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November 22, 2007

Jon Singer’s Turkey Algorithm, 2007
Posted by Teresa at 12:04 AM *

Says Jon:

“For a turkey of greater than ten pounds, the roasting time should be equal to 1.65 times the natural log of the weight of the bird in pounds, cooked at 325 F.”
If you’re not a person who normally calculates natural logs, go to Google. Say you have a 20-pound turkey. Type in natural log 20 and hit the search button. Google will tell you that the natural log of 20 is 2.99573227. Multiply this by 1.65. The result will be 4.9429582455, or five hours.

Last year we went to Montreal to visit Jo Walton and Emmet and Sasha, and thus didn’t have Thanksgiving, though we were scarcely deprived, and the company was excellent.

This year we have Jim Macdonald and Debra Doyle with us in Brooklyn, along with their daughter Pippin and son Alex. They brought the pies down from New Hampshire—blueberry, cherry, pumpkin, apple, and an additional apple pastry. I’m doing the turkey.

So what are you up to this year?

UPDATE: Courtesy of Kieran Healy, some Visual Display of Quantitative Information:

[Recipe Index]

Comments on Jon Singer's Turkey Algorithm, 2007:
#1 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:36 AM:

Chris and I are at her brother's place, in Massachusetts.

#2 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:45 AM:

I've caught the seasonal ick, so I'm alternately boiling and freezing, and the only turkey coming to mind is soup. Not recommended. It's also hailing.

#3 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:48 AM:

We're having our usual Boggie Bloat. My friends from college get together every Thanksgiving. I'm making my rotini casserole, and a potato version for the gluten-intolerant; my famous tofu paté; the Black Hole Brownies of Death; and chocolates. I also have many jars of several kinds of daikon pickle I put up weeks ago.

#4 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:52 AM:

When trying to figure out a vegetarian tradition for my family for Thanksgiving, I stumbled on the idea of serving a rainbow of food - one dish or one course in every color of the rainbow.

It goes over very well with my family, and tends gave me something feastive to wrap the holiday around. And it *does* make for some fun playing-with-food serving suggestions... ..."are you feeling brave? you could try doing blue this year..."

#5 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:53 AM:

Hmm. Does Jon have an algorithm for how long it takes a frozen turkey to thaw out in the fridge?

We put ours in the fridge Tuesday night, and I'm beginning to worry that the answer to that question in our case is, functionally, "longer than that".

#6 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:56 AM:

Dena @4: Well, there's always blue potatoes. So long as you don't do what I did with them once, which was apply my usual parsley-and-lemon-juice semi-mashed recipe to them. (Essentially: Cube potaties, cook until soft, sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley, and toss a bit.) It turns out that the blue in them is the sort of blue vegetable pigment that turns magenta in the presence of acid. The result was the sort of set of colors that is only appetizing to the adventurous.

#7 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:58 AM:

Someday I will be considered truly adult enough to host Thanksgiving. On that day, I will finally get to try my hand at roasting the turkey. Despite a college degree and a mortgage, that day will not be tomorrow.

At least I got promoted from the kids' table. Eventually.

I'm joining the grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and dozens of cousins for dinner. I'm bringing a vegan stuffed squash. (I'm not vegan; the squash recipe just happens to be. And it is delicious.) The hosting aunt is doing the turkey. My parents have branched out this year and are preparing a maple-pumpkin cheesecake rather than their standard pumpkin chiffon pie. I'm interested to see the reaction.

Truly, I'm thankful that family Thanksgivings are fun for me. My family has the usual complement of quirks and complaints, but it's fundamentally loving and supportive.

#8 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:00 AM:

Having the kitchen floor replaced the following day.

We must be mad.

#9 ::: Tom ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:01 AM:

In Australia many of us are hoping for our own variety of thanksgiving ... for the removal of the pernicious Howard government.

#10 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:02 AM:

Also, while I seem to be realizing things that I should have put in the first comment rather than doing so many: Jon's description should probably be amended to specify "time in hours", not just "time".

Also, Google's quite happy to parse "natural log 20 times 1.65", if one wants to be lazy about the multiplication.

Caroline @7: A stuffed squash sounds like something I'd really like, and I don't have any recipes for such. Any chance you could post yours (or a loose description thereof)?

#11 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:12 AM:

We're visiting local relations, bringing our vegetarian dish to accompany their turkey. We've done this particular dish a few times in the past, it's a basic red lentil dal, from the Vegetarian Epicure, book 2, page 310. It's mostly ginger and heat, with a side of cardamom and cilantro. That's then put into a souffle like roulade thingy (which will be made tomorrow, it's eggs and cheese mainly) and rolled up to be somewhat impressive looking on a platter.

Yes it's lentils, and that's kind of cliche. But it works with stuffing and gravy. And a thai pumpkin curry soup. And wine.

#12 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:13 AM:

Brooks Moses @ 10 -- I surely can. I found this somewhere on the internet, back in '99 or '00. I'd credit the original if I could find it again.


1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup wild rice
4 cups herb-seasoned bread stuffing cubes
1 large winter squash (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts
only, sliced thin
1 medium onion, chopped
3 shallots, minced
3 medium portobello mushrooms,
stems discarded and caps diced
1 cup coarsely chopped cooked chestnuts
1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries,
fresh or frozen
1 navel orange, peeled, sectioned, and chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to boil in small saucepan. Add barley and salt to taste. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until tender, about 40 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil in separate saucepan. Add wild rice and salt to taste Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until tender, about 40 minutes.

3. Turn cooked barley and wild rice into large bowl. Add bread cubes.

4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Insert blade of sharp paring knife horizontally into squash about a third of the way from the top. Work knife around until you can lift off top of squash like lid from a pumpkin. With spoon, scoop out seeds and scrape out as much of the stringy, soft flesh as possible. To make opening of squash larger, hold knife vertically and trim away the squash meat that curves in around top edge. Set squash aside.

5. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks, onion, and shallots and saute until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until any liquid they release has evaporated, 7 to 8 minutes. Scrape vegetables into bowl with grains, and mix to combine.

6. Add chestnuts, cranberries, chopped orange, and orange zest, stirring with fork to combine them. Moisten with broth. Mix in parsley and season generously with salt to taste.

7. Pack as much stuffing as possible into empty squash, pressing it with your hand to compact it lightly. The stuffing should be mounded high. Cover squash with foil, tenting it; do not wrap squash in foil. (Cook any remaining stuffing separately.)

8. Place squash on baking sheet in center of oven. Bake 1 hour. Remove foil and bake until knife easily pierces squash at its widest point, about 20 minutes. Let squash sit 10 to 15 minutes before serving so stuffing can settle. Cut into wedges and serve.

#13 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:13 AM:

Oh, and what's left of this bread, if it doesn't get eaten before tomorrow.

#14 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:16 AM:

small gathering at our house. spent the day freaking out about the turkey.

Holy crap, the thing is frozen solid. Lessee, the thawing time for a fifteen pound bird is... is... three days!?!?!? Gah! so some googling around found me soaking the iceberg in a big pot of cold tap water for about ten hours. it seems fairly limber now. and is back in the fridge.

Will be putting it in the crock pot in the morning. Hopefully it all works out.

Made some whole wheat/oat bread today and will make some fresh white bread tomorrow.

I think there's a chinese place that will deliver, if I manage an epic fail.

#15 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:18 AM:

And just to round it out, here's a fantastic mushroom gravy recipe from the same set of vegan Thanksgiving recipes. I prefer this gravy to giblet gravy. It's got this rich, round, savory flavor I just can't get enough of.


2 1/2 cups diced onion 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil 

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme 

1 teaspoon sea salt

5 cups diced white mushrooms 

1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce 

3 cups plain soy milk

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (I have used white all-purpose, or substituted with a smaller amount of cornstarch)

2 cups water

1. In a medium stock pot, sauté onions for 5 minutes over medium heat with oil and garlic. Add the chopped herbs and sea salt and increase heat to medium-high. Cook for 1 minute. 

2. Add mushrooms, tamari (or soy sauce) and soy milk. Bring to a high simmer, but don't boil. 

3. Mix flour and water to a smooth consistency and slowly stir this into the pot, constantly whisking or stirring until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Reduce heat to low and let gravy simmer for another 5 minutes. 

#16 ::: Kathryn From Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:20 AM:

The NYTimes has a recipe for Simple Crusty Bread that they say is faster than Lahey's No Knead Bread. Given the niftiness of NKB, I'm about to try the SCB recipe.

Plus my traditional 3 types of cranberry sauce, and an apple quince sauce.

#17 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:22 AM:

Brooks@5: Does Jon have an algorithm for how long it takes a frozen turkey to thaw out in the fridge?

My fifteen pounder was going to take something like three days. I found some instructions that said you can safely speed up the thawing time by submerging the turkey in cold tap water and letting it soak half an hour for every pound, and changing the water every thirty minutes to keep it cold. I think it worked.

#18 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:28 AM:

Greg, Brooks, I realize this sounds silly but - violently massage the frozen turkey in its cold water bath. That speeds things up considerably.

I recommend rubber gloves (brrrr).

#19 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:28 AM:

My daughter is home for the extended weekend but tomorrow she is invited to have Thanksgiving with her significant other's family. My husband and I will have all of our traditional sides (very pedestrian stuff, no fancy recipes to share) but with a turkey "thing" that's half-white/half-dark meat.

Never had it before, but I've been favorably impressed by the company's whole turkeys, so I'm hoping it will be edible. Besides, I tell myself, what's the turkey for except as an excuse to fix the stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and all the rest, to eat at one meal? If it's not good, we'll still have plenty of food that is. Oh, and pumpkin pie for desert, of course.

Friday we cook the whole turkey that's defrosting in the fridge and do all the sides again for us and the kids.

I asked my son if there was going to be anything special for the troops tomorrow - he said was probably going to be busy and might miss it, whatever it will be. First Thanksgiving away from home and he might be out on some mission. I know that's what he signed up for, but I hope he's mistaken, or the mission gets delayed, and he gets a nice meal and maybe some special entertainment from the USO.

#20 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:39 AM:

We're packing to get ready for the moving vans to arrive to move our crap from Lawrenceville, NJ to Austin, TX.

We're making Jambalaya to celebrate being someplace where we can get Jambalaya without using a box with Zatarain's on it. Also, we're busy packing, so an entire day to make Roux is beyond us this week.

I think the general availability of the ingredients for Jambalaya is an outcome of Hurricane Katrina.

1/2 pound Andouille Sausage
1/2 pound shrimp, uncooked and deveined
1 box Zatarain's Jambalaya mix
1 can Ro-Tel

follow directions on box. cook in crock-pot and sample throughout day. Move T-day dinner up to "when you're hungry".

#21 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:39 AM:

Brooks Moses: The fridge ain't gonna do it. Not for more than a week.

Put it in water, change the bath every 1/2 hour. The water can be as warm as 65F (and you can change it more quickly if you like).

#22 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:43 AM:

Greg *boggles* A 15lb bird that fits in a crock pot? That must be an extra-large family economy-size crock pot model that I haven't seen. [At work (fully dressed), so I don't have measuring equipment to say roughly what size the ones I know would be.] In Chinatown shops I've seen some fairly big rice cookers suitable for large groups, so perhaps you have something along those lines?

Whenever people start talking turkey cooking, I always get images of Mr Bean's Christmas struggles with an oversized carcass. They're not so much a feature of Aussie celebrations, and we don't have much in the way of stories about them.

As Tom Number Nine said, there are many (please, please, please, let there be enough) Australians who are looking with hope towards a change with our election on Saturday 24th. If we don't get a hung parliament, or right-slanted Senate to tilt an already far-too-right-for-me Labor government, I will be giving some very heartfelt thanks indeed, even if I don't have a good idea who or what to thank. It'd be something to celebrate with just on a month to Christmas.

#23 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:54 AM:

We're staying put, no visitors, no visiting, which is fine by us this year.

For food we're grilling filet mignon wrapped w/ bacon, served with mashed potatoes. And, because I can't help myself, I'm going to tweak my wife by serving her a sort of deconstructed green bean casserole: steamed organic green beans topped w/ mushroom gravy (field mushrooms (chanterelles & oysters) and shallots in a classic white sauce), garnished with Vietnamese crispy-fried shallots.

She's going to love it, and I'm never going to let her forget it... ;-)

#24 ::: flowery tops ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:55 AM:

Tom @ 9 and Epacris @ 22:
I live in a liberal safe seat, so I'm voting Green in both sections to be on the safe side. Here's hoping.

#25 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:14 AM:

Tom @ 9, Epacris @ 22 and flowery tops @ 24

Carna Greens! I don't know about you guys, but I'm a watermelon, and proud of it - Green on the outside, and red on the inside. Can't wait to turf Little Johnny and his cadre out.

Only two more sleeps to go!

#26 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:25 AM:

I find myself replacing the words "duck" and "rabbit" with "turkey" and "election".

I knew I should have hung a left in Parramatta.

#27 ::: Tom ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:47 AM:

Thanksgiving by itself doesn't really mean all that much to us recent immigrants, except that it's only day of the year where finding a place to eat is really difficult.

I usually never *ever* cook at home, but just once a year it's a good excuse to bring out the pots and the pans to a home-made spaghetti bolognaise with a fellow country-man after at hearty day of mountain biking.

Maybe not exactly what the founding fathers had in mind though...

#28 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:51 AM:

My family is all at least 400 miles away, and this year all of John's siblings and their significant others and the kidcessories are going to the other side of the family. What that oddly structured sentence means: Where I usually am one of many outlaw inlaws in a group of 16, I will be the token outlaw in a group of 4.

I'm bringing deviled eggs and a dessert. I'm supposed to have the dessert ready in about 12 hours, and I still haven't decided. I'm leaning towards Hazelnut Chocolate Pots du Creme, because it is easy, fast, and people who don't cook (my MIL) are impressed.

I'll be doing the full turkey roast thing on Friday, so John can have leftovers to snack on through the weekend, and I can make turkey soup.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

#29 ::: Kate Salter Jackson ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:53 AM:

We'll be home, just the three of us as Sarah has a horrid cold and we don't want people to get sick. I also have to work tomorrow night so that's another reason to stay home.

#30 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:10 AM:

Caroline @12: Thanks muchly for the recipe; that sounds even better than I was imagining!

Thanks, everyone, for the advice about thawing the turkey! I checked on it and it was, indeed, still completely rock solid. So I have placed it in a water bath, and placed that in the fridge (so I don't have to worry about checking on it overnight without checking on it; I'm figuring the increased heat transfer coefficient will at least help a good bit) and will take it out and start changing the water tomorrow morning early.

#31 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:14 AM:

The Younger Child has appointed herself Chief Chef. I am the Sous Chef (and will be suffered to make the pies on my own). The kid found recipes on the Food Network for an Italian-inflected Thanksgiving meal: turkey stuffed with citrus and herbs; butternut squash lasagna with basil bechamel; stuffing with pancetta; salad, pumpkin pie and apple pie.

All this is for the four of us. Friends may drop by for dessert later. It is to be hoped that the Child and I will still be on speaking terms by early evening.

Have a fragrant and peaceful Thanksgiving.

#32 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:20 AM:

Tom @27: After a couple of years of doing a research conference that's always the Sunday through Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and then staying a couple of days later with my wife to enjoy a vacation together, I'll note that we've had pretty good luck with the hotel restaurants in reasonably good hotels. They're open because there are people travelling away from home on Thanksgiving. The restaurants are usually not that busy, though there are usually a few people there, and it seems that everyone on staff (at least the places we've been) is extra-pleasant that day.

#33 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:36 AM:

no thanksgiving for me this weekend, i'm living in canada now, & we had our thanksgiving before halloween (as obscene as that sounds). maybe i can take advantage of the american-centric radio silence & get drawing done, instead of sitting in front of the computer! cough.

this thanksgiving was at my in-laws as always, & i made my family-recipe chicken-in-a-bag, as always.

i wanna save that vegan stuffing recipe for new years/christmas dinner, though! not only do i love mushrooms to distraction, i need some more non-meat, non-dairy dishes (i keep kosher & bring my own chicken, meaning i can't have any of the dishes with meat or dairy in).

#34 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:41 AM:

Alone, more or less contentedly. I'd a chance to go to the friends with whom I usually spend Turkey Day, but with the latest fibro flareup I'm feeling a bit too ... fragile... for a crowd of 15 or 20. I can sort of stay on top of the pain and function, but it takes sooooooo much energy to mask that, to be other than negative and whiny to people who don't deserve having their holiday spoiled.

I've got a ginormous haul from the local food bank - 13.6 lb turkey, to start with, and literally everything I could need to do a complete dinner. (OK, they didn't include fresh cranberries, but I'd already bought a bag of them.)

So, whenever I get up, I'll start slowly puttering around in the kitchen, and about mid-afternoon there'll be a feast. And then leftovers.

I'll make a few phone calls to people I care about, that'll let me feel connected.

#35 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:55 AM:

This year we're actually doing something for Thanksgiving (European...) - we're throwing a wake for one of my in-laws. This means serious amounts of various kinds of food (I am, as usual, in charge of dessert as the SO doesn't cook sweet), some drinking, and a heady mixture of regret and celebration.

#36 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 04:05 AM:

Sigh. Netherlands, so no Thanksgiving.

Both at home sick and a little homesick. And with my son's teacher coming at 7 for a parent teacher conference, we're not even going to all sit down to dinner together.

Oh, well. Everyone else has to have some extra fun on my behalf. Raise a glass to absent friends, willya?

#37 ::: ben ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 05:21 AM:

I was going to ask why 325° is the recommended minimum, thinking it was a biology question, and then had an epiphany and realized it was actually a physics question.

Of course, it was the nature of the post itself that led to my epiphany - the longer it takes to cook the bird, the longer it takes to cook the center of the bird, duh - so I guess I owe Jon thanks for putting me in a position to apply lab science knowledge for the first time in quite a while.

#38 ::: Tom Burke ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 05:33 AM:

We almost skipped thanksgiving here in Senegal (no turkey importing due to bird flu) but found a guy who knew a guy at the last minute. "You need a turkey? I can get you a turkey."

#39 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 06:59 AM:

I'm in the throes of a bad, migraine-inducing cold, so my ambition is to get through the day without coughing out my lungs.

#40 ::: Liz Ditz ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:07 AM:

Stepson #1 bought a house. Stepson's mother & I have agreed family celebrations should now be hosted at stepson's house. He and his girlfriend are not quite up to the whole production, so turkey (plus potatoes and dessert) is being cooked at his mom's house and shlepped 10 minutes. I'm producing the obligatory tangy Brussels sprouts, grilled baby squash, and the traditional romaine lettuce+avocado+mandarin orange salad.

Derocking the turkey: Brooks at #5 and Greg at #14, as Terry at #21 implies heat transfer is all.

Flashback to 1998. I'm 9 months pregnant, and for some insane-pregnant-lady reason I am obsessed for hosting Thanksgiving for about 25 relatives, many of whom are....inflexible. Meal -24 hours. Go to pick up the free-range, never-frozen, always had a fancy life turkey from the meat market. NO TURKEY! They'd sold my reserved turkey to somebody who had a name similar to mine (and go figure that one out). They did have a similar, but frozen-rock-solid turkey. Bring it home. It is good to have an engineer spouse. Remove turkey from plastic casing, enrobe in a heavy-duty plastic bag. Run bathtub full of tepid (70 degree) water. Insert turkey. Set useless culinarily-challenged houseguest to swish the bowling ball turkey through the water, and monitor water temperature, adding more hot water if water temp falls below 62 degrees. After 120 minutes, turkey is sufficiently thawed to claw out the giblet packages. Reformulate turkey packaging to "turkey condom", allowing warm water to circulate into body and neck cavities. Determine that stuffing the turkey is a bad idea, and figure out how to get that nice bread pudding texture for stuffing cooked outside of the turkey. After 6 hours (at bed time), the turkey's somewhat thawed inside and out, with a thick layer of frozen meat on the breast. Put it in the refrigerator and hope for the best.

Next morning: still a rock-like layer between surface and ribcage. More tub swishing. Decide to roast the bird breast-down at 325 degrees, adding about 50% to the estimated time, and stuff the cavity with a coarse mince of apples, pears, onions and celery, and baste frequently.

Outcome: one of the better versions. Stuffing was pretty good too, baked in casseroles covered with a plate with a brick on top to emulate the can't expand features of a turkey cavity.

Dena at #4. I like the rainbow-food tradition, but really blue food is hard to come by. When my kids were little (before blue potatoes or corn chips were available) I cheated and used blue food coloring on various iterations of mashed potatoes. There's also "confetti rice" or "jewel rice". the basic idea is that you cook rice (I like basmati) with about 10% extra water, and then toss the watery rice with diced dried fruit, which allows the fruit to partially rehydrate. Either allow to steam for a few minutes, or cool and serve cold with a mild vinagrette for a rice salad. I haven't made it with just blueberries, but I think it would be good.

#41 ::: bill blum ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:24 AM:

My wife (a nurse) is working today, I'm staying home with the three kids. If the weather holds, brats and burgers on the grill.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:30 AM:

Abi @ 36... Raise a glass to absent friends, willya?

But of course.

It's just Sue and me going to a nearby hotel's buffet. Then, tonight, possibly some time with these friend.

#43 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:31 AM:

Tom (27), the Founding Fathers had nothing to do with it. Abraham Lincoln declared a "a general day of thanksgiving" at one point during the Civil War, and the holiday stuck. It was subsequently back-dated to the feast at Plymouth Colony.

Mad -- I'm posting this here, rather than trekking over to your LJ -- you have *distressed* the Macdonald, and me and Patrick and Doyle as well. It's that left-side chest pain thing. We are passing fond of you. If you have another episode like that, will you please take the canonical four aspirin and call the EMTs? In the meantime, Jim formally observes that while he can neither diagnose nor prescribe, he thinks you should have a stress test.

Tell Avocado I'm impressed by her menu and ambition, and may you all have a triumphant Thanksgiving.

Greg, you're cooking a whole turkey in a crockpot? How are you going to get the whole thing up to a safe temperature?

Abi, we'll raise a glass for you at dinner, and another glass over the ritual happy leftovers.

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:32 AM:

Xopher @ 3... The Black Hole brownies of death? Prepared by Chef Maximilian and his big red robot with the whirling bladed thingie?

#45 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:45 AM:

No turkey here, not until Christmas, but muted celebrations. We will almost certainly see the end of a bad government, but I have no confidence that we will see the inauguration of a better one.

#46 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:45 AM:

My mother's up in Canada visiting the sisters (because she couldn't manage to get a flight on Canadian thanksgiving); it was too short notice, and I was already on the work schedule for Saturday. So I'm attending a family friend's thanksgiving, and bringing a gluten-free cranberry-orange crisp, an untried recipe so I'm hoping that it succeeds.

#47 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:45 AM:

No turkey here, not until Christmas, but muted celebrations. We will almost certainly see the end of a bad government, but I have no confidence that we will see the inauguration of a better one.

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:47 AM:

Dave Luckett @ 47... No turkey here, not until Christmas, but muted celebrations

At first I thought you'd written you'd have mutant celebrations.

#49 ::: Kristin ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:08 AM:

For Brook @ #5

Refrigerator Thawing

Allow approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 °F.

Refrigerator Thawing Times

(Whole turkey)

* 8 to 12 pounds..........1 to 2 days
* 12 to 16 pounds..........2 to 3 days
* 16 to 20 pounds..........3 to 4 days
* 20 to 24 pounds..........4 to 5 days

I posted on my LJ that the Monday before Thanksgiving should be declared "National Take Your Turkey Out Of The Freezer Day". It didn't seem to spread. Maybe someone here can come up with a better title/acronym.

#50 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:09 AM:

Serge 44: Thank you for giving me an excuse.


2 Sticks Butter
3 Cups Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 Eggs (better get Large or Jumbo)
1.5 Cups Hershey's Cocoa (try other brands at your own risk)

3/4 Cup Rice Flour (finest grind you can find)
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Bag Ghirardelli's Double Chocolate Chips (if you substitute, make sure that cocoa or chocolate liquor is the FIRST ingredient, i.e. before the sugar)

  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Grease 13X9X2 baking pan. (I use butter for this.)
  3. Put the Butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH until melted (about 2 min).
  4. Stir in the Sugar and Vanilla.*
  5. Add Eggs, one at a time, beating well with a spoon after each addition.
  6. Add Cocoa, and stir slowly until it's all wet, then beat until it's well blended. (Warning: this is a LOT of cocoa. It will take some time to mix, but don't go fast, at least at first: it will puff all over your kitchen and you, putting you at risk for inhalation theobromosis. Cocoa belongs in the mouth, not the lungs.)
  7. In another bowl, mix together the Rice Flour, Cornstarch, Baking Powder, and Salt. Add them to the chockiechockiegoodnessyum, and beat well.
  8. Mix in the Ghir. Doub. Choc. thingies.
  9. Pour it into the pan, and smooth the top as much as you can.
  10. Bake 25 minutes. If the brownies are even just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, take 'em out. If they aren't, give 'em another 5 min. If you overbake them, they won't be ooeygooey enough.
  11. Cool thoroughly at room temperature. These brownies don't hold together well--at all, actually, but especially if you try to cut them while the chocolate is still melted. I don't need to tell YOU not to put them in the refrigerator, do I? I thought not.
  12. Just before cutting them, dust the top with cocoa powder. I use one of those little teaspoon tea spoons (you know, the kind you use for making a single cup from loose tea); it makes it easy to get just the right amount.
The rest goes without saying. Scarf 'em.

* At this point I usually taste it to make sure it's OK. Vanillasugarbutter, yum! Just don't get caught.

#51 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:13 AM:

I'm in Yangzhou, and Thursday has come and mostly gone -- well, it's near 10 PM, anyway. But Thanksgiving hasn't happened yet. I haven't caught the scent of it, anyway.

To my mind, say, Halloween has a time-based locus -- midnight, October 31, and the period leading up to it -- but since Thanksgiving is American, it's located in the afternoon and evening of that particular Thursday in America, which happens tomorrow. Even though it will be Friday morning thru afternoon here.

I am looking forward to a cone fall* from my partners and maybe a solo dinner at Pizza Hut -- which in China is a sort of sub-fancy Italian place with soft lighting, solicitous waitstaff, and food a good deal better than they serve in America.

I don't know what else I'll do. I was planning to go explore Nanjing, but there's this tiny kitten hanging out in a box at the bottom of my staircase. I'm currently giving it dropperfuls of yogurt-water, and desperately hoping its mom will come pick it up, since cats are regarded as wild animals here and there isn't really a support network for them. (And yes, I have sufficient advice to try hand-raising it. I don't think it's in anyone's best interests for me to do more than help it along for a few days, though. It's too young, and needs its mother's care -- and I go back to Portland in June.)

It's not the first Thanksgiving I've spent alone, but it's the first since I got married. I'm feeling it right about now.

*Really, really old spoonerism in-joke that I haven't yet purged from my vocabulary. Does anyone else have that one?

#52 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:15 AM:

This Thanksgiving will be the first in 20 years that I don't spend with my best friend and her family -- it's been a difficult year for all, and getting together was beyond our resources. Feels odd, going over to my sister's house in 70 degree weather and seeing palm trees instead of birches and snow...
I miss them very much.

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:30 AM:

Emma... Sorry to hear that.

#54 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:31 AM:

Xopher @ 50... Vanillasugarbutter, yum! Just don't get caught.


#55 ::: LizT ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Last night was (chicken, not turkey) dinner with my side of the family. Today, we have a 3pm reservation for dinner with my husband's side.

We go to this Hall that usually does 4 weddings a night - they open all 4 halls, and in the middle put a gigantic 2 story Santa surrounded by table upon table of buffet dishes, with ice sculptures everywhere, and all along the back - section upon section of dessert. Including a huge chocolate fountain.

We love it. It's stress-free, and frankly, the food is better than what my in-laws do. (Oh, hoping they never find this, but it's true.) It's a new tradition started last year because my mil was post-surgery, and continued this year because her kitchen is being remodeled.

We haven't yet figured out how to ask for this to be a 'forever' tradition without heartbreak.

#56 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:41 AM:

The wife, the daughter, and I made the three-hour trip up from Little Rock to Springdale to see my folks today.

My mom will be ninety in March (on International Women's Day, no less!) and is frying crappie--not traditional, but one of her favorite foods (and one of mine, and I should think of most people who get to try it). My dad will be eighty-eight in February (he shares a birthday with Ronald Reagan and Bob Marley, and I'd like to point out they've died in very much the wrong sequence). She had a TIA recently, and my dad just finished chemo for bladder cancer.

They're well as can be expected, though I'm anxious to augment their wood heating with gas. I don't trust their wiring to run the space heater they've got, and while my nearby uncle puts wood on the porch for my dad, my mom is still taking out the ashes.

Tomorrow we'll truck into Fayetteville for lunch with as many local friends as can show up, then head to Hot Springs (maybe via Little Rock, maybe not), where the wife's family does Thanksgiving on Saturday.

It is a good Thanksgiving, if a bit melancholy, as my mom's baby brother died last month, and the time I (and my daughter, who is four) have left with my parents is more on my mind every time we visit.

#57 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Epacris@22: *boggles* A 15lb bird that fits in a crock pot?

Hm, I keep using that word, but it may not mean what I think it means.

It's a slow-cooker? hm. It's about two feet wide and a foot front to back. and maybe 6 inches deep. You put some water in it, and then the roasting pan in that. An electric heater goes up to 400. The birds in it now, cooking. Just got everything set up for the turkey to cook, started a loaf of white bread in the machine, and now I have to sit down.

Electric roasting pan? It's sort of oval shaped, and it's got a semi-circular lid that just clears the turkey. Hm.

I just want to make clear that I never claimed I knew what I was doing. I'm pretty sure we used this cooker on a turkey last year. Though, now that I think about it, I"m not sure if I calculated as if it were an oven last year (350 degrees for 4 hours) or if I did some other combination. Last year the turkey came out pretty good. This year, I'm doing 350 for 4 hours. I have no idea if I'm following the same sequence that I did last year.

Gah. I don't know. Roll the dice for a +3 turkey dinner, and hope it doesn't come up all 1's. Maybe I should find that number of the chinese restaurant, just in case.

#58 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Teresa@43: Greg, you're cooking a whole turkey in a crockpot?

(shrugs shoulders and shakes head)

no habla inglaise.


#59 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:54 AM:

Teresa #43: Much as it pains me to do so, I must disagree. The Continental Congress issued a series of proclamations of General Days of Thanksgiving (1777-1784). Washington issued a proclamation of a General Day of Thanksgiving in 1789.

Lincoln revived the practice in 1862 with a proclamation of a general day of thanksgiving after the battle of Antietam, then in 1863 after Gettysburg, and in 1864 after Mobile.

1863 was the year with two thanksgivings, the one in August giving thanks for the victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and one at the end of November giving thanks in general for a good year. That's the one that stuck.

#60 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:55 AM:

So what are you up to this year?

Working, of course.

(You didn't expect us to celebrate Thanksgiving, did you?)

#61 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:05 AM:

Goinjg over to LinD's for dinner (and more cat visitation). We're plotting All-American Turkeyday: baked sweet potatoes and mashed white potatoes and something with corn and green beans and tomatoes and cranberry jelly and turkey and pumpkin pie. She doesn't much like sweet peppers, or those would be in there too.

Popcorn may fit in there somewhere also.

#62 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:07 AM:

Oh thank the gods. I'm not crazy after all. I just have a vocabulary issue. The thingy I'm using to cook the turkey looks remarkably similar to this. The picture even shows it with a turkey in it, so hurray, I don't have to worry about food poisoning or something. They call it a roaster oven. I will now repeat it several times to burn it into my DDR memory. roaster oven. roaster oven. roaster oven. Now, if I can just keep the refresh rate going, I'll be OK.

We don't have a very big kitchen and we have a tiny, tiny oven, so we got this roaster oven (see? I remembered.) so we could cook a turkey and then use the oven for side dishes, which is about all it will fit. Roaster oven. Roaster oven. Roaster oven.

Sorry for the confusion. (ponder a way to scurry away and hide, now)

I should probably go check on the food. Yeah, thats' it. The food.

Happy thanksgiving everyone, even if you're not celebrating it.


#63 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Currently at home (and likely to stay there) with the creeping cruds - was out Monday and Tuesday with fever ranging upwards of 102(f), and while the fever is gone, the cruds remain, and I am again reminded of the fact that eucalyptus and menthol are soothing and yummy - tho' only when sick. And they don't blend well with Green&Black Maya Gold hot chocolate at all.

If I feel up to it, dinner tonight is Chicken Cordon Bleu (no turkey, because unexpected expenses left me high and dry on the money front). Family is pretty spread out - parental units are heading for San Diego in their RV, my brother is with friends for TGiving (we'll meet up this weekend to celebrate), and aunts & uncles far too far away for driving, so just me this year.

Not the best way to spend Thanksgiving, but quiet can be a refreshing change.

#64 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:16 AM:

re 26:

"Turkey season!"
"Election theason!"
"Turkey season!"
"Election theason!"
"Election season!"
"I say it's turkey theason, and I thay VOTE!"

#65 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:24 AM:

For logistical reasons, we are doing dinner on Saturday. So, today, I'm making Mormon funeral potatoes and cranberry relish; Chad's making turkey brine; we're cleaning and tidying; and then we're going to have some nice steaks and put scraps in the dog's bowl when she's not looking.

I'm actually really liking this. We get extra prep time, I get to conserve vacation time (since I took so much going to Japan this summer), and it just feels generally much more relaxed.

Happy Thanksgiving, those who celebrate it today, and have a nice Thursday, those who don't.

#66 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Kate Npveu @ 65... What are Mormon funeral potatoes?

#67 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:33 AM:

In half an hour, leaving home for Pamela's mother's place, where we are having thanksgiving. Leaving so early because once I get there I have to make the stuffing, stuff the bird, and get it in the oven, in time for an early dinner.

I inherited turkey-roasting duties in that household the first time I was there for a turkey day, and my mother resigned from turkey roasting last year, so I am now the family turkey roaster. I'm extremely picky about the stuffing, so this works out for me; I get to do it my way.

Finally tried "brining" last year, and it was a big success, so we're doing it again.

#68 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:36 AM:

I have never celebrated Thanksgiving, not really even the Canadian version. I think if you don't grow up with it, it doesn't cross your radar. It just bemuses me slightly.

It was lovely having you here last year though, and I'm glad you're having good company this year. We have snow, which is very nice, and AM is here again, and we're going to Quebec City for the weekend.

(I'm slightly relieved that Jim and Debra have enough good sense that having called one twin Pippin they didn't go the whole hog and call the other Meriadoc. I'm not sure I could quite have resisted that myself.)

#69 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:38 AM:

My sister's coming. With just the two of us, I'm fixing a 5-lb turkey breast, herb stuffing, carrot and raisin salad, green beans, and homemade pumpkin pie. Some years we have baked potatoes instead of the stuffing. Neither of us likes gravy, and she's the only one who likes cranberry sauce, so we don't bother with those. Oh, and sparkling cider to go with the pie. The flavors complement each other perfectly.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it, and to everyone else, Happy Thursday.

#70 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:40 AM:

Serge @ 66

Search Teresa's archives. I know it's in there somewhere.

#71 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:00 AM:

I'm sorry to hear that, Miss Emma. Hope it's a nice quiet day.

Tom @27:

You're definitely not alone.

We're making the dreaded Staten Island crossing to south Jersey and the yearly ginormous cousin do. I'm bringing smoked salmon and tzatziki* and roasted garlic bread because I haven't gotten any cooking done this year so I bring that to everything.

*which always looks to me as if it's spelled wrong, and Google is not only no help but served me up the phrase "yogurt salsa" which makes me want to go lie down

#72 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:06 AM:

Off to Mom's, along with my two sisters and their five children. Happy T-day to all!

About that cooking-time rule: I can kind of see where that 1.65 comes from (less than area), but the problem with taking the log in the first place, is that it implies there should be an added constant representing possible unit conversion.

That is, if you used kilograms instead of pounds, you ought to be able to fix that by adding 1.30 (80 minutes) to the time. Or to put it another way, a 2.2-fold gain in weight adds a fixed 80 minutes to the cooking time, regardless of what the original weight was. This seems odd to me....

#73 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:13 AM:

Jo@#68: The reason we didn't name Alex "Meriadoc" is that we didn't name Pippin after the hobbit, we named her after my best buddy and bridesmaid and old SCA housemate Peregrynne (though we did normalize the spelling slightly.)

#74 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:19 AM:

I'm sorry but roasting by weight instead of mass will produce an inferior Thanksgiving day feast. The Pilgrims always roasted by Mass.

#75 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:22 AM:

The Revel Alliance is gathering and bringing their families' traditional dishes, and the families are from Louisiana, Georgia, Michigan and Puerto Rico, so it will be interesting. we all maintain that his is for the kids, so they can get in touch with their heritage, but it's really for the grownups. None of this stuff is Good For You (tm). Guaranteed.

Trailer Park Corn Casserole: Combine 1 can corn (drained), 1 can creamed corn, 1 box corn muffin mix, 1 stick butter (melted), 1 cup sour cream (the gourmet touch), 1 beaten egg (optional). Dump into 9-inch square baking dish, cake pan or 1-1/2 qt casserole and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, or until "done". Do not attempt with margarine and/or low fat sour cream, it just won't taste right.

This is not part of my Lutheran food tradition, but it sure is good.

I'm bringing my pumpkin pies, green jello with cottage cheese and pineapple, spiced apple rings, the aforementioned corn casserole, pineapple casserole, and brussels sprouts. Also, coquito, which is not part of my ethnic heritage either, but I thought I'd surprise Alex.

Pinapple Casserole: Combine 1 20-oz can pineapple chunks (drained, reserve juice), 3 Tbs flour, 3 Tbs pineapple juice, 1 stick melted butter, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup sugar. Dump in greased casserole dish. Mix 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed and melted butter and spread over top. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

This was served at the Southeastern Medieval Association luncheon this year, and the "yankees" went wild over it.

#76 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:28 AM:

Serge: Check funeral potatoes out, from 2003, here

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:43 AM:

P J... Tania... Thanks. It sounds yummy. Then again, potatoes were big on my diet when I was growing up. That's one thing I have in common with Liam Neeson, who said that, until he got involved with Helen Mirren during the filming of Excalibur, he was a meat & potato guy.

#78 ::: Remus Shepherd ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:43 AM:

Visiting a friend in Minneapolis for my first Thanksgiving in six years. Brought my dogs. My (smart) poodle is having a blast, while my (not so smart) beagle is having a nervous breakdown.

Her recipe for turkey? Throw a frozen bird in a crock pot at 225 F and leave it there overnight. In the morning, tear it apart (the meat will be falling off the bone) so the meat is beneath the liquid level and let it sit until dinnertime. Season liberally at every opportunity. Works really well.

#79 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:44 AM:

We're heading over to our ususal facility for Mass with the inmates around noon. Then over to my sister's place where my brother-in-law the frustrated chef will be setting out a splendid feed. No fog this morning so things should go fine.

I used to work for Foster Farms, the biggest poultry operation out here in the West. My work included supporting software for the quality assurance/customer service teams. This time of year, they staff the Turkey HelpLine, (800) 255-7227, around the clock today. We kept an informal list of the best calls which included:

  • the guy that had split up with his girlfriend but wondered if the foil wrapped turkey and dressing she cooked last year that had been sitting at the back of his fridge ever since was still good
  • a desperate call from someone who had managed to set their oven to locked "self-clean" after putting in the bird.
We all agreed that incinerating that year old turkey in a "self-cleaning" oven sounded quite reasonable.

Liz Ditz @ 40: I am glad that things worked out for you, but I really would not like to repeat your story to the food safety folks.

#80 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:50 AM:

I'm slightly relieved that Jim and Debra have enough good sense that having called one twin Pippin they didn't go the whole hog and call the other Meriadoc. I'm not sure I could quite have resisted that myself.

No, no, the other one's called Treebeard.

Isn't there a character in "Good Omens" called Pippin?

#81 ::: Remus Shepherd ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:55 AM:

Oh, and Greg, you're not the only one with vocabulary problems. :) It looks like a crock pot to me, but I just checked and the words 'Roaster Oven' are clearly painted on the side of the massive thing.

#82 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:56 AM:

We actually had our Thanksgiving a couple of weekends ago, since a shortage of vacation days this year made it necessary to choose between this weekend and Christmas for a long trip home, and Christmas won. So my mom and the in-laws came here for an early turkey-day observance; we got a 7-pound turkey breast that proved quite sufficient for five, as well as its subsequent necessary incarnations as turkey sandwiches, turkey stew, and turkey shepherd's pie. All of that having been dispatched at last a couple of days ago, it's a little weird having it be official Thanksgiving now.

So today we're going out to dinner at a nicer place than we'd normally go, with some of my wife's local family who we like very much. And then we're going to come home and watch Home for the Holidays and snuggle with our doggie and kitty, and feel very thankful indeed.

#83 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:57 AM:

PS: Also my T-dinner will include my sisters' husbands... thoughtless of me.

#84 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:57 AM:

Brooks @10:

I've hosted a couple of vegetarian Thanksgivings in the past, and I've found that traditional stuffing recipes (with appropriate ingredient adjustments like using veggie sausage, mushroom or other veggie broth, etc.) work astonishingly well with pretty much any stuffable vegetable: acorn or other winter squash, zucchini, eggplant.

I typically look up 'Stuffed [stuffable veggie]' in our trusty Fanny Farmer cookbook for cooking times and temps as a guideline, but apart from that mostly wing it.

#85 ::: Rose White ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Thanksgiving this year is in Medford, MA, instead of in our adopted homeland of Brooklyn. There will be seven of us, one vegetarian and one vegan, so only five turkey-eaters. The weather has smiled on us, so we are GRILLING the turkey! Which is still in its brine at the moment, and which will have amazing spice paste and butter rubbed under its skin.

My contributions have been veganized pumpkin brownies and chocolate espresso pecan pie -- haven't tasted it yet, but it looks fantastic.

Of most potential interest to ML folks is that we tried the new "foolproof pie crust" recipe in the recent Cooks' Illustrated. The main peculiar thing in the recipe is (a) that the fat gets thoroughly mushed into half the flour, then the other half of the flour gets cut into the mixture. (Rather than carefully cutting in the flour to leave small chunks of butter.)And (b) half the water is replaced with vodka, and there's a little more total liquid than I am accustomed to. The idea is that the vodka is 40% alcohol and 60% water, and the alcohol doesn't contribute to gluten development, but is wet and helps the dough roll out nicely.

I blind-baked the shell last night and it was gorgeous! It broke my head a little that the pie dough looked so crazy, but I would make it again if it turns out to taste as good as it looks.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Making Light is one of the many things I am thankful for!

#86 ::: Joy ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Suborning the other two local family members with a Tofurky. I've been curious about them for years, like some of the other products the company makes, and am not a cook beyond the basics. Which almost makes me sad today, because of all the tasty-sounding recipes posted above. Hmm, maybe I'll see if the friend I'm teaching to crochet will swap cooking lessons...

#87 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Yes, the Mormon funeral potatoes in that link. Neither Chad nor I like regular mashed potatoes, and the ones we made last year have enough onion that I don't think they'd be the same without it (onion gives me trouble at the moment). The classic ones only have a little, so we think they'll be safe without.

And now off to improvise homemade cranberry relish. Wish me luck . . .

#88 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:17 PM:

Tracie, #75: The 1 stick melted butter -- does that really go in with the pineapple and cheese, or is it the butter that you mix with the Ritz crackers for the topping?

#89 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:24 PM:

Gina, the boy and I will be here with our friends Drieux and Madmerle.

#90 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:25 PM:

#79: wondered if the foil wrapped turkey and dressing she cooked last year that had been sitting at the back of his fridge ever since

I do have some sympathy -- I'm pretty good about ejecting ancient leftovers from my fridge, but in the course of moving house, I've been tossing out jarred spices that turned out to be older than some of the participants here!

#91 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:32 PM:

Bryant Pond Maine, Mom, Sis, her husband (who loves to play clarinet, but isn't any good), one Nephew and his inamorata, two annoying brothers (in different ways), one with a Filipino lady friend (smart money says wedding announcement in the offing, possibly past-tense). Three sled dogs eager for leftovers who will be disappointed since we're going to the Bethel Inn for dinner (about a mile sfrom one of Mr. Macdonald's favorite movie theatres, 50 or so miles from Colebrook).
But there are pies here, a helically-sliced ham for the next few days, a ski mountain with lots of snow just a few miles away, more-annoying brother has a lead to a couple of months of contract work,and I don't need to be back to Massachusetts until Tuesday.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:34 PM:

Kate Nepveu... Regular mashed potatoes? Bleh. Any other kind is fine.

#93 ::: Sharon Mock ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:37 PM:

We are playing host to a group of our friends, as we have for the past several years. The group has gone through some changes the past couple of years, but the tradition, happily, remains.

This is my second year in charge of the turkey, but it turned out well last year (I highly recommend the remote meat thermometer), and I will have expert advice on hand this time.

Last night I prepared the stuffing, the maple-rosemary butter for basting the turkey, the maple-allspice butter for sweet potatoes and squash, and the spiced cranberry sauce. Other people are managing veggies and bread and dessert. Apparently "dessert" includes a pecan-Drambuie pie.

Something tells me there's going to be a great deal of thanks-giving in this house this year.

#94 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:39 PM:

We're going to my parents. We'll be greatly missing my grandparents who are feeling too old to go out.

Last night I made a large gravenstein apple & cranberry galette, and a gluten-free apple crisp. And I washed a lot of beets. Now I need to cook up the beets for making into a salad.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, wherever you may be.

#95 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:41 PM:

I'm getting psyched up to cook my second turkey (and first Yanksgiving turkey), and considering fixing the giblets for the cats. Not that the furry little monsters will appreciate it.

While I was googling around last night trying to find a recipe similar to the one I used last time, I did find something I wanted to share: instructions for cooking a frozen turkey. It looks easier (and probably safer) than quick-thaw methods.

#96 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:43 PM:

Bill @ 41:

I'm staying home with the three kids. If the weather holds, brats and burgers on the grill.

David @ 83:

Also my T-dinner will include my sisters' husbands.

I'm sensing a pattern here, and it's not pretty.

#97 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:44 PM:

We're having a Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon with a turkey bought from HomeBaked Ham (there is a reason for this, and it's actually a very good one). My mother-in-law has driven us away from the kitchen and is fully in charge. Me? I just made breakfast.

#98 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:44 PM:

David Harmon

I have some whole nutmegs (in a glass jar; they're still fragrant) that my grandmother moved in 1974. They aren't older than me, but they're old enough to give people pause. (Some of the other spices are inherited, too, but they seem to be holding up well in airtight containers.)

(I keep some fossils on magnets on the fridge, so I can have stuff on the fridge that's older than anything inside the fridge. When you have sourdough starter, you have to think really old objects!)

#99 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:53 PM:

I plan to go to the barn and take the horse out for a Thanksgiving gallop, if the outdoor arena's dry enough. Then, later this afternoon, we're going to our friends' house to stuff ourselves. Since the 20 year old son is driving (he interns on their magazine/publishing projects and knows the Best Ways to get there), we'll be free to indulge safely in every way...

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 12:59 PM:

John Arkansawyer @ 96... This reminds me I should consider watching Soylent Green tonight, what with this being Turkey Day.

#101 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:03 PM:

I can't be the only one wondering if David Harmon @ 83 PS: Also my T-dinner will include my sisters' husbands... thoughtless of me. intends to cook his sisters' husbands...

#102 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:09 PM:

Am somewhere in suburban Minneapolis, at my sister's house, chasing my niece and nephew around the living room and generally having a grand time. Joy.

#103 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:15 PM:

Greg London, your "crock pot" doesn't sound like this thing, but it's close.

That's a 1950s roaster which has fallen out of use recently due to a faulty cord I need to replace. The sucker uses 1335 watts of electricity (I looked it up once).

We've gotten in the habit of buying the dinner from Safeway (10-12 lb bird, pie, mashpot, stuffing, whole cranberry sauce, rolls) and augmenting it with peas&onions and sweet potatoes. We'll be doing that again this afternoon.

#104 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:16 PM:

David @ 90: Are they by any chance in the old Cain's round screwtop plastic containers? I'd love those containers.

xeger @ 101: Jinx! (Do I have the usage right? I've never done that before.)

#105 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:18 PM:

Dear TG hotline: I'm having my sister's husbands for Thanksgiving, but they are still frozen. What should I do?

#106 ::: Kes ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:18 PM:

It's amazing how simple Thanksgivng dinner is when you're cooking for 3.5 people. My husband is allergic to most of the traditional accoutrements, and the kids are suspicious of anything uncanny.
So it's not really a whole lot different from 'dinner' as usually served, except for dessert of tarts, apple and pumpkin.

#107 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:41 PM:

I have to dissent from Mr. Singer's algorithm, because we can do this vastly better emprically. The correct way to cook a turkey involves a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Cook until 161F, remove, cover, let rest for 15 minutes, uncover, carve.

In my experience, this results in a 15lbs. turkey cooking in 2.5 hours, Mr. Singer's algorithm would result in coal. I suspect the core difference is the stuffing, or lack thereof, of the turkey, but there are a number of input variables that are unspecified. For example, oven temp. (I start at 475F for 30 minutes, then drop to 350F. I suspect this is closer to 500F and 375F, I should recalibrate at some point. Alton Brown's foil Turkey Tent also features in the proceedings. Matter of fact, his entire Turkey Process is a very effective way to make a *very* good turkey.

The thermometer method automagically adjusts for a number of initial conditions. Given that probe thermometers -- with alarms! -- cost less than $20, it's best to forget any rule of thumb and let that particular turkey tell you when that particular turkey.

Technology. It's a lovely thing.

#108 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Whoa... I just had a brain fart when looking at the graph, and thought "Tukey on Turkey: cool". Then I remembered it's Tufte, Tukey's pal.

The figure, while well executed, would probably have several elements eliminated if Tufte had a hand in it.

#109 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:49 PM:

Just reading this thread has gotten me mouth-wateringly hungry.

#110 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Off to a mutual friend's in CT very shortly, bearing with me the gift of pumpkin fudge. Wish the Doyle-Macdonald crowd a happy Turkeyday for me (-:

#111 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 01:54 PM:

We're not hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in a long while. For the very first time, our younger son and our very-soon-to-be daughter-in-law* are cooking the bird for us and her parents. This should be interesting, the kids are vegetarian** but loathe the idea of tofurkey.

* three weeks and counting
** not vegan, We're not vegetarian; our turkey is slowly thawing in the refrigerator for tomorrow.

#112 ::: Kieran ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:01 PM:

The figure, while well executed, would probably have several elements eliminated if Tufte had a hand in it.

True enough. But while Tufte is inspiring, I tend to follow Bill Cleveland for practical details. The light gridlines and all-round tickmarks are there deliberately, given the purpose of the figure -- you explicitly want to read from one axis to the other. Although, looking at it now, if I hadn't been in a rush this morning I would've remembered to have the y-axis read "Cooking Time in Hours at 325F" instead of just "Cooking Time in Hours."

#113 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:07 PM:

It's been three years since I've had a proper Thanksgiving dinner, what with me having moved to Finland in 2005. I had an American friend who'd come over for a year of university help me make a nice little spread that year, but last year I was sadly deprived. This year I was determined to have a proper dinner again, even if it meant serving it near midnight because the other half works evenings.

I went so far as to pay the whopping four euros for a can of pumpkin at the import store in Helsinki. Turns out I should've went and spent that much for a pie crust as well, as mine has done... interesting things. The storebought roll-yourself slid down the pan when I tried to blind bake it; so did my homemade crust (which also looks like it's going to be as tough as an old boot). I thought I knew what I was doing. Oops! I stuck most of the filling in the mutant pie crust anyway and it's currently cooling and smelling very nice--if nothing else, we can scrape the pumpkin yumminess from the crust when we eat it. I'll get more pie crust tomorrow and make mini pies with the rest of the filling.

I used up all of the rest of the flour on the rolls and could have used still more, but they're rising fine and about to go in the oven. Just a little pork roast (turkey? Alas, no, not unless I want it in breast form only) and mashed potatoes left to cook... *sob*

In all seriousness, it's been frantic but not too horrible (and I've learned an important lesson with pie crusts). I'm sure I'll do it all again next year, since my homesickness has been too strong for me to go on ignoring beloved traditions. Maybe one day I'll be able to afford visiting my family more than once every three or four years.

#114 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:08 PM:

Oh, and since we're sharing, I'll play along and share one of my favorite beer recipes:

Tumultuous Uproar Imperial Stout
(makes 5 gallons, or about 35 bottles [375 ml])

10 lb pale malt extract
1.5 lb 2-row barley
0.5 lb roasted barley
0.5 lb carafe barley
0.5 lb chocolate roast barley
dash of barley flakes
0.25 lb black patent barley
1 oz bullion hops pellets
2 oz east kent golding hops pellets
1 vial of liquid dry english ale yeast
4.5 oz dextrose powder
2.5 oz star anise
6 gallons bottled spring water


Step 1: Put about 1.5 gallons of spring water into a 2 or 3 gallon pot (not your big 3.5 or 4 gallon pot) and heat to between 158 F and 160 F. Yes, you need a thermometer, and yes, 155 F is way too cold and 165 F is way too hot. Also, don't skimp and use tap water for this. You want the spring water because its pH balance is already managed for you, and it's a huge pain to measure and tweak your tap water. Use the spring water— you'll be much more calm about everything.

Step 2: Turn off the heat, dump all the loose specialty grains into the pot, put the lid on the pot, cover the whole thing with a towel to keep it warm and happy, and leave it alone for 45 minutes. This will make your house smell wonderful. If you have more than two large pots and a trivet for the first pot, you can get a jump on step 4 here.

Step 3: Place the largest metal colander you have in your main brewing pot so the handles catch and it suspends in the top. Pour the loose specialty grains from the first pot into the colander. Try to keep all the grains in the colander and let the sweet wort fall into the pot. I use the largest colander and brew pot I could buy at Sur La Table, and it's almost not big enough. Resist the temptation to compress the grains to make them fit, as that will release tannins you don't want in the wort.

Step 4: Rinse out the first pot and use it to heat another 1.5 gallons of spring water to 180 F. Yes, use the thermometer. 175 F is too cold. 185 F is too hot.

Step 5: Use pyrex measuring cup or a ladle, and slowly drizzle the the 180 F water over the grains in the colander. This will take a long time. Try to be patient. Keep the temperature of the water at 180 F, and it will go faster as time progresses. You can stop when you're out of water and wort is basically not dripping into the pot from the colander anymore.

Step 6: Remove the spent grains and dump them in the compose pile. Or feed them to the pigs. Or spread around in your garden. You're done with them.

Step 7: Heat the wort in your main brewing pot at high temperature until almost boiling.

Step 8: Turn off the heat. Pour the malt extract into the pot and stir it into the wort. You did turn off the heat first, right? Trust me, if you didn't turn off the heat, you're feeling really stupid right now. Turn off the heat before you pour ten pounds of malt extract into a pot of near boiling wort.

Step 9: Turn on the heat and bring the pot to a rolling boil. Watch the pot constantly. Don't leave the stove even to cross the room for a second, much less to go to the bathroom. A foam will develop on the surface of the wort, and it can rise quickly with almost no warning, boil over the top of the pot and create a huge sticky mess. You will really not like cleaning it up. Watch the pot constantly while you bring the wort to a boil.

Step 10: If you've made beer before, but never one as strong as an imperial stout, then read step 9 again. You have over 12 lb of sugar in that pot. It will boil over more quickly and more easily than what you're used to with lighter weight worts.

Step 11: Add the bullion hops to the wort, and boil the hell out of it for a whole 30 minutes. With the hops in the wort, it's now even more likely to boil over. It's also what will make your housemates complain about the awful smell. Now might be a good time to start Night On Bald Mountain playing on the MP3 player with track repeat. (I like the disco version on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack for this. Sadly, the rest of the house doesn't.)

Step 12: Add half of the east kent golding hops (1 oz) to the wort, and keep boiling the hell out of it for another 20 minutes. Switch the MP3 player over to the opening theme from Beetlejuice.

Step 13: Add the star anise and the rest of the hops to the wort, and keep boiling the hell out of it for another 10 minutes. Switch the MP3 player over to the imperial march from Empire Strikes Back.

Step 14: Turn off the heat and cover the pot with the lid. Carry the pot over and put it into the sink. Surround the outside of the pot with ice cubes and pour cold water from the tap into the ice. Leave there for 45 minutes. Do not take off the lid for any reason. (Alternatively, you could use a wort chiller. I do. Speeds up the process of bringing the temperature of the wort down to the point where the yeast will like it.)

Step 15: Sanitize your primary fermenter and its airlock with benzalkonium chloride. (My brew supply store stocks it under the brand name "One Step".)

Step 16: Pour 2.5 gallons of spring water into the primary fermenter. You may have a little spring water left over. Save it for when there are two many snipers suppressing access to the local well.

Step 17: Pour the cooled (probably still warm, but not near boiling) wort into the primary fermenter.

Step 18: Pitch the yeast into the primary fermenter, close the lid and install the airlock.

Step 19: Put the fermenter someplace cool and dark for 10 to 20 days. After it starts fermenting in about 18 hours, a steady stream of CO2 will start bubbling out the airlock. If it's too cold (like under 50 F), then fermentation won't happen. If it's too warm (like over 80 F), then fermentation may be too aggressive, and it will blow through the airlock and make a huge mess. So, make sure the fermenter is located somewhere that cleaning up such a mess will be easy.

Step 20: Rack the beer from the primary to a well-sanitized secondary fermenter after the airlock stops bubbling. This will almost certainly take at least 10 days with this beer. It might take as much as 20, if it's cold enough. Whatever. Leave it in the secondary fermenter for another 5 or 6 weeks. I've let it go for as much as 8 weeks, and it hasn't hurt the beer any.

Step 21: Sanitize 36 strong 375 ml bottles. I retained a collection of the old St. Peters Brewery bottles (before they switched from oval to round), and these work great. You don't want to use cheap bottles that were made for crap beer. If the beer is over-carbonated, the bottles will break in storage or transport and that will make a sucky outcome into an utterly intolerable one.

Step 22: Add the dextrose to a 0.25 cup of tap near boiling tap water. Stir until dissolved. Pour this "priming sugar" into the secondary fermenter with the beer you're about to bottle.

Step 23: Bottle the beer. Use oxygen-sealing crown caps. Very important. Order them special if necessary.

Step 24: Leave the beer in the bottles for at least 4 months before you even think of opening one to see if it came out all right. It will be ready to enjoy after about 6 months. It will be really good in 8 to 12 months. After that it will slowly deteriorate and be truly awful at around 2 years old.

Step 25: Taste and adjust recipe to suit.

(Note: much of this recipe, and the instructions for brewing, came from Griz at San Francisco Brewcraft. The addition of the star anise was my idea. I argue that the addition of savory to this traditional recipe is an innovation that should be accepted everywhere.)

#115 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:09 PM:

re 103: They have been pushing those very heavily at Target this year. We have a double oven so we have no need for such an appliance; things have been popping in and out of the turkey-free oven all morning.

We are cooking for ourselves and my parents (but not for my sister and her kids, the possibility of which led us to get a huge bird this year). The menu is/shall be;

Turkey (from Maple Lawn Farms) with gravy
Stuffing in and out of bird (I like a lot stuffing, there can never be too much stuffing)
Rutabaga and turnip in parmesan/cheddar sauce
Succutashu (corn and edamame)
Sweet potatoes with a touch of maple
Cranberry sauce (whole berry and can-onical)
Salad (whatever my father brings)
Pumpkin pie A and B
Cassis Torte

#116 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:27 PM:

At some point, maybe while the bird is resting, I'll put "Alice's Restaurant" on and remember when the world was young. ;)

#117 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:28 PM:

Of course an interesting way of cooking a turkey would be to cook the entire thing at about 75C (170F) for... well, I think with a reasonable size bird you'd be looking for about 20 hours at that temperature. Until Erik's thermometer alarm goes off, and you turn the temperature down to about 60C (140F) to keep it warm until you want to serve, I think would be the way to do it.

_Theoretically_ this should result in a substantially more moist and tender bird, although you're unlikely to have enough juices to make gravy, if that's something you want to do.

I say theoretically because I've never tried this with poultry, only red meats, so don't know it wouldn't work out differently.

#118 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:34 PM:

Anytime anyone's interested in All Turkey All The Time, year 'round, should check out Hart's Turkey Farm in Meredith, NH.

#119 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:34 PM:

I'd visit a friend but this is an even-numbered day. So I'm at home with tapes of old movies and a sack of sweet potatoes I bought at 20 cents a pound.

#120 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:39 PM:

xeger @#101: Yes you can... ;-)

#104: I don't think so. In any case, I wound up tossing most of my little glass bottles and jars before moving, as part of the general purge of my possessions. The latest discards were from 10 and 20 years ago, as indicated by store labels from a prior city.... I did save a Coleman's mustard tin (plastic-topped) and a couple of shaker bottles for opportunistic use.

#121 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:42 PM:

I have the outlaws over. The bird is in the oven. The potatoes and carrots are waiting on the stove, there is squash and Weird Hamburger Stuff prepared by the Mother Outlaw, my dearest has yeast rolls rising beside the stove, pumpkin pie lurking in the cold part of the porch and some other pie in the fridge, gingerbread cookies, nuts, and a cheese tray.

And I am thankful, because the Father Outlaw is doing finish carpentry on my new windows and the Brother Outlaw is addressing a minor electrical issue in the cellar (the issue being, mainly, that he never got around to installing any outlets in the workshop when he mostly rewired the place for us when we moved in...)

It's cold up here, and so I'm going back downstairs.

#122 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:51 PM:

and... PJ Evans at #98: Well, keepsakes are different! (I find myself wondering if hulled nutmegs* are still viable as seeds?)

* The outside goes to make another spice, "mace".

#123 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 02:53 PM:

Happy Thanksgiving, Making Light! And thank for all the recipes. It's a lazy day. This morning I spent a fair amount of the time on the phone with my brother, talking about this and that. Prior to that, I went to Mass and hung out in the parish hall talking to folks and munching on a cinnamon and pecan bun. Yum. (All my usual food choices/restrictions are suspended for Thanksgiving; I eat whatever I feel like eating.) Somewhat later I need to go to a grocery store and buy food not for today but for the weekend. My cupboard's pretty bare.

Late this afternoon I'll drive 7 miles down the road to the home of some friends. They're doing all the cooking, blessings on them. I'm bringing dessert wine: a nice port. We'll eat.

To Mad, who's having chest pain (?!); don't take aspirin if you are allergic to aspirin, otherwise, what Teresa said. Please. Don't wait to deal with it. To all who are not feeling well, especially if you have a cold: feel better -- eat!

#124 ::: Ruth Temple ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:00 PM:

Today we're cooking potatoes, whomping up some muhamarra (roasted red peppers, walnuts, toasted and ground cumin, pomegranate juice reduction, some cayenne if you wish. Why isn't this at least as popular as hummus, we wonder?); the mince pie with mince we put up including the green tomatoes of the end of the 2006 season, and a fresh pear from the tree in the yard of the new house; poppyseed cookies with the mince pie crust leftovers-yum; and a Three Sisters warm thing concoction to put that lovely triumverate grown in fields together - corn, bean, and squash - and celebrated at harvest feasts centuries before my Puritan ancestors arrived; gathering with dear friends (Marina's doing the Bird, Kurt the gravy, and so on down the line of friends and chosen-family).

Tomorrow we're cooking - first feast in the new place! Praises be on your and Jon Singer's heads, with a few joyful shape-note harmonies thrown in for old times' sake - tomorrow's bird is in cold water in a cooler in the tub as we speak, and we hope 'twill be thawed fine for tomorrow's baking --eek! I've made a couple of epi loaves, and if you know how many years it's been since I've baked, you'll begin to get an idea of how much I love this house. We're also doing the Three Sisters Thing here, a salad with fennel and oranges from the blood orange tree inna pot on our porch (it made the move beautifully), another mince pie, roasted root veggies based on gold potatoes, garnet yams, and a couple of fresh rutabagas I found with NO WAX on them.

--And all the goodies and trimmings that 'round the table go.


#125 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:01 PM:

Frozen turkey update: I got up, and changed the water, took a shower, went to change the water again, and observed that the turkey seemed to be entirely thawed except for a chunk of ice inside the cavity. Hooray! So I now have an entirely thawed turkey, waiting to go in the oven in an hour or two.

#126 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:06 PM:

Sharing recipes? My family demands I make and serve this at every Christmas and every Thanksgiving dinner.

Honey-glazed Onions with Walnuts

36 small white onions (aka pearl onions, boilers), trimmed and peeled
1/2 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Parboil onions in salted water to cover for 10 minutes; drain well. Place in a heavy (oven-safe) skillet with melted butter, salt and pepper. Set over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, gently stirring or shaking pan frequently. (Onions should be delicately browned.) Stir honey with boiling water until evenly mixed and pour over onions. Continue to cook while gently stirring or shaking pan until the onions are thoroughly glazed and tender. (The glaze should be reduced and thickened.) Sprinkle with walnuts. Put them under the broiler with the oven door open. Baste with the honey syrup until lightly browned. Serve.

This tastes even better than it sounds, better than you could possibly believe. (Originally from The Mystic Seaport Cookbook)

This year, however, we're not cooking; instead we're taking the foster daughter, who we're still trying to build/patch a relationship with, out to a very deluxe buffet. That way she can have all the turkey and meat she wants and we can eat vegetarian food. (Caroline, thanks for the stuffed squash and mushroom gravy recipes. Those sound amazing.)

#127 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Oh yeah, I posted the Tumultuous Uproar recipe here today, because if you must buy something on Black Friday, then buy the ingredients in the morning and make the beer in the afternoon. It should be ready to serve at Thanksgiving dinner next year. That's what I'd be doing if I didn't have to take the sprog to the zoo instead.

#128 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:33 PM:

Renatus @ 113

The piecrust problem is actually not hard to solve. You line the unbacked crust with aluminum foil and put a half-kilo of dried beans - or coins - in it while it bakes. Or you can put the beans or the coins in an oven-roasting bag and put the whole thing in the unbaked crust. Pie weights are the idea and the ideal here.

#129 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:53 PM:

Clifton, that's something I think I'd like a lot. Thanks.

#130 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:54 PM:

TomB @105: Dear TG hotline: I'm having my sister's husbands for Thanksgiving, but they are still frozen. What should I do?

"Open the oven door, HAL." (long pause) "I said, open the oven door, HAL. Can you read me?"

"I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that right now. This recipe is too important for you to jeopardize it. I'm afraid you'll just have to look through the little glass window while I consult To Serve Man for further instructions."

#131 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Thanksgiving is almost over where I am, but I've enjoyed reading all of your posts throughout the day. Somehow I've never gotten into the habit of celebrating it overseas, but I did bake a carrot cake with some chopped cranberries today. And Christmas may involve real bread stuffing (with chopped fresh sage leaves and pine nuts....)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

#132 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 04:25 PM:

PJ mentioned this thread and said that there should be a Making Light cookbook. In keeping with that thought, and the fact that I am in the middle of my seasonal baking (punkin bread, sourdough banana bread, lemon bread, and cookies up the wazoo), I contribute my great-grandmother's peanut butter cookie recipe.

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter
1/2 c peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 c flour

Cream sugars and butters together. Mix in egg, vanilla. Mix in flour and bkg soda. Do your usual peanut butter cookie things to bake (I understand there was some debate here recently). 350 degrees, ten minutes or so. Overbake at least one batch, cause those are good, too.

PB&J variation: Instead of the criss-cross fork thing, flatten slightly, then put a hole in the center, almost to the bottom, using the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill with strawberry preserves and bake as usual. Baking the filling makes the filling come out chewy. Don't use jelly as it soaks into the cookie as it bakes, We experimented with assorted common jam/jelly flavors and found strawberry preserves does best. YMMV One of these days I need to try this with some of the newer preserve flavors now readily available.

The getting ready for the senior prom variation, otherwise known as ugh, too much: I needed something to do while waiting for the big date, so I made peanut butter cookies. I made a double batch, so I put in three cups of flour. Or what I thought was three cups of flour. It just wouldn't mix in properly. So my mother and I went back over what I had done, re-enacting the crime. We ended up with a quadruple batch, adding in more of everything, as I had measured out three two-cup measures of flour.

#133 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 04:37 PM:

PJ @ #128: I figured that out the second time around... sort of. All I had on hand was some rice (not enough) and instructions that said for gods' sakes, don't use foil, use baking parchment!--so I did. The crust slid down less, but still it slid. I'll definitely use dried beans and foil--or weights, should I find them--the next time I try a pie crust.

I remember blind baking crusts when I was a teen and they didn't melt, but gods only know how that happened. Faulty memory is my guess.

On the up side, the crust tasted fabulous. After reading about Elizabeth Bear using vodka in hers (alcohol apparently retards gluten formation), I used some dark rum for a little less than half the ice water. So, it might be an ugly crust, but it's flaky and delicious. The filling turned out perfect.

The rest of the dinner was a success as well. Other half and the friend we invited are well-fed and duly impressed!

#134 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 04:38 PM:

I've made a sweet cranberry sauce, a cranberry apple chutney, and for the experimental sauce a thyme and toasted mustard cranberry sauce (riffing from an Epicurious recipe). They're now cooling off. I've decided that experiments in caramelized apple and quince can wait until later.

#135 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 04:53 PM:

Fairly quiet Thanksgiving here. The usual dishes (though we've gotten into the habit of substituting a butternut squash casserole for the traditional candied yams).

I'm considering doing some Black Friday shopping tomorrow morning before work. There's a Kohl's department store about a quarter-mile off my route to work that has three or four items I'd like to get. Probably depends on how early I get to bed tonight.

#136 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 04:56 PM:

Bruce @135,
Today's a good day to do shopping on Ebay for business / office items: far too many people forgot to calculate when their auction would end. We've been doing a bit of that today.

#137 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 05:30 PM:

The risotto is almost done, the horse has been ridden, and it's almost time to extract the wheatless, dairyless, eggless faux cheesecake from the 40 degree F garage where it's been's actually a pretty yummy workaround for those of us who are allergic to those three ingredients. I use a standard cheesecake recipe, make the crust from gluten-free vegan cinnamon sugar cookies (with a little butter, the only dairy in the whole thing).

Then I substitute tofu creamcheese for the creamcheese, and either rice or tofu sour cream for the sour cream. You get the same tangy taste, and it's very, very rich. I have fed it to people (after acertaining they don't have soy allergies) without telling them it's fake. They usually realize that's the case when I start eating it. And I've had a lot of requests for leftovers when I take it to work functions...

#138 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 134... the experimental sauce

"Yes, dear?"
"That sauce of yours was delicious, but..."
"Is it supposed to make me grow hair all over my body?"
"Oops. Maybe I should have asked Doctor Moreau where he got that recipe."

#139 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 06:06 PM:

Spent most of the morning down at the local mission helping with prep.

Home now, drinking wine, and making cheesy risotto with broccoli and sausage, (thanks to Kate Salter) -- to go with a roasted turkey breast.

And a very Happy Thanksgiving, PHN, TNH, Jim, and Debra, and to all of you.

#140 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Serge @ 138 ...
"Is it supposed to make me grow hair all over my body?"
"Oops. Maybe I should have asked Doctor Moreau where he got that recipe."

ITYM "extra hair" all over your body. I suppose it could come in handy...

#141 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 06:41 PM:

Have just finished Thanksgiving supper con los Nielsen Hayden.

Torpor is setting in.

#142 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 06:50 PM:

Teresa and Lizzy: I got Danny to bring home some baby aspirin when he did the traditional Thanksgiving Last Minute Stuff Run. I'll call the doctor tomorrow. My gut feeling is that this was more about my fainting tendency than my heart, but I'll get checked.

#143 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 06:59 PM:

Brian @74 I'm sorry but roasting by weight instead of mass will produce an inferior Thanksgiving day feast. The Pilgrims always roasted by Mass.

ITYM 'the pilgrims were always roasted by Mass'. Not only were the Pilgrims not Catholic, they weren't even Anglican, hence their escape to the New World in search of religious freedom (for them, not for everyone).

T'giving is now over at our house. Our first T'giving since Dad died and Mum moved -- it was a little odd. Mum came out and brought a pumpkin pie. We had a spiral sliced ham, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, green salad, homemade applesauce, rice/apple pilaf, and beans and carrots with a dollop of balsamic vinegar/olive oil vinagrette. 'Twas good.

Mum's gone home now (wanted to get home before it got too dark), the leftovers are in the fridge, the dishes are in the dishwasher, everyone else is off watching a freshly downloaded Futurama, and I've got the Cowboys game on and will be heading to the knitting corner soon.

#144 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:01 PM:

James @ 141...

(I wonder if he's going to wake up strapped to an operating table in their basement.)

#145 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:17 PM:

xeger @ 140... ITYM "extra hair" all over your body. I suppose it could come in handy

Sure, provided you don't mind looking like Gossamer, the sneaker-shod monster that Peter Lorre sicced on Bugs Bunny.

#146 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:22 PM:

My sister-in-law served up an excellent meal as usual. We started with a salad of butter lettuce, sliced duck, duck cracklings, and pine nuts, which my brother devised; then the turkey with our traditional rice and beans (white beans rather than kidney beans this time around), stuffing, broccoli, whipped sweet potatoes, and cranberry relish for most of us and the can-shaped stuff for my Irish brother-in-law; and for dessert, three kinds of pie and our traditional one kind of flan, just like Grandpa used to make.

I'm happy.

#147 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:44 PM:

The 3 kids and I are at home. Our first Thanksgiving without my husband. My eldest daughter (15) planned the menu and helped significantly. I reworked the menu for nutritional reasons (and was twice overridden with the Feast excuse) and was assigned a few dishes.

We just finished roasted turkey with sage, gravy, mashed potatoes, spinach gruyere bake, roasted root vegetables, apple and shallot dressing, cranberry jelly from a can, and balsamic pearl onions. Dessert is a sweet potato cake with cream cheese icing which my daughter made; I may stick with a tea and/or scotch.

To balance the meal we spent a good bit of the day outside running around the yard and doing some yard work.

#148 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:51 PM:

Oh yeah, we went to church today. It was the last Sunday Mass as our old selves; at the next service Dec. 2 we will have merged with another parish.

We sang 8 lovely thanksgiving hymns.

#149 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 07:59 PM:

The SciFi Channel ought to be thanked for its Thanksgiving Marathon. Not. It's Ghost Hunter all day today, and Enterprise tomorrow. Good thing I've got my own collection of cinematic turkeys. (It has been a long time since I watched Hercules and the Captive Women...)

#150 ::: jean vpxi ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:07 PM:

I was wondering why Debra made so many pies! (on Pippin's LJ blog)

We had parts of our family over at our house. Store-bought deserts, alas, but my mom's oyster stuffing, and I roasted a brined turkey. It was nice and moist, but maybe not worth the trouble and near back collapse. (The weight: turkey + 4 gallons or so of liquid.)

My nephew is a scifi writer (college senior) and I encouraged him to try out for VP. And/or he's thinking of going to grad school. I'm so proud of him!

PS Even though I know only a few of you, and those few only from the workshop, a good, family feeling takes hold of me reading this post and all the comments. Hope the rest of your weekend is pleasantly spent!

#151 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:10 PM:

jean vpxi @ 150... Store-bought deserts bought at Leto's Arrakeen Pastries and Donuts?

#152 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:24 PM:

Feasting has occured here at Casa Corona. The guests have rolled home. The hosts are in a torpor, though soon the washing of the dishes will have to be completed.

In the midst of the cooking and the cleaning, the trojan-infected computer has been purified without the loss of data. We rejoice. No, not my work computer.

#153 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:27 PM:

#151: Too much spice.

#154 ::: Zak ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:33 PM:

Sharon chimed in earlier with our plans, but I just wanted to share this. It's how I'd cook turkey if I could.

Cooking a turkey with thermite.

(Thanks to my friend Mark for sharing the video)

#155 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:37 PM:

Here's our c. 1954 roaster oven, which I'm about to preheat.

#156 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:47 PM:

This year we just went to the beach, and had more turkey than usual in our same old same old. Can I complain a little?

---- start of downer (skip if you don't want it) ---

Our daughter has Crohn's and our son has kidney problems apparently connected to food allergies. Currently, for our daughter, the diet is no carbs at all except monosaccharides and fruit (the disaccharides in fruit being negligible for the purposes of this), and for our son, who is currently undergoing a course of steroids (which interfere with sugar uptake) the diet is NO CARBS AT ALL. For a couple of weeks.

Do. You. Know. How many carbs are in food? Any food? But especially food you buy cooked from other people? And don't get me started on turkey, because every damn turkey in every store in Ponce, Puerto Rico, has crap injected into it so that people who don't know how to bake a turkey will have something they can eat.

This diet -- let me stress this -- works wonders for both of them. Our daughter's in remission and will hopefully stay there if we push this diet for long enough. And our son had a very idiosyncratic reaction to the prednisone which we believe we are getting under control with this no-carb-at-all approach. But I'm hungry, and I miss the feasting. Just once, I wish our kids didn't have mysterious uncurable diseases and we could live like all you normal people. Eat brownies. Hell, eat bread, just bread. It would be great.

---- end of downer -----


#157 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:47 PM:

Jon Meltzer @ 153... Try their mud pies.

#158 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:51 PM:

Serge #157: Too wormy.

#159 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 08:53 PM:

We discovered Tuesday evening that the extended-family get together, which has gotten smaller and more casual over the years, had become nonexistent this year. So for perhaps the second time since our teenagers were born, and the first time in at least 10 years, we sat down at our own dining room table for Thanksgiving dinner, just the 4 of us. Cleaned the table off all the way (it's a stuff magnet, billpaying center, etc., and we tend to just push the stuff aside for normal dinners), got out the nice china, candlesticks, and the place mats my great-grandmother crocheted. We had a roasted turkey breast, dressing and gravy, green beans, a casserole of sweet potatoes with seedless red grapes and chopped pecans, rolls from the marvelous local bakery, and pumpkin pie. We enjoyed each other's company with no one in a hurry to go do anything else. It was very pleasant. Dishwasher has finished and I need to empty it and reload with the rest of the stuff.

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:00 PM:

Fragano @ 158... But the kids love their chewing gom jabbar.

#161 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:01 PM:

Michael Roberts @156

Just once, I wish our kids didn't have mysterious uncurable diseases and we could live like all you normal people.

Daughter the younger has some special needs - not food related, but enough to make me resonate to the feeling in your post of "This is the right thing to do, and I wouldn't do otherwise, but at this minute it's just hard." A cyberhug to you and yours.

#162 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:15 PM:

Caroline @15 -

Thank you for your gravy recipe! I used it to go with tonight's vegetarian pot roast. Usually I used Field Roast [TM] but the grocery said they hadn't been able to get any for awhile, so I used a Stuffed Tofurkey Roast instead. It was surprisingly good; I will never say "tofurkey" in a sarcastic tone of voice again.

But anyway, I did about a half portion of your gravy recipe, substituting one chopped-up Tofurkey Apple Smoked Sausage link (I figured, as long as the main course was Tofurkey, I might as well go whole hogsoybean) for the mushrooms to make it edible for the no-mushrooms person.

Oh My Goodness It Was Good. I may have to bake some biscuits this weekend to eat with the leftover gravy.

Thank you thank you thank you!

#163 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:19 PM:

Michael @ 156: That's a hard row to hoe, all right. Good luck with the treatments.

We actually have had a very pleasant afternoon with the foster daughter. (She's not living with us currently, in an alternate foster home and getting extra therapy.) No blow-ups today. We took her to Orchids (very deluxe restaurant) and talked about the plans for finishing her GED. She's back home with us right now, doodling around on a sketchpad and hanging out with our son.

#164 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:28 PM:

Serge #160: I know you mentat in jest.

#165 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:47 PM:

John A Arkansawyer, #96, I had that problem with a consulting gig in Milwaukee. The company had a really good cafeteria and the menu was on the wall in the area where I was teaching how to use a stand-alone word processor (I don't remember which one) and I said "Brat and bun?" I was informed it was short for bratwurst (which turned out to be good) and I'd never really had any sausage before other than Italian.

I had some of the turkey breast I microwaved (turns out to be very moist and flavorful) but Spirit didn't like it, so I'm not doing that again. I had some bread and my required rehydration fluid and cranberry juice so a package of frozen veggies later and I'll be fine.

#166 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:51 PM:

Bleah. Spent the day alone, lying in bed drowsing and being depressed. No food in the house and couldn't manage to drag myself out of bed before the grocery stores closed, so I had some blue tortilla chips and salsa by way of a meal. I am still hungry and trying to motivate myself to either go in search of food or go out to see some friends.

This is my only free day in the 10/29-12/15 everything-goes-crazy period, and all I can manage to be is too exhausted and unhappy to actually do anything useful, like rake leaves, or pack, or plan the dances I have to teach tomorrow.

#167 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:57 PM:

Sorry to hear that you're having a down day, Susan. I hope at some point your luck changes to include a partner worthy of someone as interesting as you are.

#168 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 09:57 PM:

What do you think you're dune, Fragano? Being funny?

#169 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:04 PM:

Michael Roberts #168: Kynes of.

#170 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:14 PM:

OTOH relative to the downer above: I am thankful our kids are as healthy as they are. I'm thankful we can help them with something as simple as moving a quarter of the way around the world, mopping the entire house daily, and going through dozens of dietary approaches before (currently) not eating any carbohydrates. Seriously. Because if you read the medical literature, both Crohn's and nephrotic syndrome are truly not good things to have. And sorting through alternative medicine with your crackpot filters on at full blast is tiresome, but once in a while you find that little nugget of suggestive ideation that correlates with the scientific literature, and you try a new angle, and your kids' lab results get better. Rinse, and repeat, for a few years, and cross your fingers -- we've got one in remission and we're working on #2. (And they are healthy; even kidney boy has enough energy and spirit to be a donor. Doctors sometimes ask, "How is his energy level" and we literally just laugh -- if this is his slow state, we can only imagine him levitating if he were healthy.)

So I'm thankful we've had the success we've had, and I'm very thankful we haven't had the nasty symptoms you read about. And that's a more appropriate post on Thanksgiving than "poor me, I want some of those black-hole brownies so bad I feel like licking the screen." But the attention whoring worked -- thanks, y'all. Sometimes it helps that somebody else even knows something sucks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

#171 ::: Joy ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:24 PM:

Well, now I know that the mystery potato casserole my sister-in-law made today is really Mormon Funeral Potatoes. Learn something new every time I read here.

Went to sister-in-law's house and she wanted to eat at 4. We were hungry so she put the food in early. About 5 minutes before food due out of the oven, the power went out. Our food was done enough but we smelled some of the neighbors firing up their grills. The power was still off when we left around 7 pm. It was out for the whole town. We all felt really bad for those who were planning to eat after 3.

On the other hand, the power outage gave us non-TV time to play the piano and sing (we got the Christmas carols out, because, hey! it's Thanksgiving! and apparently Santa Claus is in town because we did see that on the TV before the power went out) and do my 6-yo's weird "puppet show" about the first Thanksgiving (did you know the Pilgrims came to this country because the King of England told them to eat their raw food? And that the Mayflower was full of umbrellas? ... neither did I...

#172 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:32 PM:

Dinner was good. The turkey was perfect (in spite of Byrd's caviling of a speckling of overdone skin at the top of the bird-- we were using a much bigger bird than usual and with the nice new roasting pan clearance at the top was a little skimpy). The gravy was as dark as beef gravy; the sweet potato experiment worked; my pie turned out after all. Youngest, who can be a bit of a problem to feed in these sorts of situations where we don't have time to fix something specially for him, seized upon a drumstick and devoured it methodically. Nobody dropped or broke anything.

#173 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:10 PM:

The problem isn't lack of a partner; being home alone on Thanksgiving is normal for me, though I usually remember to lay in some provisions. The problem is being too exhausted and depressed to spend the day working on the long list of things that desperately need to get done.

#174 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:26 PM:

Susan @ 173 ...
The problem is being too exhausted and depressed to spend the day working on the long list of things that desperately need to get done.

My empathies, Susan. I always think of that place as being too stressed and tired to cope with being anything other than stressed and tired - and often too tired and stressed to do anything at all :(

I know it's virtually impossible to not feel guilty about doing something that's not on your list of things that need to be done, but you and your body need time too (a lesson that I'm currently being reminded of in the person of the seasonal ick that's had me incapable since Saturday). Maybe pizza? I'm not sure what's open/available down there, but something warming...

(As a minor aside to the food question, I've always considered chapatti to be comfort food, and they're basically flour and water (which my particularly empty shelves actually have, oddly enough), with butter brushed on if you're feeling sensibly indulgent... )

#175 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:32 PM:

Back from Thanksgiving. For the record, the maple pumpkin cheesecake was fantastic. It smelled wonderful and tasted wonderful. That's a recipe I'm definitely getting from my mom.

Nicole @ 162 -- You are very welcome! I'm glad it worked out for you. And the veg sausage sounds like a good idea -- I may give that a try myself!

I ordinarily wouldn't venture out tomorrow, but my poor boyfriend has to work Black Friday, in a mall. He's going to need some beer when he gets home. And since j h woodyat's Imperial Stout isn't a 24-hour recipe, I will need to purchase some good beer.

Unfortunately the nearest good-beer store is next to a Target, Pier One, and Barnes & Noble. I'll be taking my life in my hands.

#176 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:42 PM:

Susan @ 173, for what it's worth, I've been spending a lot of time right there in that boat with you. Such as all of yesterday. You're not alone. And I'm not either, which is helpful to me, if nothing else.

I wish I knew what to do to make both of us feel better, but I don't. I like xeger's pizza suggestion.

#177 ::: Sara E ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 11:51 PM:

We had a quiet Thanksgiving. Because there are three of us (two adults and one very small person) I roasted a chicken instead of a turkey. Stuffed it herbs, leeks, garlic, lemon, olive oil and butter. Did a pumpkin-sweet potato bake, fired up some instant mashed potatoes, made sage and garlic stuffing, fixed some peas (as the very small person loves peas).

Forgot to put out the cranberries, but that's not a big deal as I am only one who eats them.

I was very thankful not to have been traveling. It's nice to be home.

#178 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 12:04 AM:

I just wanted to express my continuing thanks to Teresa, Patrick, Jim, and all the other wonderful folks who post and hang out here on Making Light. I've been reading, mostly lurking, for (thinks hard, counts) years now. Making Light is easily my favourite haunt on the web; even if I hardly ever have anything to say, I always wind up with a lot to think about, in a good way. So thank you, all!

(And mashed potatoes? Done right? With butter? Oh my oh my... :)

#179 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 12:28 AM:

Is this algorithm for a stuffed or unstuffed bird? The books recommend, I think, 14 or 17 min/lb for stuffed, 10 min/lb unstuffed.

#180 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 12:39 AM:

Susan @#173: I've been there too. Thankfully not so much these days, but you have my sympathies and well-wishes. (And I'll echo prior commenters to say "eat"! If you can't manage shopping, have something delivered.)

#181 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 12:42 AM:

We're having a belated Thanksgiving due to assorted circumstances, so Steve and I cooked a "test turkey" today. The verdict: YUM!

#182 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 01:17 AM:

Greg 62: I will now repeat it several times to burn it into my DDR memory.

What's a roaster oven got to do with Dance Dance Revolution?

julia 71: That's how I've always spelled it. And bleagh, I agree. Yogurt salsa indeed.

#183 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 06:40 AM:

Susan @ 166... Please remember that we are always available to help in any way we can.

#184 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 06:57 AM:

I ended up giving up entirely on the food thing last night. It was just too much effort. On the bright side, I didn't overeat on the holiday!

I am now trying to motivate myself to get packed and start driving to Maryland-by-way-of-Brooklyn (an incredibly inefficient and expensive way to go to Maryland, but my passengers live in inconvenient places). So far today's track record is one hour, forty-eight minutes of lying in bed being depressed before getting up. Dances for 4pm today still not planned. Fortunately tomorrow's dance stuff is Regency and can be done more or less on autopilot.

#185 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 07:07 AM:

Oleander and I are doing a butterflied turkey tomorrow, having not quite the proper turkeyage at his sister's yesterday. My BIL did a great job with everything, but brining can be so finicky - it was very moist, but pretty salty. The surprise winner was his creamed onions...uh, yeah. Anyway, he fries pearl onions in OO, butter and a bit of salt until relatively crisp, adds cream and reduces. Simple, but whoa.

#186 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 08:41 AM:

Susan, lots of good wishes and warm fuzzies to you. I'm a lifelong friend of the Noonday Demon myself, and I know all too well how awful it is to be in the grip of it when you're also taking on a bunch of other chaos, and even more so on a day when you're supposed to be happy and cheerful. I agree that giving yourself permission to rest and recover is a good thing; sometimes there's nothing to be done but lie in bed and watch something silly, or maybe put on the Smiths and wallow in it all until it passes. In any case, know that you're not alone, and that people care about you.

Also, if you're going to be coming through Maryland, here's a big virtual wave for you as you pass through Harford County (as you inevitably will if you're coming from northwards to do anything interesting down here). Safe journey.

#187 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 08:46 AM:

Susan@184: Why do I suspect that you're driving to Maryland via Brooklyn for the same reason that we are? (If so, see you there.)

#188 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 09:05 AM:

Debra @ #187:
Yup. If I can ever get myself out the door. Not making good progress so far.

#189 ::: jean vpxi ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 09:31 AM:

# 150 Serge, they brought stuff from Alexandria (VA), which I suspect is more than a quick trip from your fave. (I'm in Richmond VA.) Strangely, none of us are big dessert makers, even if we're pigs for sweets.

#190 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 09:34 AM:

Well, by midday I'd forgotten the name of the thing in which I had cooked my turkey. Luck for me, it turned out it's stamped on the side of mine. After three hours, the turkey was cooking along, you could see the juices bubbling under the skin, but the skin was still white as a ghost. In a slight panic, I took the turkey out of the roaster and put it in the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking.

Turkeys just aren't designed to be moved in mid cook.

Anyway, that last hour gave it a nice brown color, and the three hours in the roaster oven kept it nice and juicy. A quick reading with the instant themometer indicated that I'd actually achieved proper safety goals for temperature. And it was the juiciest turkey I've ever eaten.

Linkmeister, we bought our roaster oven two years ago because we ate thanksgiving at a friend's place who had inherited one of those old self standing roasting ovens, and the turkey was phenomenal. The thing looked ancient. And I think he paid a pretty penny for it.

I looked around and couldn't find anything with the tall sides. All the stores had roaster ovens with shallow sides. I guess that doesn't affect the outcome too much. The only annoyance is the lid is made of two pieces with a hinge in the middle, so when you take the whole lid off and put it down for a moment, it collapses upon itself and it becomes a two handed operation to put the lid back on the thing.

Do you put water or chicken stock in the bottom when you start cooking? Or do you just put the bird in dry? I put some water in the bottom and I'm wondering if I could have gotten a browned bird had I left it out.

I ended up going to be around 9 o clock and I just got up. man is it a lot of work. Especially if you don't know what you're doing like me.

#191 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 09:56 AM:

Just FYI: you can put the whole thing into google:

ln 20 * 1.65 produced "ln(20) * 1.65 = 4.94295825"

#192 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 11:03 AM:

This has been a fascinating virtual tour of the Thanksgivings (and nons) of our community. Heartfelt sympathies to those who had it worst!

My own day was on the "down" end of the spectrum, since I developed the kind of headache I usually don't have -- one where eating is a chore -- just before we sat down to eat around midday. But I made my slow way through some good store-bought cooked and seasoned chicken, heat-it-yourself quiche, and a dab of deli salad, and eventually recovered enough to have some pumpkin pie from the same local grocery (made just the way I like it).

"Dinner" was my old fave coffee yogurt, followed by a manic episode of "Ugly Betty", then off to bed since my husband had to get to work by 6 a.m. today for his store's version of Black Friday. But we ended up with plenty of sleep, I managed to convince him to leave home wearing his warmest jacket (since it was below freezing at the time), and I'm feeling well enough now to get hungry reading all those accounts of nice dinners -- currently having tea and a snack. Plus, I have leftovers to look forward to. So all in all, not bad.

#193 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 11:23 AM:

jean vpxi @ 189... none of us are big dessert makers, even if we're pigs for sweets

I used to be one in the days of yore. Not so much anymore although if you grant me access to a bucket of ice cream, I'll scarf it up - very methodically though, scraping level layers after level layers down all the way to the bottom.

#194 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 11:43 AM:

Greg London #190:

I've not used the (General Electric, c. 1950) Roaster Oven for several years (needs a new detachable cord of a kind now difficult to find, and the microwave does a swell job on a turkey more than large enough for one person), but... yeah, the moist heat (and a rather low temperature setting) results in a juicy bird, but a pale one. I'm not so enamoured of "picture-perfect" as to pop it into a hot oven for the last little while, but that is an option, as is /p/a/i/n/t/i/n/g/ basting it with a little soy sauce during the last hour.

For birds not /e/m/b/a/l/m/e/d/ injected with saline solution, adding a cup or so of water or stock at the beginning helps keep the drippings from getting a bit more brown than I prefer, but that can be remedied towards the end. (When I'm feeling Ambitious, I get a few pounds of wings & necks, to make a couple of quarts of stock several days in advance -- which also comes in handy for making gravy and the inevetable soup.)

Not that I did anything this year, because I'll be away at LosCon from Friday through Sunday and the freezer compartment of the icebox is already full -- including, if memory serves, some turkey left over from last year, which I'll cook up for the neighborhood cats, Real Soon Now

#195 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 12:06 PM:

Susan (et al.):

Yup, that feeling of depression -- or opression -- because so impossibly many things need to be done is miserable, and I can offer no more than sympathy. (Okay, it it's Really Serious, competent medical help is needed, but that's easier said than found.) Even though it doesn't actually come suddenly, I think of it as a tsunami, looming over my head and about to engulf me. Fortunately, mine is relatively low-level and I've (so far) always managed to survive -- mostly by drawing-up an admittedly daunting List of Priorities and resolutely plugging-away at them. This works until I again start Procrastinating and putting too many things off until there's Time To Do Them _Right_. *sigh*

#196 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 12:11 PM:

I helped organize and co-host an Orphan's Thanksgiving for people who don't or couldn't go home for the holiday. The guests were myself, another expatriate Canadian, a visitor from the UK, and four Americans who decided to stay in MA. Our host made a fabulous turkey with a bacon-covered breast and surrounded by veggies and rice; another guest made a cranberry and wild rice stuffing; and my contributions included green beans sauteed with garlic and pinenuts; mashed potatoes made with roasted garlic (thrown in alongside the turkey) and lashings of butter and cream; roasted squash, fennel and onions with, effectively, garam masala (cumin, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, ginger and friends); and a cranberry chutney that I entirely failed to put on the already-groaning table. Homemade desserts included a chocolate-pecan pie accidentally made with twice as much butter as called for (oh darn) and pumpkin cheesecake bars. It was a wonderful day, with wonderful food.

#197 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 12:29 PM:

glinda #34, yes, in those fragile periods, even without expending the extra vril to appear bright & engage in happy chatter, just the energy to keep at a neutral level and engage with a range of people can be a huge drain from what's not always an abundant internal source. It can leave me physically prostrated & mentally shaky for days afterwards. People do these things for fun?

I hope you had a lovely quiet & contented feast, with leftovers, and happy phoning.

[It's Election Day now. Just 3.5 Hours to the opening of the polling places. Fingers, toes, eyes, tentacles, everything crossed. One thing that's been helping to keep me depressed the last few years has been what's happening in government and what they've done to my country, even tho' I'm not very happy with the way the ALP has been tending. As vian (#25) said, Carn The Greens!]

#198 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 12:33 PM:

Teresa @43, and Jim @59:

That thing about the Pilgrims having the "first" Thanksgiving? Wrong.

The very first Thanksgiving was held by English colonists at Beverly Plantation, Virginia on December 4, 1619.

Don't know why everyone seems to think that the Mayflower (1620) was more important than the Susan Constant (1607)..

#199 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 01:53 PM:

Greg @ #190, Don @ #194, I'll elaborate on our roaster later. I've got floor covering people scraping surfaces and moving furniture (find a plug for the fridge and find its water shut-off valve, stat!), but 2.5 hours at 325 degrees for a 10-lb (Safeway pre-cooked) bird worked perfectly.

#200 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 03:04 PM:

David Harmon: re mace/nutmeg. The fruit is discarded. The mace is the seed-coat (much like the horridly tannic “paper” one finds on pecans).

re T-Day, it went far from as planned. Hanging photos at LosCon took far longer than we thought it would. With one things and another at home, we got out late. So we missed dinner where we were planning to have it, and lost the socialising time we wanted at home. But we had a decent time when we got there. Right now I’m turning the carcass of the dinner here, into stock (I’ll be boiling it down to demi-glace; so it will keep)

The best thing I had was actually a food demo at Trader Joes, the Blee Cheese with Roasted Pecan spread, used to dress some green beans, topped with crisp-fried onions.

#201 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 03:20 PM:

Since there were just the two of us and we're kind of broke right now, we had a lazy, low-key Thanksgiving. Early afternoon I got the urge to bake a loaf of bread (Rose Levy Berenbaum's basic hearth bread) which turned out pretty well, except that I now know that baking parchment and bread (this recipe, at least) are not compatible. (After peeling off the paper/bottom crust combo, the rest of the loaf was good. "OMG, I'm so glad I forgot to buy bread!" my husband said. Hee!) Cornish game hens instead of a turkey, TJ's southern greens mix, cranberry chutney, and carrots. Pretty tasty, overall.

Unfortunately, I woke up sick around 2am (and 3am, and 5am), probably from the banh mi I had for lunch on Wednesday. Oog. Feeling better now, mostly. Not sure whether I'll drag myself out to the park to take advantage of the sun while we have it, or fall asleep on the sofa with the cat.

Susan @ 173: The problem is being too exhausted and depressed to spend the day working on the long list of things that desperately need to get done.

Oh, yes. I've begun to recognize that deep-down feeling of exhaustion as one of the biggest warning signs that my depression is getting the upper hand. A setback that I could have dealt with if I didn't feel bone-tired is instead the first link in a 2- or 3-link chain that ends in "I wish I could just lie down and not wake up again."

My very best wishes that you feel better soon and get some resilience back.

#202 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 05:02 PM:

This was my first thanksgiving since my mom's death (my dad died a decade ago)--my sibs and I are all feeling a little weird, so we all went off in various directions rather than get together. At my house it was just myself, husband, our 3 daughters, eldest daughter's boyfriend, and a stray "cousin". 3 of us are vegetarian, 4 of us are not. I cheated and bought a smoked turkey breast, then fixed green bean casserole from The Grit Cookbook, baked tiny pumpkins and assorted roasted veggies from The Savory Way, homemade cranberry sauce, instant cornbread stuffing, store-bought heat-and-eat whole wheat rolls, store-bought (but organic!) gravy, both turkey and vegetarian/mushroom; and a salad. Daughter's boyfriend brought vegetarian feijoada, and "cousin" brought pumpkin and pecan pies. Everything was great except the potatoes were a bit crunchy. The dogs got marrowbones, which kept them busy and made them very happy but caused some minor digestive upsets this morning.

And it rained, which is something to be thankful for when reservoirs in the area look like this. (Scroll down.)

Brooks Moses @ #32, the hotel thing is indeed a good option. We had our Thanksgiving at a hotel here in town one year; lovely buffet, and the staff were indeed extra pleasant.

Good rest and a swift recovery to all those who are ill.

#203 ::: Brian ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 07:39 PM:

Multiply this by 1.65. The result will be 4.9429582455, or five hours.

Math is cool and all but I like my wife's method:

Cover the turkey with something. What that is is not divulged.

Oven to 350 degrees.

Cook until the bird's meat falls off the bones.

#204 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 07:55 PM:

Today's version of a Sunbeam Crock Pot available in Oz. Their capacity is either 2.5 litres, which my online converter says is about 5 and a quarter US pints, or 3.5l (7.4 US pints). Nowhere can I find the approximate temperatures their Low, High and Keep Warm represent.

Looking at the picture, the 1970s model my grannie had would have been around 2/3rds or so the size of these. It wasn't designed to get very hot, just keep a steady low heat for many hours on end, for casseroles & suchlike.

Do those cooking calculations assume a perfectly spherical turkey?

#205 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 10:21 PM:

Epacris, the crock pot is different than the countertop roaster.

My favorite thing in the crock pot is a shoulder roast of lamb (3-4 lb chunk), a bay leaf, some peppercorns and other seasonings as wished and a 12-oz. bottle of beer. Put in before going to work, turn on to 'low' setting. Works well with venison and beef roasts too. It also does chicken really well but you have to use milder broth/seasonings and expect chicken stew rather than a recognizable cooked chicken because it will be completely falling away from the bone by the end of the day.

By the time we're home in the evening all we have to do is make a starch side dish and a vege dish and it's golden. The meat is sometimes hard to get out of the pot in one piece but that is so not a problem.

#206 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 11:02 PM:

I was very good today and avoided the mall. Did not get tricked into going via "Let's go to a movie!" or "Let's have a write-in at Borders!" I was very good.

However, I had to go to Radio Shak for a new line-in microphone. (Needed it tonight, or else I'd have to leave the house early tomorrow to record my bit at the studio. Should have picked it up last weekend though.) Thankfully, the plaza with the Radio Shak, Bed-Bath-Beyond, and REI was not nearly 29th Street Mall crazy.

In keeping with Thanks For The Recipes: Yesterday, our friend who hosted our Thanksgiving feast told us that she had been suffering all week from Black Hole of Death Depression. I said, "Well, I just read this great recipe for Black Hole Of Death Brownies..." She said it sounded like the perfect treatment, and we will be shopping for ingredients tonight. So, thanks in advance, Xopher!

Glad to hear the roasting pan thing worked out, Greg! It sounds like a very useful implement. I was probably the only one reading who saw "turkey in crock pot" and thought, "Oh, that's nice. Useful things, crock pots." But then I have never roasted a turkey in my life, so I have no system of red flags there.

#207 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 12:46 AM:

Added after having followed Xopher's recipe and put the results in the oven:

"9. Pour it into the pan." Pour? Pour? After mixing in all the cocoa, flour, cornstarch, and etc., what we had was not pourable. It was closer in consistency to bread dough. We turned it out into the pan and we are hoping for the best.

(We did wonder why bother baking. We were ready to grab some ice cream and a bunch of spoons.)

Timer set to 25 minutes. Tick tick tick done yet? tick

#208 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 01:23 AM:

Don @ #194, about that cord. My original was cracked at both holes of the plug, and we despaired of finding a replacement. The local appliance parts company didn't have one. Then a while back we were giving old long-unused appliances away to Goodwill and discovered that the cord one of them used had precisely the right sized plug for the roaster. It may have been an electric griddle which had been superceded by Jenn Air a long long time ago. Its cord was about 2 feet long rather than the 4 feet the original was, but that's a small inconvenience.

Maybe you should look at thrift shops or yard sales for a plug.

Oh, the Safeway Thanksgving dinner we have been buying for years includes a double-sacked bird. Peel off the mesh and first outer bag before cooking. After cooking it breast up in the inner bag for 2.5 hours @ 325 degrees, there was so much juice in the bag the dark meat on the thighs and drumsticks fell off the bone, almost as though it had been stewed.

#209 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 01:44 AM:

Addendum post consumption:

OMG chocolate gooey goodness yummmmm.

I hereby retract anything I said that could possibly have been construed as complaint.

#210 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 02:07 AM:

On the aftermath of Thanksgiving:

I have been making turkey demi-glace, all the day long.

Last night I took the carcass (there is more meat than we will get to, and one of the residents thinks leftovers have a shelf life measured at not more than 24 hours), and the drainage in the pan and boiled it for an hour or so (with a few peppercorns, some celery seed, and some fresh celery) last night (with a vapor locking lid).

First thing this morning, I put it back on the boil. Pulled the bones and meat out after another couple of hours; drew off most of the fat, strained the rest and set it to simmer.

I just put a quart of it up. It's not really thick enough to be demi-glace, but it has that level of concentration. At room temperature it's the texture of gravy (I had a 1/4 cup more than the mason jar would hold), and a bit richer.

#211 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 03:14 AM:

Even though we didn't cook and eat the turkey* until the day after Thanksgiving, I want to thank Jon Singer for the algorithm; using the logarithm brought baking time in within 5 minutes of prediction** on a 13 pound turkey.

On the Day itself, we were hosted by our younger son Jeremy and his about-to-be wife Debbie to a vegetarian feast. Also there were Debbie's parents, and we spent a good part of the postprandial / pre-pumpkin-pie period† discussing plans for the wedding, which is only 3 weeks off.

Since we knew the Thanksgiving would be Tofu Day†† instead of Turkey Day, we'd already planned for the Meal to be on Friday, and we ended up with one of my better stuffings‡‡, a really excellent squash and turnip dish (cut into half inch cubes, cook in a bit of apple cider and a couple of tablespoons of orange juice concentrate), sauteed brussels sprouts§ and mashed potatoes. I'm sitting at a desk between the kitchen and the dining room and I can still smell some of those dishes; the only reason I'm not going to get up for a snack is I've already pigged out, and there's just no room left.

* well, we cooked all of it but only ate part of it, as the only consumers were Eva and me.
** as measured by a digital meat thermometer
† I'd promise never to do that again, but you all know I'd be lying.
†† Not really; there wasn't any tofu, and most especially no tufurkey, which all present declared an abomination in the sight of any deity‡ you care to name
‡ I typed "diety" at first, which isn't a bad joke either
‡‡ I don't use a recipe, I just extemporize with what's available and whatever I remembered to get for it the last time I went shopping. I developed this technique before going on medication for ADD; it worked well enough that I've kept doing it.
§ Well, we like them.

#212 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 03:22 AM:

Update: The demi-glace is at demi-glace texture now. Very tasty.

#213 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 08:02 AM:

Terry Karney... Demi-glace? As in turkey-flavored ice cream? Urp.

#214 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 10:31 AM:

miriam@33: we might as well have \had/ Tday before Halloween, based on when the Xmas items appeared in stores (~23 Oct in the local Home Depot, e.g.).

Greg@57: ]my[ hostess used something similar (rectangular rather than rounded). Also just the right size for the quintuple batch of spaghetti sauce I serve up on New Year's Night.

debra@73: Our Tday included Goody and her Michael, up from Bakhail; speaking of Peregrynne, G told me P's old fellow-traveler "Bish" has actually found love and moved in with someone....

jh@114.23: they use Zephiran to sanitize brewing vessels now? I remember it as a painless improvement on tincture-of-iodine for cuts&scrapes, but never saw it in brew shops (during brief brewing phase 15-17 years ago).

julie@130: *snort*

We went as usual to the eclectic ~potluck at a friend's house in southerly Boston. Less-traditional dishes included stuffed mushrooms, Chinese chili, lasagna, and steamed broccoli (cold, with vinaigrette); some of the standards were also interestingly varied (sweet potatoes with pecans and pineapple; pan-cooked dressing with grapes). The centerpiece was a pair of Spanish Blacks, raised and dressed by a local SCAdian; parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and quartered onions in the cavity in place of stuffing. \Lots/ of juice, so the pan stuffing was well-flavored. A very differently-shaped bird, as I found as official carver; as much white meat as everyone wanted, but still capable of breeding naturally. (In fact, they were narrow enough that they tended to fall over in the roasters.) Dessert, after an hour's digesting, included mince ~pasties, pumpkin cake and bars instead of pie, Enough Chocolate (some with raspberry sauce), plenty of interesting conversation, and the ~traditional ]sing[-along to "Alice's Restaurant". Very modest consumption of alcohol (net

And on the day after, we shopped briefly, finding a shredder, DVDs, and a cat gymnasium, a complicated chain of events having brought us an all-chocolate longhair estimated 2 months old.

#215 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 10:34 AM:

My "urp" moments come from all the mentions of ice cream, regular cream, and butter, none of which I can eat any more thanks to the milk fat allergy. But there are plenty of other goodies out there, from the store-bought quiche to the corn bread I finally managed to snag yesterday when out doing chores, and that particular kind of pumpkin pie that's my fave.

Are we ready for a separate thread on shopping (or not) on Black Friday and afterward? I ordered some presents online, though all the books on Mom's list (strictly in paperback format) come out right *after* Christmas -- clearly an evil ploy by publishers wanting to sell more hardcovers! Luckily, she doesn't mind waiting an extra week to get exactly what she wants.

#216 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 10:51 AM:

Faren... Shopping on Black Friday? I sort-of did that yesterday. I looked around for those plastic hooks with the easily removable self-adhesive backing so that I could hang Christmas garlands and stuff without using nails, but nobody seems to sell them anymore. By the way, I was told it's unusual for a man to willingly set up Christmas apparatuses (apparati?) around the house without any coercion. Is that true?

#217 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Serge : dunno 'bout unusual -- both my dad and the guy I married were/are pretty good about putting up Christmas apparati without coercion. TGIM has already brought in the tree and the lights from the garage, and as soon as the light cords warm up he and the kids will start decorating the tree. Me, I'm going to go make a birthday cake for the Eldest Urchin, who turns 16 today.

#219 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 12:31 PM:

JennR @ 217... One thing I haven't done yet is put the lights in the Tree. It currently stands dark and ominous in a corner because I don't trust myself (and/or my wife doesn't trust me) to lay the lights out in an aesthetically pleasing ensemble. Maybe I can convince her to guide me thru that tonight before we watch more of our Turkey Day cinema. In the meantime, the corner's darkness and ominousness are relieved by our pre-lit Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.

#220 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Nicole @ #206, if you DO get let's-go-to-a-movie'd, we really enjoyed "Enchanted." Ignore the teeth-aching opening (both the animated part and the first few minutes of live-action are as deliberately excruciating as the opening of "Labyrinth"). It gets better. (P.S. We managed to avoid shopping/purchasing on Black Friday.)

#221 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 01:27 PM:

Now that everyone's posted on Turkey Day and moved off-topic, I'll add my own TG experiences. Thanksgiving has always been my big family day, as we always got way too crazy on Christmas. However, last year was the first Thanksgiving since my mother's death, and similar to Lila (#202), I just didn't feel up to getting with my cousins and their kids and missing Mom. However, I did overcompensate by having several orphan friends over, roasting Cornish game hens and frying a turkey Cajun style, roasting winter veggies, etc., etc., etc. There was enough for all eight of us to eat for days.

This Thanksgiving I wanted to do the family thing, but a deadline on a job precludes travel. Some of those friends I hosted last year were having folks in at their house, and we had a home-prepared turducken (wonderful) and a roasted, stuffed turkey (suculent), plus all sorts of exotic dishes as well as the traditional ones. All I contributed was my trés easy Mediterranean Corn, which took 20 minutes to prepare. Having a butcher and his gourmet-cook wife as good friend is a real plus.

Friday was a regular work day, as was today until the rain started.

#222 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 01:44 PM:

Lila @ 220... Jim Henson's Labyrinth? Or Guillermo del Toro's? I don't remember either of them being painful.

As for Enchanted, my wife has made some noises about going to see it. Does James Marsden get the girl this time? He never did in the X-men or in Superman returns.

#223 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 03:35 PM:

I invite all Australians to be upstanding and to join me in singing our new National Anthem.

"Ding! Dong! The witch is dead! ..."

#224 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 03:44 PM:

vian @ 223... I'm planning to do that 52 weeks from now.

#225 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Lila: Really? Enchanted isn't as painful as the commercials make it appear? Maybe I'll try it after all.

And yes, I found the opening of Labyrinth (Jim Henson, not GdT) very painful too. At least, rewatching it as an adult, I became painfully aware that the lead actress set my teeth on edge. I know she went on to a successful and talented career, but oh my was she painful to watch. Thankfully, the muppets and David Bowie make up for her in spades.

We're going to see Beowulf in IMAX on Sunday night, as part of a friend's birthday celebration. The next movie on my list after that was, of course, The Golden Compass.

One movie I will probably not see is the National Treasure sequel. However, the commercial had me giggling and giggling. The line about "What do you see down there?" "Death and despair... mostly death... I mean, a little dsepair, last few seconds, but than a hard sudden death" (thank you IMDB) was to blame for that. However, I'm convinced I have now seen all there is worth seeing in that movie and will save myself the price of a ticket.

#226 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 04:04 PM:

Serge: No, not turkey ice cream. Demi-glace is a very reduced sauce. The true demi-glace is actually a pair of sauces (usually a beef-veal reduction, though it can be done with game birds, domestic fowl, etc.; and sauce espangole).

I don't, normally, bother with the sauce espangole, and just do a really serious reduction of brown stock, or boiled fowl.

It has a room temperature texture somewhat like a cross between jello and custard pudding. In the fridge it's firm enough to be sliced.

It makes a great standby to rich up a lighter sauce/gravy. Just add a couple of tablespoons and you are there. Saves time, so you don't have to do as much reducing before dressing the food.

One trades time (about ten hours; of which about 1 hour is real labor) now, for time later.

#227 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 04:20 PM:

Serge @ 224

And I will sing it with you. And then I will dance the conga of unrestrained delight, as I did until waay too late last night.

I hope, in a scant year from now, you will be as happy as this.

#228 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 04:58 PM:

serge @ #222, Nicole @ #225: Jim Henson's Labyrinth. Up to the point where Jenny says "damn!" and pulls the book out of her pocket to check her lines.

And serge, James Marsden qbrf abg tb ubzr tveyyrff. Gung'f nyy V'z fnlvat.

#229 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 04:59 PM:

Serge @ 224: Unless Giuliani gets elected. *grim*

#230 ::: BurningTree ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 05:18 PM:

Holy crap, those are serious brownies:

Thanks for the recipe. Snarkyness aside, they really hit the spot. No substitute for my mood stabilizers but a good supplement.

#231 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 05:24 PM:

The pre-my-Grandmother version of Tokyo Turkey Toss is here. I don't know what prompted her to take essentially that set of ingredients and prepare it utterly different, but there it is. Kikkoman is pushing an impostor recipe.

#232 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 05:45 PM:

Terry Karney @ 226... No, not turkey ice cream. Demi-glace is a very reduced sauce.

Drat. I didn't know what demi-glace was, but of course I knew it wasn't ice cream. Really. Honest. I just seized the chance to make a bad joke(*) based on 'glace' being the French word for 'ice' and also for 'ice cream'.

(*) I really have to work hard for my jokes to come out bad, or past their due-date. Riiiight.

#233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 05:48 PM:

vian @ 227... Caroline @ 229... Giuliani? Oh puh-lease. No frigging way. Besides, he's not doing that well, is he? And if he were, that wouldn't mean a thing. I should know - I worked for Howard Dean's campaign.

#234 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 05:51 PM:

Lila @ 228... I remember little about Henson's Labyrinth, except for David Bowie's wigs and the Pit of Eternal Stench. It was better than Willow though.

#235 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 06:41 PM:

vian, Serge, Caroline. After so many crushing years of fear, regression, and cultivating the worst in ourselves, at last there is some shy hope of progress and humanity here. After a sweet night's sleep, this morning I am almost unspeakably happy.

And here's hoping for something similar for the USA in 2008.

#236 ::: mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 06:47 PM:

Blurp. I meant to tie that comment back to the theme,

"And here's hoping for something similar for the USA in 2008." There'd be a very heartfelt Thanksgiving after that.

#237 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 06:57 PM:

Mez @ 235... here's hoping for something similar for the USA in 2008

I'll drink to that. I will, I definitely will.

#238 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Serge @ #237, "I'll drink to that. I will, I definitely will."

Thus neatly tying this thread to the Gibson one.

Well played, sir.

#239 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 07:19 PM:

Mez, and all,

The Liberals having their nethers handed to them (22+ seats lost!!!) has made me giddy. But what has actually got me conga'ing is the prospect that little Johnny looks likely to be kicked out of his own seat, previously a rusted-on conservative borough. So now, he gets to go back to the suburbs to live in the Australia he has made. I hope he chokes on it.

Go Maxine!!

(For Americans - only once before has an incumbent PM been booted out of his own electorate. An obscure little dweeb who no one remembers).

#240 ::: flowery tops ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 07:25 PM:

vian @ 223, mez @ 235:
Thank goodness, eh? I had a happy little cry last night.

I see our local Liberal retained his seat, but ALP showed a +9% swing here, the Greens a respectable looking third.

#241 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 07:31 PM:

Serge @ 233, one of my poli-sci friends said the same thing as you, so maybe there's some truth to it.

I'm happy for our Australian friends but I can't allow myself to have any hope. It'll just be too painful when it blows up in my face, again. The economy is crap, buying my modest first home now looks like it'll probably ruin the rest of my life, the unreconstructed racists are out in full force, and even people I respected are now blaming their tough economic situation on Hispanic immigrants. This is a climate that makes fascists, not one that throws them out.

I resent how cynical this administration has made me. I really do.

End downer. Let's talk about food some more.

#242 ::: flowery tops ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 07:32 PM:

vian @ 239:
I think I read Hawke sniggering somewhere last night that the last time an incumbent PM was unseated, it was someone who'd also undermined workers' rights. :)

#243 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 08:41 PM:

Serge, #233: "Giuliani? Oh puh-lease. No frigging way. Besides, he's not doing that well, is he?" No offense, Serge, but do you ever actually read a newspaper? Giuliani has been leading the other Republican candidates for months.

#244 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 09:07 PM:

Patrick @ 243... I must confess to having had gaps in my news-gathering these days, some of which were due to the overwhelming demands of my work, some of of which were an attempt to keep my blood pressure down. This has obviously led me to a mistaken interpretation of the situation.

#245 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 09:25 PM:

Serge, #216, you want the 3M Command products.

#246 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 09:25 PM:

coming in late: same gathering as Suzanne @ 110. I contributed a pot of potato-leek soup, and had meant to contribute rum chiffon pie as well, but that bit about not traveling well? Applies particularly when you're attempting to use agar instead of gelatin, and the thing doesn't set up properly.

Also contributed my hands and a spare Oxo peeler, to help prepping the sweet potatoes.

Partook of the Traditional Holiday Brandy Alexanders, delighted in the robot-bread and jalapeno sweet pickles, and can confirm that pie crust made with vodka is, in fact, tender and flaky.

And I didn't have to sit in traffic on the Long Island Expressway or the Tappan Zee Bridge, either.


#247 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 09:35 PM:

Patrick at 243: Giuliani may still be the leader, but it appears that Iowans heart Huckabee, too. I do not know whether to be delighted (more popcorn!) or appalled.

#248 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 10:03 PM:

Note about the algorithm:

If you don't want to spend five hours (!!) roasting a 20 pound turkey, put it in one of those oven roasting bags. Ours was done in three, just as the little pamphlet inside said.

(The stuffing was cooked separately, because we brined the turkey and weren't sure of the effect.)

#249 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 10:15 PM:

Marilee @ 245... Thanks. I remembered the name of the product, but I couldn't find the darn thing anywhere. Then my wife suggested Target and sure enough they had it. Huzzah!

#250 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 10:15 PM:

#247, Lizzy: "Giuliani may still be the leader, but it appears that Iowans heart Huckabee, too. I do not know whether to be delighted (more popcorn!) or appalled."

Mike Huckabee is someone who let a rapist and murderer out of jail because he was convinced by the right-wing noise machine that the guy was a victim of the evil Klinton Krime Syndikate.

After which, the guy went on to rape and murder again.

Imagine what we'd be hearing if this guy was John Edwards' mistake. Or Dennis Kucinich's.

You may not know whether to be delighted or appalled. Let me advise you: Be appalled. Mike Huckabee is a gigantic sack of shit.

#251 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 11:28 PM:

On the one hand, the Club for Growth wing are out to get Huckabee (and their tame preachers are presiding over the funeral). He does seem to be cobbling together blue collar economic populists and extreme social conservatives, though, as well as our more fatuous national press idiots.

If he comes up further than the usual suspects are giving him a chance to do, he'll probably derail at least one of the front runners' presumption of inevitability (Romney, of course, is lowballing furiously at this point, having paid approximately $79.95 in three easy installments for the vote of every Republican in Iowa and New Hampshire who isn't actually in a coma). Giuliani's practically ignored both states, so Huckabee will probably do him the most damage in SC, if he can.

The thing is, though, he's in a corner - he's got no money, and the traditional funding sources for Republican candidates in the primaries are closed off to him. What support he does have isn't going to stick to him if he decides to go for VP with any of the other leaders except possibly grandpa Fred, and grandpa ain't looking too lively these days.

He can't buy ads, and the scant handful of corporations that decide what we see in the news aren't interested in economic populism, particularly after it bit 'em in the ass on immigration. The whole point of political social conservatism was supposed to be to cut labor costs - can you remember seeing a "popular" movement to Bring Us Back to Values that didn't lead, inevitably, to someone getting lower wages? - and I don't think the fiscal conservatives are going to be cutting any checks to encourage the cultural conservatives to think they drive anything. They'd rather have Hillary (you don't need to be a weathervane to know which way the wind blows while Matt Drudge still has a website).

So as horrifying as Huckabee is - and he's pretty damn horrifying - I don't know that I'm not rooting for him to make some trouble in early contests. Maybe it'll encourage his embittered supporters to cough up for a third party run.

Huckabee/Paul '08 sounds good.

#252 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 11:30 PM:

Wow. I just registered what thread this is.

I feel as if I've discussed politics at Thanksgiving dinner.

Sorry about that, I usually don't.

I feel wildly transgressive.

#253 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 11:37 PM:

Well, a family dinner with a bunch of passionate liberals is going to bring out that kind of denunciad in the same way that the slightest gesture of politics around one of my brothers is going to bring out a slam on Hillary Clinton. One wants for a sense of proportion, but it isn't the context in which any is to be had.

#254 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 11:41 PM:

It's funny, you'd think so, but I entertain large groups of liberals fairly frequently and I find we talk about everything else but most of the time.

Was that really a denunciad?

#255 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 12:18 AM:

Julia at 251, how lovely and cogent, thank you. Patrick at 250, give me a little more credit than that. I take delight in Huckabee's ascent in the polls only to the extent that it makes more trouble for Giuliani and Romney. They are all three appalling, as are Ron Paul and Fred Thompson. I don't know what to make of John McCain...

#256 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 12:26 AM:

Lizzy L, John McCain has now become what Paul Tsongas once accused Bill Clinton of being in the 1992 campaign: a pander bear. For one thing, he's renounced his former vocal distaste for the Robertson/Falwell axis, which should have derailed the Straight Talk Express. Apparently some of our national press corps still harbor a secret admiration for the old foof, though, which may explain why he has any traction left at all.

#257 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 12:39 AM:

vian @ 239 But what has actually got me conga'ing is the prospect that little Johnny looks likely to be kicked out of his own seat, previously a rusted-on conservative borough.
What makes it even more fun is the breakdown of voting in his seat. Nationally there was a small swing toward the Greens. In Bennelong there was a huge swing against them. It's like all the people who would normally have voted Green (or any other non-Liberal party) decided to forego their usual preference to send a message. That makes me happy.

#258 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 12:40 AM:

Xopher @50: Are the rice flour and cornstarch an adaptation for gluten-free purposes, or would replacement by wheat flour significantly affect the texture?

#259 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 01:03 AM:

Before I was even completely sure who Huckabee was, my Congresscritter endorsed him. Which told me that there was no way I would ever like him. Then I found out more about Huckabee. He comes off as personable and charming. The possibility of his being elected President scares me. The fact that people agree with his platform saddens me.

I tried out the Turkey Algorithm this afternoon, and my turkey was done about an hour early. I suppose a 12 pounder is a little small? Anyhoo, John now has a roast beast feast to snack on tomorrow, and leftovers for his lunch on Monday.

Oh, and we raised a toast to abi on Thursday, and to Australian electoral processes this evening. Salut!

#260 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 01:13 AM:

Julie 258: Both. They were originally a gluten-free adaptation, but I found that they melt in your mouth much better with the rice flour and cornstarch, and I never make them with wheat flour now.

#261 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 01:52 AM:

I just got back from a Thanksgiving visit to the Bay Area. Thanksgiving dinner (and leftovers lunch the next day) with an aunt and cousins in Alameda, Thanksgiving desserts and fireworks with college friends in Walnut Creek. More leftovers (pork, exotic mashed sweet potatoes by an Indian classmate's wife, a Norwegian apple tart) on Friday night.

BIG THANKS to the nice people who run "free coffee" trailers at the rest stops along I-5. I was seriously grogged out with 150 miles to go this evening; the coffee stop somewhere south of Eugene did wonders.

#262 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 08:24 AM:

Tania @ 259... He comes off as personable and charming. The possibility of his being elected President scares me.

Why do I find myself thinking of Greg Stillson?

#263 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 09:16 AM:

Lizzy: Sorry for hanging my rant off you--I give you far more credit than that.

My worry about Huckabee is that he'll damage Romney enough in Iowa to swing the Republican nomination decisively to Giuliani. I don't have the words to express just how worried I am by the possibility of Giuliani becoming President. I think Rudy is narrowly beatable by any of the Democrats, but only narrowly. 2008 would be a lot less worrisome if Romney were the Republican nominee, and before Huckabee started rising in Iowa, Romney's likely victories there and in New Hampshire were keeping Giuliani from looking like a sure thing. I seriously wonder if the Giuliani campaign isn't covertly boosting Huckabee; it makes all kinds of tactical sense for them to do so.

Yes, Romney is an evil bastard, but he's a whole order of magnitude less droolingly insane than Rudy. This and other equally appealing Romney-for-President slogans can be provided for only a small retainer.

#264 ::: Kristin ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 11:19 AM:

Now I really want a Making Light Cookbook.

#265 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Re: Labyrinth: Well, Bowie totally stole the show, but it's not like he had to work at it.

I thought the lead actress was practically stone-faced throughout the movie, and certainly didn't give any sense of the character's development along the storyline. And like I've said before, if I notice that, it's pretty bad.

#266 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 11:54 AM:

I saw Labyrinth when I was sufficiently young and impressionable that I really enjoyed it. Part of me is resisting ever watching it again, though, on the off chance that an older me sees all the flaws and it loses its magic.

Although I find David Bowie immensely watchable in any setting. So it would still have that draw no matter what.

#267 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 12:25 PM:

David Harmon @ 265... Labyrinth's lead actress got better since then. Or didn't you recognize Jennifer Connelly? And yes, David Bowie easily steals any show he's in.

#268 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 01:42 PM:

My favorite hard-core brownie recipe is:

1/2 lb butter
6 oz unsweetened chocolate[1]
7 eggs
1/2 t salt
3 1/2 c sugar [2]
2 t vanilla
2 c unbleached white flour [3]
2 c chopped walnuts

Melt butter and chocolate together
Beat eggs with salt until foamy; gradually add sugar to mixture while continuing to beat; add vanilla
Fold chocolate-butter mixture into egg mixture
Add flour; partially mix in with a few strokes of the spoon; add walnuts an mix until barely blended.
Pour into shallow (1-2") buttered and floured pan.
Bake at 325 for about half an hour; remove and cool in pan for 10 minutes.
Cut brownies in pan and remove with spatula; top with ganache.

[1] fair-trade or organic, by choice; I don't think I'd bother with any of the single-estate varietals, though, because I don't think the subtleties would come through
[2] I actually use more like 2 c, but I have much less of a sweet tooth than most people
[3] it's good with whole wheat pastry flour or a 50/50 mix, as well

I rarely actually make this because it's lethal.

Thanksgiving this year was a clay-pot turkey with mole negro, various root veggies, and three pies: sour-cream apple, ginger pear, and pumpkin. Mmm.

#269 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 04:05 PM:

My best-cut algorithm is a 3/2 power law (which is a direct inversion of the square-cube principle.) By my cooking log, Jon's algorithm gives a bit longer time than I use - however I cook at 350F, so the coefficient shifts. Also, is that for stuffed or unstuffed birds?

My latest turkey adventure was cooking three in two days for a church supper - 21, 24, and 26 lb birds. The latest tweak on method is from the Fine Cooking Thanksgiving issue. Loosen the skin and push butter between the skin and the meat. Massage so it isn't lumpy. Don't baste.

(Our turkey supper is from long tradition the week after Canadian Thanksgiving. It was once a chicken supper, with the ladies buying day-old chicken in spring and feeding them till October, that circa 1940. These days it's commercial birds, though.)

That, 12 mins a pound for the little one and 11 mins a pound for the big, worked beautifully. The biggest turkey was cooked on a "hit and run" basis - I took it to the church, set the oven, went home and cooked the other. Untouched, and just right, on the button.

I log every (big) bird I cook to refine the technique. The numbers in cookbook are a bit on the fuzzy side for my tastes.

The same general algorithm can be used for things like pig roasts, too, just shift the curve to match the species and done-ness needed.

#270 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Serge #267: I didn't .. frankly, it's been so long since I watched it, and I'm always lousy about keeping track of actors. Well, the thing about child actors is that they do grow up, for better or worse.

#271 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 04:53 PM:

Checking in somewhat late: Thanksgiving dinner early afternoon at my mother's in Dallas, with DH and my mum's best friend. Game hens with orange marmalade inside (excellent), dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, very watery squash, asparagus, rolls, cranberries with something in (seemed like oranges, maybe) and sweet potatoes with pineapple in but no marshmallows, which was judged the hit of the day. Pumpkin pie and coffee. We held a vote for what to keep on the menu next year; the squash was voted off the island with astonishing unaminity.

My mother, who had had to schedule the meal so early because her friend had to be somewhere else later, insisted on serving us a small supper involving a salmon-and-cod chowder, which was surprisingly good, except for the bit where she spilled some of the stuff on spouse while she was serving it, scalding him mightily. Things just missed becoming incivil.

We did no shopping the next day, driving back to Austin instead.

The new _Cooks' Illustrated_ having arrived, I spent late yesterday afternoon making French Chicken in a Pot, which sounds remarkably like Greg's Great Turkey Experiment, except that I suspect there's nothing quite big enough to allow you to do a little strategic stovetop pre-browning before the whole Dutch oven goes in the oven at 250. Most excellent results, even if no further browning occurred, and the pan juices, fueled by onion, celery and 6 cloves of garlic, boiled down to an amazing sauce. I have, however, finally thrown out my combination baster/fat seperator, as it still doesn't work for toffee.

We are now meditating French press coffee and the first panforte of the season, picked up as part of the Dallas run.

#272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 05:03 PM:

David Harmon @ 270... I wonder if the problem with Connelly is that she was 16 years old and needed a director who could direct young humans. I never cared much for Dark Crystal either, in spite of its visuals.

#273 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 09:57 PM:

Despite David Bowie and Jim Henson* being two of my favorite people of all time ever (like, if I were to make a list of my favorite people ever, they'd both make the top ten), I despise that horrible, squalid, unpleasant, uncharming, completely brown, miserable mess of a movie they made together. Yick.

Thanksgiving: I was ill. I like my family.

Australia: Hooray!

*Should that be "David Bowie and Jim Henson's"? That seems wrong and right in equal amounts.

#274 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 12:45 AM:

Serge I got the joke (I spoke, at one point, passable french. I now speak very good cuisine).

For a moment I thought you happy at the prospect. Later, I started wondering at the idea of using it (a real turkey ice cream) to as a vehicle for a temperature-counterpoint sauce.

If I ever try it... you are to blame.

I used the demi-glace to make a noodle soup (with leftover meat) tonight. It's a success.

#275 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Terry, I took your recommendation and boiled one pot of stock down, far past the point where I usually take it off to cool and put up. I wound up with a fairly thick, soupy substance, but nothing of the consistency you described. It seems that it would take an inordinate amount of fat in the leavings to bring it to demi-glace state and still have more than a few spoonsful. In my family, that amounts to fratricide.

The stuff was tasty, but since there wasn't much of it, I added more water, boiled it again to distribute the assorted goodies, then strained it, cooled it, and stored it as "thick TG stock."

#276 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 01:48 AM:

LMB @275: It seems that it would take an inordinate amount of fat in the leavings to bring it to demi-glace state and still have more than a few spoonsful.

The main thickener isn't fat, it's gelatine from the bones. Terry's methodology may be different from mine, which is to leave the stockpot at a very low simmer for several hours (often overnight) before straining out the solids, by when the bones have been degelatinized to a nearly crumbly, spongy consistency. When fully cooled down in the fridge at this stage (again, overnight if possible), the stock should already thicken up a bit-- maybe not solid, but at least to a noticeable extent like watery applesauce or so-- and the fat can be scraped off the top and discarded.

And at *that* point I pour the defatted stock into a pot/pan with the most surface area possible, turn up the stove to a bloopier heat, and let moisture evaporate off for several hours until I get tired of the scent of stock.

#277 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 06:39 AM:

Terry Karney @ 274... I started wondering at the idea of using it (a real turkey ice cream) to as a vehicle for a temperature-counterpoint sauce. If I ever try it... you are to blame.

I can only say it had baster be good.

#278 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 06:41 AM:

ethan @ 273... Thanksgiving: I was ill. I like my family.

Sorry about that. That you were ill, not that you like your family.

#279 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 08:58 AM:

PNH @ 263:

I think it's likely that Giuliani will get the nomination but very unlikely that he will actually be elected President.

I'd argue that the same problems that had more or less ended him politically prior to 9/11 -- his extramarital affair with Judith Nathan, a penchant for cross-dressing and recurring cancer -- make him vulnerable in a national election. I'd speculate that the democratic strategy is to wait until he gets the nomination and then clobber him.

Those problems, coupled with the rampant dissatisfaction in the electorate, make me pretty optimistic that 2008 will see a democratic president. Hell, even a couple rock-ribbed republicans I know have said they'd at least consider voting for Hillary.

#280 ::: Nomie ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 09:56 AM:

I feel sort of bad for my father now. He'd love to try fun stuff like some of the dishes mentioned here, but us ungrateful ingrates that he calls his children refuse to have anything that isn't traditional and familiar. For our given values of traditional, of course. (Turkey, apple-bread stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce*, mashed potatoes, mashed rutabaga or turnips, Le Seur peas**, and for dessert apple and sweet potato pies***.)

Of course, all of that's the day after Thanksgiving; the Thursday is reserved for driving down to Dad's cousin's house and having dinner with her family. We bring cranberry sauce and pies, the cousin provides everything else. I brought one of my grad school cronies with us and she seemed to enjoy it.

However: a hearty thumbs-down to Amtrak, for getting me back to school over four hours late.

* This varies between a super-simple cranberries/water/sugar jelly and Grandma's cranberry chutney, depending on how much prep gets done early.
** In tribute to Grandma. Any other kind wouldn't seem right with a big feast.
*** Usually I am responsible for the apple pies, but this year I made the sweet potato as well. Everything turned out fine despite a certain overzealousness with the whole nutmeg and microplane. (It's just so much fun to see the tiny shavings drop into the bowl. And it's harder to measure, as well.)

#281 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 10:05 AM:

ethan (273): No, you had it right the first time.

#282 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 10:49 AM:

#280 Nomie: Sing it, sister.

It's always the kids want it the way it should be. My Nanna - grandmother to you - made a hard sauce for the Christmas pudding that, if fired, would have devastated half the State, considering the weather we have at Christmas. That's how it was made, and Heaven help the daughter - granddaughter, now - who doesn't make it the same way now.

Same as we always - always - have ham and goose and duck at Christmas. Turkey has been (reluctantly) substituted for the goose, but the duck and the ham are sacrosanct. Fifteen around the table, and the toast is always "To absent friends, and those who have gone before". With glace fruits with the ham. (An absence of the latter would cause Unfavourable Comment.) And a pudding that's been aged a year.

The fact that this is insane in the face of a temperature of 95 fahrenheit impresses nobody in the slightest. Yoong people nowadays.

#283 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 11:56 AM:

The best news I heard from the day after Thanksgiving: a long-time friend (since the early Sixties) emailed that her husband had finally gotten a kidney transplant on Friday and it went well. That *does* lift the spirits.

#284 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Before the main meal of Thanksgiving can occur, my very-extended-family-by-choice sings "We Boggies are a Hairy Folk." Then we obey the instructions therein contained.

#285 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 01:15 PM:

Scott 279: I think it's likely that Giuliani will get the nomination but very unlikely that he will actually be elected President.

From your lips to the gods' ears. Or...from your keyboard to the gods' monitors, or whatever.

#286 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 02:49 PM:

LMB MacAlister: I suspect you didn't (as Julie L. alludes) boil the bones enough. The secret is the collagens. So the keel, the legs and the wings are the really important bits.

I cook them at a medium boil for three-four hours, with a lid on the pot. Then I strain the solids out and reduce to a simmer, which then reduces for the rest of the day.

There are a few schools of thought on the speed of the boil, with some holding that rapid movement in the water breaks up proteins and diminishes flavor.

I find that slower reducing allows to skim the fat more readily. Some collagens form a sheet on the surface, but once the fat is skimmed this can just be stirred back in.

I keep it at the simmer because I don't like the spatter caused by a more rapid boil.

#287 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 03:11 PM:

Re: 230 - TREE!!!!


So, I brought the "leftovers" (of the brownies) to work today, where my gluten-intolerant co-worker was having a birthday. This generally means KT's BBQ take-out. Today it also meant gluten-free brownies for dessert. (So glad I didn't just use All-Purpose Flour, but instead investigated the Safeway's "Whole Foods killer" organics and bulk bin department.)

Tree and I figure that maybe 8 oz. Hershey's Cocoa by weight is not the same as 1 Cup Hershey's Cocoa by volume, so maybe just dumping in one and a half 8 oz. tins was not exactly what we were supposed to do. Oddly enough, no one has complained. I mean, really. Too much chocolate?

#288 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Nicole 207: Well, yeah, maybe 'pour' isn't exactly the right word. I'm thinking maybe I should say "Four Jumbo eggs, or five Large." Doesn't seem to hurt the brownies any.

(We did wonder why bother baking. We were ready to grab some ice cream and a bunch of spoons.)

Raw eggs. If the eggs were really fresh and you eat it right away, I don't see a problem. But I do think the brownies are better than the batter.

___ 209: Heh. Glad you like them. I looked for anything that could be construed as a complaint, but didn't find anything.

BurningTree 230: You're quite welcome. I've commented your LJ entry...think I should add "WARNING: May be too intense for young children" to the recipe?

I don't know how I missed those two three posts before! Sorry.

Nicole 287: may have contributed to the doughy quality of the "batter." I pack it into the measuring cup, though. Maybe not as different as you think.

#289 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 05:24 PM:

Terry Karney @212, others:

In re demi-glace: I'm a reasonably competent cook with a more-than-usually-adventurous palate but demi-glace has always struck me as, well, kinda gross.

1) What's it good for? 2) Assuming you've got a convincing answer for 1), how long does it keep? Oh, and 3) Can you freeze it?

#290 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Scott H: It's good for all sorts of things. Think of it as a base. Dilute it, add flavors too it, and pour it on things. It's very richly flavored. I don't find it gross at all. I know cooks who have been known to eat it straight.

It keeps well, the concentration, even using just the bird, is salty; at strength. I used some to make a soup last night, and had to salt it, once it was diluted back to strong broth.

It can be frozen. To do that, use an ice cube tray.

Steak Dianne is one of the more knoen dishes using demi-glace.

#291 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 05:45 PM:

Brother, sister-in-law, Lydia and a vet school classmate. Brother picked one of the colts as deserving high-level stock horse training, which is something to be thankful for although I'd need to sell all the other horses to make it an actuality.

Recrudescing the crock pot theme, those (the actual, you know, crock pot ones) are dandy for making stock. It doesn't boil, which seems to keep it clearer, and it's nice not to have to keep as close an eye on it. I started one batch on Wednesday for gravy purposes and have put the turkey carcase through two more. Mushroom barley soup is in the future.

Don't think I have much more to add to all that's gone before in the way of food, except that the pumpkin tart with damson jam from the Thanksgiving issue of Gourmet is definitely worth making the extra trip to find the damson jam (Bonne Maman makes it, but not all stores carry the full line).

Politics: my brother maintains that immigration is going to be the issue of this election, and that the first Republican to break with the corporate masters and come out with a strong anti-immigrant message will take the nomination and the general, since the Dems appear determined to nominate the least electable of their top three. That was a downer if you like.

#292 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 05:56 PM:

Had a plateful of leftovers last night. Great food, even three days, a freezing, and a microwaving later.

One of my college buddies was -- probably still is -- a manic grocery bargain hunter. He recruited friends to help when big sales were on, and sometimes ended up paying a few bucks for a cart full of food. He filled closets with cans and boxes of nonperishable goods.

One year he bought something like a half-dozen turkeys. Every month or so he'd put one in the oven, make mashed potatoes, stuffing, and vegetables, and invite over a pile of people to eat at watch videos.

Good times.

#293 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 06:47 PM:

Can you freeze stock? It's too late for me this year (I now have a gallon of turkey soup and only me to eat it), but there's always next year.

#294 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Stock freezes beautifully. I store it in soup-size batches and also in smaller aliquots for adding to, well, whatever savory dish I'm cooking.

#295 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 07:59 PM:

cmk 294: How big is soup?

Poor, poor Joanna.

#296 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 08:57 PM:

cmk (294): Do you need to store it anything in particular?

#297 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2007, 09:22 PM:

re 285: If it comes to a choice between Giuliani and Clinton I may vote for the Socialist candidate.

#298 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 12:28 AM:

Julie @ #276 & Terry @ #286: Maybe Texas turkeys are lower in "goodie-quotient" than those sold where you live. The past 3-4 years, I've had large, cooked carcassi left over, and have made stock from the lot. This year, I had several raw carcassi, being those left over from making turduckens and from this indulgent BARFer's feeding his dogs. Still didn't result in the demi-glace described in your posts.

This year, if there was anything I had, it was bones. The gelatin should have been flowing like Cosby porn.

#299 ::: Nomie ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 01:44 AM:

LMB @ 298, I think you've won today's prize for mental image I most need to scrub from my brain.

Mary Aileen @ 296, though I am not cmk - my dad usually freezes stock in plastic pint or quart containers (generally salvaged from the deli or from Chinese takeout soup orders). If he needs the containers, he pops the frozen cylinder of stock from its plastic prison and puts it in a plastic bag. Just make sure to stick on a label - masking tape with sharpie works fine - so you don't forget what those mysterious towers of ice are!

#300 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 02:37 AM:

Stock can be frozen. Pick the size you normally use (cup, pint, qt) get containers which will hold that (not glass) and fill them a trifle short (I use ziplocs). Put the liquid in at room temperature (or less... quick cooling of bird stocks is better, so the fridge is the best bet, but sometimes room is short).

When you need them, thaw, and cook.

#301 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 08:10 AM:

For me, Thanksgiving kicked of quite a bit of travel. I flew on Wednesday from Seattle to Detroit (via Houston, go figure) and despite a weather-related delay, it was a surprisingly pleasant experience.

We had the crazy Italian-American Thanksgiving meal, kicking off with meatballs (no sauce) and antipasta. Then the pasta course - lasagna with all of the gravy meats (braciole, sausage, pig's knuckle, etc...). Then the turkey (dangerously fried - not my idea, but I did stand by with the fire extinguisher at the ready) and all the fixings a couple of hours later. Finally, after another break, dessert and Italian black coffee. I'm still full.

Sunday, I went from Turkey Day to Turkey country for a business trip. Again, no airport worries. I spent my adjust-to-the-time-difference day doing a bit of sightseeing, and now I'm in meetingland. And seriously jet-lagged despite my best efforts.

Thursday, I fly back home and then Saturday I take off for a week in Hawaii with no plans other than to go to Pearl Harbor on the 7th.

All this means no leftovers, except for a feeling of being over-full.

I hope everyone had a great holiday (where applicable).

#302 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 11:33 AM:

[sound of shoe dropping]

Commenter Susan 184, you are Susan deG., AICMFP.

#303 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Larry @ #301, give me a call, drop me a note when you have free time scheduled on Oahu, if you're so inclined.

#304 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 09:08 PM:

When I cooked, I froze stock and demi-glace in tupperware pint or half-pint containers.

#305 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 07:38 PM:

Xopher, or anyone else who knows...

I'm going to make the brownies for a friend who is living a gluten free lifestyle. When you say one bag, do you mean a little bag or the bags you get at Costco/Sams? I have a huge bag of the specified chips, but it sure seems odd to put a couple of pounds of chocolate into the brownies...

So, what I'm really asking... about how many ounces of chocolate should I add?

#306 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Ok, I'm going to guess 11.5 oz, since my 3.5 lb bag seems ridiculously large for these purposes.

#307 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:22 PM:

OK, just found this. Yeah, I mean the 11.5 ounce bag.

#308 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Sorry, not being a person who shops at Costco/Sams, or would have any place to store the giant things you get there, I was actually unaware that Ghirardelli made any size other than the 11.5. I should probably fix the recipe to give more precise amounts.

#309 ::: Tania thanks Xopher! ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:28 PM:

Thanks! My brain was sliding fast into "must go home" when I first posted.

The folks at the bookstore are awfully excited about getting a pan of brownies.

#310 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 07:46 AM:


So am I the only one wondering what the brownies would be like with the 3.5 pound bag?


#311 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 11:21 AM:

Michael I # 310:

Death By Chocolate comes to mind ... but then there was a year or more I couldn't eat chocolate at all. I'm better now, really I am.

#312 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 12:24 PM:

Michael 310: Like a huge block of chocolate with some inclusions.

Actually, more like brown sand, since baking almost-pure chocolate at 350 would be likely to separate it.

#313 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 12:50 PM:

Xopher @307: Yeah, I mean the 11.5 ounce bag.

OMG. Among my tweaks to the recipe, instead of going out to buy a bag of chips, I chopped up a slab of "truffle slag" (actually a mixture of solid Valrhona in the 60-80% cocoa solids range) into what I thought was an equivalent mass of small fragments, having thought I remembered a standard supermarket bag of choc chips as being one pound.

*staggers over to kitchen counter, grabs another brownie, and stuffs it into mouth while sliding to the floor*

Actually, I guess I tweaked the recipe rather a lot: mixed the cocoa powder into the melted butter before any of the other additions (iirc (ha!) that's supposed to optimize bringing out the flavor?); used a cup of cake flour (instead of the rice flour/cornstarch mixture) because I had some in the pantry; mixed the choc bits into the wet stuff before plopping the result into the whisked dry ingredients; and finally, lined the sheet with a piece of buttered aluminum foil.

#314 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Hey, if it turned out OK, none of those were mistakes. If you ring changes on something and bake something inedible or even horrible, though, you can't blame the recipe.

#315 ::: jon singer ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2008, 12:26 PM:

Once again, I must stress that this is NOT my algorithm (!). It was worked out by the late Mike Fellinger, and should be attributed to him.

Cheers --

#316 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2008, 02:58 PM:

Is it just me, or does this algorithm end up with a way-too-cooked turkey? This year, we had a 12.5 pound free-range turkey, which the algorithm would call for cooking for about 4.25 hours; we checked it after 3.5 hours with a thermometer and it was already on the far side of completely cooked. (Not enough to prevent it from still being moist, though it was clearly a bit more dry than it would have been had it been cooked just until done.)

#317 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2008, 07:27 PM:

I suspect that free-range, (as with grass fed beef) have both less fat, more densly muscled frames and aren't as brined in prep.

Which means they will cook differently from the general predictions.

#318 ::: Dave Crisp sees yet more SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2011, 05:55 AM:

Almost identical comment to the one on the "holy sprit" thread, just with a different name and link

#319 ::: Niall McAuley sees spam at #320 ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2011, 03:42 AM:

Another author who contributes nothing but link spam.

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