Monday, November 26, 2007

Love to eat turkey, pt. 1

You won't often hear me quote Adam Sandler here, so don't get used to it.


Thanksgiving was great. Even the drive through Atlanta was uneventful (both ways!), and that's really saying something. I'm guessing everyone who chose to drive left well before we did on Wednesday, and no one else was apparently driving on Saturday, so it was fairly smooth.

As to your some of your questions...

Turducken:

Dear, God, yes it's real. It's a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey. It's believed to be Cajun in origin. Some folks say it's from the Texas side of the state line, but having been to Louisiana, I'm betting it was created there. I've only tasted it once, and that was a sample at a food show. It was moist, and had good flavour, but for my money, it's just a bit excessive. My family can barely get through a turkey, why the hell would I want to subject them to that? I also think you lose some of the flavour of the duck meat this way. One day they're going to take a turducken and stuff it in an ostrich. It's never been confirmed, but Chef Paul Prudomme is often credited with making the dish a commercial success. Here's his recipe.

Grits/Greens/Okra

I've done a post about how much I love grits. A few, in fact. You can find them here, here, and here. I love them, when they're cooked properly. When they're not cooked properly, they're awful. Now, my MIL likes her grits "sweet", that is with sugar or jam or jelly. I like mine savory, with a huge pat of butter and a good sprinkling of salt. They're best when made with milk, because then they come out creamy. And for all you snobs out there who turn your nose up at grits, it's the same damn thing as polenta. It's just not ground as fine, and it's white instead of yellow.

Greens are also delicious, but only when cooked right. For me, that means with some kind of smoked meat, a little spice and a little sugar. Greens, including mustard, kale, collard and turnip, can be bitter. They're better after the first frost, in my opinion. And you don't want to cook them too long, either. There's a tradition amongst some Southern cooks to boil their veggies until they are mush. It's so unnecessary.

I don't eat okra unless it's in gumbo, so I don't get what the fuss is. I had a bad okra experience, once, ages ago. It was poorly fried and very soggy. My husband though, loves fried okra, especially his Momma's. Okra is often used in gumbo, where its mucousy innards thicken the stew.

What do grits, greens and okra have in common? They're all cheap and easy to come by. That made them very popular in the rural South. Greens and okra are both incredibly easy to grow. Ray's Nana D. almost always had a bumper crop of the stuff every fall. And grits are really just cornmeal. Cheap foods often become traditional foods, and you can find that in almost every culture.


We didn't do a really traditional Southern Thanksgiving this year, just because there wasn't a lot of time, and we've had several deaths in the family this year, too. Most people didn't feel like doing a big thing. We did have a deep fried turkey (more about fried turkey to come), a deep fried pork loin, my sweet potato bake, the ever-present green bean casserole, hen n'dressing, jello salad, cole slaw, potato salad, cranberry sauce, and yeast rolls. No one did greens this year, but that's okay. Quick note about dressing...we don't generally stuff turkeys down here. Firstly, you can't fry a stuffed turkey. Secondly, I think hygiene worries in the old South prompted folks to put the stuffing in a pan and bake it with the hen or turkey. We call it dressing, and I like it better than stuffing. I make a pretty good dressing with apples and a mixture of white, rye and pumpernickel. But for it to be truly southern, you need to use cornbread and put in big chunks of chicken. Hence the term "hen n'dressing".

Baby update: All is well, but I was told I could stand to gain a bit more weight! Who'd a thunk it? I gained two pounds last month, but as I was already fifteen pounds overweight, I wasn't thinking that I should have gained more. I was told not to worry, as long as I ate well. I should add, I did put on another pound over the weekend. Baby X is also very active, and did not want to sit still to have his/her heartbeat checked. Every time Nurse C cornered the kid, he/she scooted away.

More turkey talk tomorrow, we're off on another field trip with TFYO's class today.

17 comments:

Robot Lord of Tokyo said...

You should copyright the term "osturducken", so that when they do stuff a turducken into a ostrich, you'll have dibs.

Leendaluu said...

I love grits with a pat of butter, a little salt and then some raspberry jam on the side...sweet and savory!

laurie said...

savory grits for me, too.
but is there any nutritional value in grits? any at all????

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I eat my grits exactly the way you do. Butter and salt. Why mess with perfection.

My grandmother thought I was a heathen because I didn't put gravy ( specifically red eye) on my grits. Gag.

laurie - of course they do! lots of fiber!

JRH said...

Grits are pretty much an unknown commodity here in Southern California, but I've experience them when I've been in Virginia a few times - and you're right, they're almost exactly like polenta. I liked 'em! But with sugar?? I don't think so.

Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday, in spite of some family difficulties this year. And your dressing sounds marvellous.

Willowtree said...

I always thought turducken was what you did when someone threw a cherry bomb in the toilet.

Willowtree said...

I know I'm going to hell for this one but I've got no control.

I think you left part of your sentence out..."And for all you snobs out there who turn your nose up at grits, it's the same damn thing as polenta. It's just not ground as fine, it's white instead of yellow and it goes great with roadkill."

Jen said...

Willowtree You know, since you've got no control, you could try Depends or one of the very fine medications on the market. And yes, you're going to hell.

PixelPi said...

I eat grits both ways-a bit of butter and sugar and it's a warm breakfast, like a thick Cream of Wheat. When with another meal, the butter, salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of those Baco Bits or whatever that are made from soy. I've never been a gravy on the grits girl myself.

The whole turducken thing is where I dare not go. And I've tasted ostrich. Yech. I don't care what they say. It does not taste like beef.

Diana said...

I saw a big case of turducken at our grocery store last week. I thought of you. I would have bought one just for fun but didn't have room in the freezer.

I think I may regret not buying it when I'm bored in January.

my two cents said...

Um, did you forget to have dessert? Not a big fan of pumpkin pie, myself, but I usually make something else yummy.

Jen said...

my two cents, oh yeah, we did! My MIL made pecan pie, and my SIL made a really yummy chocolate cake.

diana Wow, you see turducken and think of me. I'm not sure what that says about me *grin*

PixelPi I have always loved country ham and red eye gravy, so a little gravy on my grits doesn't bother me at all. Matter of fact, I love beef stew over grits, too.

jrh I'll probably make that dressing at Christmas, since we're staying home. And dressing is so easy to make, I think everyone should eat it all the time!

RC, you're not exactly a heathen, but you might be if you don't eat greens and black eyed peas on New Years Day...

laurie Sure grits have a bit of fiber and are usually enriched with iron (about 10% of you DV), plus a bunch of B vitamins. Not as good for you as oatmeal, but they're a bit yummier.

leeandalu Hmmm, I may have to try that.

RLOT I have a feeling someone already has the product in development. Some evil culinary genius, waiting to stun us all into poultry insensibility.

Willowtree Oh, yeah. You're still going to hell.

www.thegrandview.wordpress.com said...

Hi Jen,
Glad to hear you had a good Thanksgiving.
I couldn't imagine the excess of turducken. Swocodmon is our nearest equivalent in the North. That is where we cross breed Swordfish, Cod and Salmon. NOT. ;-)
Grits I love, bitter greens never did it for me. As a kid, my mom used to serve Mustard greens. SInce we weren't able to leave the table till we finished everything in our plate, I used to put the mustard greens in my pocket for later disposal.

my two cents said...

Pecan pie and chocolate cake, two of my favorites!!

Teresa said...

Grits I can do without. I'm not much for any type of cooked cereal except oatmeal on a rare occasion. But Pecan pie...that's something I dearly look forward to every Thanksgiving especially with a bit of bourbon and chocolate in it; heavenly! By the bye, you've been tagged. If you care to take part in the meme check out the particulars on my blog.
't'

Dumdad said...

I'd better not mention turducken to The Frog Queen. She'd come up with her own recipe of turkey brains, duck liver and chicken tongues...

Jo Beaufoix said...

Jen, I will not let Babs read this, or she'll be running round with her hands covering her bum for weeks.
Glad you had a good thanks giving and glad the wee snowball is doing well.
And hey, you get to put more weight on? How cool is that? My doctor never tells me I need to put weight on. ;)