Monday, December 15, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
By the time the food was ready I had lost track of the camera, but here's a pic of the set table. The table is so abnormally wide that we managed to get almost all the food (turkey, mashed potatoes, two cranberry sauces, two vegetable dishes, biscuits, bread, two types of gravy, two types of stuffing) on the table.
Alexis decided she was going to make turkey-shaped (but thankfully, just vanilla- and chocolate-flavored) cupcakes for the six kids we had over on Thanksgiving. Her creative process was complex, and ended up involving toothpicks and cut up bits of those weird candy peanut foamy candies (she cut them up to make the snood-and no, I did not know the flap over the beak was called a snood until I just looked it up).
They got six thumbs up from the five-feet-and-under crowd. Alexis was triumphant.
In France, Kathryn and I became obsessed with these antique gravy pourers that have a spout at either end and allow you to choose either the M side, which stands for "mince" or thin, or the G side, which stands for "gras" (I think...I'm sure I'll hear from Joel shortly if I'm wrong). The G side pours from the top, allowing more of the fat to trickle out, while the G spout starts at the bottom to keep the fats at the top from pouring out.
We moved back with a number of them, which we gave as gifts that year. At the time, I wasn't in a gravy-boat collecting space, but now I covet it and wish I had kept one for myself. Luckily, my mom still has the one we gave her, and I'm counting on her short memory and general disorganization when it comes to rarely used kitchen implements to buy me some time with this one. It came from one of the Paris flea markets (either Clingancourt or Vanves, I don't remember which).
I'm a convert. We were a large enough group (19) to need two turkeys, and since it was my first turkey cooking experience, I asked Nancy and John to make a second one. They live close enough that it would only take a few minutes to zip over to our house once it was done, and I knew they'd do a great job on it.
I didn't order in time to get a heritage turkey, so I opted for a Mary's (localish) organic free-range turkey instead. I used the America's Test Kitchen recipe that involves turning the turkey four times to distribute the juices and brown the bird. It went well, even the turning part, which had me manhandling the turkey with paper-towel wrapped hands.
It was moist and delicious, but in terms of flavor my Broad-breasted White just couldn't compete with the Bourbon Red Nancy and John cooked. What's the difference? Well, to start with, it looks totally different:
And the meat tasted really good. Though I try to cultivate an appreciation for dark meat, I prefer the white meat, and on this bird, the flavor of the white meat was glorious. But, there's a lot less of it, which meant a quarter of the table didn't get to try the white meat. Which is fine if you have an even distribution of turkey-meat preference. But we trended light, which was fine since we had the second turkey.
In the end, the trade-off was worth it. Next time I'll plan ahead more, spend the extra money, and get a heritage turkey.