you Brian, your Turkey for about two days, you're going to have a lot of flavor already inside of the Turkey from just sitting in that salt and sugar mixture. After that, you'd simply just need a little bit of salt and pepper inside underneath the skin and on the outside. Other than that, I like to take some butter and put it on under the skin before I roast it.

Speaker 6: (24:31)

Uh, so that butter under the skin is a good idea because people no longer have two days to brighten their Turkey, any other's suggestions as to seasoning for a Turkey other than butter.

Speaker 7: (24:43)

Sure. You know, there's so many different routes. Like I kinda explained and chefs giving that every year, I like to do something different. So even at home, if you have like a nice Cajun seasoning is always fun, or I don't know if you'd like to get wild and do like maybe a Curry seasoning one year Turkey is, is fun and it should be, it should be fine. I mean, you can treat it differently every year. For me, I'm, I'm a traditionalist. I like salt, pepper, and, uh, maybe some herbs, but that's about it for me.

Speaker 6: (25:12)

Here's a question about actually cooking the Turkey.

Speaker 11: (25:15)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Hello, chef Brandon. This is Mary from Alpine. My question is, is it better to use Turkey bag, uh, and cook the Turkey in Turkey bag in the oven or use the traditional methods and base the Turkey. Thank you. And happy Thanksgiving,

Speaker 7: (25:35)

To be honest, I have not, um, cooked Turkey in a bag since I was a kid that like my mom used to do it that way and I kind of grew up doing it that way. But once I started cooking professionally, I think doing it more of a traditional route and basting it and really be careful with the thermometer, not to overcook it is, is really the way to go nowadays, you can cook it at a bag, but Suvi and, uh, that's what a lot of chefs are, are going towards nowadays because it keeps your Turkey breasts moist. It can hold warm for a very long time, especially in a restaurant setting, which makes it easier for the chefs to keep the Turkey moist throughout the night.

Speaker 7: (26:17)

This is, um, a more modern and precise way to cook. They sell immersion circulators. Um, now you can get them on Amazon. You can get a nice farm for about 150 bucks. Um, basically you stick it into water, like a pot of water, and it holds the water temperature, a consistent temperature, which would be equal to what you're wanting your Turkey to be cooked to. So you put your Turkey breasts into a bag, you season it and you take the air out of the bag and you put it into the water until the Turkey breast is cooked all the way through allowing it to cook to the exact temperature.

Speaker 6: (26:56)

Got it. One of our favorite midday edition gasps legal analyst, Dan Eaton has a very non-legal question about smaller Thanksgiving gatherings. Here's Dan.

Speaker 2: (27:07)

The fact is that in these COVID era, even now with some opening gatherings are not as large as they used to be. So here's the question. People are increasingly, uh, cooking a Turkey breasts rather than whole turkeys. And the challenge there, particularly if it's a Turkey breast, uh, that is, uh, without bones, how do you keep the Turkey voiced and how do you get the same effect that you have when you're cooking a whole Turkey? When you're just, uh, cooking a boneless Turkey breast, if you could solve that problem, you are better than any internet source that I have consulted over the last week.

Speaker 7: (27:49)

Wow, well cooking Turkey breasts. Um, you can definitely keep it moist and it doesn't need to be a challenge either. So I would take a nice shallow pan. If you have a rack that can keep the Turkey breasts lifted up off the bottom of the pan, that would be best. What you're going to do is take some Turkey stock or chicken stock and put it in the bottom of the pan, put some herbs, maybe some onion, garlic, Rosemary, um, some Sage, and put that into the stock at the bottom. Then put your rack on and put the breast over the top. Make sure your, your Turkey breast is nice and seasoned, and then you're gonna cook it in the oven. And the moisture from the Turkey stock underneath should keep the, the meat nice and moist and keeping your skin nice and crispy over the top.

Speaker 6: (28:41)

And how are you going to season it? Just with the butter and salt and pepper?

Speaker 7: (28:44)

Yeah, you can do it just like how you would a whole Turkey. You can continue to base it throughout the process with butter and salt pepper, lots of herbs, a nice poultry seasoning would be, would be great as well.

Speaker 6: (28:58)

More listeners, more questions here they are.

Speaker 12: (29:01)

Hello. Chef's alone. And the KPBS team. This is Lily from San Diego. Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Um, my question is, do you use the turkeys giblets and the spices in your stuffing? Thank you, chef and happy Thanksgiving.

Speaker 7: (29:16)

Happy Thanksgiving for me. I try to read my audience and kind of see who I have over for Thanksgiving. If it's a, if I have a couple of other fellow chefs over, I'm definitely going to be using the giblets inside the stuffing and maybe even in the, in the sauce as well. Um, I think the liver adds great flavor to any, any gravy or stuffing, but you know, not everyone is, uh, is a big fan of the giblets. And especially for kids, it's not necessarily to have them in there. So if they're adventurous eaters, I would do go for it. But if not, I would leave them out.

Speaker 6: (29:49)

Okay. And here's another question.

Speaker 13: (29:52)

Oh, Brandon. And they KPPs team. This is Allie from Rancho Bernardo. I want to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. And my question is what's the difference between stuffing and dressing. Thank you.

Speaker 7: (30:06)

The age old question, dressing and stuffing for me, I think it's always been kind of a regional thing. I grew up in the Midwest and, um, I had half of my family calling it dressing, and half of it calling it stuffing, I always kind of leaned towards the stuffing side of it. Um, but I, I believe stuffing is stuffed inside this Turkey and baked and the dressing is not and cooked on the side, but you know, up for debate, I would say on that one

Speaker 6: (30:37)

Basically interchangeable. What do you prefer? We're not supposed to cook the stuffing in the bird anymore. Right.

Speaker 7: (30:46)

You know, if you do it the way I was describing, what's doing the, the Turkey breasts separate from the legs. I think it's best to do it on the side and not in a separate pan. And it can really get more crispy edges. If you do it on a pan, if you do it in the Turkey, it stays moist, but you don't really get those like crispy edges.

Speaker 6: (31:05)

So do you have a dish that you're most excited to make this Thanksgiving? Tell us about it.

Speaker 7: (31:11)

Ooh. Well, I find that I am the master of mashed potatoes. Um, that's my go-to. Everyone always asks me to make it for them every year. If you'd like, I can let you in, on my, on my secrets,

Speaker 6: (31:24)

Your secrets.

Speaker 7: (31:27)

So if you're about a potato per person, or maybe depending on the size of the potatoes, I would say a little bit less. I'd take heavy cream and butter. I don't, I don't mess around with the milk. I just go straight to the heavy cream. Um, and it's only one time a year that you're you're in Thanksgiving. So as soon as I started boiling my potatoes, I have a separate pot going with the heavy cream and the butter on a very low simmer. I take about five, six, close the garlic, and that's simmering in there with Rosemary and time, whole Rosemary and time. Once the potatoes are done boiling and cooked all the way through, I straightened them out, straight out the water and I press it through a potato masher. So our ricer, this gets, um, nice and fluffy mashed potatoes. And as soon as those potatoes come out of the ricer, I whisk it into my butter and cream mixture, which should be nice and thick at this point. Cause it's been cooking down for, you know, probably about 35 to an hour. Then you pull out your, your Rosemary and your time stems, just so people don't get eat on those. And then you have a nice, smooth potato garlicky puree. I

Speaker 6: (32:39)

Think you've just elevated the mashed potato experience for the entire county.

Speaker 7: (32:44)

You gotta make sure you keep those a whole chunks of garlic in there and, and kind of whisk it into the potatoes. So you get, you still get some pieces of the garlic, but they're also mixed up in there.

Speaker 6: (32:55)

Fabulous. Our listeners have more questions for you. So let's hear what they have to say.

Speaker 14: (33:00)

Hi, I'm Eric from allied gardens. You know, a lot of the science of cooking, a good Turkey for Thanksgiving seems to be centered on the method, but it rarely seems to deviate much from the typical holiday roast bird flavor. Are there alternatives to the classic roast Turkey flavors that you've tried or would recommend to people who want to try something new this holiday and happy Thanksgiving?

Speaker 7: (33:21)

Yeah, I, I definitely liked to mix up the traditional flavors. Um, I spent, you know, 20 years eating the same flavored Turkey. So when I was in charge, I like to mix it up one year, I did a smoked Turkey breasts. Um, for me like smoking any kind of chicken or, or poultry is it comes out awesome. Um, if you're familiar with smokers, it's, it's really fine. It creates like an all day experience and, um, you can cook outside and a lot more fun for me. And then I've also done fried Turkey, you know, like, uh, a crispy Kentucky fried Turkey is always fine and different. You do a nice buttermilk soak and then do a nice breading and deep fry. The Turkey is also a really fun alternative,

Speaker 6: (34:10)

But not if it's frozen,

Speaker 7: (34:12)

Not if it's frozen.

Speaker 6: (34:14)

I think we have a question from one of the younger members of our audience.

Speaker 15: (34:19)

I'm ed. I live in San Diego, I'm in sixth grade and I'm having Thanksgiving dinner with my grandparents, I'm vegan. And they're not, I was wondering what are some dishes that we can make to everyone? Like

Speaker 7: (34:30)

You can make so many different things and just because you're big, it shouldn't stop you from making some really great food on Thanksgiving. The squash is definitely a great vegetable for making things vegan and vegetarian and doing fun things with, cause they they're very versatile. You can stuff them. Um, you can take the filling and do so many different things with them. For me, I like to do a whole stuff, squash and to do more of a vegan stuffing, put it inside the squash and roast it whole in the oven. Um, that's always a fun thing to do for the vegan guests.

Speaker 6: (35:02)

And how was vegan stuffing different from regular stuffing?

Speaker 7: (35:06)

Well, you can still keep the traditional flavors. You can have your onion, celery, garlic, your, your breadcrumbs, just make sure you use something that doesn't use milk or butter, something more like a sourdough. And then you use a vegetable stock instead of Turkey stock. Um, they even make a really great vegan butter nowadays that you, you just follow almost the exact same stuffing recipe and just sub out for vegan ingredients.

Speaker 6: (35:34)

Let's go to another question. Hi, this is Kim and

Speaker 16: (35:37)

Lamesa, I'm wondering, do you think it's worth it to make your own cranberry sauce? Thanks.

Speaker 7: (35:43)

I definitely think it's worth it's make your own cranberry sauce. Um, yeah, I never was a big fan of the, uh, the Gigli stuff out of the, out of the can. Um, yeah, I like, uh, get some frozen cranberries, um, very easy to make, take them right from frozen. Put them in a pot. I like to use some kind of bourbon or rum with it. Um, you can just pour the rum or bourbon right in there with the cranberries. Um, add, add a little bit of sugar. You can always adjust the sugar at the end. Um, depending on how, how bitter you like your cranberries. Um, I always like to do it with a little bit of orange zest and orange juice. Uh, definitely throw in some whole cinnamon sticks and then from there, and just let it simmer until it all comes together and in a nice thick jam,

Speaker 6: (36:30)

It was like a cranberry sauce. I'd like, thank you for that. And now we've been talking a lot about the main course and side dishes. Let's get into the best desserts to pair with a holiday meal. Do you have any recommendations on desserts to make for Thanksgiving that are not pies?

Speaker 7: (36:49)

You can always make a really great bread pudding that is something easy to make. And typically people have a lot of bread around Thanksgiving time. So you only need a few simple ingredients to make it. Um, you just take some eggs and milk with those up together and you want to add your spices that you like. I like to do like cinnamon and not mag like to do a little bit of clove and allspice and coriander inside there. You can do some chopped apples, uh, some winter fruits. You can do pears, um, different things like that. And you simply just pour it over the bread. You're going to want to add your sugar into the egg mix as well. And you bake that and it'll make a nice custardy bread pudding.

Speaker 6: (37:34)

Yeah, it sounds good. And one of our listeners has a dessert related question for you

Speaker 17: (37:40)

Chef. My name is Shauna. I live in Bonzul. Thank you so much. First of all, for taking my question and happy Thanksgiving, um, I just wanted to know, so every year I make a pumpkin cheesecake and I love it. It's a huge hit. My family loves it as well, but I typically buy a pre-made store-bought Graham cracker crust. And this year I really want to go all out and make it really homemade and make my own homemade Graham cracker crust. So I was wondering if you had any tips and tricks on making a really delicious one.

Speaker 7: (38:09)

We don't need a lot to make a really great Graham cracker crust. Um, by the way, the pumpkin cheesecake sounds like a great idea. Graham cracker crust. You want to buy some nice Graham crackers. You know, I think the honey, the honey gold ones are the most traditional, but you blend those up and you're want to get a good amount of butter. You want an enough butter to definitely co all the Graham crackers and melt that down and add any additional spices. You'd like, I like to add a little bit of honey, um, to give it a little bit of different sweetness, a little different flavor, a little bit of nutmeg that I grind up in there. And cinnamon, after you mix that all together, it should, it should feel like a wet sand. Um, you're going to push that into your pie tin and make sure you press it from that's the key you need to make sure you press it really firm. And then I usually let it sit in the fridge to, to firm up. Um, you can also do these ahead of time, put them in the freezer and I know Thanksgiving's coming up. So it's a little late for that, but good planning for next year.

Speaker 6: (39:11)

And of course we must pair all this delicious food with something to drink. Right. Here's another listener's question,

Speaker 18: (39:18)

Chef Brandon. This is Ben from Del Cerro. My question for you is what beverages pair well with the Thanksgiving dinner.

Speaker 7: (39:24)

Thank you for me. I, I, I like white wine typically with, with Thanksgiving dinner. Um, for me, the red wine kind of overpowers the Turkey and some of the herbs that you use and the, the subtle flavors and Thanksgiving dinner. So for me, I like to have like a nice Blanc or Chardonnay that really pairs well with the, the light gravy and the white Turkey meat. Um, also if you want to do like a, a fun cocktail, definitely something with bourbon and maybe apple ciders, or is it good? A good route as well.

Speaker 6: (39:59)

San Diego is known for its beer. So are there any beer with Turkey recommendations,

Speaker 7: (40:07)

Beer with Turkey? Um, there's so many great breweries around San Diego. For me. I like north park brewing. They have a really great it's called the birdie and bogey. I believe they made it for, uh, some Frisbee golfers out here in San Diego, but it's a really clean, crisp, easy drinking Thanksgiving beer. Um, you can have a couple of them and not be too full for, for Thanksgiving dinner.

Speaker 6: (40:33)

A lot of people plan to eat out on Thanksgiving. What is your restaurant planning for Thanksgiving

Speaker 7: (40:40)

Doing a three course Thanksgiving meal here at the Pendry and includes three courses, uh, with a great dessert at the end. We also offer Thanksgiving to go. I know it's difficult to cook if you're only two people or three people or what, even by yourself, so you can get, um, Thanksgiving to go for your house, includes a holiday pie for Thanksgiving here at the Pendry. We're doing, um, a couple of fun dishes. Uh, we're doing a nice butternut squash soup. Um, we're doing a brown butter Naoki with some crispy pork belly and some fried Sage on top. And then we also have a really nice Chantrelle mushroom and goat cheese. Tareen something a little different vegetarian option. We do a pecan caramel apple stuffing with our Turkey. We also, if you're not really feeling Turkey this year, we have a nice mustard, persimmon mustard, glaze salmon, and a really awesome braised, short ribs for people that aren't in the Turkey. Something

Speaker 6: (41:40)

For everybody,

Speaker 7: (41:41)

Something for everyone,

Speaker 6: (41:43)

For everyone preparing a Thanksgiving meal, what should they be doing today to get ready for the feasts tomorrow?

Speaker 7: (41:50)

You can actually get a lot of things done ahead of time. That will save you a lot of time on Thanksgiving day so that you can spend more time with your family. Um, for me, I like to always peel my potatoes for the mashed potatoes the day before. Um, keep them in water. Uh, no that doesn't sound like a, it would save you a lot of time, but really all you gotta do is pour it in the pot and turn it on at that point. A lot of little things like that will definitely help you save time. Um, your stuffing can definitely be done the day before and reheated. I would not recommend it in that the day of Thanksgiving gravy can definitely be done the day before, unless you'd like to take the drippings from the Turkey, which I like to do. So you might be able to save that one for the day of Thanksgiving. Um, cranberry sauce should definitely be done before Thanksgiving. That one's, that one's easy to do. Other than that, you know, you've got your Turkey and your brine, um, and just be ready to be able to just put everything in the oven, you know, so you don't have to take things out of containers, put them into pots. You could just put the pot right into the fridge and save yourself some, some extra dishes.

Speaker 6: (42:59)

Well, chef, I know that you're going to be busy, busy, busy on Thanksgiving itself, but how are you going to be celebrating this year?

Speaker 7: (43:06)

You know, most of my family is back in the Midwest, but I do have friends family over here in San Diego. So we're, we're doing like a fun friends Thanksgiving the day after all my friends like to bring, uh, a couple of dishes. Uh, I usually still do the Turkey, even though I'm going to be working. I find time to, uh, get the Turkey done. Um, yeah, it should be a great time.

Speaker 6: (43:29)

It's so important for all of us to remember the things we're grateful for. Maybe especially this year. I know I'm grateful for my family and for living here in San Diego, would you share with us chef, what are some of the things you're grateful for?

Speaker 7: (43:42)

Yeah, I'm, I'm definitely a grateful for a lot of things this year, you know, going through this pandemic and you definitely, um, don't take things for granted. Um, I actually was able to get married this year after, after about a year of postponement. So, um, I'm definitely thankful for my new wife and, um, you know, our first Thanksgiving as a married couple this year and just thankful for my health and my family's health. And that's about it.

Speaker 6: (44:10)

I can't thank you enough for speaking with us today. Thank you for sharing your insights, being on the show, being our Turkey talk expert. And I want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving from all of us at KPBS.

Speaker 7: (44:23)

Thank you so much. Happy Thanksgiving.

Speaker 6: (44:31)

We have several of chef Brandon Sloan's delicious Thanksgiving recipes on our website, kpbs.org.

Speaker 19: (44:39)

I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Heinemann from all of us at midday edition, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

With many families gathering for the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, health officials continue to urge Americans to get fully vaccinated, which includes a booster shot six months after the initial vaccination. Plus, for decades in San Diego and across the U.S., housing deeds with racist restrictions blocked people of color from buying or renting homes, how one San Diego family pushed back. And, as families gather (many the first time in two years), maybe you need to freshen up your Turkey Day game. Chef Brandon Sloan from Pendry Hotels answers listeners' questions and gives out tips to make your Thanksgiving meal a feast.