November 24, 2011

I know that this is a repeat, but I can’t find any Thanksgiving themed drawing or photograph that amuses me as much as this!


By the President of the United States of America–

A Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their Joint Committee 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 signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions–to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us–and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

Sausage And Cornbread Stuffing

Here is my Sausage And Cornbread Stuffing recipe.  As you can see, it is an extraordinarily difficult, time-consuming, complex and arcane dish that only a few people in the cooking world have the intestinal fortitude to attempt.

People take Thanksgiving far, far too seriously. The point is to have fun, eat reasonably good food, and enjoy your guests. For instance, this year we will all gather around the television to watch the half-time show of some football game because the Jonas Brothers will be singing for 5 minutes. Would I do this on any other day of the year? If you knew me you would know the answer. Continue reading “Sausage And Cornbread Stuffing”

Thanksgiving Stuffing Open Thread

I have received a request for a stuffing thread, because one of my commenters seems to think that his stuffing is the best in the world. Considering that, by his own admission, his pork dry rub ruined some perfectly good salmon steaks, I have a difficult time believing that he has any kitchen skills other than the ability to make a big mess. But I might be wrong!

If something brilliant and wonderful appears on this thread, I will of course steal the recipe and call it my own.

Brining A Duck?

As is my wont, I will be roasting ducks for Thanksgiving. The turkey is being dealt with by my sister and her life partner, and she has caught brining fever, no doubt from me. But brining a turkey simply makes it palatable. I have no interest in food whose claim to fame is that it doesn’t make me nauseous. The problem is that I am roasting three ducks, and maybe a little variety would be interesting. But brining? Who knows? It may be vile, or fine, or (and I am hoping for this result) the most magnificent bird ever roasted in the history of roasted birds, just like the kiss in Princess Bride. The typical ratio of salt and sugar to liquid is 16:1 in most recipes for turkey and chicken, although, not surprisingly, I have not found an interesting (most seem to be for barbecuing) brined duck recipe. This is half the concentration that I use on pork, which may or may not make sense. I’ll tell you next Friday.

P.S. Cooks Illustrated says that duck does not benefit from brining. The gauntlet has been thrown down!

And here is the result!

Turkey? Not So Much.

Turkey is boring. It is the Soylent Green of the food world. Right up there with bologna and that mystery meat they served you at school. So, the arrival of Thanksgiving, with its attendant turkey-gorging imperative, doesn’t thrill me. But I have found a remedy for this obsession with large, boring, flightless fowl roasting. I cook duck. But not just any duck. I have happily co-opted my friend Jim’s recipe for roast duck. Actually, it is more like a guideline, because he really is a chef and assumes that I know what I am doing in the kitchen. It begins with rinsing the duck and scrubbing it with kosher salt, inside and out. Then, and this is the weird part, he insists that the duck be aged in the refrigerator for several days. Now, I am quite familiar with aging beef and have attempted it several times with varying degrees of success, but aging a duck? Of course, it works wonderfully, and when I figure out the best way to roast it after this bizarre aging process, I will faithfully report back. I am torn between low temperature for a while and then a quick high-temperature blast to crisp it up, or a high-temperature roast that requires constant attention because of all of the quite flammable duck fat oozing from every pore of the duck! They both work, but which is better? I’ll give you my impressions on Sunday, after I eat the duck that sits peacefully in my refrigerator.