Take One Thing Off Your Menu Right Now

Indrani Sen
Published in
2 min readNov 26, 2020

Photo: NWphotoguy/Getty Images

In normal years, my favorite advice for Thanksgiving morning comes from the food and culture writer Annaliese Griffin: Take one thing off your menu.

She means the extra pumpkin pie or that new Brussels sprouts salad recipe you clipped last week, that—seriously!—nobody will miss. But this year, maybe the thing you take off the menu should be… the turkey? Or the pressure you put on yourself to make things perfect? Or the whole damn thing?

Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with making today the day you binge The Crown (season 4 is great). Or go ahead and feast—but do it without the constraint of the traditional menu. Why bother with the green bean casserole when Aunt Norma is the only one who likes it anyhow, and you’re only seeing her on Zoom? Platter of nachos, anyone?

And actually, Griffin’s tip is good advice for any day. If there’s something that has been lingering on your to-do list for days or weeks, maybe you just aren’t going to do it. There’s something liberating in realizing that! Take it off.

As time-management expert Laura Vanderkam writes in her Forge column today, “The upside of acknowledging that you aren’t going to do something is that then you can accommodate this truth. … Throw yourself into your current responsibilities and the things you really are motivated to work on rather than burning brainpower worrying about ones you don’t want.”

This year, a lot of my family traditions and habits are off the menu, but I’m keeping the ones that really mean something to me: Pausing for a moment to rest, to be with people I love (in person or on Zoom), and to feel thankful.

Indrani Sen
Writer for

Editorial director at Medium, mom, gardener, cook. Formerly at Quartz.