Drunken Turkey (brining your bird)
My turkey is sitting in brine. Not just any brine: 375ml of whiskey and a cup of sugar have been added to the regular salt-and-water bath. It is a big bird---I wonder if any fridge shelves have ever broken while brining a bird?
It is the day before Thanksgiving and I haven't done anything, save pick up the house and buy the groceries. I feel like I should be in a panic, flying all over my house, sweat on my brow, bags under my eyes. But I am not stressed, not panicked and not liquored up (unlike the turkey).
This year is about tradition, and making the yummy side dishes that I grew up with. I even bought a can of cream of mushroom soup (low sodium for good measure), to go into that 'green bean casserole.' I might try to recreate it with organic beans and homemade soup next year---or maybe not. I am looking forward to the pile of cheeses and roasted chestnuts that will show up pre-meal, to whet our appetites. Served with red wine and sidecars (brandy, triple sec & fresh lemon juice served in a martini glass), our taste buds are sure to be 'whet' (besides, the drunken turkey had a full day head start).
I will make two stuffings, partly because I am afraid one might not be 'to-die-for' so I need a backup. Also because stuffing, in general, intrigues me, so it is my chance to play with two recipes instead of one. One has cornbread, chestnuts and sausage, the other is cranberry pecan bread toasted together with pancetta and sage. If they turn out fabulously, you will be the first to know.
One extra special detail is my use of heirloom silverware, or should I say gold-ware? My grandfather gave the silverware to my grandmother years and years ago. It has since come into my possession to have and to care for. They are dear, sweet people and will be remembered this Thanksgiving. They have graced many Thanksgivings in my life and are the cause of many good, longstanding memories.
At their table I shared a piano bench with a cousin, just so we could fit at the table. We would hoard piles of orange rolls, and stick to the green bean casserole and turkey while the adults ate that scary onion dish. We would play for hours, eat gobs of pie, visit, laugh and play some more.
Little did I know as a child that I was creating timeless, precious memories. Little did I know that time passes too quickly, things happen, people grow old beyond their memories and families move away. I am thankful for those memories, and realize that my own children are piecing together their Thanksgiving experiences one year at a time. I say keep the green beans, childrens' laughter and the basted turkeys coming!
A special salute to drunk and/or bathing turkeys, dressed tables, and Thanksgiving memories old and new.