Sunday, November 29, 2009

Talking turkey...

Thanksgiving is at an end, the family has returned home, football has been played, and its time to clean. We all go through the routine, we all get to do sit ups for weeks to pay for our bounty. But if the experience is the same, the why isn't the dinner? We all know what we love about thanksgiving, but what don't we know? I am taking the time now to look back on what I consider to be the three most underrated food items which may or may not be at your thanksgiving feast. You may agree with me, but be warned, by not agreeing, you only strengthen my case.

3. Fruit Salad. Lets face it. Thanksgiving is a holiday for feast and good times, health should not be a consideration. But that does not mean that our taste buds must suffer. The author of The Physiology of Taste, Brillat-Savarin points out the distinction between hunger and appetite. He states that your appetite, ability to eat, is entirely separate from your hunger, your need to eat. This explains how you can eat a food item until you are full, but upon arrival of dessert you are renewed in your desire to feast. This is the point of a sweet and tart fruit salad. Have it in a bowl on the side, use it to cleanse your palate. This will give your tongue a break and keep the meal satisfying. Not to mention a few vitamins for your trouble.

2. Cranberry Sauce. Bring 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water (simple syrup) to a boil. when sugar dissolves, add one bag (16 oz) whole cranberries. stir until cranberries pop and fall apart. Let cool. total effort? 15 minutes. Why do we bog ourselves down with a muddles canned product from the store when less effort than mashed potatoes will give you such a delight. A sweet jelly which rouses the spirits. It makes turkey sing, stuffing pop, and even lets your kids color the veggies as they enjoy. Cranberries are packed with vitamins and the smell is fresh enough to keep you in a good mood. Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, mushrooms, blah blah blah. that is a plate of grey and white. throw some bright red on there and look like you know what you are doing.

1. The number one most underrated item at your thanksgiving dinner is... Stuffing. I know, I just lost some readers because all of you know stuffing and use it often, but you don't understand stuffing, so it is extremely underrated. First of all, it is only stuffing if it is cooked inside the bird, otherwise it is "dressing". Now stuffing is delicious, we all know, but it is also dangerous. That's right, stuffing is the leading culprit in a failed thanksgiving. did you know that? Stuffing packs the bird, thus giving more mass within the turkey. This means that more cook time is required to raise the internal temperature to the proper level of food safety. Fully cooked stuffing usually means dry turkey, since the proper internal temperature makes for a greater outer temperature. You can go ahead and make your turkey juicy and delicious, but now the stuffing is not at a safe temperature. I'm sure you will be fine, but Salmonella could lurk within. I recommend dressing in the future, instead, fill the turkey with citrus and aromatics, discard after, enjoy the meal.

So you see, some things need a second look, and others need a harder look. don't change grandmas recipe, just give a little respect to your food. Happy Thanksgiving.

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