Sigh. Every year. The endless parade of newspaper and magazine articles, the FoodTV episodes, the endless parade of drek from the media implying that cooking Thanksgiving dinner is on par with neurosurgery, wing walking, base jumping.
It’s just a turkey. Thaw it and roast it — make a few side dishes, call the people you love and gather them around your table. That’s it. Doesn’t have to be good china, doesn’t have to be 14 dishes, doesn’t even have to be 14 people — just cook something and invite people to share it with you.
Now granted, I learned to cook a turkey when I was about 10, and we had no money after my parents’ divorce and my mother fed us on turkey for a couple of winters. A turkey will keep a family of three, even with two ravenous pre-teens, afloat for a week, easy. Roast turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey-noodle-casserole, and finally, the dreaded turkey soup. As a result, I am not always a big fan of the turkey, unlike my Beloved, who loves turkey above all other meats.
I guess my main point is the thing that bugs me is the way the Food Industry uses the annual holiday to reinforce the idea that Cooking Is Hard, and that Cooking Is Drudgery and that You Can Do It Wrong if you aren’t led by the nose by the authorities.
Go to town people. Have some fun. Cook stuff you like this year instead of the stuff you think you’re supposed to love. If you like to experiment, try a new recipe — we still laugh at the year my dad and my stepmother tried this baroque recipe where the turkey was coated in a thick paste of spices and a flour slurry — the paste coating burned — black black black. And then it wouldn’t come off — we wound up chipping it off in teeny little pieces, with most of the skin still attached, which was okay because the skin was all flabby and icky under the paste. It was hilarious. It was sort of horrible, but it was hilarious …
So readers — cough it up — what’s your best Thanksgiving cooking story? Either triumph or tragedy —