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Thoughts from the Thanksgiving Cook  Patricia Fish
 Nov 27, 2002 05:41 PST 
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Some Cooking Thoughts for Thanksgiving

Besides wishing yon readers a happy Thanksgiving, I thought Iíd lay down some prose as regards the great cooking activity and the things Iíve learned about making food that tastes good.

Because cooking a good tasting meal is about a whole bunch of small things; small things I once thought to be of little import. Such as really reading the recipe.

Indeed, my formerly naÔve self once thought that in order to be "good" tasting, a recipe had to be complicated and have a bevy of ingredients. Thus I would make grand affairs that required a shopping list of ingredients, hours to rise, punch, twist and knead, then many minutes of cooking or baking. The big discovery my middle aged mind made was that list of ingredients should be minded for personal tastes and preferences. Which means if I donít like turnips by themselves Iíll probably not like them within a casserole, stew or soup. Through my cooking years Iíve discovered that a scrutiny of a recipeís ingredients will give much insight as to whether I or others partaking, would enjoy the final result.

Then there was that little matter of quantities, once having been firmly of the school of thought that if a teaspoon added flavor, then a cup would propel the result to gourmet heights. So it was with my fine fresh herbs grown in mine own garden. Fresh herbs, as any alleged cook would know, are the benchmark for flavoring good eats. So Iíd add a slew of sage only to discover, upon tasting, that everything tasted like sage. Which is a fine taste but if I wanted the exclusive taste of sage I should just boil up a bundle, add butter, salt and pepper, and eat up. For it is a fine combination of flavors that makes a tasty dish and yea, through trial and error, I figured this out the hard way.

Understanding how food "works" is another factor in generating a well-flavored meal. Once upon a time I paid such scant mind and altered recipes willy-nilly for the inconvenience of some action or lack of ingredient. Such as sifting flour seemed a waste of time and in due course I realized that this inaction caused the resulting cake to be heavy and lumpy. Searing meat in a separate pan before adding to the slow cooker or incorporating into the casserole was but another dirty pan to my efficiency oriented self. Which is why the meat in these dishes would come out grey and dry for lack of a quick sear that sealed in the juices. And youíd never have convinced me that separating a yolk from the white wasnít a complete and messy waste of time. Thus Iíd never bother. Which is why meringues were out of the question and fluffy angel food cakes would never happen.

Cooking is not necessarily an activity of convenience and efficiency is what Iím saying here and it took years for my career woman self to get a clue. So I now stand and stir with patience, no longer of the position that this is a boring and unnecessary activity. Indeed it is an activity that will cause the result to be smooth and flavorful with a harmonious meld of tastes that couldnít happen without this ministration of the cook.

Finally, thereís the tasting thing. Which is only common sense after all. Iím still adjusting to this notion though I donít quite know why. But for sure the chef should take a taste of whatever the hell he/she is cooking because the time to adjust seasonings or cooking time would be at the time the dish is being finalized, not after the deed is done and presented to all the world with inadequate salt and way too much thyme. Indeed I would eagerly prepare a bevy of dishes without tasting a one beforehand. The notion was that at some calmer time, myself would sit down to a feast of foods, all lovingly prepared earlier awaiting my later indulgence. Only to discover that this needed more sugar, that needed more salt or damn I wish Iíd added some nuts to these cookies. When adding sugar, salt and nuts would be way more efficient if done while the dish was still in preparation instead of after the fact.

Not that one womanís mistakes and erroneous cooking assumptions will change the world as Americans across the land prepare their Thanksgiving meals. Myself is preparing a turkey, of course. Which will be seasoned with a small amount of sage, salt and pepper. The cavity will be filled with an onion, garlic clove, slice of lemon and a few sage leaves. The skin of the turkey will be separated from the bird that a generous butter rub can be massaged directly onto the flesh.

The stuffing will be a simple affair: purchased bread cubes, a can of chicken broth, a bit of sage, salt, pepper and turkey drippings slathered within as the bird cooks. No oysters, nuts or cranberries as, ahem, many years Iíd added these things as they sounded so cool, to discover I just wanted some flavorful bread on which to dump my gravy.

This year we will be going back to an old Merryland tradition. Which is the preparation of a sauerkraut side dish. Husband, from Taxachusetts, commented on this odd tradition the first year my mother offered same as sheíd done for many years. I shall use canned sauerkraut, not the bagged fresher stuff. The fresher stuff might be viewed by the elite as healthier and crunchier but here in Merryland we cook the fermented cabbage for about forever and hey, itís how I like it. Iíll add some country spareribs to the kraut and cook it in the slow cooker for many hours.

The sweet potatoes will be baked, simply and easily, as a whole item. There will be no syrup, marshmallows or other sweet stuff added. Come the time, I will split the potato, add a big dab of butter and this is all that is required by me.

There will be cornbread and mashed potatoes and a home-made apple pie for dessert. Naturally there will be offered a can of cranberry sauce. Yes indeed, Ocean Spray for me, complete with the can rings plainly obvious on the slab and indicative of my total lack of class. Hey, cranberry sauce is a critical part of the infamous day-after sandwich of turkey, stuffing topped with cranberry sauce on a crusty roll. Thus it must be included with the main meal.

Whatever the food choices, yon readers have a happy Thanksgiving, however and with whomever it is celebrated. Give the thanks you may have and know that you live in the greatest country on earth.

If nothing else, give thanks for this.



To change your email address, sign up a friend, or any other membership issues concerning this list, contact LISKA-@aol.com .

Any portion of this column can be copied and used for other lists or emailed to other interested parties so long as proper attribution to the author is made.


"The Memoirs of Josephine Fish"

by Patricia Fish

TO ORDER:

http://www.sirius-books.com/josephinefish.html

+++++++++++

"Everything You Need To Know About Being a Woman Can Be Learned in the Garden"

By Patricia Fish

TO ORDER:

http://dlsijpress.com/fish/



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<DIV><FONT size=2><B>
<P>Some Cooking Thoughts for Thanksgiving</P></B>
<P>Besides wishing yon readers a happy Thanksgiving, I thought Iíd lay down some
prose as regards the great cooking activity and the things Iíve learned about
making food that tastes good.</P>
<P>Because cooking a good tasting meal is about a whole bunch of small things;
small things I once thought to be of little import. Such as really reading the
recipe.</P>
<P>Indeed, my formerly naÔve self once thought that in order to be "good"
tasting, a recipe had to be complicated and have a bevy of ingredients. Thus I
would make grand affairs that required a shopping list of ingredients, hours to
rise, punch, twist and knead, then many minutes of cooking or baking. The big
discovery my middle aged mind made was that list of ingredients should be minded
for personal tastes and preferences. Which means if I donít like turnips by
themselves Iíll probably not like them within a casserole, stew or soup. Through
my cooking years Iíve discovered that a scrutiny of a recipeís ingredients<B>
</B>will give much insight as to whether I or others partaking, would enjoy the
final result.</P>
<P>Then there was that little matter of quantities, once having been firmly of
the school of thought that if a teaspoon added flavor, then a cup would propel
the result to gourmet heights. So it was with my fine fresh herbs grown in mine
own garden. Fresh herbs, as any alleged cook would know, are the benchmark for
flavoring good eats. So Iíd add a slew of sage only to discover, upon tasting,
that everything tasted like sage. Which is a fine taste but if I wanted the
exclusive taste of sage I should just boil up a bundle, add butter, salt and
pepper, and eat up. For it is a fine combination of flavors that makes a tasty
dish and yea, through trial and error, I figured this out the hard way.</P>
<P>Understanding how food "works" is another factor in generating a
well-flavored meal. Once upon a time I paid such scant mind and altered recipes
willy-nilly for the inconvenience of some action or lack of ingredient. Such as
sifting flour seemed a waste of time and in due course I realized that this
inaction caused the resulting cake to be heavy and lumpy. Searing meat in a
separate pan before adding to the slow cooker or incorporating into the
casserole was but another dirty pan to my efficiency oriented self. Which is why
the meat in these dishes would come out grey and dry for lack of a quick sear
that sealed in the juices. And youíd never have convinced me that separating a
yolk from the white wasnít a complete and messy waste of time. Thus Iíd never
bother. Which is why meringues were out of the question and fluffy angel food
cakes would never happen.</P>
<P>Cooking is not necessarily an activity of convenience and efficiency is what
Iím saying here and it took years for my career woman self to get a clue. So I
now stand and stir with patience, no longer of the position that this is a
boring and unnecessary activity. Indeed it is an activity that will cause the
result to be smooth and flavorful with a harmonious meld of tastes that couldnít
happen without this ministration of the cook.</P>
<P>Finally, thereís the tasting thing. Which is only common sense after all. Iím
still adjusting to this notion though I donít quite know why. But for sure the
chef should take a taste of whatever the hell he/she is cooking because the time
to adjust seasonings or cooking time would be at the time the dish is being
finalized, not after the deed is done and presented to all the world with
inadequate salt and way too much thyme. Indeed I would eagerly prepare a bevy of
dishes without tasting a one beforehand. The notion was that at some calmer
time, myself would sit down to a feast of foods, all lovingly prepared earlier
awaiting my later indulgence. Only to discover that this needed more sugar, that
needed more salt or damn I wish Iíd added some nuts to these cookies. When
adding sugar, salt and nuts would be way more efficient if done while the dish
was still in preparation instead of after the fact.</P>
<P>Not that one womanís mistakes and erroneous cooking assumptions will change
the world as Americans across the land prepare their Thanksgiving meals. Myself
is preparing a turkey, of course. Which will be seasoned with a small amount of
sage, salt and pepper. The cavity will be filled with an onion, garlic clove,
slice of lemon and a few sage leaves. The skin of the turkey will be separated
from the bird that a generous butter rub can be massaged directly onto the
flesh. </P>
<P>The stuffing will be a simple affair: purchased bread cubes, a can of chicken
broth, a bit of sage, salt, pepper and turkey drippings slathered within as the
bird cooks. No oysters, nuts or cranberries as, ahem, many years Iíd added these
things as they sounded so cool, to discover I just wanted some flavorful bread
on which to dump my gravy.</P>
<P>This year we will be going back to an old Merryland tradition. Which is the
preparation of a sauerkraut side dish. Husband, from Taxachusetts, commented on
this odd tradition the first year my mother offered same as sheíd done for many
years. I shall use canned sauerkraut, not the bagged fresher stuff. The fresher
stuff might be viewed by the elite as healthier and crunchier but here in
Merryland we cook the fermented cabbage for about forever and hey, itís how I
like it. Iíll add some country spareribs to the kraut and cook it in the slow
cooker for many hours.</P>
<P>The sweet potatoes will be baked, simply and easily, as a whole item. There
will be no syrup, marshmallows or other sweet stuff added. Come the time, I will
split the potato, add a big dab of butter and this is all that is required by
me.</P>
<P>There will be cornbread and mashed potatoes and a home-made apple pie for
dessert. Naturally there will be offered a can of cranberry sauce. Yes indeed,
Ocean Spray for me, complete with the can rings plainly obvious on the slab and
indicative of my total lack of class. Hey, cranberry sauce is a critical part of
the infamous day-after sandwich of turkey, stuffing topped with cranberry sauce
on a crusty roll. Thus it must be included with the main meal.</P>
<P>Whatever the food choices, yon readers have a happy Thanksgiving, however and
with whomever it is celebrated. Give the thanks you may have and know that you
live in the greatest country on earth.</P>
<P>If nothing else, give thanks for this.</P><B>
<P> </P>
<P>To change your email address, sign up a friend, or any other membership
issues concerning this list, contact LISKA-@aol.com . </P></B><FONT
color=#0000ff size=2>
<P>Any portion of this column can be copied and used for other lists or emailed
to other interested parties so long as proper attribution to the author is
made.</P></FONT><B><U><FONT color=#0000ff size=4>
<P align=center></P>
<P align=center>"The Memoirs of Josephine Fish" </P></B></U></FONT><FONT size=2>
<P>by Patricia Fish</P>
<P>TO ORDER:</P></FONT>
<P><A href="http://www.sirius-books.com/josephinefish.html"><FONT
size=2>http://www.sirius-books.com/josephinefish.html</FONT></A></P><FONT
size=2>
<P>+++++++++++</P></FONT><FONT face="Xerox Serif Wide" size=5>
<P>"Everything You Need To Know About Being a Woman Can Be Learned in the
Garden"</P></FONT><FONT face="Xerox Serif Wide" size=1>
<P>By Patricia Fish</P>
<P>TO ORDER:</P></FONT>
<P><A href="http://dlsijpress.com/fish/"><FONT
size=2>http://dlsijpress.com/fish/</FONT></A></P></FONT></DIV>


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