Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Turducken Before Dying

Holiday Headlines:  Taxonomists try to classify turducken - with the help of an earworm:

It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin' purple people eater
(One-eyed, one-horned, flyin' purple people eater)
A one-eyed, one-horned, flyin' purple people eater
Sure looks strange to me (One eye?)

That's too weird, even for me.  How about Frankenbird?

Why now am I obsessing over the Ultimate Big Bird Dish, a whole turkey stuffed with a whole duck, stuffed with a whole chicken?  That's right, it is finally time to plan out my menu for Thanksgiving.  I start by making a list, but then I start almost everything in my life by making a list.  List-making is a family trait, and a lot more positive one than my proudly unaltered nose or that clinical depression thing that's been stalking me my whole life.  My grandmother always had a pile of shopping lists and notes to herself on the corner of  the kitchen counter.  Without any conscious forethought, I started doing the same thing once I was living in my own place with my own kitchen.  I should not have been surprised then, the year I went to spend Thanksgiving with my Uncle Marty (my grandmother's son and my mother's older brother) and Aunt Helen at their home in Cape Coral, Florida, that he also had a neat stack of lists and notes to himself on the corner of his kitchen counter.  

I consider list-making to be a useful obsession.  I make lists at work, on legal pads, of course,  and stack them on the right-hand corner of my desk.  Few things feel as good as checking a task off those lists, which include drafting petitions, writing up orders after trial, completing online training, and trial prep.  My home lists are much more pedestrian, including things like cheesy puffs, tomatoes, and kosher salt.  I also make cooking lists, based on the ingredients I have hauled home from Publix and BJs or for a planned menu for potluck, or for a holiday.  

Those holiday dinners happen a lot less frequently these days.  Family members scatter, develop impenetrable grudges, or pass on.  With all that being said, I am preparing Thanksgiving dinner this year for a party of five, and that means lists, lots of them.  What to make, what to buy, when to buy, preparation schedule.  I love this kind of stuff.

So the first item on my list is turkey, right?  Actually no, it's deviled eggs.  Then the salad, the bread, and finally, the bird.  So now I add the turkey to the list, right?  No, not yet.  Not this year.  This year I am going to find the Holy Grail and serve it for Thanksgiving dinner - TURDUCKEN.

Turducken is a made-up word, like the winter holiday of Hanukwanzamas, to describe something that doesn't really exist in nature.  It is a mostly boneless turkey that has been stuffed with a duck which has been stuffed with a chicken.  There are layers of richly-flavored stuffing between the different birds.  This behemoth is roasted in the oven for 12 or 20 hours, and when carved, will feed half the population of Omaha, Nebraska.  Still only two drumsticks, though.  Bummer.

I not only want to serve turducken, I want to prepare it myself.  Which creates a couple of huge logistical problems, the biggest one being that once again, I waited too long to properly plan this.  Another problem is that I can bone a chicken breast but not much beyond that.

I will cook a turducken before I die.

Now I did come across a recipe for a totally boneless turducken which relies on the breast of each bird to make a nice roulade which is then wrapped in bacon.  This sounds entirely manageable, except for one small problem - duck breast has disappeared entirely from the refrigerator cases at BJs.  This situation has persisted for several years and has really put a crimp in my cooking, as I have a number of really awesome recipes using duck breast.  So I would have to order the duck online, at ridiculously inflated prices and then, to add insult to injury, pay UPS or USPS a usurous sum of money to ship the darn thing.

And there stands the conundrum.  Maybe I'll try it for Hanukwanzamas after floating a bank loan.  Or maybe I will learn how to debone a turkey before next Thanksgiving, because whole duck is still available at the local supermarket.

A girl can dream, can't she?

No comments:

Post a Comment