Don’t confuse Thanksgiving with the Fourth of July

Unless, maybe, you think explosions are appetizing.

See? This is why vegetarian Thanksgivings are better. We’re just planning on getting a whole lot of Romaine lettuce, which is curiously inexpensive right now.

(Not really — we’re having a guest over, so we’re fixing a small ham, along with the usual crop of safe vegetables.)


  1. Jazzlet says

    Romaine is very good blanched until limp, drained well then spead on a platter, drizzled with oyster sauce or soy sauce followed by smoking hot groundnut oil or chilli oil. Just saying ….

  2. says

    There are even worse things that exploding turkeys:
    “We are rapidly approaching the time of year when visions of dancing sugar-plums (whatever they are) are driven from children’s heads by more serious concerns of lift, drag, acceleration, weight-to-power ratios, and the physics of Santa and the sleigh and Redolf the Rude Nosed Reindeer and all that company.
    Sadly I must now disabuse the imaginative little tykes of one of the traditional first principles of their calculations. You see…

    You see,

    …the idea of Santa and his flying reindeer is patently absurd.

    No members of the Cervidae have aerodynamic propensities, and Rangifer tarandus is not an exception.

    The misapprehension is, of course, based in part on a mishearing. It isn’t Santa and his flying reindeer with an ‘L’, no, it is Santa and his frying reindeer with an ‘R’: chicken-fried reindeer being a delicacy in the deep south of those far northern reaches. This, I’m sure, is well known to you all.
    But there is a much more serious, indeed a deadly dangerous, origin for the error. It has not hitherto been acknowledged in public that this common fallacy is also based in part on an incident some time in the mid nineteen fifties, though one associated with Thanksgiving rather than with Christmas. One Thanksgiving Santa unfortunately tried deep frying his reindeer without defrosting it first: the resulting explosion propelling a ballistic reindeer hundreds of miles into the air. Seeing this hot object hurtling from over the Pole at the height of the cold war, briefly raised DEFCON to level zero (which as you all know, lies somewhere between “Where is John Connor and his tame Terminator when you need them?” and a message to cockroaches everywhere to evolve into something with more intelligence and preferably fewer legs and less skittering (Eyeeeeeew!)). This also explains why NORAD has, for these many years, broadcast, completely unencrypted, Santa’s progress round the world each Christmas Eve. It’s a rare example of someone actually learning from history, and so not having to go to all the bother of repeating it……”

  3. eurosid says

    Wouldn’t deep frying the romaine take care of those pesky E Coli? The little buggers couldn’t survive the peanut oil inferno, could they? Surely not.

    You’d just need a bucket of bleach around to rinse your hands after handling the raw lettuce.

  4. jrkrideau says

    I have never seen or heard of a deep-fried turkey before. Would it not just be easier to use less oil rather than calling out the fire department?

    @ Jazzlet
    That recipe looks good but I may wait till the E. Coli scare is over; and until I can pick up some oyster sauce.

  5. Ragutis says

    I forget where I read it, but the best Thanksgiving related comment I’ve seen so far was (approximately): “If you bring a salad to my Thanksgiving, you’ll be eating it outside on the porch, alone.”

    Anyway, the holidays pretty much always suck for me now. My dad never really gave a shit about Thanksgiving or even X-mas. Birthdays aren’t even something to recognize, let alone celebrate. That’s only gotten worse since my mother passed. It’s gotten damn tiresome to bust my ass on these occasions. I’m going through the motions for myself now, basically. My dad’ll maybe be polite and gruffly acknowledge the effort I put in, but as far he’s concerned, I could’ve brought home a couple of burgers from Checkers. This much leftover stuffing and deviled eggs surely aren’t good for me. I’ve loved growing up and living down here in FL, but the last few years, I’ve been really missing having someone to share this whole “holiday” thing with, whether a partner or my extended family up north. I like this stuff. I like cooking and making a big deal meal, and decorating the house and hanging up lights. It would just be a whole lot better doing it all with someone who gave a flying fuck.

    Anyways, since people are talking about boiling green stuff… just go southern and do collard greens. A pot. A couple of (SMOKED) ham hocks or turkey necks. Well rinsed, de-stemmed collard greens. Water. A splash (or two) of apple cider vinegar. A pinch (or two) of red pepper flakes. I usually toss in a clove of garlic (or two) and an onion (or two) as well. (Peel it, trim the top and BARELY the root. Flower it, sorta, by cutting about 2/3rds or so down into 6 or 8 sections. It should stay together and be easy to fish out at the end. Not the end of the world if a few “petals” break off and end up in your final product. Just pretend that you meant that to happen.) Some people like to add a splash (or two) of bourbon. Simmer somewhere between 4 to 8 hours, drain, sprinkle with crispy bacon bits and serve. (You can do Kale or other greens pretty much the same way) And don’t you dare dump the simmering liquid down the drain!. Heat up a mug of it on a cold night or use it as part of a base for your next homemade soup. )

  6. davidc1 says

    Don’t you Americans find thanksgiving too close to xmas ,it would kill us Brits to have two turkey dinners so close together .

  7. Matrim says

    @jrkrideau, 6

    There’s a few reasons why fryer fires happen, overfilling is just one. Another reason is most backyard dryers aren’t built with any sort of temperature regulator other than the fuel valve, so people offer overheat the oil. People also are squeamish about the possibility of a fire, so they may tip the oil vessel while putting the bird in because they’re more concerned with keeping their body out of the line of fire. Additionally, if you haven’t thawed your bird thoroughly when you put it in the oil the rapid heating of ice will cause serious splutter, which can cause overflow even if the oil is the correct height.

    If you’re going to fry, I suggest using a digitally regulated fryer with proper fill markings. That eliminates many of the issues. And thaw yer dang turkey.

  8. jrkrideau says

    If you’re going to fry
    I am planning on stir-fried chicken tonight but there is no way I am doing a turkey. Especially, as today is just a normal weekday here in Canada but probably not ever.

    For deep frying small items, I have my trusty oil/candy thermometer.

    As davidc1 @ 5 said earlier, “you Americans are a strange people”. And I should know, my mother was from Michigan.

  9. lymie says

    Why don’t folks turn off the gas, put the turkey in and let everything settle down and relight it?

  10. microraptor says

    lymie @13: Probably because of how much longer that takes. One of the reasons people fry turkeys instead of baking them is because of how much faster a cooking method it is.

  11. lymie says

    This makes no sense. Turning the gas off for 3 minutes is not making much difference overall. Unless I missed thermo?

  12. Kamaka says

    “That might be why ham is the traditional meat for Christmas dinner.”

    The ham tradition at easter and xmas was/is also about outing Jews.

  13. Kamaka says

    @ lymie

    Most if not all of the scary fire scenes in that video were staged.

    Call the video a Public Service Announcement to keep people from doing stupid shit in their garages.

  14. microraptor says

    lymie @15: Well, consider that nearly 100% of fires caused by frying turkeys are due to operator error. If the person was being smart there wouldn’t be problems.

  15. Knabb says

    If you can’t blow up a deep fryer making vegetarian food in it, that’s on you, not the vegetarian food.

  16. voidhawk says

    Wait, you people deep fry an ENTIRE TURKEY?

    I don’t know how to process this information.

  17. MadHatter says

    davidc1 @8: I never had turkey at xmas until I moved to the UK. And until then I also thought roast goose was the traditional British xmas dish. Too many books obviously. My family had a tradition of just having a huge potluck, mostly involving various Chinese and Italian dishes (I had an Italian grandmother, and a Chinese aunt) and lots of cookies. No single food for me.

    So yes, I’d say that’s too much turkey. But for me at least, turkey is meant only for Thanksgiving!

  18. Dunc says

    Roast goose used to be the traditional British Christmas dish, but it’s really expensive and much harder to get. Turkey only really became the mainstay of the British Christmas dinner in the 1950s, when turkey breeding went large-scale with the result that it became much cheaper.

    Personally, I’m not a fan… But then I don’t do a big family Christmas, and haven’t for many years. I tend to have pheasant or venison.

  19. says

    My brother, while in California, helped out, some times, a guy with a ranch. This meant he also sometimes dealt with local farms. Some of them had full blown trailers, with actual places to wash your hands, after you did your business. The majority of them? “That would cost too much. We just use outhouses.” He asked them, “OK, so.. how much does it ‘cost’ when you lose all your profits in a recall, because your workforce contaminated all the crops?”

    Maybe some of them will actually learn a lesson this time, since in the last two days, half the shit on the shelves seems to have been pulled, but.. somehow I doubt it. And, by god, “None of that government telling me I need to actually have places for people to wash their hands!”, right?

  20. asclepias says

    I prefer pheasant to turkey. We got a turkey this year (not my decision), but quite honestly, it’s not my favorite. My mom expressed interest in trying to make a roast goose this year after Dad shot two on his annual pilgrimage to Iowa. Dad said he’ll be sure to pluck the next one he gets right away. The two he had had been dead for a week and out in the cold, and apparently plucking a cold goose is an adventure he’d rather not revisit. (I myself am doing a lot of running around today. I’m on housesitting duty for 4 dogs (they are all in the same house, but still…))

  21. asclepias says

    This gives me a great idea for a new blog post! Wild turkey post, here I come! Time to go do some research.

  22. Onamission5 says

    @lymie #15:

    You’re not wrong that turning off the gas would make turkey placement safer. The problem is that once the gas is off, you have to turn it back on, then quickly place your arm under a pot full of boiling oil and turkey to relight the burner.

    Basically deep frying a turkey isn’t a safe activity regardless of how one goes about it.

  23. davidc1 says

    Ham for xmas dinner ,the horror .I read somewhere that the turkeys that are bred for xmas in GB are so fat that it strains the poor things heart ,And a lot of turkey farms are in the East of the Country where there are RAF and a couple of USAF bases
    So the story goes fast jets+ sonic booms + turkeys with dodgy hearts = a lot of turkeys dying of heart attacks .

  24. says

    @26 And… What is your definition of safe. My brother, again, had a period in which he worked in very cold areas, doing roofing. To “pump” the tar up to the roof they had to sometimes heat it to stupidly hot temperatures, or it would solidify before it got through the tube, to the roof. The only thing that saved one guy on the job from third degree burns, and possibly worse, was that he had gloves, a full head cover, goggles, and a thick coat on. What did he do? He tossed a chunk of tar, which had hit the ground, back into the pot, which ice and snow frozen onto it. Needless to say, it exploded on him, emptying out almost the whole contents of the machine. So.. If being drenched in hot oil, but not lit on fire, sounds like a “safer” situation….

  25. Curt Sampson says

    No members of the Cervidae have aerodynamic propensities….

    Anything has aerodynamic propensities if you have a catapult of sufficient size.

  26. Ragutis says


    22 November 2018 at 5:43 am

    Wait, you people deep fry an ENTIRE TURKEY?

    It cuts down on cooking time, crisps the skin and keeps the meat moist. Like fries, chips, fish fillets or fried chicken, if the oil is the right temp,the food doesn’t end up greasy. It CAN be done safely, and is done so by likely thousands of people every year. Alton Brown had a Good Eats episode showing one (perhaps a bit over-engineered) way how. Biggest causes of disco turkey infernos are not doing it in an open space well away from structures, too much oil, not using a room temperature fully thawed turkey, and not paying attention during the entirety of the cooking process with a handy fire extinguisher at one’s side. And frankly, with the right preparation and precautions taken, it’s probably the easiest job of the day. A bit like grilling or smoking; you sit back outside in the fresh air with a refreshing beverage and watch the meat while your guests and the rest of the household bicker, quarrel and rush around doing everything else inside.

    On another note, I’ve always wanted to try roasting a goose for the Thanksgiving, Xmas or New Years, but it’s just my dad and me. I looked at the amount of the leftover turkey from the other night and told him that next year I’m just going to buy a Cornish hen.

    On another another note, I’m going to make Turducken soup. There’ll be plenty of this turkey breast left, I’ve got a roast duck carcass in the freezer and some chicken thighs. Gonna throw it all in a big pot tomorrow and see what happens.

    Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and best of luck untangling your holiday lights this week.