Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turkey Day Recap

Alpha Cook has had a touch of writer’s block lately. Not the kind where you can’t actually get anything on the page—more along the lines of spending ages on something and then saying “everything I write sounds totally stupid” and throwing it out. But along came Thanksgiving, the holiday that excuses us from any overeating guilt, that gives us a license to make embarrassingly large amounts of food, then stuff ourselves nearly to a comatose state. Needless to say, it is my favorite holiday next to commercial Christmas.

And like any holiday, there are certain traditions that must be followed. There must be drinking and it must start early. There must be turkey and it must be oversized. There must be pie and stuffing, and starch of all kinds. These are the sort of general rules that everyone should really stick to, and here are of few of my own personal Turkey Day must-haves.

1. Rolls. Yes, this is really necessary. No you can’t have too many carbs on this special day. This year I even managed to compromise with Beta Wife on what kind of bread we were going to have. When I say rolls, I mean “brown and serve” rolls—the kind on the paper tray in the bread aisle that just get popped in the oven for 10 minutes. This year Beta Wife found a recipe for Parker House rolls with cranberry butter, which are definitely not the store-bought magic that is “brown and serve.” Suspiciously, I gave in. The result: my new favorite thing ever. I could eat these until I explode—an experiment I don’t recommend. Check out the recipe from The NY Times.

Beta Wife says, and I paraphrase: Unless you want to die an early death, you don’t need all that cranberry butter. (Like maybe half of the amount they call for.) Also, unless you happen to have a Kitchen Aid mixer handy, prepare to work out those forearms for about half an hour. I guess the Times just assumes all their readers have dough hooks hanging around the house.
2. Turkey. I know some people cook a ham, which is ok I guess, but then it wouldn’t be Turkey Day now would it. If the pilgrims wanted us to eat ham they would have named the holiday to reflect those wishes. Come on people. This year, in keeping with our more friendly-to-the-animals consumerism, we ordered a turkey online from Whole Foods, who had it all ready for us the next day. They gave me several turkey options, and after checking them out online, I chose one from Diestel Farms. Their turkeys are humanely raised on a local CA farm and are never frozen. The eleven pound turkey was obscenely large for just three meat eaters, which was exactly why it was so perfect. It came out of the oven with a perfectly browned skin, and dwarfed our serving tray. My only complaint was that it seemed a bit fattier than some of the other turkeys I’ve had in the past.

3. Yams. And not just any old yams—Bruce’s canned yams. And it can’t be any other brand unless due to regional complications you are forced to substitute. Some people seem to think that it’s ok to use another brand just because they are canned, as though it doesn’t matter. Well it does. See my recipe below. And if you're having trouble finding them at the grocery store, I recommend checking Longs Drugs.

Bruce’s Canned Yams
1 can Bruce’s yams
obscene amount of marshmallows

1. Grease a medium sized baking dish with butter. Generously.
2. Open can, add to dish, sauce and all.
3. Top with marshmallows until yams are no longer visible.
4. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes, or until yams are warm and mallows are toasted.

4. Pie. Any kind of pie is acceptable, because really, how can you say no to pie. However my preference is something seasonal, pumpkin being the obvious favorite. I am also open to the idea of pecan or chocolate chess pie. Whipped topping encouraged.

Pepto optional.


  1. OK...embarrassing confession follows: the picture of the Parker House Roll with cranberry butter contributed to the most fulfilling sexual experience I've had in years...

  2. P.S. We miss you both profoundly....

  3. Wow fantastic ideas for my next lunch with my friends.

    Bye from Italy by
    Cakeitaly.com - A taste of Italian sweets