Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving wrap-up and beyond

Father. Turkey.
The big news from Thanksgiving:  I will never brine a turkey again and neither should you. The method outlined here yielded a succulent and perfectly salted bird. I'm not sure I've ever roasted a better turkey.

Isabel's pies were, of course, stellar.


Clockwise from right: chess, sour cream pumpkin, buttermilk, pecan, chocolate caramel with sea salt.
And the kids -- 1 to 98, as mentioned by my husband -- were wonderful company and perfectly well-behaved.


I know my mission right now is to cook through Thai Street Food, but I'm going to be traveling for most of the next ten days, reporting a fun story that will take me to a handful of small towns in cold places around the West. Owen and I are currently in Groveland, California (just outside Yosemite) where it is raining and we are staying in a haunted hotel.

Owen is the messiest person I've ever met. He's disorganized and overemotional and forgets to put the lid on the goat food. He doesn't take pains with his homework and can never find his shoes or his backpack and he routinely leaves his jacket at school. He worries his parents.

But he's curious about everything, excitable and enthusiastic, and he has this wellspring of joy that sometimes seems like the most precious and mysterious of gifts. You can't imagine the ecstasies over everything we've seen so far on our very modest trip -- roadside petting zoos, haunted hotels, dioramas in small museums, snow. He may never master long division, but he's a peerless traveling companion.

P.S. Brilliant piece comparing two very different cookbooks.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tip on Hamilton's review. She is a fantastic writer.

    Oz

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Hamilton review is well-written and provides enough detail that I can make an informed decision, so it is not entirely bad. But I pity any cookbook buyer who might buy
    Plenty over the French book based on seeing the result: I'd think most cooks would prefer the book with recipes that work. I don't object to her downgrading it for its food photography and cutesy recipe titles, but how can she declare the other a successful cookbook on the grounds that with her cooking expertise she can change them so they're good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oz -- I know. I had no idea she was such a great writer.
    Anonymous 5:31 -- I agree completely. I've found myself puzzling over this review for the last two days. She just couldn't stand to give the prize to Dorie Greenspan whom she finds painfully trite, so she gives it to a book that seems clearly problematic, but cooler. I really think she should have caved and given it to Dorie. A cookbook should be judged in the end by what's ON THE PAGE. Unfortunately, based on glowing reviews in earlier rounds of this tournament, I bought both books. (We made Dorie's gougeres for Thanksgiving and they were delicious.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Jennifer. Curious about what you think about this piece by Hamilton:

    http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen/Gabrielle-Hamilton-Open-House

    It may give you a clue about her approach to written assignments. I have just found out she has a memoir coming up in March.

    Oz

    ReplyDelete
  5. LOVE that piece, Oz -- what a voice! And what a story. Thanks for linking. I ate at Prune once and it was good, but I think I like her better as a writer than a chef.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is exactly what I thought! She has a very strong voice even when writing reviews.

    Oz

    ReplyDelete
  7. I should have known I could count on you for a turkey recipe. We tried the oven bag this year for our leftovers turkey (my parents don't share from the real bird) and it was pretty gross. It DID shave the cooking time by 2 hours, but the breast was dried out. And I'm squeamish about cooking in plastic anyway. I will try your recipe for our Christmas leftovers. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. How badly does Isabel want to share her recipes for the chess and buttermilk pies? Because I have always and ever wanted to eat both of them and have failed thus far.

    ReplyDelete