Thanksgiving Countdown


I’m sure you are all tired of my tips every year, but I’ll say it again: if you plan to brine your turkey, you need to start right away, probably today. Wednesday night, take it out of the brine, rinse it, blot it dry, and let it air-dry in the ice box overnight before roasting. This will solve the rubbery-y skin conundrum that brining the turkey brings.

(My brine: besides the salt/sugar uses juniper berries, bay leaves, and a smokey dried pepper.)

Also/Too: if you do brine your turkey, it assuredly will produce very salty pan juices for making gravy. You should plan to make gravy by another means (dark roux, baby!), but I can assure you that a succulent, well-seasoned turkey is worth the extra thoughtfulness required when it comes to making a more deliberate gravy.

(And once again, I am making Julia Child’s deconstructed turkey, which is flawless and cooks in about half the time. This also lets me make the turkey stock tonight so I will have it for the gravy on Thursday.)

If you plan to make a stuffing for the turkey, consider cutting up the bread a day or two in advance. The drier the stuffing, the more moisture from the turkey it will be able to absorb. I will be baking a very plain cornbread tomorrow to become the basis of the stuffing.

And of course, Tante Marie gives us the best advice of all: Put the f***ing bird in the oven:

I mention these things only because I am doing them too. This year, I’m having an new friend over for dinner who is more-or-less as a consultant in the Seattle food world, and while I’m not doing anything particularly unusual, I hope that what I do make will be unusually good.

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8 Responses to Thanksgiving Countdown

  1. grs says:

    Good luck with the bird. And dessert?

    I have been tasked with bringing the potatoes this year. Not the boring, peeled potatoes whipped with beaters with a dollop of butter and some milk splashed in. I like mashed redskins with the skin on and mash in butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper. It’s not just the taste, but the texture.


  2. It’s taken many many years of cooking turkeys at Thanksgiving for me to come up with the perfect strategy to accommodate the undeniable fact that a turkey is inherently a relatively bland artifact both with regard to flavor and texture. Indeed, what little flavor it does have is not especially agreeable.

    The perfect solution for this dilemma here at our house for the last five years is so simple I’m astonished I didn’t think of it 25 years ago. It’s called a leg of lamb.

    You’re welcome.


    Liked by 1 person

    • tengrain says:

      I usually serve a crown roast or sometimes a whole salmon, but as I am having a party with New Englanders as the special guests, I figured I needed to go with something traditional. Also: multiple guests are in the red-meat phobia camp, so back to turkey.

      At any rate, I agree with your assessment. If it were up to me alone, I probably would skip the whole thing.




  3. Osirisopto says:

    Vegan (roasted kabocha squash) manicotti with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts, pumpkin almond butter bars and pecan balls.


  4. I will be going to relatives house for t-day, since mine is in complete disarray from moving. They’re good cooks, so I expect it’ll be fine. I think I’m tasked with bringing the “traditional” green-bean thing. Whatevs, it’s tacky, but it can be tasty and it’s easy to make.


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