Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I read and I cook: Thanksgiving

Since I suffer from turkey terror, the traditional meal is not one I attempt. I am in awe of those who can prepare it and get everything to the table piping hot and ready to eat. My daughter does a wonderful job; my son-in-law sometimes barbeques it, turning it into a moist and delectable entrée. My friend Pattie swears by the brining method. She gave me the recipe and warned to cut down on the salt. I followed the recipe to the letter over Christmas vacation one year-she was right, too salty. That was my last attempt. In another life, we had Cornish hens with wild rice instead along with green beans, fruit salad, and carrot cake or fruit crisp with ice cream (I don’t do pie crust either). I’m happy to make a side dish so long as I don’t have to do the main attraction. People invite me just for Julia Child’s sautéed zucchini with onions and Swiss cheese.

However, things may change for next year. There’s a new book out-Thanksgiving: how to cook it well by Sam Sifton, a former restaurant critic for the New York Times. The recipes are clear and meant to encourage cooks who find Thanksgiving intimidating. He challenges certain things-in his opinion, there should be no salad, no appetizers, no garlic in the mashed potatoes. When you’re sitting around stuffed after the meal, you may find he’s on the right track. I’m on the wait list for the book now, but I’ll have time after Thanksgiving and before next year to study it thoroughly and maybe have a dry run at Easter.

But for this year, I’m thankful I can put it off for another year and enjoy someone else’s cooking at a hotel in the Gold Country. Enjoy your meal.

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