Halloween like a signpost on the path of life, every year it pops up announcing that we will leave the normal state and enter the dangerous resting zone, starting any second and ending with a pot Black-eyed Beans on January 1. As you read this, plane tickets are being purchased, menus planned, phone calls made. Some have even started throwing goofs at friends and family to kick off the first debates of the season!
It’s in the spirit of these times that I find myself contemplating what I’m really looking forward to about Thanksgiving dinner. It’s not at all an Oprah-style meditation on what I am grateful for in a grand, life-affirming way, but more on what I expect and, perhaps more importantly, the What I’m happy will never happen at my holiday table again.
I can’t wait oysters, and stuffed with oysters. I very much wish writer Calvin Trillin begged us all to eat Spaghetti Carbonara, or at least my father championed the idea every year. I love my friend Evelyn’s spinach madeleine, right out of the River Road Junior League cookbook. I can’t wait to make broth from our carcass Greenberg Smoked turkey and use it as the base of Black Friday ramen. Other things, though, I’m less enthusiastic about: Why are Thanksgiving vegetables so weird? What accidents — burnt rolls, burnt grease, frozen pipes and dented fenders — will visit us this year?
Vacation can be fun, but it’s not easy. And the colorful disasters of Thanksgiving become part of family lore and their retelling becomes a tradition of its own. To help prepare you for Thursday, I asked some celebrity chefs about their favorite turkey day mishaps, which, yes, even happen to the pros.
Guy Fieri took a moment to do his new Food Network show, Guy’s big project, to reminisce with me. “Before it became popular, I tried frying a turkey in oil in the backyard. I miscalculated the oil and turkey ratio and ended up creating a small fireball! ”
He’s not the only one. Sunny Anderson, also of the Food Network (and inventor of Infladium), burned a piece of her yard trying to fry a turkey. “Concrete… works best,” she told me sternly.
But accidents still happen even if you don’t like taking risks. Famous chefs and Chopped judgment, Amanda Freitag, cooked a Thanksgiving dinner in her small Chelsea kitchen and, no kidding, dropped the turkey on the floor. “It’s a total Julia Child moment,” she recalled, with a laugh. But “It’s really good, though.”
But Andrew Zimmern get the cake, pun intended, in the best horror story of Thanksgiving. “I made honey cakes and took a jar from the cupboard,” he recalls. “I was being treated for a cold and couldn’t smell the homemade fish sauce caramel that I accidentally picked up. Boy, they’re horrible. (To help you avoid any mistakes, he just posted a new series of guides to Thanksgiving staples on his website.)
Of course, thanksgiving takes many forms. Freitag has worked since the age of fifteen and spends more vacations eating employee meals than anything else. The Andersons stock a bushel of oysters in their backyard. Zimmern, whose family thrived for the rest of the year, returned to tradition for Thanksgiving. On the other hand, Fieri grew up on hearty meals: “If someone didn’t have a place to go, they were at our Thanksgiving table and often brought a dish to share.”
Despite these variables, everyone seems to agree that shortcuts don’t fit the spirit of the times.
Freitag recalls the unfortunate time she came across a can of dehydrated potatoes. “Whenever I cook potatoes, I think about those things,” she admits. Canned vegetables also make her shiver, especially canned asparagus.
Zimmern agrees: “I don’t use canned soup to make casseroles. For me, it’s cooking for the days when we cut corners. It’s not Thanksgiving. I baked sweet potatoes and seasoned them, mash them with goat butter and brown sugar. I keep things simple.”
Good advice. Now, be careful with those turkey fryers, people.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/when-thanksgiving-dinner-goes-awry-for-celebrity-chefs?source=articles&via=rss When Thanksgiving Dinner Gets Hears for Celebrity Chefs