Monday, November 19, 2007

The Argus Observes: Carving the turkey and pleasing the “little woman”

By Don Lynch
From the November 24, 1952 Argus Observer

One way or another you can get the meat off the carcass so bolster up your nerve and carve your turkey at the table Thursday.

Nothing else you do will so endear you to your wife on Thanksgiving day. Put on your good suit accompanied by your best shirt and favorite tie with the tie closely clipped to your shirt front. Be appropriately brushed and manicured. You’ll cut quite a figure and the little woman will be just bubbling with pride.

The carving job is not so tough. The first essential is a sharp knife. Get it out now and hone it to a keen edge. Then if you are distracted just before dinner putting an extra leaf in the table, running out after whipping cream and welcoming guests at the last minute, you won’t have to sharpen the blade while the dinner cools. You’ll be all ready to go.

Did I hear you ask in a panic, “But how do I carve the crow?”

You just do it the obvious way. You cut off the leg, cut off the wing and there’s the turkey ready to slice. There are two schools on dealing with the leg. The precisely correct way is to slice the meat from the leg providing slices of dark meat to accompany slices of breast on the platter. But it’s quite satisfactory, especially if the bird is not overly large, to just cut the leg in two at the joint making two ample servings of dark meat.

Don’t worry and fret about getting the appendages removed from the bird. It will probably be so well done they will almost fall off, and in any event they are easy to cut free and remove with a simple twist. Clear the working area of tall glasses and goblets so you have room to maneuver freely. You’ll have no trouble at all and your home life will be bolstered for days to come by this special service on your part.

You can be helpful to your wife in another way on Thanksgiving, if you have a frozen turkey. You can remind her to allow ample time for the bird to thaw.

A frozen turkey needs a full day at room temperature to become completely thawed out, although its surface may appear to be thawed in less time. Then it should be stored in the refrigerator or other cold place over night until it is cooked the next day.

If it becomes necessary to cook the bird before thawing is completed, remember that it takes one and a half times as long as usual to cook a frozen bird and longer still if it is stuffed.

This care in the preparation of a frozen bird will pay off for the husband, because few things so upset the home atmosphere as having the turkey come to the table not quite done.

I do hope you have a pleasant Thanksgiving day dinner.

(Editor’s note: The chauvinism exhibited in this column makes me cringe when I read it 55 years after it was written. As I remember my father, he never referred to my mother as “the little woman” to her face. I think she would have had something to say about that. And he wasn’t so pompous as the writing makes him seem. Of course, there is also a good chance that his intent here was to warn others against mistakes he‘d made in previous years. I do remember an occasional Thanksgiving Day debate about whether the turkey was actually cooked through or not.)

No comments: