Monday, October 10, 2011

Cooking the Big Bird for Thanksgiving Celebration

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Today’s Blog Post

Cooking the Big Bird for Thanksgiving Celebration
Now for me to write these next words is almost hilarious. It is going to sound like I know something about what I am placing in the text. Oddly enough I do know something and maybe even could be considered a genuine expert… and yet I must confess I KNOW NOTHING! Really!

How can you be an expert and yet know nothing about what you write? Duh!

(Now with my Grandsons staying with us this really fits. They love Grandpa’s riddles. My riddles keep them going for a long, long time. In fact I can string them out for days on end. Every meal time they try to guess what Grandpa Lincoln has given them.

Like… What is more than you can count, grows by the second, and is sometimes considered “hot” or “sexy”?

Or… What is white and then turns red in six hours? It is not red in one hour nor two, nor three. But in six hours it is red. In one week it likely will be white again.

Both the above riddles had them going and guessing for a long time.)

So as I place these words together it may seem like a riddle.

You may already have guessed that I am writing about cooking the Turkey for Thanksgiving.

As to being a genuine expert, I have eaten or taken part in eating at least 67 Turkeys but more likely a 134 or more Turkeys in my life time. For most Christmas times and almost every Thanksgiving we have cooked a Turkey and then consumed it as a family.

This happened almost every year in our married life, except for the five Christmases and Thanksgivings in Hong Kong. If you wanted Turkey in Hong Kong you had to pay big bucks to have it flown in specially.

My Chinese friends never ate Turkey for two reasons. One it was not available. Two it was always too dry for their palette.

In our Canadian way it was a must. Turkey was associated with our Thanksgiving Celebrations where family came together and increased the number around the table. Cooking one BIG BIRD rather than four (or more)smaller chickens just made sense from oven space. There is way more meat on a Turkey than a chicken. And with 12 to 19 people around one table, you needed more meat along with the many side dishes.

As I stated earlier, I know nothing about how to cook a Turkey, except for the fact that I have watched all the ladies do this all these years. I have never baked a Turkey in the oven.

As of this past week something changed for our family. My wife baked the Turkey in a completely different way this time around. After 44 years of doing it one way, she completely changed her strategy.

She simply baked the Turley with the “Breast side” down, rather than up. Go figure. One simple way of change made a difference of day and night!

When she cut the Turkey and we tried the meat… MMMMmmm MMM MMMM! What a difference it had made! The Turkey was way more juicy! Especially the white meat, that is the Breast meat.

Traditionally the Turkey has more fat on its back than its breast. By cooking the Breast side down, that fat goes down and through the whole of the bird. That makes the whole bird more succulent than ever.

The dark meat is still moist… and the white meat is much better!

But my wife explained one problem that comes in doing this. The Big Bird doesn’t looks anything like the traditional Turkey splayed on its back, with two legs protruding up and a golden Breast shining up from the roasted bird.

Cooking it “Breast side” down kind of crunches one side into a weird shape. It is no longer “Turkey shaped”. She didn’t try to put any dressing into the bird either – you know – like stuffing the body cavity full of dry bread and spices. The dressing is made in a separate pan as a side dish… still moist and delicious.

Alida said to me, “Someone needs to invent a special holder for the Turkey to keep it straight in the roasting pan. That way it would not get that crunched look with one side more flat than the other.”

I suspect she might be thinking of how she could do that and get on to the Dragon’s Den TV Program. Oh Boy!

I can attest to the fact that the Turkey was much better. It was way more moist and far more savory than the other 40 plus time she has cooked one the years before. In fact it was simply amazing!

Now I still have not baked a Turkey. Today I will take part in eating a second one this weekend. We are joining friends around a huge table setting with a house full of adults and children. We are going to celebrate our Canadian Thanksgiving together. I think there may be more than 19 of us – maybe even up to 24 in one house together! It better be a really Big Bird!

As to the above Grandson Riddles… the first answer is “your hair”… the second is “your sunburn”.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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