Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Tradition is a wonderful thing and there are many food and holiday traditions that I have enjoyed over the years. All of these came after I set up my own household because my mother's idea of Thanksgiving dinner rotated between a buffet at a large hotel and buying the meal lock, stock and barrel from a friend who would put two turkeys in the oven. A cook my mother was not.

Our first married Thanksgivings involved my in-laws and there were wonderful meals. Alas, as many times as I stood next to my mother-in-law and her mother and watched as they prepared the cornbread dressing, I never got the touch. Hence, no dressing at my table. Ever.

I'm not much better with gravy, that being one of the few food items my mother was accomplished at. Again, I could watch and could never manage to do. If there is one taste from my childhood I'd like again, it would be my mother's ham gravy. I could think of it as soup.

So, eventually given my own table, I've set eclectic meals. We've had goose, duck, pork tenderloin, spiral-sliced ham, and (purchased) fried turkey. Various vegetables would have accompanied them and always pecan pie. I conquered homemade rolls a long time ago.

Then I found brining. A brined turkey is a thing of beauty. I've been about those for 10 years or so. This year, we got an electric smoker. Guess what we're having for Thanksgiving?

At their insistence--and because they're a skeptical lot (see the fourth paragraph for why I'm not totally trusted)--I practiced on a turkey last week. Very good. Very, very good.

Now tomorrow's bird needs to come up to snuff or it's back to the spiral-sliced ham for us next year!


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