Friday, November 20, 2009

The Last Holiday Standing

What's the toughest part of Thanksgiving dinner for a cook? Is it Gravy? Getting the breastmeat done without being dry? Or is it remembering to make three times more food than a Company of Marines can consume?
Most calls I get are about Gravy: real, homemade, memory creating, eye-closing grandma goodness.
"How do I make that, BQ?"
Well, before I dispense this treasured bit of knowledge, there's a story to read:

In a matter of days, we will have a house full of people; eating, talking and in Joe Quinn's case laughing so hard, he scares the baby. Lisa and I will work the kitchen and dining room with all the aplomb of a seasoned WWF tag-team duo. Complete sentences will be pared down to clipped phrases and questions will be answered with nods, 'Got its' and 'Yep's. It's like a 'Dream Team' or pairs figure skating couple. OK, maybe nix the last analogy, but, you get the whole hand-in-glove idea...

Did I mention that I love Thanksgiving?
It is the remaining Holiday that hasn't been co-opted, denegrated, secularized or otherwise misappropriated. Sure, it's taken some hits from the 'Blame America First' crowd, but, she remains firmly embedded and bundled in giving thanks to God.
God: G-O-D. It's OK to say it--I believe in God and I am thankful for His many blessings.
No apologies necessary.
Thanks are necessary.
Thanks to the Almighty and Thursday's the day.

Perhaps, it is it's lack of commercial profitability that has been Thanksgiving's saving Grace. I mean, how can you spin Pilgrims, Indians, corn and turkey into a mall blitz or it's own section in the music store? That's right, ya can't.
Can we make miniature turkeys out of chocolate and wrap them in decorative foil?
How about a line of seasonal clothing that incorporates large buckles on shoes, stovepipe hats and feather bonnets?
Nope, that won't bring home the retail bacon.
What is it about Thanksgiving that is so endearing and so enduring?

Christmas has been equated with binge shopping and emotional crashes while Easter reminds us that nursery room pastels, green plastic grass and chocolate bunnies are to be celebrated annually. Didn't God know this would happen with the birth and resurrection of His Son?

I think Thanksgiving has endured due to it's simplicity. It has remained true to it's purpose of giving thanks to God without the embellishments of gratuitous spending on meaningless things.
We gather together, we serve one another, we indulge in aromas and taste sensations, we think of others before ourselves and we are grateful for those most treasured of blessings--each other.

I leave with the words of our first President:
"...Whereas both houses of Congress have requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God...that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection..."

G. Washington
City of New York, 1789

Turkey Gravy

Turkey pan drippings...........all of them

flour........................................1/2 Cup

turkey juices..........................all of them


salt 'n taste

Method: Have your turkey out of the oven at least one hour before dinner is to be ready, I'll explain. Remove turkey from the roasting pan and set aside on a sheet pan. The bird will throw juices as it rests--save these.

Pour off your pan drippings from the roasting pan and save in a food storage container. Pour 2 cups of hot water into your roasting pan and scrape with a spatula to remove all the little bits from the pan. Save this stuff. Now, skim the fat off of your pan juices and place it in a 2 qt sauce pot on medium heat with the flour. This will form a paste (roux) to which we will add our remnant pan juices and scrapings. Cook slowly and add 1 qt of milk. Stir continuously till it bubbles. If it's too thick, adjust with turkey stock. Salt and pepper to taste.

I hope everyone of you have a peaceful Thanksgiving. Take the time to talk to God, He'd love to hear from you!

Take care, God bless and remember:

"Food, Faith, Family and Friends,

the Best Things in Life Aren't Things."

Chef bq.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Excellent, as ever BQ! Over the past decade, or so, I have cultivated the habit of two November turkey dinners. The first one is a casual affair, and most of the turkey goes for sandwiches and, most importantly, turkey stock. This gelatinous gold is the backbone of my near legendary turkey gravy. I send thermoses of it home with various relations and loved ones to keep them warm on the cold autumnal night.