Late Night Thanksgiving Food Atrocities Open Thread

Since even a skilled cook can find it difficult to make a modern pre-frozen Butterball bird corpse taste like anything other than poultry-flavored styrofoam, it’s not surprising that every few years there’s a new fad — brining! deep-frying! — intended to add novelty to the “essential centerpiece” of our national celebratory Bloat.

The NY Daily News blames this year’s novelty, courtesy the Reynolds Corporation, on “Instagram chefs — who cook things just for their photo value”. (Of course Kids These Days is another time-honored perennial.)

It also predicts worse for the future, difficult as that might be to imagine…

165 replies
  1. 1

    Anyone else see that episode of Regular Show where the Donald Trump expy tried to steal a magic turducken?

  2. 2
    ArchTeryx says:

    It *is* quite possible to add some heat to a Thanksgiving turkey without ruining it with the dust of artificial corn chips.

    Mix up some rosemary, thyme, paprika and some powdered sriracha, which will look a whole lot like the paprika. Sprinkle it over the bird and add some under the breast skin with pats of butter. I did that one year and the results were dynamite, and actually looked pretty nice. Then, I was sprinkling the mix over the bird, not COATING the bird in it. Subtlety is a thing.

    You can do similar with the dressing but I’d leave out the powdered sriracha. Dressing is just not meant to be heat-spiced, no way, no how.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    lamh36 says:

    @Evan_Rosenfeld
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    https://twitter.com/Evan_Rosenfeld/status/932431681981595648

  5. 5
    satby says:

    Post up top: yuck

    OT: so the new person at my office only lasted 2 hours on her first day.
    I bet you guys all thought I exaggerated.

  6. 6
    Brachiator says:

    I understand that Popeye’s sells a damned good Cajun turkey for Thanksgiving. Go figure.

  7. 7
    Jeffro says:

    @lamh36: Looking forward to the Big Day! Shall we take bets? I’m thinking first full week of December…

    Anyway, my mom asked me to bring over a green bean dish of some sort and some other green veggie dish. I’m going to go with roasted brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts: proof that for the stuff you hate as a kid, you should try again as an adult on the off chance you were served a horrible version as a kid.

  8. 8

    Wait, what’s wrong with brining?

  9. 9

    Am I the only one who is not too fond of turkey? In other culinary news, I made a cake in the slow cooker with beer and brown sugar. Not yet eaten it, its still cooling. Going to glaze it with pineapple sauce, that I had made earlier with fresh pineapple and some whipped cream.

  10. 10
    Betty Cracker says:

    Timely post: I was just creating the shopping list for TG. It does not include Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. We’re cooking for 14. I’ve farmed out a few things (green bean casserole, pumpkin pie), but we’ll handle most of it ourselves, and it will be AWESOME! :)

  11. 11
    geg6 says:

    Brining is a fantastic way to prep any turkey, Butterball or not. I have a great brine with bourbon, oranges, and rosemary that just makes the meat full of juices and flavor. I usually brine it for at least 48 hours. Don’t knock brining.

  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I like deep-frying. Every year, it seems, there’s a local story about some cretin burning down his house by doing it.

  13. 13

    @Gin & Tonic: a place down the street has a “thanksgiving for strays” every year and they fry one or two. Tasty! But I do get major schadenfreude from all the explosion and fire stories.

  14. 14

    @Betty Cracker: Are you making the butter lamb, or is that for Easter?

  15. 15
    geg6 says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Nothing. In fact, it is a superior way to prep turkey.

  16. 16
    Chet Murthy says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Uh, maybe this is a silly Q, but …. *how do you get it out*? Uh, maybe I don’t understand what “slow cooker” means? I’m thinkin’ like a crock-pot?

  17. 17
    lamh36 says:

    Saw Justice League yesterday. I’d give it a solid B, despite critic reviews.

    Stand outs: 1) Wonder Woman…of course! I never get tired of watching her and the Amazon’s kick azz! 2)Flash…Ezra Miller was blast and funny as hell! I’d love to see more of him for sure. 3)Aquaman…Jason Mamoa and his never ending abs and golden blond hair!!! Def looking forward to the stand alone Aquaman movie!!!

    The CGI was kinda bad, and I did noticed the way the Amazons and Wonder Woman were filmed was different than from the WW solo film (more butt shots of Gadot, more low cut clothing and the the Amazon aestethic was more male gaze oriented, if ya know what I mean?) …I’ve learned that was likely due to the Josh Whedon rewrites that occurred after Zak Synder had to exit…

    Still…as I said I gave it a solid B

  18. 18
    Mary G says:

    @satby: I always believed, but that is bad.

  19. 19

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Am I the only one who is not too fond of turkey?

    Madame only eats turkey once a year, most Koreans don’t like it.

  20. 20
    Cacti says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Wait, what’s wrong with brining?

    Absolutely nothing.

    Brine your own corned beef sometime. You’ll never want store bought again.

  21. 21
    geg6 says:

    I can’t believe how many of you like deep fried turkey. Horrible travesty, IMHO. And I’ve tried it more than once, even prepared by so-called experts. Yuck.

  22. 22
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Easter! Gonna make all the kids learn it this year.

  23. 23

    @Chet Murthy: Crock pot. I made it in a round corning pan that fit into the oval slow cooker and cooked it on high in a water bath. I put the round pan on a metal trivet.

  24. 24
    lamh36 says:

    @shadowandact
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  25. 25
    Brachiator says:

    SPOILER FREE Justice League Review

    The new Justice League movie is not the turkey I feared it might be. The opening narrative is a bit of a mess. The world is falling apart because of the death of Superman in Bats v Supes, which rankles because the dopes behind the movie failed to adequately establish Superman as a beacon of hope in the previous films, forcing the audience to bring along their own prior feelings for the Man of Steel.

    Anyway, after this stumble, there are new threats and a new reason for Batman to assemble a team to deal with it. Overall, these superheroes acquit themselves well. The humor, maybe supplied by Joss Whedon, actually shows how this bunch of heroes become a team. Most of the action scenes are pretty good despite some terrible CGI. The Amazons put in an appearance and Wonder Woman and Aquaman are great. On the other hand, there is one scene in particular of Flash running that is absolutely terrible.

    There are a couple of end credit scenes, if you want to hang around.

    Thor is still by far a better film. But I noted that the younger kids in the audience loved seeing these characters, who are more familiar to them than some of the characters in the Thor movie.

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I eat turkey on Thanksgiving because it is tradition. Every year, I advocate for a goose, which is also traditional, tastes better, and rids the world of another mean-spirited goose. This advocacy is viewed as traditional by my family and then ignored. So I chose the dark meat and live with it.

    ETA: I still want a mincemeat pie too.

  27. 27
    dmsilev says:

    Did some non-Thanksgiving baking today; chocolate babka (an Eastern European coffee-cake thing). I was on call to provide goodies for a meeting at work tomorrow afternoon, and figured why not? Long recipe; started it yesterday, the dough’s second rise was in the fridge overnight, assembled and baked today. Looks and smells good; guess I’ll find out tomorrow how it tastes…

  28. 28
    Chet Murthy says:

    @schrodingers_cat: o.i.c. Now it makes complete sense. Nice!

  29. 29
    Betty Cracker says:

    @geg6: Oooo, a bourbon brine? Never thought of adding that! I do like to brine.

  30. 30

    @Chet Murthy: I bought a slow cooker recently and have been experimenting with it.

  31. 31
    dmsilev says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Goose, especially a whole one, tends to be fatty as all hell. I’d rather go with a few ducks instead.

  32. 32
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @geg6: I didn’t say I liked deep-fried turkey. I said I like deep-frying turkey because of the entertainment value. I’d never do it myself.

  33. 33
    Raven says:

    Browning a turkey carcass and making stock is a killer gumbo a base.

  34. 34
    lgerard says:

    Flaming hot Cheeto turkey at least has some comedic value. Ranch turkey? That’s just disgusting!

  35. 35
    satby says:

    Since my kid will be here the day after Thanksgiving for a couple of nights, I bought a small turkey to cook on Friday: cooked the traditional way, corn bread sausage stuffing, baked sweet potatoes, and not sure what green veg. None of us like green bean casserole, but oven roasted green beans might work. Or Brussel sprouts.

  36. 36
    debbie says:

    @satby:

    Sounds like a record!

  37. 37
    dmsilev says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    We’re cooking for 14.

    I was chatting with a colleague a few years back and she had a Thanksgiving tale of horrors to share: Her husband is one of seven kids, and he and his siblings all have three or more kids of their own. Thanksgiving is 50 or 60 people. There’s a lot of organization and division-of-labor involved to pull that off.

  38. 38
    Citizen Alan says:

    “Instagram chefs — who cook things just for their photo value”.

    There was an obscure 80’s movie called “Mr. Frost” that starred Jeff Goldblum as the title character. He liked to cook incredibly elaborate deserts (like Baked Alaska), take Polaroids of them, tape the Polaroids neatly to his kitchen wall, and then toss the desert straight into the trash.

    He was later revealed to be the Devil. Make of that what you will.

  39. 39
    Brachiator says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Never had Thanksgiving goose. I’d like to give it a try someday.

  40. 40

    @Omnes Omnibus: I have never had goose, is it fatty like duck?

  41. 41
    Raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: Besides the broken arm debacle last year this will be out 10th year with just us and the dogs at the beach of thanksgiving. I hope like hell we can all do it again next year.

  42. 42
    JGabriel says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I like deep-frying. Every year, it seems, there’s a local story about some cretin burning down his house by doing it.

    I’m conflicted about it. On the one hand, the cynic in me finds the idea of a right-wing cretin burning down his house a gratifying metaphor for his voting record. On the other hand, the good guy in me thinks even cretins should have somewhere to go on Thanksgiving that they haven’t set on fire.

  43. 43
    danielx says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Not a thing, brining is good.

    I proposed an herb-crusted tenderloin this year as an alternative and was informed in no uncertain terms that particular dog did not hunt. So brining, yeah. Biggest problems: large enough container and getting the damned salt to dissolve.

  44. 44
    Raven says:

    @schrodingers_cat: All waterfowl are fatty, it’s survival.

  45. 45
    satby says:

    @Mary G: @debbie: The funniest part? She asked if she could leave early the first day, at the two hour mark, and they didn’t actually realize she had ditched the job until after another two no-show days.
    This was the result of 3 months of interviews for a person who would be “just the right fit”.

  46. 46
    Steeplejack says:

    @Jeffro:

    I’ve been watching a lot of cooking shows lately—they seem to help calm me in the Trump era—and just yesterday I saw a good recipe for Brussels sprouts on Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. They’re sliced in half and “charred” in a skillet.

    You can see the TV episode here. (Brussel sprouts action at 5:50.) You have to enter your e-mail address to read the actual recipe, but you can get the gist from the video. The roast beef recipe looks really good too.

  47. 47
    dmsilev says:

    @satby: We’ve done steamed green beans in years past. Easy in both preparation and clean-up, which is always a plus given how much else needs to get done. Makes a nice contrast with the roast root vegetables which are typically our other main side dish.

  48. 48
    Mary G says:

    @satby: That made me laugh out loud. The crazy manager’s doing?

  49. 49
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @danielx: Not an herb-crusted tenderloin and not a goose (and not Thanksgiving, actually) but last year for Christmas we made a porchetta like this. It was awesome (except I melted my meat thermometer by leaving it in for the last step.)

  50. 50
    Felonius Monk says:

    Here is some bad turkey.

  51. 51
    Bruuuuce says:

    We tend to alternate between turkey and ham for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so that in any given year, we’ll have one on one holiday and the other for the other. Right now consensus is running to ham for Thanksgiving.

    When we cook turkey, though, we spring for one that has never been frozen and tend to cook it with lots of garlic and some butter under the skin. Usually works a charm.

  52. 52
    Peale says:

    You should give them credit for using every part of the Cheeto. Waste not, want not.

  53. 53
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    sacrablue says:

    Speaking of Thanksgiving goose, I somehow managed to schedule my first ever (and only) colonoscopy for Wednesday afternoon. I can’t figure out how to do Thanksgiving prep and colonoscopy prep on the same day.

  55. 55
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I was just plotting my mincemeat pie strategy today. Based on a picture I saw somewhere, I’m going to make the “slats” on my lattice top crust extra wide, because moar crust!

    Need to talk to Bro’ Man and make sure dinner is at Sighthound Hall. A few weeks ago he was floating some mad plan to have Thanksgiving in Rehoboth Beach.

  56. 56
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @sacrablue: They’re done in different rooms. Just wash your hands.

  57. 57
    JR says:

    Brining is just salting — Kenji Alt demonstrated this a little while ago

    BTW salting is a very good idea

  58. 58
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Pretty much.

  59. 59
    dmsilev says:

    When I was in elementary school, the PTA had an annual fundraiser auction. One year, some store donated a frozen turkey, and the winning bidders were a family that had recently immigrated to the US from some non-tukey-cooking place (can’t remember where). After the auction was over, several people made a point of explaining to them exactly what was involved in dealing with their new possession, including pointing out that the defrost time is measured in days rather than hours. Every year, there are always Thanksgiving horror stories about people who didn’t realize that key fact and are trying to defrost their bird starting Thursday morning…

  60. 60
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:

    The Cheeselog household, by more or less democratic procedure, has elected that Thanksgiving dinner this year shall consist mainly of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

  61. 61
    satby says:

    @danielx: use a clear big storage container like a Rubbermaid one.

  62. 62
    sacrablue says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Yeah, that is the only part of the plan that I’m sure of.

  63. 63
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Felonius Monk: Trigger warning, please!!

  64. 64
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @satby: A 5-gallon paint bucket is pretty much the right size. Clean new ones are like $3-something at the big orange place.

  65. 65

    This week’s edition of my webcomic is a very special strip about cooking thanksgiving dinner. Sneak preview!

  66. 66
    gbbalto says:

    Being lazy, I cooked a turkey breast in the crockpot for office pot luck:
    http://www.geniuskitchen.com/r.....ast-209207
    It worked great, and no way it can dry out.

  67. 67
    Mary G says:

    I have one Thanksgiving story. Years ago Mom and I went to dinner with a young, newly married person who insisted on doing all the food despite having no cooking experience. We got there about 2 pm only to find the turkey sitting on the counter still in the packaging. We said we would be back at dinnertime.

    Hubby was sent to the store several times and I believe there were a number of beverages consumed during football games. He thought it would be funny if he bought a Cornish game hen and since he was in medical school he got it into the turkey pretty much intact while she wasn’t looking.

    We sat down to eat at 10 pm and he “discovered” carving and said “Look honey, the turkey was pregnant.” She burst into tears and there was quite a bit of yelling too.

    We finally found a Dennys open and ate pancakes.

  68. 68
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @sacrablue: I’ve been through it several times. It’s not as bad as people will tell you. The trouble with an afternoon procedure is that you won’t be able to eat or drink anything all day. And depending on how you react to the sedation, you will likely be useless when you get home, until the next morning.

  69. 69
    satby says:

    @Gin & Tonic: makes sense. I got the clear storage tote to sous vide in, but a hole in the lid for the Anova. Works great, and cost about $6.00.

  70. 70
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Patricia Kayden: There are no safe spaces at Balloon Juice.

  71. 71
    satby says:

    @Mary G: LOL! Probably not fun to get through, but a great story now.

  72. 72
  73. 73
    Suzanne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Am I the only one who is not too fond of turkey?

    No. Even good turkey is, like, mediocre at best, IMHO. And I hate all the “clever” leftovers, like turkey soup or casserole. I voted for pizza this year but got shot down. So I bought a 16-pound turkey today at Costco. Oh well.

  74. 74

    Thanksgiving for us will be Saturday, the 25th; madame and the kid both have to work on Thursday and madame on Friday. Don’t ya just love retail opening on Thanksgiving Day? The kid’s junior nurse so they have to work holidays.

  75. 75
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Nothing is wrong with brining. If it’s a small bird, or a chicken, you can just encase it in salt; but for a big bird feeding a dozen or more, brining is the way to go. We brine for ~18 hours, and then let rest for 24. Hence, pick up the turkey Tuesday midday and into the brine immediately, unbrine, rinse, wipe, wash the cylinder cooler and add bags of ice and the turkey back in on Wednesday morning, and haul the cooler up to Marblehead early Thursday morning. Roast, rest and serve.

    Because our dozen includes kids, we’ll skip the siracha altogether, and stick to traditional herb butter (parsley sage rosemary thyme) under the skin.

    If you ever have access to old America’s Test Kitchen episodes, the one where the science dude explains what brining does to poultry is very enlightening. If you’re looking to keep big hunks of meat moist, salt or brine them, and then let them dry out a bit before roasting.

  76. 76
    sacrablue says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Everybody tells me that it’s not that bad and the sedation is different than it used to be. I’m most worried about controlling my blood sugar.
    Hopefully I will get the Thanksgiving prep done before Tuesday night. My son will have to do all the last minute details as well as cooking the bird.

  77. 77
    randy khan says:

    Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and traditional foods are part of it. So turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes. Household tradition dictates roasted cheese sticks as pre-dinner nibbles, squash soup and poached pears. The really important tradition, though, is people we love around the table.

    But speaking of traditions (other people’s, that is): I noticed last night that my local Safeway had a ton of hams.Does anybody do ham at Thanksgiving? Is it the main event or is it in addition to turkey?

  78. 78
    danielx says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    I could have happily spent the rest of my life without that particular image.

  79. 79
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I am going to spend the Friday and Saturday after T-day at a JV Girls Basketball tournament because I am a good uncle and I can’t come up with a plausible out.

  80. 80
    lgerard says:

    @Mary G:

    i would love to have heard Jean Shepard narrate that story

  81. 81
    Ohio Mom says:

    @sacrablue: I’ve had a couple of colonoscopies and the combination of getting over being dehydrated and recovering from the anesthesia wipes me out for the rest of the day. You might want to move your cooking up a day, and plan dishes that reheat easily after sitting in the fridge.

    Here’s hoping the prep liquid goes down easily and no polyps are found!

  82. 82
    laura says:

    Leftover heaven. Hot, open-face turkey coma.
    Stuffing waffles! Cranberry everything. I’m gonna be needing the stretchy pants by midweek.
    There’s a local fancy specialty market up the street with a big kitchen operation for the deli case and they make a cranberry conserva (it’s just a sauce!), that is ground with oranges, lemon and walnuts and a splash of compari. I’ve eaten half a pint since yesterday.

  83. 83
    Mike J says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Wait, what’s wrong with brining?

    If it’s different form the way flavor averse New Englanders have always done it, it must be bad.

    My personal twist is removing the legs the day before and making confit.

  84. 84
    Diana says:

    @satby: I’ve cleaned out a refrigerator drawer and used that for brining the turkey, mostly because it meant the turkey defrosted safely in the frig but didn’t take up valuable refrigerator shelf space.

  85. 85
    opiejeanne says:

    @danielx: We dry-brined a natural turkey last year and it was fabulous. It was natural as in it hadn’t been injected with broth and the other crap they like to add in to make the bird weigh a bit more. That pre-brining changes the texture of the meat and doesn’t really add much flavor.
    We managed to find a turkey that had nothing added to it, hadn’t been frozen just super-chilled and I’m guessing driven at breakneck speed from Oregon to our store.
    Anyway, the dry brine produced a terrific bird. We patted the brining herbs/salt onto the outside then let it sit uncovered (don’t freak) in the empty garage refrigerator for three days to dry the skin a bit.
    The day before Thanksgiving I had my appendix out and came home on T Day at ten am. The kids roasted the turkey, it was brilliant, and I lounged on the couch except for making the pie crusts.

  86. 86
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I am going to spend the Friday and Saturday after T-day at a JV Girls Basketball tournament

    Tell Roy Moore we said hello!

  87. 87
    danielx says:

    @sacrablue:

    I can’t figure out how to do Thanksgiving prep and colonoscopy prep on the same day.

    I have one word for you: don’t.

    I’ve had three and every time I’ve been pretty well destroyed for the rest of the day. They use demerol and fentanyl to knock you out, or at least they did for me. You will feel seriously dopey the rest of the day….so get as much as possible done before Wednesday.

  88. 88
    Peale says:

    So, in two weeks I’m off to Hong Kong. And I’ve discovered that I could pay a visit to a fortune teller and pay to have someone cursed. I realize that I actually don’t have enough malice towards anyone to go through with a curse. I don’t believe in it, but I’m enough of a realist to know that if it actually worked, I’d be responsible. But I might be willing to play middleman, though.

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @randy khan: Stuffing and mashed potatoes are great. I even like the cranberry goo out of a can; OTOH, I just like cranberries. Turkey, though, is dry and rather tasteless.

  90. 90

    @Mike J: ohh, interesting!

    The reason I asked is because this post declared it faddish (fair!) and with that came a sense of judgment that I didn’t get since it’s a technique neither new nor bad.

    I personally love this time of year because, as somebody allergic to chicken, I finally have an affordable and widespread bird available to me in restaurants, at least for a little while.

  91. 91
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mary G: OMG! Are they still married? ;)

  92. 92
    Steeplejack says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Kudos. I couldn’t think of a non-offensive way to convey the idea.

  93. 93
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steve in the ATL: :: shudder::

    I don’t even like basketball.

  94. 94
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Raven: I aspire to get away with that someday.

    @dmsilev: I can’t imagine! Even with division of labor, that would be tough to pull off. Did they have to rent a hall for the feast?

  95. 95
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Peale: I’ll chip in for a curse on Trump. I don’t believe in curses either, but it couldn’t hurt!

  96. 96
    sacrablue says:

    @Ohio Mom: Thanks for the advice! I intend to have everything cooked or ready to go in the oven by noon on Wednesday.
    @danielx: I was told that they don’t use fentanyl anymore, but I still have to have someone transport me. Hopefully, I’ll be functional by Thursday morning. I thrive on chaos (not).

  97. 97
    danielx says:

    @opiejeanne:

    You could have led with the last paragraph. My only thanksgiving disaster to date was when the kitchen sink got stopped up during meal preparation. First time I’d ever seen three sisters’ (spousal unit and her sisters) heads all start spinning simultaneously. Plumbing with people stepping over you trying to cook and telling you to hurry up.

  98. 98
    Gretchen says:

    @Jeffro: really good slow cooker Brussels sprouts so you’re not messing with a side-dish at the last minute: https://damndelicious.net/2015/10/31/slow-cooker-balsamic-brussels-sprouts/

  99. 99
    Mary G says:

    @sacrablue: Reschedule it. I actually showed up for a different procedure in the afternoon of the last day before Christmas and the nurse was ticked off because everyone else had cancelled or no-showed and if I hadn’t turned up they would have got off early.

  100. 100
    Steeplejack says:

    In another cooking show that I saw (The Barefoot Contessa), Ina Garten made the point that turkey meat is very bland and should be thought of as a base on which to add flavor. She offered a good-looking, easy recipe for herb-roasted turkey breast. I thought it would be appropriate for smaller gatherings where a whole bird might be overkill.

  101. 101
    Bruuuuce says:

    @randy khan: We often do. See me @57

  102. 102
    Mary G says:

    @Betty Cracker: Thirty plus years. Everyone is surprised – I personally gave them six months, but you never know.

  103. 103
    Mike in NC says:

    Last week our next door neighbors did a fresh turkey in a deep fat fryer in their garage. Cost $4 a pound vice 40 cents per pound for a frozen bird. It was simply amazing. A bunch of us will go out for dinner on Thanksgiving and I’ll order either prime rib or lobster.

  104. 104
    GregB says:

    North Korea just called Trump an old lunatic.

    I assume we will be at Doncon 4 any moment.

  105. 105
    dmsilev says:

    @Betty Cracker: I think it was at one house, with lots and lots of folding tables. My colleague was assigned to bring 150 or so spring rolls (the family is of Vietnamese descent), and she was describing the assembly line that she, her husband, and their kids set up.

  106. 106
    opiejeanne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: My adult kids insist on the cranberry jell and that it retain as much of the marks from the can as possible, it’s their joke that it’s the traditional cranberry mold.
    I have a recipe for a killer cranberry sauce with booze in it but my kids don’t like it. Cretins.

    We had a Thanksgiving Dinner and had our older daughter invite everyone she knew that wasn’t going home to their parents or had no place to go. I think there were a
    dozen. It was the year we bought this place and spent all of September taking apart and putting back together, and moved in on the 1st of October. Then daughter moved in with us a couple of weeks later.
    I’d just bought a 36 inch wide range and one friend from France wanted to do a goose, so there was a 12 pound goose and a 12 pound turkey roasting happily away together, and the dinner was wonderful. First time I’ve had goose. That was in 2010. I still haven’t gotten the goose grease off of the floor of the oven and the one big failing of this brand is that there is no self-cleaning mode. You can’t really see it and it doesn’t smoke but I know it’s there because the standard white spatter-ware pattern on dark gray on the floor just looks black.

  107. 107
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    And anyway the food shouldn’t be the point. After my grandmother died in 2013, my brother volunteered to host this holiday for our family. The look on my little brother’s face when everything comes off is worth dry turkey.

  108. 108
    randy khan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The cranberry goo out of a can is an essential ingredient in proper post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. (Also, must be white meat turkey and you must salt the turkey.)

  109. 109
    Gretchen says:

    @geg6: what’s your brine recipe? I just do salt and sugar, but bourbon sounds interesting.

  110. 110
    jl says:

    @ArchTeryx: ” It *is* quite possible to add some heat to a Thanksgiving turkey without ruining it with the dust of artificial corn chips. ”

    You’re idea sounds better than coating the poor defenseless bird with powdered cheetos.

    I think you see this weird stuff every Thanksgiving (and Christmas and Easter, too) because very few people know how to cook that kind of feast festival food any more. They try to do it two or three times a year, so they go overboard with weird gimmicks and bizarre bright ideas. And you see people like Matt Yglesias continue with their odd campaign to discredit turkey as inedible (edit:as if I am dumb about it just because he has no clue how to cook it) Most people don’t roast big hunks of meat anymore. They have no clue what to with sweet potatoes, so they make them into an odd and unappetizing candy pudding saturated with every kind of sugar they can think of. The only things that they leave alone are the pumpkin and apple pie, which is why those are usually OK.

    Edit: they even do it with poor defenseless white potatoes, bake them loaded with all sorts of weird stuff. And green beans and whatnot. I was at a Thanksgiving where someone insisted on strippling the sliced turkey breast with super sweet cranberry sauce/jelly/paste/salad whatever that purples stuff is.

  111. 111

    @GregB: Doncon 4 doesn’t sound too bad, if it’s anything like the DEFCON number system 😏

  112. 112
    Gretchen says:

    @Cacti: totally agree on the home-brined corned beef. We’re doing a Heritage turkey this year. We had one last year and it was the best ever. Brined, then put herb butter under the skin and in slits in the meat. Awesome.

  113. 113
    opiejeanne says:

    Oh, and we are being threatened by a Turkey Day without turkey, just like the damned pilgrims probably had. Possibly involving oysters but my daughter says he’s dropped that idea (thank God).
    Right now the chef has announced that he is not inspired, because he doesn’t have a theme. I suggested the suppression of the Wampanoag people, who actually ate a lot better than the colonists did.
    I warned her there was no pie and she said what about corn, he’s talking corn on the cob roasted Mexican style, can’t remember the name. This was after I explained about flint corn and that what they ate was probably like cornmeal mush. Yum yum.
    The grocery store gave us a turkey and we have frozen that just in case there needs to be a second Thanksgiving.
    My husband is rolling his eyes. If we’re lucky there will be venison.
    If we’re not lucky, I have no idea what he might serve us. He’s a very talented cook but this may be a bridge too far for the traditionalists among us.

  114. 114
    Gretchen says:

    @dmsilev: I just learned from a farm-raised friend that they had goose for Thanksgiving because mothers where she lived considered goose fat a cure-all. They’d save the Thanksgiving goose fat and smeared it on their kids when they got sick to fix what ailed them.

  115. 115
    opiejeanne says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’ll bet the Hong Kong fortune tellers all have a sign in the window that reads “PUT A CURSE ON TRUMP! $5!”

  116. 116
    Mike J says:

    @opiejeanne:

    Possibly involving oysters but my daughter says he’s dropped that idea (thank God).

    I volunteered with Puget Soundkeeper to put out mussel traps, but not until December, and then the traps stay in for 60 days. Mussels have no livers and therefore accumulate all the pollution they suck in. A great way to test the levels in the sound.

    Nobody will be eating them, and it will be too late any way. But it’s interesting!

  117. 117
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: You may have reversed the numbers.

  118. 118

    @Omnes Omnibus: I assumed Greg was saying Doncon 4 was bad.

  119. 119
    bemused senior says:

    I discovered the availability of turkey leg quarters, and my family is happy that I now bake 4 of those. We all prefer dark meat, and at last there’s enough.At our house we make a Madhur Jaffrey green bean dish, which is a wonderful complement to the somewhat bland rest of the meal.

  120. 120
    trollhattan says:

    We saw “Lady Bird” tonight. I don’t gush over many films but this one is special. Layer on it being a writing and directing debut…wow. Exteriors are shot in Sacramento (including the theater where we watched it) if you want an eight-dollar tour along with a few local in-jokes.

    Literally nothing in it about the Johnsons, so no Raven trigger alerts required.

  121. 121
    opiejeanne says:

    @danielx: Yeah, had that one year. Couldn’t use the sink and we were hosting and couldn’t get a plumber to even pick up the phone. My sister who insisted on bringing a vegetable dish turned up with everything raw and not assembled.
    I went and sat in the back yard while she and her now-ex yelled at each other.
    I also had the electronic ignition malfunction the morning of Thanksgiving so we lit it with one of those long-handled spark gizmos because no one would come that year. It turned out fine but there were several minutes of floundering around trying to figure out what would happen when the oven was hot enough, if it would function correctly. It did. It was just the initial ignition that was the problem..

  122. 122
    Feather says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Living in a college town, we’d always have overseas friends and colleagues over for Thanksgiving dinner, despite the fact that the food typifies what the rest of the world hates about American food, bland, fatty, and way too much of it,

    @Gin & Tonic: Dateline or 20/20 does a feature with the Fire Chief somewhere who set his house on fire frying a turkey. His chagrin at having to call his own department seemed quite qeniune. Alton Brown did a show on how to safely fry a turkey. My suspicion is that it was so insanely complicated mostly to convince people no to do it.

  123. 123
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Gretchen: In my family it was referred to as “goose grease”. An ointment for everything that ails you.

  124. 124
    Emma says:

    @randy khan: We usually do ham as my father is violently allergic to turkey. However this year is…. wait for it, wait for it…. reservations for late lunch at a favorite restaurant since my sister, the chef, is sick and tired of cooking for three days just to hear her MIL bitch about the food in her inimitable passive-aggresive way.

  125. 125
    opiejeanne says:

    @Mike J: Mussels are bait in this household, but my youngest was fed mussels in France by the burghers of the tiny town next to Lyon when she was in HS, and she says the mussels were glorious.
    She and a dance partner were hired to teach a swing dance master class weekend. When she was 16, the partner was a bit older… 26? and English Champion for several years running until his partner ditched him. They paid for everything and the mayor gave her a commemorative plate with the coat of arms of the little town.

  126. 126
    KS in MA says:

    @sacrablue: There’s still time to reschedule!

  127. 127
    LurkerNoLonger says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Doncon 4 is what you call a picture of Trump with his three adult children. Zing!

  128. 128
    Aleta says:

    After quite a few years of thg with friends or at home, I’m going again to the family tgv. Since my aunt died it’s just us cousins now, and lots of offspring. (There’ll be at least 4-6 youngish ones and 10 little ones. We’re taking the dog, so today we got him washed up and fluffed, so he looks like a cartoon stuffed animal, cause the little kids love him like that.) The last few days I’m worrying if I will be up for it, enough energy to be upbeat and help out that is. Lately I’m overwhelmed by recent personal things. (On top of the extreme emotions and gutting from the last month, on top of the horror of the year, and depresseion from the news about the world and Iraq.) This week a fire burned down the home of the grandmother of 5 of the little ones, who’s the mother of my cousin in law. She’s severely burned in a hospital hours away, and it’s not known yet if she’ll survive. The story of her family and my c. in law has been very hard for so long. She was taken from home and tribe as a child into abusive foster care bc of being Native. Her husband– my CiL’s father–was murdered years ago, never prosecuted despite knowing who, and very likely a racist attack. My c in law has worked hard for years to advance despite racial bullying at his workplace, to get on solid ground with his kids and wife. They recently bought a house, using all their savings. Another cousin and I are covering his lost wages and their bills bc half their family is staying hours away to be near the hospital. I want to lessen the cruelty and my cil’s grief but can’t. He doesn’t talk about hardship , so I’m not even sure what words to use to offer sympathy.
    My mind is full of my inadequacy in almost all ways right now.

  129. 129
    jl says:

    @Emma: ” hear her MIL bitch about the food in her inimitable passive-aggresive way.:

    That has caused some friction in my family. Some volunteers bust their asses to cook up the dinner, and there is a small group of people, all of them horrid cooks themselves, who will complain about everything because this or that wasn’t just exactly right or what they expected. I tried to get the others to stop blabbing when this little group of horrid cooks but dedicated critics started gossiping behind the cooks’ back. I said, if they want to do none of the work and all of the criticicm, don’t spread it around back to the people who did the work. If these critics don’t have the guts to say it to their faces, don’t help them out. But, that never works. the general griping and hurt feelings is made known to everyone.

    So, what the hell. Now I advocate for just going to a restaurant and buying the damn meal.

  130. 130
    Kristine says:

    @lamh36: I agree. I liked Ezra Miller, too. Also liked Ray Fisher/Cyborg, and wish Jason Momoa had more to do. And of course, Gal Gadot. I also agree that male gaze played more of a role in this film–it was really obvious compared to WW.

  131. 131
    Betty Cracker says:

    @opiejeanne: My husband makes a fabulous cranberry sauce with cranberries, sugar, water and orange zest. I think that’s all. I always thought I hated cranberry sauce because I was previously unaware that it could be made without a can opener.

  132. 132
    opiejeanne says:

    @Emma: My MIL is dead and after 13 years I just about can’t hear her doing that any more, and I didn’t listen much because I saw the way she gobbled it all down. My skin wasn’t very thick when I was younger but I didn’t invite them for dinner unless I
    A. knew what I was doing/was familiar with the recipe/dish and knew how it would turn out. and
    B. Had a handle on when they would actually arrive. They were usually 30 minutes late so I started inviting them half an hour before I wanted them. They gradually figured this out and kept us waiting for dinner for 2 hours because his brother called from Alaska and they didn’t have to pay for the call. The following year we didn’t wait on them and they got the message, especially since almost everyone invited was their relatives,and who glared at them when they were late even though we had started the food on time.

  133. 133
    Gretchen says:

    @Emma: so will MIL bitch about the restaurant? Chronic bitchers hate being deprived of something to bitch about.

  134. 134
    workworkwork says:

    Since it’s just the two of us, I’m doing slow-cooked balsamic pork tenderloin, maple-roasted butternut squash with Brussel sprouts and cranberries plus mashed cauliflower*.

    * I prefer mashed potatoes but I’m trying to watch my blood sugar. Plus I’ve been practicing my cauliflower recipe so it’s actually edible.

  135. 135
    trollhattan says:

    @Aleta:
    Wow, that’s a lot to sift through. Go and be supportive? I got nothin’.

    We’re headed to in-laws in wine country and there are likely to be some acquaintances there who lost homes in the Napa-Santa Rosa fires. Smile and offer condolences? Have no idea how any of that will go over but figure that any semblance of normalcy will be appreciated, even of just for a day.

  136. 136
    opiejeanne says:

    @Betty Cracker: Homemade is great. That sounds like what I do, except with some port wine thrown in.

  137. 137
    Gemina13 says:

    @Mary G: Oh, God, that’s hilarious and beautiful.

    For about 10 years (until my mother died in 2009), I handled Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Thanksgiving was always turkey; Christmas, either prime rib roast or ham. For the turkey, I’d do a rub of Lawry’s Perfect Poultry seasoning (hey, it had paprika and orange peel in it) with butter and cognac all over the bird, with more butter under the skin and slivers of garlic shoved into the breast. The skin came out almost as brittle as glass, and the meat was literally fall-off-the-bone tender. I didn’t have to carve; I just gave a tug with the meat fork and glared, and it came apart.

    Due to circumstances beyond my control, I haven’t cooked holiday dinners since 2010. Now, I’m looking forward to 2018, because I’ll finally have my own place and my SO is dying to have a holiday home-cooked meal that isn’t at his parents’. (Don’t get me wrong; they’re lovely people and his mother’s a good cook, but he wants leftovers, and he loves my cooking.) And for Thanksgiving, I may still do a small turkey – but I’m either doing a turducken or venison along with it. For future T-days, I may ditch the turkey altogether and go with game birds, capons, or elk.

    A good friend has promised to share her recipe for turkey, which includes bourbon, bacon, and brown sugar. I can’t wait. Really, I can’t.

  138. 138
    trollhattan says:

    @Gretchen:
    It usually starts with being seated at the “wrong table” and goes downhill from there.

  139. 139
    Mary G says:

    @Aleta: That’s terrible. To me, chipping with money as you are doing is worth a thousand words and you’re fine not saying much if you don’t want to. I will pray for her and your family. The dog will be thrilled to play with all those kids.

  140. 140
    opiejeanne says:

    @trollhattan: OH God, both yours and Aleta’s stories are so hard. I don’t know what to say because it’s not the standard type of grief. I guess just say, “I heard and I’m sorry.” and then listen if they want to talk at all, about the person, the loss, the house.

  141. 141
    Gretchen says:

    @Aleta: I’m sorry your family is in such a rough place. I think your making the effort to be there will help, and the smiles from you cartoon stuffed animal dog will help everyone. I hope it goes well.

  142. 142
    opiejeanne says:

    @trollhattan: OH gads.

    My in-laws took us out for ice cream. They invited us. Then my MIL looks over at me and tells me I’m getting a little fat.
    She did the same BS with my husband’s brother’s bride, sneaked into the room where she was getting dressed and made a remark about them taking her out to eat so much that she was surprised the woman could fit into her gown. I walked in just as this was delivered and Natalie just gaped at her and asked, “Are you really telling me I’m fat on my wedding day?”
    I shooed MIL out, told her she wasn’t supposed to be in the room at all. I’ve been married to that man for nearly 48 years now and he’s swell but I put up with a lot of shit from his parents over those years.

  143. 143
    opiejeanne says:

    @Aleta: You’re a good egg, helping the family like that. You don’t have to say much, just be there.

  144. 144
    Emma says:

    @Gretchen: Probably. But neither the chef (sis) or the sous-chef (me) will care because we will not be sweaty and tired and we will be pleasantly buzzed on Negronis.

  145. 145
    Betty Cracker says:

    @opiejeanne: Sounds like she was an absolute gorgon!

  146. 146
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @danielx: This may be the year you check out your local grocery, deli, whatever, pre-made Thanksgiving dinners. Not the most flavorful unless you work at it, but at least it”s already cooked and easy to store.

  147. 147
    opiejeanne says:

    @Betty Cracker: oh, she giggled and thought she was cute. She was 4’10” and loved that she was called Snooky by everyone in her family. She died before she heard about Palin.
    Her life as a child was pretty crappy and when I figured out just how bad it was, and just as she stopped being that way she was just about gone. I look back on it as time that was wasted.

  148. 148
    Aleta says:

    Thanks very much you all for the helpful words. It’s strange but I hadn’t thought about the things that you said (about just being there and not so much needing to offer words) and it helped a lot to hear that. Everything you said was useful and helped me focus.

  149. 149
    RobNYNY says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Turkey: The tofu of meat.

  150. 150
    J R in WV says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    So you really steamed the cake in the slow cooker? How hot was the water when you put the cake in, already at a good simmer?

    Now long did you let it simmer/steam? I assume it never got above a simmer as it was a crock-pot style, is that right?

    I usually do a pineapple upside down cake in a 14 inch skillet, which takes a lot of heat to caramelize the pineapple, cherries and brown-suger. It serves a lot of people, which is a good thing, there’s usually a dozen or so at our neighborhood dinner, next door at MA’s house.

    I’ll also do some vege dish too.

  151. 151
    thalarctosMaritimus says:

    @opiejeanne:

    “Right now the chef has announced that he is not inspired, because he doesn’t have a theme. I suggested the suppression of the Wampanoag people, who actually ate a lot better than the colonists did.”

    Are you a Saki (H.H. Munro) fan, by any chance?

    That exchange is so very Clovis.

  152. 152
    J R in WV says:

    @Peale:

    It would be irresponsible not to. And you know who I’m talking about, too!!

    The only hitch might be if he went down by taking all of us with him? In which case don’t do it. But how could we tell???

  153. 153
    HinTN says:

    @geg6: Late to the thread; care to share?

  154. 154
    J R in WV says:

    @opiejeanne:

    Your mother-in-law needs to be informed that she is a horrible, despicable person, immoral, and full of hate which she ladles out upon other harmless people regardless of polite morns. Also, that she needs to shut up about her problems with other people, unless she wants to spend the end of her life alone in a home with no visitors, ever.

    The words worthless and bitch should be in there also. I hate people like that. Who tells a bride she’s fat on her wedding day? Only a monster. You nay mail this to here if you like. I don’t know her at all, but I know her type, and it’s a bad look for everyone.

  155. 155
    Davebo says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Did a goose last TG but it didn’t turn out as I’d hoped (and they are expensive!).

    This year I’m going with leg of lamb.

  156. 156
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I am going to make mince meat tarts and I’ll think of you, fellow mince meat fan : )

  157. 157
    MoxieM says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Are you saying there are Thanksgiving tables without mincemeat pie? I’m shocked!

    Do I have any takers for Marlborough pie? Sadly gone from the repertoire, it has chopped apple in a lemon custard, used to be traditional, and is super yummy.

  158. 158
    SFAW says:

    @J R in WV:

    Your mother-in-law needs to be informed

    “Needed.” I think opiejeanne said that she died ~13 years ago

  159. 159
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @JR: I generally have done a wet brine but Serious Eats has convinced me that a dry salt and baking powder brine is superior so I’m going to try that this year. For the past few years, weather permitting, I have spatchcocked my turkey (actually even when the weather sucks I spatchcock it as that has nothing to do with the weather) and grill it. My technique is to put a disposable aluminum drip pan filled with warm water on the charcoal level, then form a U of charcoal around the drip pan, and put the turkey with the dark meat closest to that end. I throw on some soaked wood chips (usually apple wood) to generate smoke. Then periodically I have to add new charcoal and each time I take the lid off to do that I add another handful of wood chips to add more smoke. Oh – I put either a BBQ spice rub with paprika, cumin, chili pepper, dried herbs, and garlic and onion powder or just a butter herb rub before putting it on the grill.

    Spatchcocking allows me to get a 12-14 lb. turkey cooked in the vicinity of 2 – 2.5 hours. It works just as well for oven roasting as it does for grilling so even if it’s pouring down rain I still spatchcock but roast in the oven rather than grill. I generally have to rotate the bird 180 degrees toward the end to expose the breast to more direct heat and get it done. With spatchcocking the bird cooks more evenly so the breast meat doesn’t get dried out, and it cooks faster, and I’ve never been able to elegantly carve a whole bird at the table – it’s a really messy job unless you are very skilled and practiced at it – so I’d rather serve the carved meat on a platter anyway. If you want the whole bird centerpiece you could conceivably re-form the cooked turkey into a semblance of a whole bird but it’s not worth the trouble IMO.

  160. 160
    Shana says:

    @Raven: Probably a dead thread, but I routinely save my rotisserie chicken carcasses in the freezer and when I have two make them into chicken stock in the crock pot. Two carcasses, one quartered onion, 16 cups of water, cook on low for 12 hours. Clarify and freeze in 2 cup portions. You’ll never be satisfied with canned or boxed stock again. Trust me.

  161. 161
    pluky says:

    @danielx: Put the salt in a large sauce pan with enough water to cover plus an inch or two. Heat and stir occasionally. When dissolved, add to the brining container.

  162. 162
    TenguPhule says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Old style mincemeat with actual minced meat or new style which is just fruit and syrup?

  163. 163
    TenguPhule says:

    @Suzanne:

    And I hate all the “clever” leftovers, like turkey soup

    Turkey soup stock is delicious, you heathen.

  164. 164
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @TenguPhule: I agree with you. Turkey soup is great and one of the primary benefits of roasting a turkey. Turkey is pretty tasty IMO – maybe it’s genetic in my case because my paternal Grandmother absolutely loved turkey, but I don’t understand why it gets a bad rap. They say if most classically trained chefs could pick their last meal it would be roast chicken. Well, roast turkey can be that good. It’s got a slightly different flavor but that can be good or bad depending on your personal taste.

    I grilled a turkey with a BBQ spice rub this summer for a big dinner party (as described upthread above) and turned it into the equivalent of pulled chicken by carving it into sandwich sized pieces and serving with BBQ sauce. Once dinner was over people stood around the carcass picking meat off it for the rest of the evening. In my book that’s a sign that something is pretty frickin’ delicious.

  165. 165
    opiejeanne says:

    @thalarctosMaritimus: I haven’t thought of Saki since HS. I liked what I read of him then but it was very little because there were so many other larger works (Moby Dick, The Bridge at San Luis Rey) that were assigned and he wasn’t assigned reading, we just had to know about him.

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