Monday, November 15, 2010

Thinking About Thanksgiving and Turkey

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away.  Menus are being planned and assignments are given.  Who's making which side dishes?  What pies are we having?  

Seems every year there is a controversy over preparing the traditional meal.  To stuff or not to stuff?  Deep fry or roast?  Brine or not to Brine?  This year the buzz is whole bird or parts?  
Chefs say that if you prepare the bird whole, some parts will be either undercooked or overcooked.  A fully cooked and safe turkey reaches the temp of 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the leg.  To achieve an evenly cooked turkey, the bird must be broken down and breast roasted separately from legs and thighs.  
If the turkey is broken down into parts, gone is that spectacular, Norman Rockwell-style presentation.  How many families really carve the turkey at the table?  In our house it makes such a huge mess that it is always done in the kitchen.  You can read more about breaking down the turkey in this NY Times article.  
I was very surprised to read in the article that Thanksgiving Day is the busiest day for restaurants in New York City.  Seems turkeys are too big for most apartment sized ovens.  That, plus they would rather go out for the traditional meal than eat dry turkey at home.  
What is your tradition?

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