Yippie, it's Thanksgiving on Sunday at our place


#1

Due to my retail schedule, working Thanksgiving, Friday, and Saturday, freedom is here at last. No whining, we’re used to it.

The wifeacita is cooking up some cornbread, green beans with mushrooms and bacon, plus a breast half for me and a thigh for her pretty little self.

HEB has individual pieces of turkey for sale if you don’t need a whole bird.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What did everyone else feed upon?


#2

Went to my daughter’s house. I’m pretty proud of that girl. I just sat on the davenport and played grandma, waiting for dinner while the kiddos brought me stuff: sangria, deviled eggs, veggies and dip.

And then to the table for all of the “regulars” from the Thanksgiving table around which Daughter grew up, plus one new dish that she has added, due to high demand from her family of six: macaroni & cheese. We never had that for “special dinners” in our house, but her kids love it, so there it was. She has switched the green vegetable from creamed peas and mushrooms to green beans, her husband’s favorite - although not that dreaded casserole with the canned onions - just freshly-snapped green beans cooked southern style with bacon and onions. And she has deleted two of my must-haves: giblets in the gravy, and Waldorf Salad.

She, and all of my kids of course, hated giblets in the gravy, but I forced it on them anyway, figuring it was “good” for them to learn tradition. Daughter has no such sentimentality. And she served no salad - just enhanced relish tray. I missed the Waldorf Salad but later she told me that nobody ever eats it but the two of us and she got tired of having to throw it away.

I was sort of sad about what I see as the end of an era.

In the southern families where I grew up, the salad of choice at these meals was always ambrosia. Tasty, sure, but so sickly sweet. About five years or so into my own marriage, as head cook, I decided to make the bold switch from the south to the north: from Mandarin oranges and maraschino cherries and little bitty marshmallows and shredded sweetened coconut to apples and celery and walnuts and raisins.

Now Daughter has decided to go with no salad at all.

Ah, well.

So our menu:

Two turkeys - deep-fried in the backyard by SIL, which he love love loves to do, but which, in my opinion, produces a rather dry bird. But a happy SIL. And, since he’s the father of four of my grandchildren, do want to keep that man happy. So it’s good from that standpoint, anyway.

Cornbread dressing, made from my mother’s recipe, which has been handed down from my father’s mother, and therefore the standard in my family for over 100 years, and which, since Daughter couldn’t stuff the turkeys thanks to the (ridiculous, in my opinion) deep-frying craze, she baked in the oven, after browning a few turkey thighs and arranging them on top of the dressing so that the turkey juices would drip into it - cool tip I got online from others suffering through this (ridiculous, in my opinion) deep-frying craze that all the menfolk love love love, the only benefit of which, as I see it, is that it does get the menfolk out of your kitchen and involved in the meal. (But, foodwise, is it worth it? Not to me.)

Kind of bland gravy, since, thanks to the (ridiculous, in my opinion) deep-frying craze, was not made directly in the turkey roasting pan from the turkey roasting drippings.

Sweet potato casserole laced with bourbon and orange juice, also from my father’s mother, and therefore the standard in my family for over 100 years.

Cranberry sauce, which turned out a little bit too sour and too runny this year, but Daughter is working on perfecting, and it’s usually terrific.

Green beans, cooked so beautifully, with onions and bacon. Loved them.

Macaroni & Cheese, which I definitely don’t “get” at a special meal, but which everybody else piled onto their plates and ate happily

Relish tray, with pimento cheese celery stalks, deviled eggs, and other assorted typical relish tray things

Pecan pie, chocolate pie, key lime pie.

Of course, in the house in which she grew up, there would have been pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie.

Kids! What are you gonna do?!!

Probably just what I did.

Sit on the sofa, glass of sangria in your hand.

And incredible gratitude in your heart.


(Doo B. Wah) #3

We had Thanksgiving dinner at OBD’s house, (on Thanksgiving Day).

We had turkey, dressing, gravy, ham, purple hull peas, broccoli casserole, crescent rolls, etc.

I brought the ham, purple hulls and an apple pie. The ham was a Cook’s butt portion steamed in orange juice and black coffee with a chipotle thrown ion for good measure. I made it up on a whim ten years ago or so and my family just loves it.

Most of us, (myself included) were already full when we sat down to dinner due to excesses of cheese and crackers, olives, vegetables and dips and maybe a mimosa or two.

A three hour nap followed.


#4

Boy, Doobs - that ham sounds remarkable. Any chance of sharing a little more exact information as to how you do it?


(Doo B. Wah) #5

That was pretty much it.

A Cook’s brand bone-in butt ham placed in a large pot on a rack, (I use a big tamale steamer!). I pour over about two cups of OJ, a cup or so of black coffee and about a cup of water.

Season with black pepper, and in this case I threw in a whole chipotle pepper.

Bring it to a low simmer and let it go for… about nine hours. You’ll know it’s done when you can just start pulling out chunks of ham. It just falls apart.

Couldn’t be easier. I came up with it after seeing a recipe for a beef roasted with coffee. I was making a ham a week or so later and on a whim just poured a cup or so of coffee over all. Then I just let it cook for hours and hours. I don’t really know why, but it came out pretty tasty and the family and friends went wild for it. The ham releases enough liquid to keep it from going dry if you simmer it slowly enough, but you might need to keep an eye on it towards the end. I let one that was oversized in too small of a pot boil dry and it was PITA to clean.

I know it sounds weird and like it can’t possibly work, but somehow, it just does.

When are we going for tamales?


#6

We deep fry one of our turkeys every year. Only had it dry once, when my husband declined to pull it out to test the temp and used timing instead. Completely unreliable for frying, which produces a very juicy bird with delightfully crispy skin all around. Given a choice, everyone chooses the deep fried bird over the spatchcocked on I roast so there’s plenty to send home with guests. It’s also juicy and crisp, but nothing beats properly deep fried turkey, IMO.

Sounds like a wonderful day.


#7

This is very encouraging news. Perhaps SIL’s technique and product will improve. Must say it has been better the last two years in that it was at least edible. The first year he tried it he pumped it so full of Cajun spices that even he couldn’t eat it. And neither could the dogs.

Does your husband’s method include a great many adult beverages for the cook and his helpers standing around in the backyard offering advice?

Maybe that’s where SIL is going awry.

And yes, it was a wonderful day. I’m one very lucky grandma.

Also wonderful to see another new name here, StoneSoup. I’ll be looking forward to reading more posts from you.


#8

Interesting about the coffee. Kinda like red-eye gravy, which is classic with ham.

Tamales sooner rather than later. Is Sat or Sun better for you?


#9

I’m mcf from CH, if that helps, may not be as new as you think. :wink:

I always dry brine the turkey days before, then wipe it dry and refrigerate a day or two uncovered to get the skin super dry so it doesn’t spatter and crisps up really well. I’ve never injected anything, but I do season the outside to make all that crispiness delicious. SIL has to account for how much retained heat deep frying creates, and how much it continues cooking the bird once it’s taken out to rest for at least a half hour. Testing the temp is key, too, as I said.

There aren’t adult beverages involved for my husband, but lots of beer swilling by the helpful onlookers standing around as you say.


(Doo B. Wah) #10

Saturday, if it’s up to me.


#11

Sat works fine for me, too. Gonna send you a pm. Anyone else that would like to join us on a tamal-run, pm me.


(Lamb Owner) #12

We had the usual things, turkey, cranberry, dressing, potatoes, gravy, green beans, olives & pickles, birthday cakes, no pumpkin pie, 11 adults, 2 babies, 2 big dogs. On Thanksgiving Day!


#13

Been thinking so much about this whole deep-frying thing. As I said, your experience that your deep-fried birds turn out great is encouraging, so I can hope my SIL improves with time. I’m sure he doesn’t brine. And he’s such a great husband to my daughter and daddy to my grandkids that I never indicate he’s less than wonderful in every way, so don’t even want to hint at a discouraging word, like, “did you ever think about brining them?”

However, seriously, even considering how great your turkeys turn out, the thought has occurred to me that this is mainly about the guys wanting to get out into the backyard with fire and festive beverages. And then everybody else bragging on them. I mean, I know lots and lots and lots of women that go to very great lengths to produce great food, so it’s not that deep-frying in the back yard is too much trouble for them. But I do not know, nor have I heard of, any women doing it. I’m not saying that I’m positive none of them ever have and I’m sure there are some that do, but I am saying that, in my experience, it’s certainly not common.

I don’t know… I think if it were definitely and provably superior, we’d all be back there, you know?

But we ain’t.

And I’m as fond of festive beverages as anyone.


#14

:smile:
Men do seem to like to hang out around something burning, drinking beers and scratching their balls, and all, but…

The turkey frying was my idea, assigned to my husband. And once we did it, there was no going back. The biggest plus for me is that my entire oven is free, no juggling; turkey comes out of the fryer to rest and the sides go in to warm up. A side benefit is that he immediately loved having his own Tday tradition to contribute, and that everyone loves the result.

Never goin’ back. But that’s not to say you cannot produce a delicious turkey in the oven or on your grill, for that matter.


#15

Clearly there is only one thing for it. I must suck up to you repeatedly until you have no option other than to have me over!

And, I have a year to do it. Heheheh.


#16

Lol…

This raises possibilities…