Spiced turkey, bourbon pecan pie and more: Thanksgiving recipes that will impress your guests

The Times has published a lot of impressive Thanksgiving recipes that are worth checking out.
(Silvia Razgova)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, Nov. 24. I’m Justin Ray.

Millions of people will return to the Thanksgiving table this week for the first time in two years, thanks to vaccinations, boosters and rapid tests. California is urging residents not to let their guard down despite the state‘s having one of the lowest infection rates in the country.

An estimated 3.8 million Southern Californians will be driving to their holiday destinations — up 9% from last year and only 1% less than in 2019, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. Major metro areas are expected to face the heaviest congestion on Wednesday from 1:30 to 6 p.m.

I won’t be releasing another newsletter until Monday, but I wanted to use this edition before the break to discuss a subject I haven’t talked about a lot in Essential California: FOOD! The Times has published a lot of impressive Thanksgiving recipes that are worth checking out:

You can find more recipes here. One last thing: Some Los Angeles restaurants are making great takeout meals for turkey day.


And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.


Bestselling novelist Ann Patchett is publishing her second book of essays, but she has no plans to go on a conventional book tour — possibly ever again. “I’m very glad to know at the end of every day that I am not going to be sleeping in a Marriott,” she told The Times. Patchett will meet with the Los Angeles Times Book Club on Dec. 9 — virtually, of course. Ahead of the meeting, she talked to The Times about book tours, Tom Hanks and “These Precious Days,” her new work. Los Angeles Times

Here is the list of nominees for the 64th Grammy Awards. Our own Randall Roberts also broke down all the snubs and surprises, including an unexpected best new artist nominee. Also, if you are wondering why Adele wasn’t nominated, we explained why.

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Why has our political culture turned so ugly? In a compelling new podcast, Ben Bradford cites a change in how we nominate our candidates for president. He says the reform diminished the role of political professionals and encouraged appeals to the more ideological — which is to say polarizing — segments of the two major parties. “You have different incentives as a candidate to what kind of voters you’re going to reach out to in a primary system than you would if you’re trying to get the approval of party leaders who want centrists,” said Bradford, a Los Angeles-based reporter and independent audio producer. Los Angeles Times

Tim Draper is a venture capitalist behind an initiative that would functionally dismantle public-sector unions in the state. In order to appear on the ballot, the measure’s supporters need to drum up about 1 million signatures before the spring; that might be difficult, considering one in 10 California residents works in the sector that the measure would affect. But Draper spent over $5 million on a previous challenge to California’s government, only losing his campaign to break California into three new states when the state Supreme Court intervened. The New Republic


While organized retail theft is nothing new, a weekend in which high-end stores in famed shopping districts were hit by large and seemingly sophisticated theft rings has generated national attention. The reaction to the thefts has followed now-familiar political lines, with some conservatives blaming California’s criminal justice reform policies. It should be noted, however, there isn’t a massive increase in such crimes. Robberies in 2021 are up 3.2% in Los Angeles compared with 2020, but are 14.1% lower than in 2019. In and around Union Square in San Francisco, robberies fell nearly 5% from 2020 to 2021, while burglaries fell 2.3%. Los Angeles Times

San Jose State has announced that it reached a $3.3-million settlement with 15 former student athletes who were reportedly sexually harassed by a longtime sports trainer. The payout follows a federal civil rights investigation that found San Jose State did not take adequate action in response to the athletes’ reports and retaliated against two employees who raised repeated concerns to the university about Scott Shaw, the former trainer and director of sports medicine. As recently as February 2020, a student alleged improper touching by Shaw, but he continued to work at the university until he retired in August 2020. Shaw’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment. He has denied allegations, according to multiple news outlets. Los Angeles Times

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Santa Cruz County reinstates indoor mask mandate. California currently has one of the lowest coronavirus infection rates in the country, but health officials are still concerned about a winter surge. That possibility led Santa Cruz County to reinstate its mask requirement, just a few days after neighboring Monterey County lifted its mandate. “Unfortunately, a potential winter surge appears to be a significant threat to the health and safety of our community,” said Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel said in a statement. KTLA

The COVID-19 surge still affecting Central California is so dire that health officials are pleading with state officials to make it easier to transfer hospital patients to areas like Los Angeles County. Officials in the San Joaquin Valley are expecting a difficult winter. Vaccination rates are still relatively low, and in Fresno County, the region’s most populous county, the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is quadruple what is being seen in L.A. and Orange counties, and more than quintuple that of the San Francisco Bay Area. “We don’t have enough hospitals to serve the population and the needs,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, the Fresno County interim health officer. Los Angeles Times


Many Latino and Asian immigrants in California feel discrimination at work, in healthcare, when using government benefits and when encountering law enforcement. Those are the findings from the Research on Immigrant Health and State Policy Study (RIGHTS), released by UCLA. Latino and Asian immigrants see their experience in California as negative, despite being in a state with more inclusive policies than others. A total of 2,000 immigrants in California were surveyed, half of them Latino, half Asian. Respondents live in three regions: the Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. Modesto Bee

Video showing a youth sports referee being tackled by an adult at a youth soccer game has been forwarded to the Placer County District Attorney to determine whether criminal charges will be pursued. The incident happened during a game between two teams of 15-year-old boys at Festersen Park in Roseville last month. NorCal Premier is the sanctioning organization that oversees competitive youth soccer games throughout Northern California. The Roseville Police Department confirmed that officers responded shortly after the incident, but that there are conflicting versions of what led up to the confrontation captured on camera. KCRA

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Los Angeles: Look at this soccer doggo. 73 San Diego: 69 San Francisco: 63 San Jose: Look at this pet rat doing an obstacle course. 66 Fresno: 59 Sacramento: 63


Today’s California memory is from Alyse Streitberger:

We were college students in Iowa during the mid 1950s when an ad in the newspaper enticed us. “California Needs Cars. Drive one there for FREE!” Of course we signed up. During Christmas vacation, we picked up a Cadillac in Des Moines, found Route 66 in Missouri, added a hitchhiking couple in Kansas and delivered that car to San Bernardino. The dealer quickly yanked off the Iowa license plates and dumped them in the trash can. “California Needs Cars” I have often wondered about the legality of that youthful Route 66 adventure.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

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