With Thanksgiving only days away people everywhere are preparing themselves to cook and consume copious amounts of food. That is what this holiday is about right; gorging yourself on tasty tasty foods until you pass out in a turkey induced coma while watching a football game on tv.
All kidding aside, this is supposed to be a holiday about family and thankfulness that happens to center around food. Conveniently enough, in my family, food is sort of central to our lives. We don't live for food, but we use food to bring us closer together. We didn't need a day like Thanksgiving to bring us together over delicious vittles. That was pretty much an every day experience.
Food is often times the center of Southern culture. We do so much that revolves around eating; from large Sunday family meals, to picnics and barbecues, to every day meal time. It is just a thing. It is how I grew up and it is not unusual at all. Might help explain my weight.
Still Thanksgiving is a special day with some fairly specific requirements. I was raised a traditionalist. Every year we had the exact same menu. Every year. When I got to college and started celebrating Thanksgiving twice, once with my family of choice and once with my family, I started to experiment. One year we had the blackened chickens of doom*, one year we did ham, and we have had a whole slew of different and unusual side dishes.
This year we actually have no Thanksgiving plans. We have to be down at faire on Friday to work, so we can't really go anywhere. Everyone we know is already heading somewhere, so it will be a quiet day of me the husbeast and the kid puttering around until we decide to drive down to faire.
I did buy a turkey, however the husbeast decided he wanted to cook it. The thing is, as amazing a cook as he is, he has never cooked a turkey before. So we decided this would be a test turkey. If he screwed it up then I would just make a better one on the day of.
He fretted over this bird. He wasn't sure how to go about it or what to do to it. I got about half a dozen calls at work yesterday as he worked on the thing. He had trouble finding the giblet bag as he forgot to search the neck cavity. I told him the necks are stored up the butt and the guts in the neck. He wanted to make sure his seasoning was good; butter, Chululah (hot sauce), and some Tony Chachere seasoning. I kept assuring him it would be fine.
I got home and the house smelled amazing. We decided to serve the bird with collard greens, mashed potatoes, green beans, and some stove top stuffing**. I checked on the turkey and it was looking beautiful, and the smell made my mouth water. I wasn't sure I would be able to wait another hour to eat.
Finally the time of truth came. I was sitting in the living room watching tv while the husbeast and a friend of ours carved the turkey. I could hear them making nummy sounds as they carved. I think they were eating more than they were carving. I went in and pulled off a piece of skin to try. It was amazing. the seasoning was perfect, the bird was juicy and tender, it was beautiful.
So our test meal went amazingly well. I feel that either one of us could successfully make our Thanksgiving meal. The question now is this; do we want another turkey so close to this one, or do we want to do something completely different? Either way we go, I am certain we will be more than satisfied with the results.
*Turned out they were not completely thawed and my oven was broken and only cooked at like 9 million degrees. I sat with the oven cracked open, billowing out black smoke, and basting the damn things about every 2 minutes. I was assuming they were done when I pulled them out. They were two black husks. I was so embarrassed and was sure we were heading to Denny's for Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone decided to be polite and try the chicken first. We had to use the handle of the knife to crack the shell open. I couldn't even look at anyone I was so mortified. Then I realized no one was talking. I looked up to find them practically inhaling the chicken. It seems that the constant basting and super high temperatures had created a protective shell around the birds. They happily cooked inside the shells soaking up all the spices and butter. They were the most delicious and tender chickens I have ever made, and ones I can probably never duplicate.
**He chose the stuffing not me. I don't eat stuffing. He loves it.