Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mental Preparations for Thanksgiving 2013

I'm heading back up to New Hampshire in November for Thanksgiving to be with some dear friends who really love food. I am getting excited about cooking the bird, and part of me is slowly, subconsciously working up to the event, rehearsing it and turning it over in my head ... because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and cooking a whole animal for people I love is unmitigated pleasure for me.

The turkey will be a Bourbon Red from the farm of a brother of one of these beautiful people. His farm's motto is EAT FREE OR DIE! Only a hardcore mutherfucker will say that.  

Wikipedia says Bourbon Reds look like this in life pose:

I was told they are fairly athletic compared to standard "meat birds", roosting in trees, for example. On the trip that included the Milford Fish Market orgy of food love, I roasted one of these birds. I learned that it wasn't a super-gigantic like a Butterball.com; the ossified tendons in the drumsticks are more pronounced; and there's more variety of texture, moisture, and fat in the flesh. Bringing the whole bird out of the oven, you could sense the animal's activity and lean quickness. The flavor reminded me of the difference between "local chicken" in Maya villages in Belize and the commercial death chickens back at home. More subtlety and variation in the meat. So I'm pondering about changing the heat or cooking time to account for this. But these are wonderful problems for me to think about. It's like winding up a long, slow punch of bliss for the glass jaws of my best friends.


  1. Nothing like a good cookery challenge.

    1. Absolutely! I know I don't have this thing in the bag, but I know I won't totally fail. But it's in that grey area where I could make it so much better or so much worse that I'm working on this in my head. Always, how do you keep the breast meat moist? Moreover, how do you carve a leaner turkey for table service as opposed to a Butterball.com? Here we know that we've already lost 1-2 generations of real knowledge about preparing these animals for food.