Ashlie Stevens in Salon:
My last pandemic Thanksgiving dinner began in a jet black convertible-turned-restaurant booth where I watched as a teenaged pizzamaker took a break from scattering toppings on my 18-inch Supreme pie to take a hit and turn up “Heartbreakin’ Man” by My Morning Jacket. Spinelli’s Pizzeria in Louisville’s Highland neighborhood possesses a kind of curated grime. It’s covered in graffiti-style art (which is unsurprising because its staff is often a rotation of local taggers) and is packed with muscle car and pop culture ephemera, including a floor-to-ceiling mural of a nude Burt Reynolds lounging on a bear skin rug. It’s also open until 5 a.m. almost every day — including on Thanksgiving.
I’ve had other slightly unorthodox holiday dinners. Through grad school, my friends and I would hold a “Pies & Sides” party where turkey was the only thing that was decidedly unwelcome on the table. A few years before that, my sister and I were both recovering from the flu and opted out of the Big Thanksgiving with family. We ended up at a stripmall Indian buffet, instead, and savored the saag paneer and chicken korma after a week and a half of plain toast and crackers. There was last year’s pizza dinner, consumed while wondering how long it would be until a vaccine against the virus would hit the market; it didn’t feel quite right to celebrate until it had. There have been Thanksgivings on the road, alone and everything in between.