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Happy Thanksgiving!

[ 45 ] November 22, 2012 |

Time for my annual link to Calvin Trillin’s classic, which actually generated some metadiscussion at the Times this year. (For the record: garlic yes, cream no.) As the article points out, spaghetti carbonara is not actually a good Thanksgiving dish if you’re hosting more than one or two people, but the key point is not to feel any obligation to serve roasted cardboard.

Here, we will be serving a lovely Oscar’s ham, along with cauliflower braised with white wine and anchovy, glazed carrots, and a classic white loaf. We’re thankful for our readership, and hope everyone has a great holiday!


Comments (45)

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  1. dougR says:

    Linky no worky for me. Would like to read the piece, though!

  2. laura says:

    Oh god that ham looks good… I miss ham so much.

    • laura says:

      But the author is basically right — I actually had a good turkey at a friend’s place on Canadian Thanksgiving but I think it was the first good turkey I ever had. Ham or lamb or duck or pheasant make more sense as a basis for a holiday meal.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Yeah, with a lot of effort you can make turkey that’s half as good as a chicken that you season with salt and pepper and roast. But unless you’re feeding at least 20 people I don’t really see the point.

  3. DivGuy says:

    I kind of enjoy turkey’s degree of difficulty. A well-roasted turkey (careful temperature maintenance, tons of basting, tons of butter stuffed up under the skin) is legitimately delicious, and you just feel really good about yourself when you nail it.

    Also, a huge bird like that produces a wonderful array of juices – turkey gravy is really kind of great, and better than the gravy you get with a lot of other roasts.

    I probably wouldn’t roast a turkey if it weren’t traditional, but since it is, it’s a fun test of your skills.

    • Dana says:

      A well-roasted turkey…is legitimately delicious, and you just feel really good about yourself when you nail it.

      Yes! About like I’m feeling right now.

      • STH says:

        What’s so hard about cooking a turkey? I just don’t get it . . . sure, my mother always used to dry them out, but she’s got this phobia of underdone meat and so she cooks everything until it’s shoe leather.

  4. Jay B. says:

    If you don’t like turkey, that’s fine, but chances are it’s the cook and not the bird that you don’t like. I’ve had decent simple roasted turkey, excellent smoked and fried turkey and top top brined, then roasted turkey. High heat, brine (i like mine with a slight anise flavor) and a good organic/heritage bird is simple, quick and amazing. Why people get so psyched out over turkey is beyond my ken.

  5. Linnaeus says:

    Going out for sushi today, because the other two people I’ll be with don’t want to have traditional Thanksgiving fare.

  6. Anderson says:

    Don’t roast a turkey. Smoked turkey rocks.

    Tho in truth, I’d rather have baked ham.

  7. MAJeff says:

    The boyfriend doesn’t like turkey, so I’m doing a speck-wrapped roasted chicken.

    I adore cooking these huge holiday meals.

  8. RepubAnon says:

    Take the turkey, soak it overnight in dry white wine, bake normally (keeping about 1/2″ of white wine in the pan below so the juices don’t burn).


  9. Heron says:

    Three Words: Chocolate, Pecan, Pie.

    That is all.

  10. Leeds man says:

    Goose, or wild turkey. And Wild Turkey.

  11. Apocalypse Tom says:

    I’m 8-0-1 against turkeys when using the deep fryer. Brined, injected, whatever you like, it’s a terrific preparation and the only one I’ve encountered that allows you to say “Oh, another 8 people? That’s fine, we’ll just throw another turkey in.”

  12. Oooh, yummy, Scott.

    At the Noisewater house, we’re having lambchops marinated in lemon, olive oil, garlic and dill, along with tzatziki…with some curried pumpkin soup and couscous with peas and mint.

  13. Todd Akin says:

    Today is the day we dare to celebrate our job creator ancestors who dared to teach the land-moochers how to prepare turkey and stuffing.

  14. Brandon says:

    I feel sorry for you guys that have apparently lived without good turkey year-in, year-out.

    Cooking it breast-down helps keep is moist and delicious.

  15. Murc says:

    For god’s sake.

    Look, Scott, if you don’t like turkey, that’s fine. You’re not required to. There are plenty of foods that I don’t like.

    But demonstrate some negative capability. A properly prepared turkey does take a lot of effort, you are right. But it doesn’t taste like ‘cardboard.’ Especially not the dark meat, or with the skin on. And it is straight-up more flavorful than chicken is. You might not LIKE the flavor but objectively it exists.

    And as for Calvin Trillin’s “classic,” it is the story of a man who made so much a pest of himself while a GUEST at other peoples Thanksgivings that eventually his friends and family stopped wanting to associate with him.

    • MattT says:

      And it is straight-up more flavorful than chicken is.

      Well, in fairness, there are a lot of bad chickens out there. If you have an Asian supermarket, you can get a much fresher, smaller breast chicken with a much better flavor. Whether it’s better or worse than turkey is a matter of taste. But standard supermarket turkey and standard supermarket chicken are both fairly bland, and the turkey is harder to cook.

  16. The Dark Avenger says:

    My noble wife learned of the lazy way to roast a turkey yesterday, and here it is.:

    After seasoning and whatnot, you tent the turkey with 2 layers of regular or one of heavy-duty aluminum foil. 1 hour @ 325 F, and then 8 hours @250 F. for a 14 lbs bird, ours was 18 lbs so we went with 12 hours. No basting required.

    It turned out great. Very juicy, falling off the bone, and it was an easy clean up as well.

  17. LPBB says:

    My mom’s parents were a German immigrant and Puerto Rican who didn’t come to the mainland until her mid-twenties. Neither of them grew up with turkey as a cultural tradition — and yes, I am aware that a lot of Europeans eat turkey and a lot of Puerto Ricans have incorporated turkey into their holidays, but these two did not — so as a kid I grew up eating yummy yummy duck for T-Giving and yummy yummy goose for X-mas at their house. We would go to my paternal grandma’s for turkey later that day and the turkey always suffered in comparison. So I’ve never really understood the insistence of some folks on turkey and only turkey for T-giving.

    My mom has since lost her senses and just started cooking any weird random thing for T-giving, but I still think whatever your family/cultural tradition is, it’s fine. And if other other birds/cuts of meat taste better than turkey, I’m all about embracing them and creating new traditions.

    FTR, my boyfriend roasted a duck on the Weber and cooked up an awesome duck/port/dried cherry gravy with Gouda mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner tonight. Just waiting for dinner to settle and then we will have sweet potato pecan pie!

  18. Major Kong says:

    As god is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

  19. Chad says:

    Having been exported from Seattle to Southern Leyte, where I find that (feathered) turkeys do not exist, I forgot ’em, so I guess that I’m not addicted.

    But since Thanksgiving doesn’t exist here either, it’s moot.

  20. Steve says:

    Remember, it’s a short trip from Spaghetti Carbonara to Turkey Tetrazzini

    • Stag Party Palin says:

      Ah, two of my favorite button men. And to show my thanks, here is a holiday from Woody Allen from “A Look at Organized Crime.” Also, OT.

      In 1921, Thomas (The Butcher) Covello and Ciro (The Tailor) Santucci attempted to organize disparate ethnic groups of the underworld and thus take over Chicago. This was foiled when Albert (The Logical Positivist) Corillo assassinated Kid Lipsky by locking him in a closet and sucking all the air out with a straw. Lipsky’s brother Mendy (alias Mendy Lewis, alias Mendy Larsen, alias Mendy Alias) avenged Lipsky’s murder by abducting Santucci’s brother Gaetano (also known as Little Tony, or Rabbi Henry Sharpstein) and returning him several weeks later in twenty- seven seperate mason jars. This signalled the beginning of a bloodbath.

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