Quick N EZ Thanksgiving

If you really want an easy turkey, buy it pre-cooked…

Photo from Safeway.com.

…pre-rolled up, maybe even pre-extruded, like these Foster Farms beauties. Nothin’ says EZ TurKY like a bird that looks like sausage.

Photo from Foster Farms website.

If you really want an easy turkey, how about Turkey Spam? MM…Spam and Beans, Spam and Stuffing. What about Spam ‘n’ stuffing with your pre-extruded turkey roll?

There’s always a turkey spam/roll taco bar. Everybody likes a taco bar!

How about a hot fudge sundae bar? Skip the turkey and vegetables and make it easy and yourself and everyone. Everyone loves a sundae bar!!!!

It’s that time of year, when the foodie experts are full of helpful hints to make your holiday easier. And much of it isn’t going to make your life easier whatsoever. Either that or all this pre-cooking, pre-microwave, just-heat-up-at-the-last-minute by adding seven other things isn’t going to make it easier. So, here is my evaluation of all these “Easiest Thanksgiving Ever” hints that are designed to make your life harder.

Plus, at the end, I’ll share my amazing and impressive turkey flow chart, and that will make it all clear for you!

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I Wrote It Already (Turkey Day Version)

Smells good Piggy! It does, doesn’t it… Muppet parody on Norman Rockwell from tumblr.

I was going to write a Thanksgiving-themed post about potatoes, but I realized I had already done that. And yams, too. Yes, they’re different from sweet potatoes. See post.

Cranberries? Check. Turkey? Check check.

In fact, if you want to know a little history about most of the standard American traditional fare served the last Thursday of November, I can probably help you out. Or already did.

How about The Mother of Thanksgiving, Sara Josepha Hale, who helped start the formal holiday? Check. (p.s. those are links to my previous posts, should you want to learn about the history of said items and the somber lady who petitioned Lincoln for an official Thanksgiving holiday)

Gravy? You betcha! (Hint: every culture has it, but they call it something else.)

How about pumpkin pie? well, I did write all about pumpkins although it was more Halloween-y…

Stuffing? Oh heck yes!

I will admit, I haven’t written anything about green beans, corn casserole, or any of those regional/ethnic variations, like macaroni and cheese, lasagna, tamales, or whatever your family does. Maybe next year.

Most importantly, I’ve already created the flowchart. This year, as I went to reprint a new copy–ours is now covered with handwritten reminders and gravy stains–I found to my devastation that I only have a picture, and not the original document. I am in the midst of recreating it, but here is the old version. And the original explanatory post.

I have apparently reached a milestone of sorts. When it comes to Thanksgiving, I may have already written it.

Perhaps for Xmas I will need to research the historical derivation of deviled eggs.

Stuffing and Variations

two bags of to-be-delicious sourdough stuffing
You can never have too much…. photo by kajmeister.

I was pondering when the first cook might have stuffed a turkey way back when… because there’s plenty of time to ponder these days, what with all of us being indoors and on our own so much of the time. Let’s not limit it to turkey, though. Who might have been the first person to stuff an animal, which is to say to take the innards out of an animal and replace it with other stuff, then cook it?

The noun form of “stuff” probably emerged from the verb “stuff” which came from the French otoffer meaning to cram things in other things. (See also “stop” and “plug” and suddenly I’m thinking about Drano.) Anyway, the noun “stuff” really does emerge from the verb, such that when we refer to “our stuff” or “bunch o’things” we mean bunch that could be crammed somewhere. When we are such “stuff” as dreams are made on, as Shakespeare’s Prospero said, he meant a motley bunch of craziness out of which we will go, after death, into some truer reality. This year certainly seems the “stuff” that dreams are made of, so I’m ready to decide we should cram 2020 somewhere else. I have suggestions about where, but you probably don’t want to hear them.

This raises a whole host of ancillary questions. What is the (brief) history of cooking stuffed things, i.e. what was stuffing about during the heyday of say Henry VIII? Compared with the 1950s, for example? Did the pilgrims stuff their turkey? (my guess is no, let’s find out). Why is it for some oddball reason called “dressing” in other places? And what are the weirdest things people want to do with their stuffing, (G-rated only, please)?

a toast to the turkey, family photo from 1965
Holiday dinner 1965, photo by kajmeister’s Dad.

My mother knew how to cook one kick-ass turkey. She wasn’t the world’s greatest cook, but her stuffing and gravy were the best. Apparently, we also ate peas and carrots and Very White Mashed Potatoes on a very white tablecloth with white fine German china underneath. It was the Midwest in the 1960s, what can I say? That’s my uncle Delano on the right, named for FDR, before my uncle changed his name to Lamont then Lavont then Levitar, which was the eye in the pyramid. All that is another story. It was still good turkey.

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