• Kate


In the grocery store on Sunday I was looking to purchase my meat for Friendsgiving dinner, a whole roast chicken. I have never made turkey and was a little nervous to have my first attempt be on a day where I wouldn’t get home until 6pm. There was also the problem that turkeys are massive and there was only going to be four of us, therefore, a chicken would be a good compromise.


At that time of day Jewel only had 4 Lb organic chickens so they were $15 each, all other options were just empty shelves and I was told to come back tomorrow. Are you kidding me? I don’t like my friends that much….well, I do...but it’s still expensive. And I would need to get two. That was not about to happen.

So, who do I call in my moment of distressing? Who do I call to reassure me that this was ridiculous? My brother of course. In the middle of the meat market I call Cam, and first I get chastised for not having a butcher, obviously.

We move through the regular “did you do this…” pleasantries, like “did I ask the tenant” (yes). And moved through some plan B’s, Cam suggested Cornish Game Hens, roast one of those per person. If I hadn’t cooked a turkey you can guess I’ve never cooked one of those, but luckily (of course) Cam was sitting with the Gourmet Cookbook on his lap. This book is amazing, my mother had one, she gave one to her sisters, one to my brother, and I inherited hers. She lived by this book. And Cam just flips through it on occasion


Picture this, I am standing in the meat section of Jewel, staring at the hens, on the phone with a man who is sitting on his couch with a huge yellow cookbook reading Cornish Game Hen recipes out loud. And of course, I am intently listening and asking questions. It was quite the scene, especially when I cracked up by the recipe’s poetic intro.

Sadly, hens were a short-lived dream. They were pretty small, I would need to have two per person and there is no way my studio sized oven would fit eight small birds. I can barely bake cookies.

On to Plan C, the last resort, my nightmare, my least favorite option. A whole turkey would have been extravagant, but a breast would be a perfect size. I told my brother I didn’t want to hear anything about it! You see, we are dark meat people. The breast, in my whole family, is the worst part. It is dry and almost flavorless, we are all about the drumsticks and the wings and thighs. So much so that there is a hierarchy to the drumsticks, and we make two birds. My grandfather gets dibs, then my Mommom because she made the meal, then the uncles, and if they pass it goes to the first born grandchild. It’s a serious business. One time my youngest cousin tried to demand a drumstick when he was about eight-years-old and we pretty much laughed at him.

Naturally, having to cook only the breast was sad. But it seemed like my only option. I was going to conquer this hunk of white meat (turkey) for my Friendsgiving, I was also about to labor over mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and a special Thanksgiving cocktail of homemade cranberry juice, rosemary, gin, and tonic. Luckily this holiday is always semi-potluck and arriving was stuffing, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and dessert.

Happy Thanksgiving! And maybe next year you can give one of these recipes a try, or why not try them any day of the year. Good food shouldn’t be limited to a single day.

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