Thanksgiving: A Day of Sustenance and Blessings
For children, time moves very slowly, but adults know differently. The approaching holidays are a prime example. No sooner does school start in September, than we immediately start seeing Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Christmas and Hanukkah items for sale. Once Halloween passes, we feel as though we are in a whirling blender until January 1 plunks itself down on the finishing line; testy, plump and exhausted.
All of the year-end holidays have their advantages; Halloween offers sheer fun and allows all ages to explore a dark side that is socially inappropriate any other time of the year. The religious holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza are just that: religious days of remembrance that are specific in nature, culture and custom.
Thanksgiving, however is different. Giving thanks is a universal response to the unpredictable life cycle of well-being. It is also a thoroughly American holiday, and let’s face it: we who live in this country are extraordinarily fortunate. While of course we have problems other countries don’t have; for the most part, we are privileged to live in a free land with bountiful wealth and blessings.
The best thing about the Thanksgiving celebration is that it is all about delicious food: planning, preparing, dining, enjoying, communing with family and friends. Most importantly, there are no quarrels about what the main course should be. It is a wonderful day with no religious sensitivities and one that everyone enjoys. It is also the last day of relative relaxation before the unholy holiday madness begins, kicking off with Black Friday, that truly frightening, dark and overwhelming day of frenzied purchasing in those enclosed, overheated fortresses known as shopping malls.
But back to more pleasant thoughts…a day of no work for many; the intoxicating kitchen aromas that begin early in the day; the television parades and special programs; and the guest of honor: Big Bird: that overbred, overfed, large, white raw fowl just waiting for its grand entrance and close-up shot.
Turkey preparation has undergone various permutations through the years. Generations of Americans, enchanted by the Saturday Evening Post publication of Norman Rockwell’s painting of an enormous golden-roasted bird, did just that: oven roasted their Thanksgiving turkeys, often producing a lovely, but dried out presentation. Well-known professional chefs, this generation’s newest celebrities, who are known for their short attention span and tendency to become bored easily, began to experiment with other methods. Those wily pioneers soon had us poaching, smoking, deep-frying, and most recently, brining turkeys.
Poaching produces a tender, juicy, succulent turkey, but without the lovely browning effect that we psychologically need. Poached Whole Turkey Recipe.
Smoking does indeed deliver a tasty bird, but often over salted, and sometimes a bit dry. Perfect Smoked Turkey Recipe.
Deep-frying, according to practiced enthusiasts, produces a delicious turkey in a fraction of the time, but… every Thanksgiving evening there are also reports on the evening news about fires that erupted from this procedure because someone didn’t carefully read the instructions. Deep Fried Turkey Recipe. Great detailed walk through!
Brining, the latest and most effective method to ensure a moist, succulent bird, has been the rage for some years now. The internet provides a plethora of brining recipes to try and the process really does work well. Brining typically combines loads of kosher salt with orange peels, garlic, herbs, brown sugar and broth in a 16-hour marinating process. On Thanksgiving morning, the bird is thoroughly rinsed of the salty brine and then cooked in the traditional manner of your family’s choice, whatever that may be. Brined Turkey Recipe.
So, regardless of the prep method your Thanksgiving turkey enjoys, all of us at 700 South Gourmet Deli & Café thank you for your continued business and loyalty. With our blessings, please enjoy this fine day of fantastic food, family, and friends; brace up for the hectic holidays barreling at full speed toward you, and be eternally grateful for all we enjoy in this great country of ours.