Overly fussy recipes

Since I didn’t cook Thanksgiving dinner this year, I’m doing a turkey for New Years. I pulled out the old greasy card that has my stuffing recipe on it. I got the recipe from the November, 1974 issue of Gourmet magazine. It was the first time I had ever cooked a turkey and I’ve probably made it 30 times in the past 40 years.

What strikes me every year, and I’ve ignored it every time but the first, is that it calls for 1/2 C of giblet stock and 1/2 C of chicken stock! If I’ve made my own stock, I use a cup of that, if not, I use a cup of chicken stock. It makes me wonder about how/why they developed the recipe that way.

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My mother’s stock for “dressing” was from giblets only.

My guess would be that if you’ve succeeded in creating a full-flavored stock from the giblets of a single bird, the volume is small enough that it needs to be supplemented if there’s to be enough to make both gravy and dressing/stuffing.

I’ve certainly seen other recipes that are fussy beyond all possible justification.

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like darned near anything from Cooks’ Illustrated – such a beautiful magazine; such ridiculously futzy recipes.

I tried two or three of their recipes for “Best Ever” something or other, and every time sat down exhausted and stressed, only to find that the recipe didn’t taste any different than the way I’d been making it all along.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold