Monday, November 23, 2009

Gobble, gobble

A wickedly funny fellow blogger asks about turkeys. A simple recipe. Does she know who she's talking to? Does she realize she's talking to a compulsive cook who made a turducken for the fun of it! Simple? Where is the challenge in that? The drama the catharsis the tears? The momentary sense of accomplishment? Or-- does she know deep down that I made that elaborate recipe but once, and have a secret standby in my pocket? Hmmm. She's deep, that one.

Turkeys are problematic and I blame the media: movies, commercials, print ads. Each and every one of them has a glistening deeply browned turkey, occasionally framed by mini pumpkins or crab apples as garnish, waiting to be divvied up by the knife-wielding patriarch. Fine slivers of dry white meat are piled upon polite guests' plates. Even Shirley Corriher buys into this by basting her brined turkey with a butter/corn syrup mixture.

What about brining, someone asks? Been there. The stuffing, which in my opinion is the point of Thanksgiving, tasted like the sea.

Bleh, I say. Double bleh.

I know my weaknesses. And presentation is one of them. I don't care what the damn thing looks like, if it tastes of heaven. So I pull out my secret weapon: the Reynolds oven bag. I follow its directions, after having stuffed my bird with Mrs. Cubbison's corn bread (I follow those directions, too. And when I don't have fussy guests, I add oysters to the stuffing. WOW!).
This variation on turkey bag roasting I learned from my mother: roast it breast side down. You won't have a beautiful bird. Instead you'll have a moist and tender one. Uh, one more tip. Just be sure the damn thing's defrosted before you begin.

What? Too understated? Too simple? Too commercial? You'll have to go elsewhere, then.


  1. Oh, I am vindicated! I did this once and it worked. Coming from me, that's saying something.

  2. Except the upside-down part. I didn't know about that. If/when I ever cook another turkey, I'll try it.

  3. My own personalized recipe? I'm not worthy.

    How stands the crown on dry brine, a la Russ Parsons?

  4. My mother always upended the bird for cooking also. The difficulty often came when she tried to flip it over so the breast would brown during the final third of cooking time.

    Yes, we scooped the occasional bird off the floor and back into the pan! As Julia said, no one has to know! ;-)

  5. P: Savor that vindication! Your request posts Wednesday. AH: Of COURSE you're worthy--or is that mock humility I detect? Tricky, I tell ya.
    I read and reread the dry brine, and I don't think he mentions stuffing it, so I remain a bit skeptical. K: Clearly a wise technique! Let's just be grateful it wasn't caught on camera and posted to youtube--

  6. Don't we have enuf turkeys the rest of the year?!

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  8. CO: Be sure to have plenty of turkey bags on hand!

  9. No mock from this quarter. I now have enough oven bags to last through the next eight Thanksgivings.

  10. Part of my problem with the whole low carb diet is that I really am not good at making meat. Why? I really don't like me. I do love the turkey aroma, but I'm with you. I'm in it for the stuffing.

  11. Italo: You probably know, in Spanish they laugh ja ja ja. And in Italian?
    AH: Such a vote of confidence! Now I'M the unworthy one.
    M: Feeling carbaholic? Let us know, and we'll schedule an intervention.