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November 20, 2007

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Butter truly IS the key. Lots and lots of butter.

As for stuffing in the bird -- my brother the chef says go ahead and put it in the bird. But then you need to pull it out and bake it, but good, to kill off the effects of unclean living. I guess it doesn't get hot enough in there so you just have to finish the job.

Oh, the very best dressing (not "stuffing," though we do put some of it, already cooked, into the bird) is my Mom's family recipe of pork and oyster dressing. You mix ground pork, cornbread stuffing, mushrooms, lots of sauteed veggies, and some raw oysters if you like them, and it cooks forever on the stove and is a meal in itself, really.

I'm also a pretty big fan of just plain old Stovetop from the box! But that's probably more for the gulag crowd than the conisseurs.

I agree, Thanksgiving is about the butter -- well, it's about the side dishes in general, most of which contain butter, and thanks be for that! :)

The Washington Post's food section was all over spatchcocking this year. I've done it to chickens, but not to turkeys. I had a huge 20lb turkey that I'd just defrosted (not for the holiday, just because I love turkey and I stock up when they go on sale this time of year), and after I'd hacked off the wings, legs and thighs for crockpot-ing, I experimented with the breast. I cut the backbone entirely out, then cut off the ribs. (Those parts went right into a stockpot. Waste not, eat soup.) Then I brined the breast and roasted it, and I've got to say, it worked beautifully. All of the skin got nice and crispy, and the breast was far easier to carve with the ribs removed.

I did take the time to sharpen my Henckels chef knife before I took it to the bird, and I think that made the hackery much easier. This technique is definitely going to be a mainstay of my turkey butchering rituals.

The thought of spatchcocking a turkey terrifies me to my soul. I knew Summer was a better woman than I, but wow.

I love to fool around with new recipies in my daily cooking, but am a solid Thanksgiving traditionalist. Same sweet potatoes, same cranberries, same stuffing. I did add corn pudding to good effect a few years ago. I think it's because I only eat these things once a year and look forward to them --if I want my mom's cranberry sauce, you could serve me the most wonderful cranberry sauce ever and I would still be disappointed because it's not mom's.

Gingerbread stuffing? Oh Nigella. Have you seen her new show? She's still my culinary idol but it's all quick food, and I am disappointed at some of the shortcuts she takes.

we figured we used about 3 lbs of butter to make thanksgiving dinner this year.

i can't bring myself to even google the spatch-thing, but if it's a fancy word for brining, we brined this year. turkey was definitely juicier, but i'll have to tweak the brine if we do it again to be less herb-y.

i made our aunts stuffing with a loaf of nice round bakery bread that i cut into cubes two days before- everyone said it was great. i've never liked stuffing.

p.s. i answer to mommy, mama, and mom. i don't prefer or dislike any, and i called my own mom mommy first, then mom or ma. now that she's gone i usually refer to her as mommy again, isn't that odd? like, i'll say "oh, it's on mommy's dresser." but i'll also say "that was my mom's recipe", so i don't know. maybe it depends on who i'm talking to.

i don't think the term mommy is inherently infantilizing, as long as it isn't another adult calling you it in a way that denotes inferiority. but it's ok if another mom at playgroup says to her child "please give that toy to pnuts mommy", etc. i just waited so long to be called mommy, i don't know, i think it's sweet and special.

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