“A turkey never voted for an early Christmas.” ~Irish Proverb

By: tutticooks

Nov 24 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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Okay…I’m gonna say it straight out.  I make a Thanksgiving turkey that is so close to perfect, the angels sing when I take it out of the oven.  I’m not kidding (okay, well, a little bit)–it’s darn good.  I know, because I’ve been perfecting it for over twenty years.  

My turkey isn’t just a bird, nor is it just a meal.  It’s the cornerstone of a celebration that I hold most dear.  It’s the one time that my family comes to my home, from wherever they are in the country, sits at my table and lets me cook for them.  Kids, there just ain’t anything better for this little Julia-devotee, let me tell you!   Holidays are for kids.  Let’s just put it out there as well, while we’re being honest (and I can trust your discretion, can’t I?  Sure.)  People travel to where the kids are.  And the youngest kids are the winner of the rochambeau, because no one wants to travel with a toddler.  What happens if you don’t have any kids?  Well, if you’re like we were a few years ago, you’ll be paying the morgage AND the airlines for the privilege of leaving your house and flying somewhere else–EVERY HOLIDAY. 

So, one year, I got smart.  My family knew I was a good cook, so I played on that.  I cooked wherever I went.  I plied them with my craft and put subtle suggestions into their ears with the coyness of Iago, reminding them that if this meal was good, pray, could one even imagine the culinary treat that would be my Thanksgiving meal? Finally, it worked (though I have to give some credit to my mother, who happens to live in the same town as I do, and has graciously given up any desire to cook the big meal at her place, giving me ample space to show off!)

And so they come.  They have their hallowed favorites, and they expect them every year–without a millimeter of variance. 
There is no squash bisque starter or pear and hazelnut salad.  No pumpkin mousse adorns my table.  My chef friends would likely laugh at me were they to know the menu I dutifully serve, but what care I for scoff when I have my nearest and dearest around me? 

So, I’ve perfected those recipes everyone holds dear.  Mom loves the green bean casserole, so we use cream of portabello mushroom soup.  Brother Steve fantasizes about the dressing, so we will bake the extra pan of it covered by turkey wings to mimick the flavor and moisture of what is removed from the bird.  My sister-in-law will have her gravy that is silkier than the finest oriental dupioni.  My husband’s apple pie will consist of the most perfect fruit bathed in butter and brandy and sauteed to a carmel brown.  The boys will devour the cranberry sauce as if it were jello and declare their desire for “thirds” on the meat.

And me, you ask?  I rarely eat the meal.  I’m so satisfied from watching them eat that I just gaze around the table in adoration.
Just make sure I get leftovers, because my favorite are the sandwiches after! 

A Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  May your hearts be filled with gratefulness and may ALL your turkeys be perfect!


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