Part of the reason that ABC News correspondent Steve Osunsami, 46, goes all out for Thanksgiving is because he can. The son of Nigerian immigrants, he grew up in Peoria, Illinois housing projects eating government cheese. “You know, it came in those big blocks?” His mother would cook on Sundays, but otherwise it was Shake ’N Bake chicken. “We were never able to do things nicely growing up,” he says. “We always had to shortcut it.” Now, Osunsami calls Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, and David Muir colleagues—and friends—and he’s afforded himself the ability to celebrate and “pull out all our best liquor!”
Gathered around Osunsami’s table is, as he puts it with a full-bellied laugh, his “very modern family.” There’s his husband, Joe Remillard, an artist (his oil paintings line the walls of their dining room) who teaches at Kennesaw State University; Remillard’s ex-wife Marguerite Madden, a professor at the University of Georgia and director of its Center for Geospatial Research; and their daughter, Ayn Remillard.
After hours in his LaVista Park kitchen, Osunsami brings his dishes to the dining room: corn, carrots, peas, sausage stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread drizzled with butter and honey, turkey, and ham. “That’s in case I screw up the turkey,” says Osunsami. But he never does.
Division of Labor
Osunsami runs the show in the kitchen; Remillard decorates the table and ultimately portions out the turkey. “He was raised in the country,” says Madden. “He knows how to carve a turkey!” Indeed, Remillard was one of 14 children who grew up on a dairy farm in Clinton County, New York.
The Prayer (Sort Of)
“We’re not religious, but we do a thing,” says Osunsami. Before Remillard carves the turkey, the couple takes a moment to give an earnest toast. “We’re so thankful that every person at this table is in our lives,” Osunsami says. His glass tumbles to its side as he tries to grab a hold of it. “I spilled my drink, but that’s okay. Cheers!”
Carrot cake. He keeps it moist with a secret ingredient: crushed pineapple. Also, “I believe in a cream cheese frosting, and I believe you shouldn’t be able to lift a slice and keep it in a perfect triangle,” Osunsami says. “It should be messy.”
This article originally appeared in our November 2017 issue.