Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving's basics.

Notwithstanding the experiment (see previous post) with the
BBQ-smoker, as a service to humanity here are my Thanksgiving recipes, all in one easy to access lump.
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/thanksgiving-101-syllabus.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/thanksgiving-101-soup.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/thanksgiving-101-salad.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-turkey.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-potatoes-ormake-me.html(keep in mind the above recipe is sheer heresy; its purpose is to have the potatoes absorb as much dairy as is humanly, er, potatobly, possible. Yell at hyper-chef Joel Robuchon whose Three Michelin Star mashed potatoes have a ratio of 2:1 potatoes to butter. Stop and ponder that.)
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-stuffingdressing.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-pie.html (pedantic types will complain that pecans and maple do not belong together, but I say this shows post-Civil War unity)
and for people to see exactly what it all entails:
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/better-late-than-ever-part-1.html

As I have already beat-to-death, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday despite my (and NOS the sous-chef and NTS the appliance switch operator) having to sling out foodstuffs for a brigade of friends and relatives.

This year NOS has been assigned his very own turkey. I'll try to get footage of NOS wielding a knife. We love this because other members of the ::cough, cough:: family go all Chief-Inspector-Dreyfus when they see a 10 year old handling something sharp. I'm sure the lovely and gracious Tere knows WTF I'm going on about.

In a few minutes, I head directly for the butcher and pick up my order.

Doing it this way not only helps out the butcher (which in turn keeps the supply of excellent and unusual edibles coming my way) but a vastly superior turkey is had at a very comparable in price. I'd blater further, but I have to press on, as there are 50+ for whom to cook.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 11:40 AM 3 comments

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

...and now, a brief...er...something.

I take this moment to wax rhapsodic about Thanksgiving.

Later on I'll repost my recipes, and even the Complete Unedited True Story of Thanksgiving.

But first, I must do my little, awkward best to 'splain why I love it so.

As you read before, this holiday has a lot going for it. It's got the God thing without being too specific about which version of God is being mentioned, and all that. But it's what it doesn't have that really gets me excited.

No cards, no gifts to buy, not much in the way of decoration (turn your jack o'lantern's around and you're done) and not much in the way of commercialization once you exit the halls of foodieness. For the most part, most people celebrating Thanksgiving have a remarkably similar menu; something of a feat when you're talking about +/-300M people.

But, and let's be honest here, I must say I revel in the accolades. People love what I cook (maybe they're just happy they don't have to cook) and I can tell they are going to love it by the way the verious items are coming along.

I especially love that NOS and NTS want to help (moreso the former than the latter, possibly because NOS gets to wield knives and NTS isn't quite at that stage). NOS is also loving the attention and accolades while NTS simply likes tasting things all along. So it's an ol' man and his lads, flailing away with knives and fires.

Now you know.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 11:48 AM 2 comments

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lights. Tunnel. That sort of thing.

We interrupt this wildly neglected blog for some good news.


I can't, in the spirit of "In the name of all that's holy, do NOT jinx it," tell you what these good news are. But they are pretty good. Not out of the woods but, to mix my metaphors, the light at the end of the tunnel is finally larger than a pinhole. I actually exhaled restfully once or twice.


Which is a welcome development, and more than just for the "face value" of the good news. This is the first streak of good news since late 2007. Those of you who have prayed, sacrificed chickens, chanted, etc., are the object of my most fervent thanks.


This is the point of the post when I debate internally whether I should spill more details, or just stoically clam up. On the one hand, I think I owe the assembled throng a measure of candor, but I also shudder at the whinge-fest that would ensue from my keyboard. Especially since, let's be honest, as bad as things are this hasn't exactly been the Rwandan genocide.


For the moment, then, let's just go a bit via media.


I have learned a LOT about myself. I have learned that my marriage has been a LOT more resilient than I ever wanted to find out.


The good news is that I have confirmed I have my mother's "Bataan Death March" gene. The bad news is that there have been days when, during quiet moments, I could actually, literally, no-I'm-not-kidding, feel years being shaved off my life. Whenever, in 30 years' time, I blog about some horrible development in my health, you will all be able to snap your fingers in recognition and say "Of course! The Great Unclaimed Malady of 2007-2010!"


It takes, I suppose, "crucible moments" to reveal what lies at our core, both good and bad. I found it very jarring to have to face these aspects of my life, seeing as how my life's greatest ambition was to spend my earthly days in placid smugness and benevolent complacency, on a hammock and sipping a lovely beverage. Pride goeth before a fall, goeth the cliché and I have had to adjust my mindset in uncomfortable ways.


Among you are many, many, who have been startled by sudden crises or horrible developments that require, for successful navigation, perseverance above all. Having seen such from a new perspective, my hat is doffed in your direction. Seriously, to you -- and you know who you are -- Respect.


To keep this from devolving (further) into maudlin-land, I am now leaping to action as Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and, it being my VERY favorite holiday, I must prepare to feed a brigade of +/- 50 people.

Thanksgiving, I have discovered, is my favorite holiday because it combines a lot of the things I like. There's the God angle, the gratitude angle, the "this country has gone abysmal and so we'll get on this boat and go to this whole other country" angle, the obscure history and trivia angle, the lack of cards and presents and appalling mass market candy, and -- let's not deny it -- the hyper-foodie angle.

At least ovah heah, this is the one holiday (even more than New Year's) when one's foodie self can sashay freely in the open. Tell people you only feed your family organic chicken hand-reared by nuns and they'll roll their eyes, but tell people you're looking for the equivalent turkey and everyone nods sagely.

So there.


Posted by Joke at 5:16 AM 11 comments

Thursday, November 05, 2009

But before I do.

Much swampedness, some (!) of it actually good and positive.

Now.

Before I get all hopped up on writing about these developments, I have a VERY strange, important and oddly minor favor to ask, for a client.

We're looking for suggestions of unknown-in-the-USA children's authors and/or book series. Can't exactly tell you why or divulge much. Even better would "up and coming" authors of such a type. Feel free to answer in the combox.

More to come.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 12:36 PM 10 comments