Musings · Thanksgiving · Turkey

Thankfulness

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I am thankful for the new experience of brining our turkey.  We don’t usually have problems with overly dry breast meat anyway, but we thought it would be cool to brine anyway.  Here is the turkey, pellicle developed, ready to go. 

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(Pellicle is the dry sort of film that develops on the outer surface of the turkey (or whatever other thing you’re going to cook) as it dries, and it helps the skin brown and absorb smoke (if you’re smoking it) and so on.  It is desirable.

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I am thankful to the farmer who raised this 21-lb turkey, and to my parents who donated it to the cause.

I am slightly horrified and amused that Scratchy weighs nearly as much as this turkey does.

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I am thankful that we don’t eat cats.

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I am thankful that I chopped all the onions and celery a couple of days ago, along with the bread for the stuffing.  It made this morning a lot more relaxing.

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I am thankful that my mom allowed me to bring The Stuffing Bowl (on left) to my house to make the stuffing in, because stuffing not made in it just won’t taste right.  I am also thankful that I bought extra bread for stuffing and needed that second bowl. 

Some of us love stuffing more than the turkey.  In fact, sometimes I think the only purpose of the turkey is as a cooking vessel for the stuffing.  Yes, we stuff the turkey.  I don’t care what anyone says.  It tastes better that way.

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I am thankful that there was enough room in the neck cavity to fit all the sausage stuffing.  It’s not that I care all that much about sausage stuffing (I like mine pure bread/celery/onion/seasonings/stock), but I just love it when things work out like that.

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I am thankful for my own sense of whimsy AND the fact that I have large needles and was able to stitch the neck closed using kitchen twine and a blanket stitch.

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It’s how I entertain myself.

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And okay, it’s not a perfect blanket stitch, but turkey skin isn’t as cooperative as fabric.

But still.  It was fun.

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I am thankful for stuffing.

I am thankful for the memories of stuffing the turkey from so many past years.  So many years of the Thanksgiving morning tradition of making the stuffing with my mother and stuffing the bird as a team.  Even though I did it solo this year, I called her up while the onions and celery softened, just because I needed to have her here even just by phone.  She’ll be up later to EAT, of course.

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I am thankful I can thread a needle and sew a turkey.

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Even if it looks a little freakish. 

Looks don’t matter, in the end.

Stuffing matters.

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Stuffing and a good sense of the ridiculous.

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And a larger pan.

I decided I didn’t want to roast the turkey in the huge dutch oven we have.  It fits great, but I wanted more of the skin exposed to direct (not steamy) heat so it would be all crispy and fabulous.

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I am thankful that I have a rimmed cookie sheet and a really large cooling rack to use. And I’m just now noticing how much the rack is bending under the weight of Porky the Unfortunate Turkey. 

I am thankful that I have more than one rack, just in case I ruin this one.

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I am thankful for Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  That’s it.  That’s all I do for the skin, and it comes out perfect and yummy and crispy every time.

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I am thankful that the turkey fit in the oven with room for one rack above it.

I am thankful to Bill for opening the oven door while I carried the turkey.

I am thankful that we have plenty.

Plenty of food to eat, plenty of wood for the fireplace, plenty of chairs and couches and cozy spots to sit.

Plenty of family coming over this afternoon to share the food and conversation and laughter.

I am thankful that we are all here.

I am thankful that our nephew, Joe, arrived home from overseas yesterday and will be here with his fiancé.

I am thankful for Glad Press ‘n’ Seal because in a pinch it makes a really good, leak-proof ice pack.  (Julia is probably NOT thankful at the moment that she attempted that back flip or whatever it was in the basement and hit her foot on the corner of the little table by the couch.  But she has stopped wailing in agony, and I am certainly thankful for THAT.)

I am thankful for you, my fabulous and faithful readers, for sticking with me through my sometimes sporadic posting schedule, or my periodic foodless posts.  I am thankful that you came here in the first place, and that you continue to come back, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.  I am so very thankful for you all.

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But really?  I’m mostly thankful for stuffing.  Especially EXTRA stuffing.

I hope those of you celebrating this day have a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of love and peace and joy and warmth and laughter.  And good food, of course.

Enjoy.         

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