Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving & Turkey what are we thankful for?

If there is one holiday at the top of my list it would have to be Thanksgiving. You might ask why. It is really a holiday that is all about getting together with family over some really great food. It's not as stressful or hectic as Christmas and allows you time to have a good meal and get together with family and friends to relax and  enjoy the holiday season.  
Mom's turkey basting secret "cheesecloth"

In our family we were raised by good cooks. My mother and her twin sister, who were affectionately known as the "gold-dust twins," could cook like nobody's business.  My mother made the best American potato salad and her sister made the best German potato salad. Leaving out one or two secret ingredients from their famous recipes before passing them along was not uncommon.
  Cheesecloth holds the basting liquid on the bird. Whatever ends up in the pan enhances the gravy.
This year I thought about all of the things that I am thankful for. First and foremost is my family and friends. My brother and sister who live in the south with their families couldn't be with us this year. Living in a condo also places some limitations on the size of group you can have over at one time. In our case we artfully managed 17 people.  
Second basting of butter and turkey stock
To make things easier for everybody we shared the responsibility of the meal with everyone. We made the turkey, stuffing/dressing, gravy and mashed potatoes. My mother-in-law made a corn bread casserole. My daughter made sweet potatoes, my son made sour cream cucumbers, my sister and brother-in-law and niece brought a cauliflower casserole, a green bean casserole and Fannie May Mint Meltaway's. My other sister and our nephew brought black olives, Pumpkin, Apple, French Silk pies, and cranberries. My youngest son, girlfriend and children brought a long folding table, chairs, dinner rolls, and hors d'euvres. Of course it was BYOB which lowers the up front cost for everyone. 
PS. My daughter, the chef, finished working at 4:00 pm. so we gave her the day off.
Fourth basting of butter and turkey stock
Time to remove the cheesecloth, cover and let rest 45 min - 1 hour
As you see from the above picture, the cheesecloth does not prevent the turkey from developing a deep golden skin. It really is the best way to keep most of the basting liquid on top of the turkey. 
Cheesecloth off

Carving a picture perfect turkey with an electric knife or very sharp carving knife.
Giblet broth, turkey stock and butter creates your basting liquid
By the time we sat down to dinner it was time to relax and talk about good times, turkey, dressing/stuffing, memories and how preparing a meal of this magnitude is getting more difficult as we get older. We also discussed what might or might not have been served at the very first Thanksgiving. The fact is that turkey was probably not on the menu. 
In the turkey stuffing, out of the turkey dressing
Then we moved on to British Invasion Rock Bands of the 60's. We all left a little wiser and really had a good time. Leave a comment and tell us who your favorite British Invasion band of the 60's was.
A little of each in the turkey cavity
The worst part of this or any holiday meal is the mountain of dirty dishes. Is it time to pass this tradition of holiday meals on to the children? I think so! Teaching the children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren family recipes, and recruiting them to help cook is how traditions are passed down in a family. 
Have a Happy Holiday Season. 
Dinner is served. Who stole my skin?
If you live in the Chicago area try and get to the Christkindlmarket. It is German style Christmas market held annually at Daley Plaza in Chicago, Illinois. If you crave German food you must go. For further information go to the Christkindlmarket website at
Left-overs Open Faced Turkey Sandwich
© TMelle 2013

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