Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Musings

So here I am, sitting at my computer, deep in food coma. I'm back where I was last year, and the year before- asking myself if I really needed that extra helping of pie. As I contemplate Thanksgiving, the holiday comprised of my two favorite things, cooking and eating, I determine the answer to be yes. My life wouldn't be the same without that gooey mess of fat and sugar that is pecan pie.

I watched a chef at Lacroix make gravy from scratch. I don't get paid at Lacroix. I go to learn. I love it when the chefs take time to teach me. The chef browned turkey bones and bacon in a rondeau. Duck Confit was warming up on the side. I proclaimed "We should eat duck confit instead of turkey on Thanksgiving." "Why?" he responded. For lack of a better answer I said "cause it's sooooo good." He told me he could only eat one duck confit leg, but he could eat a whole turkey. "I've accepted duck confit. I know it, and I'm over it" he said. "I guess I don't know it, I could eat five duck confit legs" I said. "Yea well you're 15, you still get hard-ons in math class." I told him I get hard-ons when I eat duck confit. Every time I think that I know and understand food so well, I get a slap in the face.

Stock cooling in the sink.
I feel like this Thanksgiving was special. Last year I just made bread pudding. This year I was much more involved, much more in tune with the holiday. I prepared some broccoli, I baked some bread, I candied nuts for an appetizer, I made an apple pie, I made chicken stock from frozen bones, and I brined and am about to cook a turkey (separate one for my immediate family). The day before Thanksgiving however, I found myself rubbing a cure on pork belly that will not be ready for weeks and today I found myself making eggnog to be aged until Christmas. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for the food we have, and these two acts, like Ruhlman says, put me more in tune with the holiday than roasting any turkey could.

Pork Belly, 1/2 to be made into pancetta, the other to be made into bacon.

The Fam

I love being with family for Thanksgiving, but when I think about my ideal Thanksgiving, I see one with just a distinct bunch of my closest buddies. Everyone has come over my place, and they are sitting by the fire. We're stuffed to the brims, and are reminiscing about that time we left a team building day to go to Chipotle, but our band teacher pulled up at the same time and caught us. Or about the time we put a pita round in some jerk's pumpkin pie before the custard had set while it was baking. Or just about nothing at all. I spent all day cooking, and no one else brought anything, and I was happy, cause cooking is my equivalent to video games. I made sweet potatoes, cornbread, shitake mushroom stuffing, butternut squash soup, fork-mashed red bliss potatoes (none of that swank, french potato puree), brioche rolls, roast duck, apple, pumpkin, and pecan pie, and most importantly turkey leg confit. We would drink pumpkin spice lattes into the wee hours of the night and as the fire died down, we just kinda fell asleep. Next morning I wake up early and prepare sweet potato waffles for breakfast, then give everyone a turkey, avocado, and bacon fat mayonnaise sandwich to take home.

Holy god it's 2:30. My food coma is dying down. Goodnight.


Sarah Goodman said...

Ah.. the proverbial "My ideal meal".
hahha the pumpkin-pita-pie!
And now I know what you were doing during the chem test..

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, keep up the good work, Ryan