The last few years, I haven’t always had a turkey on the table – there are so many feast worthy foods out there, I just can’t help but try something new. This year I’m doing a double whammy and not serving turkey or pie – two of the dishes that most people couldn’t live without on the Thanksgiving table.
Perhaps I like to try new things because of disasters past? Turkeys don’t scare me on principle, and I’ve made quite a few that turned out perfectly golden brown, moist and delicious. But then there were a few that didn’t quite live up to the Thanksgiving standard. There was the turkey breast one year that was a lovely chestnut brown, but was so dry that we thought we were eating paper shreds. Then another year, we had a lovely whole bird that looked and smelled amazing – until we started carving the breast meat only to realize it was woefully underdone. Right at the moment that our guests were arriving. Thinking quick on my feet, I shoved the whole platter into the microwave and was surreptitiously pulling it out just as everyone was walking in the door.
And the pies. Pumpkin pie is standard on nearly every Thanksgiving table. One year we had the perfect pumpkin pie. Until I was pulling it out of the oven at the end of the meal with everyone anticipating how delicious it would be, and then promptly dropping it on the floor. The glass pie plate shattered and everyone just stared in stunned silence. Or the year that I managed to get the thing out of the oven and sliced, only to realize that I forgot one crucial ingredient – the sugar. It was so awful even courtesy bites were abandoned.
All disasters aside, I don’t really think that’s why I’ve more or less abandoned the turkey, or the pumpkin pie. There is just so much out there! Crown racks of lamb, pork rib roasts studded with cloves, whole smoked pheasants. Then there are the quick breads, the pastries, the parfaits. There is just far too much to choose from; why settle for turkey and pumpkin pie every time?