It’s here. In your face. Brandsmart ads do not show a happy Santa or Christmas wreaths- it BLACK FRIDAY, where shoppers are expected to go berserk and stampede like cattle into stores as soon as the doors open in the wee hours of the morning.
Count me out. In fact, around this time of year, a nice list of what I won’t do, seems to work. Ok, I recognize millions of people make “to do” lists, but from experience, this is a frustrating exercise, as you see the same stupid stuff on the list, every day. There is a whole lot more joy in the “I won’t do that” list, and right at the top is the insane Black Friday stuff.
The greatest part of Thanksgiving is food. Food, food and more food. Glorious food. (yes, Oliver, we all want some more, but you got to pick a pocket or two, boys)
Buying a turkey is wonderful. You look for the biggest one at the lowest price. That’s it. Even a guy can do it. If you find a 23 pound turkey, at 75 cents per pound, you win. If you never cooked one before, it’s pretty easy and instructions are normally included with the turkey. If you happen to throw out the instructions, go to the internet for instructions. Basically you stick a thermometer into the bird and cook it until it reaches 170 degrees F.
Keep it real simple. I used to stuff a turkey and it was fun. But, with all the food at Thanksgiving, the stuffing wasn’t being eaten, so now I just cook the turkey and leave stuffing to somebody else to do on the stove top. Do not fry your turkey. I will give you all the reasons just before Christmas. Particularly dangerous is deep frying a turkey on a covered patio when you are drunk.
The real artistry comes in the presentation. The turkey must be cut at the table. If you haven’t a clue of how to carve a turkey- smile and fake it. There are some instructions on the internet on how to remove the drumsticks. Go for the full orchestra- turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Giblet gravy is the best, but I’ve messed it up in every conceivable (and a few unimaginable) ways. Cranberries should not be cooked, but chopped up in a food processor, and orange slices added. Add sugar as needed, and serve with whip cream. I have a secret ingredient- carambola jam. I guess it’s no longer a secret. Add to the banquet, a few vegetables and salad, and you are set.
But, there are the people attempting to disrupt the happiness of thanksgiving- so beware. The most basic rule is: biggest turkey with the lowest dollar per pound cost. This is a time honored tradition and it should not be broken. If this requires a 100 mile trek to some unknown grocery store- so be it, because you win. This rules out all fresh turkeys and antibiotic free turkeys. Your local supermarket is practically giving away those frozen turkeys as door prizes in hope you will do all your thanksgiving shopping at their store. So, if they have big turkeys at low prices- they deserve to win. They are true believers in big and cheap- the American way, right!
Turkey is healthy food relative to most of the stuff we eat. The turkey growers say that the antibiotics are good because it further reduces diseases in turkeys like salmonella. You got to defrost the turkey and cook it well. Fish has mercury, red meat increases the risk of cancer, and everyone knows pork is full of fat and will clog your arteries. Turkey, chicken and fish usually come out top in the meats area. I never argue with vegetarians, as they can find ample evidence of people being poisoned with any kind of meat.
Come to think of it, the best way to enjoy Thanksgiving is to be invited to your friends or relatives house. Arrive early and leave early. Don’t forget to bring something easy to carry like a bottle of wine, and thank your hosts. I try not to let my opinions spill out about antibiotics laced turkeys, fried deep turkeys or Black Friday being on top of my do not do list, as I want everyone to enjoy the holidays in their own peculiar ways.
Food, Glorious food, glorious food …. foooood
What are we waiting for? …. FOOOOOOOOOOOOOD
Enjoy the holiday season if possible in your own peculiar way!