Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stuffing and Nonsense

Sunday is the only day we have a Detroit paper delivered. It is a good way to find out about the jail sentences of our former mayor, read articles like"Why Detroit's top lawyer can't stop fighting" and explore the Lions' habit of overcoming slow starts (they didn't overcome anything today.) Then there's Mitch Albom. But today the features were a re-hash of last year's columns—and the year before.  It is Thanksgiving, we we have our annual guide to surviving the holiday and hosting "this monumental meal." There are recipes for fool-proof mashed potatoes and make ahead turkey gravy and —well, you get the idea.

The stylist for the food section made the meal look tempting, but hardly in line with the USDA food pyramid. Actually, I think it is now the USDA food plate, but either way it does not advocate ginormous servings of meat with four carrots, however tastefully they are arranged at the side of the plate.

Things get worse when we move on to the magazine section of the paper. We find a recipe for Moistest-ever Pumpkin Pie Muffins. Forget it. Pumpkin is eaten once a year, in a pie, and when you think about it, pumpkin is only palatable when gussied up with large amounts of ginger, cloves, cinnamon etc. Don't even give me one of the much touted pumpkin lattes that Starbucks makes us think we need to feel festive.

Rachael Ray tells us she loves Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Apple-Celery-Onion Stuffing, but doesn't give us any recipes.

Finally we have Dr. Phil with his "tough, touching plan for holiday harmony." Ten rules to make our Thanksgiving perfect. I need to pay attention to #2: Grandparents, know your limited role. I must know my boundaries and not contradict mom and dad (and yes, I have been known to do that.) He goes on to say, "You don't negotiate when little Johnny is setting the cat on fire." Faygo, you're on your own.

#5 Delegate. "It doesn't kill you to order a pie instead of make one". I'm on pie duty this year. (My daughter is hosting and there are 27 of us.) I'm a lousy desert maker, but whipped cream covers up a multitude of sins. Back to the cooking section of the paper. Shall I make "Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Pie with Brandied Ginger Cream?" No. And I'll avoid the "dough without disasters" problem with what I have heard described as "store boughten crust." I certainly will not emulate the 22 ingredients in their pie, though maybe the vodka and brandy would give the pies a certain je ne sais quoi.

Finally, Dr. Phil attempts to endear himself to us with rule #9, Don't set the bird on fire—like I did. Come on, Dr. Phil, not that old business of leaving the sack of gizzards in the turkey. I don't think you have ever been it a kitchen.

How do you think I got out of hosting this monumental meal? I dropped the turkey on the floor (and the five second rule worked quite nicely.) And guess what? In a few weeks we can read the whole business all over again. Just substitute "Christmas" for "Thanksgiving."

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