November 25, 2011

A few years ago, I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my family, mostly as a joke.  I said I would do it, but it would be pasta, because that was all I could cook.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been on a concerted mission to learn how to cook for real.  I realized it would take practice and experimenting, so almost every week, I’ve invited friends over and made something new, before watching Castle.  I’ve made lots of different things, just trying to learn technique and what happens to food when you do different things.  I’ve been paying more attention to what I like and what I don’t like.

This year, I offered to cook Thanksgiving, and I saw it as kind of a graduate project — what have I learned, and could I do a real, traditional meal?  The answer is yes.  I decided to roast a chicken rather than a turkey since there were only five of us eating.  But if you’d told me a few years ago I’d be cooking a whole bird of any kind, I’d have scoffed.  But here it is:

It turned out very well if I do say so myself.  Dealing with a whole raw chicken was kind of weird, like I expected it to get up and sing “Sledgehammer” at any minute.  I didn’t do stuffing or casserole or anything like that, mostly because I’m not a huge fan of them, and if you can’t decide the menu when you’re cooking, what’s the point?  But you know what I am a fan of?  Jellied cranberries.  I can’t explain it, it just is.

Anyway, I think I need to officially stop claiming I can’t cook.  I may even do a chicken again some time.


7 Responses to “Thanksgiving”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Nice job. Whole birds are intimidating, especially for a holiday meal. Way to step out of the comfort zone.

  2. Mom Says:

    It was great!

  3. yep – jellied cranberries, and you just slide the whole thing out of the can onto a plate, then slice it a few times. Just like the Gods intended!

  4. Alex Wolfe Says:

    The easiest way to cook an entire chicken while expanding your cooking repertoire to include the best soups you’ve ever made, is to make chicken stock.

    1. Get a whole, 3-4 lb. chicken, a medium onion, a large carrot, 1-2 stalks of celery, a bay leaf, a dash of thyme, some sprigs of fresh parsley, salt/pepper to taste. Dice the vegetables (don’t worry about dicing them nicely, they’re only there to flavor the stock. Don’t even peel the onion.)Throw all of that in a stock pot, add 16 cups of water, and cook it for 1-2 hours until the chicken is done. Strain the vegetables and chicken from the liquid. Press the juice out, and voila! You have an entire cooked chicken to use in meals and a gallon or so of homemade chicken broth (freeze and use when you need it), which is far healthier, cheaper, and better tasting than anything you can get in the store.

  5. Thomas Says:

    Thanks for the suggestion for chicken stock, Alex.

    Great job, Carrie! It looks delicious. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  6. Jazz Let Says:

    Laughing at Sledgehammer chickens. I’ve met the man who directed that video, it was a real struggle not to gush about Peter Gabriel, he’s done lots of other stuff after all.

    Love the wooden bowls.

    Don’t forget you can make stock from the bones and leftovers bits and bobs when you have done a roast.

  7. Tiffany R. Says:

    Carrie, your dinner looks great!!! This year was my first time making Thanksgiving dinner and I thought it was pretty good. Good luck next year. 🙂

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