Rudey's Room

Let’s Talk Turkey

“Catherine, if this turkey tastes as good as it looks, we’re in for a real treat.”

– Clark Griswold

My husband dropped a nugget on me last week, If my sister doesn’t have turkey this year, I’m not going to her house.

He was half joking, but also pointing to the last time his sister hosted Thanksgiving and served up ham in lieu of turkey. Hamsgiving, as he coined it.

And he was not pleased. Not then … not now.

Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday, and turkey is a menu must. Thanksgiving = turkey. He looks forward all year to the savory smell of bird filling the house, the drippings that evolve into gravy, and the leftover sandwiches.

His sister’s act verged on treason. Of all the unpatriotic acts to commit, few are more severe than not serving turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s what the Pilgrims served, and it’s what our grandchildren will serve, dammit. Well, I never

Let’s not start family feud over it, I played. Just let your sister know you want turkey. (Plain and simple, I thought, but didn’t dare add.)

After all, it’s the man’s favorite holiday and there is nothing simple about no turkey on Thanksgiving. My husband is no caveman, but Thanksgiving draws out two words: food and football. There better be a turkey, hut.

The Thanksgiving holiday is all about the food. No gifts, flowers, or eggs. The goal of Thanksgiving is to cook a tasty, carb-and-tryptophan-loaded meal and to share that meal with family and/or dear friends.

After you’ve played touch football in the backyard.

I am pathetic at football.

In high school, people called me the w.s. (weak spot). Look at me reaching for my husband … about to dig it … sad.

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Anyway, moving on …

Personally, I don’t love turkey. There, I admit it. I’ll have a teeny slice of turkey on Thanksgiving, meshed with piles of potatoes, carrots, greens. I don’t mind cooking it, rubbing on the oils, sage and thyme. I roast a mean bird –  I once turned a vegetarian into a meat eater. But for me, I pick at the bird and devour the other foods. The turkey always underwhelms me, even when it’s perfectly cooked with juices flowing. Maybe it’s because I verge on vegetarianism.

What dishes are essential to your Thanksgiving feast?

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For me, it wouldn’t be Tday without …

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Potatoes
  • Something orange (my personal favorite are William Sonoma’s carrots Vichy. The recipe is below … try it! It is an easy win any time of the year)
  • A green and snappy vegetable
  • Pie (at least two. I ordered this year from our neighborhood spot, Bang Bang Pie)

If you don’t have your line up, why not try this Thanksgiving slot machine.

This year the teacher in me made some plans to involve the kiddos while the dads watch the traditional football game: the Packers v. the Lions. Go, Pack, Go!!

We’re going on this Drumstick Hunt.

And starting up this Tail Feather Tag.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Ciao for now.

P.S. What is your favorite black Friday/cyber Monday spot? Mine is Tea Collection. I can’t wait for the $15 dresses.

French Carrots

What you need:

  • 1 lb large carrots (6 or 7)
  • 3 – 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 or 5 fresh mint sprigs

What to do:

  • Peel the carrots, then slice on the diagonal about 1/8-inch thick (You have about 3 cups).
  • Put the carrots into a heavy saucepan with the butter, sugar, salt, and water.
  • Place over medium heath and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and boil gently, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to 1 – 2 tablespoons syrup, approximately 20 – 25 minutes. Check the carrots occasionally during the cooking ot ensure they are not scorching.
  • Transfer the carrots to a serving dish.
  • Remove the zest from the lemon using a zester or fine-holed shredder. Shred the zest over the carrots.
  • Garnish with mint sprigs and serve at once.

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