The 2020 Holidays Recipe Collection
How you doin’? What would Thanksgiving be without a turkey? Not a good old American Thanksgiving… that’s what.
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States. In case you forgot or missed this lesson is school, in 1621 the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as the first American Thanksgiving celebration in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
In September 1620, a small ship—the Mayflower—left Plymouth, England carrying 102 passengers… an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith, and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing lasting 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.
Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English.
Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ brought in their first corn harvest. Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the first Thanksgiving’s exact menu, much of what we know about what happened at the first Thanksgiving comes from Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow, who wrote, “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty." There are reports that lobster, seal and swans were on the Pilgrims' menu.
Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.
So how did we come to turning things upside down. When roasted upside down, the turkey breast isn't directly exposed to the heat. As the turkey roasts, the fatty dark meat of the thighs renders fat and juices that drip down over the breast meat, slow basting the bird through the entire cooking process until nearly the end.
Make sure the turkey isn't sticking to its roasting rack by running a spatula or table knife between the two. Hand protection in place, grasp the turkey at its neck and tail ends and quickly but carefully flip it. Try to keep the turkey level, so any juice or ingredients in the cavity don't spill out.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: Varies by the weight of the turkey (15 to 18 minutes per pound)
Rest/Cool Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Yield: One Turkey
1 13-20# fresh turkey
1/2 cup chicken stock
stuffing of your choice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1-1/2 cups dry white wine (room temperature)
ChefSecret: To help make the lift and flip easier, I sometimes take a large loaf of French bread, cut it lengthwise, butter all sides and place it on the roasting rack and place the turkey on top of the bread to make it easier to turn. Don’t throw the bread away, lightly toast it—it tastes pretty good as well.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: I just heard; the face mask is the 2020 bra. It’s uncomfortable, it’s only worn in public, and when you don’t wear one—EVERYONE NOTICES!
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Here is wishing you the very best for the upcoming holidays. To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind welcoming in the holiday season. If you have a little extra in your pockets to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America.
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