I’ve been skeptical of Thanksgiving for years. There are two conceptions of Thanksgiving which seem to be etched into my mind from early childhood: The idea of giving thanks to God, and the idea of unbridled gluttony. Pilgrims, Indians, the whole historical thing — not so much. To me it’s always been about God and gluttony, and frankly neither concept gets me very motivated.
I thought about giving thanks to people who’ve helped me out over the past year. For example, I am thankful to Mike Leonard, for turning me on to Crystal body deodorant. But somehow that just didn’t seem inspiring enough to carry the holiday.
So this year I made a grab for the gluttony, and I failed. Yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner was a severe blow to my self-image as a competent cook. Unlike most Americans, I did not stuff myself silly on good food, because there was none. I actually went to bed hungry and had to get up for a bowl of cereal at about 1:00 a.m.
Indeed, when I consider every Thanksgiving holiday I can remember celebrating, this one stands out as the worst on the culinary front. We had friends over (Jaylene, Scott, Erik) and that was fun. But I don’t think a single dish came out as planned. Some things were so bad they ended up in the trash; others were edible, at least, but everything was disappointing, except for the pies, which were store-bought.
My main responsibility was the turkey. We got an organic, free-range bird, about eleven pounds. I slathered it in margarine (because Xy bought it by mistake instead of butter) and Zatarain’s, mounted it on the vertical roaster, and smoked it on the Big Green Egg for about three hours, using pecan wood chips. I had trouble maintaining the Egg at a steady 300 degrees. It spiked to as high as 450 and as low as 250, I think, but eventually I got it stabilized.
For whatever reason, the bird was not a delicate golden-brown when I brought it in. It was more black. Not very appetizing. Maybe I should have put some water in the drip pan. The meat was a little dry, perhaps not too bad, but we had no gravy.
Oh well. It’s an indication of how fortunate I am that even my worst Thanksgiving is pretty good.
I still don’t know what to think of this holiday, though.