Saturday, November 26, 2011

#32 He Doesn't Like Deep Fried Turkey

Our Thanksgiving turkey for quite some time was cooked in the traditional format, in the oven. In those days, our eyes were blinded to the depth of possibilities in goodness that a turkey could have. Now, we feast on two birds.

I said it, two.

The traditional weighs in at at least 22-pounds, and don't get me wrong, I still love it. There is nothing quite like ripping a piece of roasted turkey off the bone as it drips with natural juice sent straight from heaven.

The deep fried turkey weighs in at a measly 13-pounds only because the deep fryer can't hold more. I'll try, but mere words do not work quite as well as the look on one's face and the sounds that are made after sampling a piece of deep fried turkey.

If a deep fried turkey is foreign to you, and the words do not make a symphony begin to instantly play as your heart starts to palpitate, my heart has just broken for you a little.

I'm not quite sure what sight could be lovelier than that.

Our deep fried turkey is Cajun injected. That means that aside from just being deep fried (which honestly, is awesome enough) it is injected (literally, like with a plastic needle and everything) with Cajun seasonings, and then my dad also coats it the night before in a Cajun rub.

Let not this word "Cajun" worry you. While it can be a little on the spicily flavorful side, it is not overpowering at all. In fact, the meat is made juicier than one could imagine possible. As a dark meat lover, I never eat white meat because I find it dry and boring, but from the deep fryer, I allow white meat upon my plate.

And, (hands over your eyes if you are a health freak) the skin is the absolute best part. Perfect crispness with delightful taste oozing from corner to corner.

My dad used to have to go outside to fry our turkey for the dreaded fear of fire. But last year, I found the bargain of all bargains that has made his life, and mine, full of deep fried enchantment.

While at my local Acme, my husband and I stumbled upon an electric turkey deep fryer that could be used indoors. We were stunned, flabbergasted in fact. Of course there are the tiny deep fryers that can be used indoor to fry things like french fries, chicken tenders, onion rings, hot wings....

(Do you think we do this often? Perhaps, every Fry-day? Seriously, we do.)

...but an electric deep fryer big enough to fry a 13-pound turkey and able to be used inside? We thought it was unheard of. Then we looked at the price and thought we were insane. $30.

After pulling my phone out to check the price online we realized that this fryer was going for about $110 everywhere else.

(Fortunately for you, I've found it today on and it is only $84.98:)

The fryer was instantly purchased (instantly, because it was the only one there and clearly anyone who had walked by this deal before us had taken leave of their senses momentarily). Life has not been quite the same since.

At our weekly "Fry-day" my dad will fry up hot wings in this fryer and we will sing praises for the goodness of flavor that fills our mouths.

But Thanksgiving is our deep fryers true time to shine. To those who are leery, you must try it at least once in your life. If for some reason you decide it is not heaven on earth as I claim, you may sit on the side of the table with my husband, otherwise known as the side reserved for wimps and health freaks.

And then that just means there is more deliciousness for me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

#31 He is Thankful

In the days leading to Thanksgiving excitement begins to burst from within me in such a way that I cannot contain myself from bubbling over in nonsense chatter like a four-year-old excited about being able to spell the word cat. But the question always comes up: Why? Why does a 20-something person get so excited for these the point that Christmas music is playing in the beginning of November while claims are still being made that Thanksgiving is the best?

My original answer always sounded something like this: I love Thanksgiving because, it is the start of the holiday season, and because, you know, the parade, the excitement, the turkey, all the other food, getting together with family, being thankful for things, and so on.

Deep down I knew what I was trying to say in my jumble of stereotypical holiday lingo, however, I never really knew how to phrase it.

I have been brought up in very fortunate surroundings. For many, the holidays mean more pressure, more work, fights, spoiled brats, and little or no appreciation. These people have to go into the holidays with a penciled-in-smile on their face and come out of the holidays saying how wonderful everything was when in reality they spent most of the day at odds with those they love.

For others, the holidays are all about one person, ME. All this person cares about is the bottom line—What is in it for ME? What gifts will I be getting? The rest doesn’t matter, they could walk by dozens of manger scenes and hear continuous carols played but the bottom line of the holidays for them is always of selfish concerns.

As I reflect on my life, I remember that the holidays hold many of my treasured memories, and perhaps this is why I hold them so dear.

I used to always claim Christmas as my favorite holiday because, of course---it’s Christmas! But when I really thought about it, I found Thanksgiving to truly be my favorite holiday. It’s like preparing for a wedding. The wedding day isn’t the only exciting thing about a wedding. The engagement, the preparation, the bridal shower, the rehearsal, these things added together brings about the excitement for a wedding.

The ultimate excitement does come to a climax on Christmas day, but the events surrounding Christmas, to me, are full of the most holiday cheer.

If someone were to swipe away all my Thanksgiving traditions and leave me merely with the ability to celebrate with a turkey dinner, but nothing else, the day would be ruined. You see, the day isn’t built around just some meal. My love and excitement for the day goes to times shared and memories made. Sometimes these memories are traditions like eating a breakfast composed of all desserts, or watching the Macy’s parade snuggled up on the couch, or “helping” dad carve the turkey by picking at juicy pieces hanging loose. And then, sometimes these memories are impromptu surprises, like going to the movies after the meal with my older brother, or going out with my dad to look at a Corvette that I desperately wanted to buy. (And I did!) The day is full of excitement and anticipation, and best of all everyone is home and together. And once the day ends, we all know the excitement won’t go away because it has only just begun.

Thanksgiving marks the start of more traditions, more family times, more coziness and comfort. So often we view these holidays as just what they are: Thanksgiving equals turkey, Christmas equals presents. But they are so much more. The holidays are memories waiting to be made. They are times to put this crazy life on hold, times to give rather than to receive, times to snuggle up with ones you love while gazing at a beautifully lit tree with or without presents under it.

So simple, yet, so often we get it all wrong. We allow the holidays to take our spirit rather than to give it to us. We allow the holidays to become an excuse to be ungrateful rather than content. We complain that we have children to shop for, meals to cook, and family to visit.

But what if we didn't? Every complaint we make could become a statement of grief if the things we complain about so often weren't there to complain about.

Think about it.

So here is to starting this holiday season with excitement and hope. Here is to sharing traditions, both old and new, with those you love. And most importantly, here is to holidays that are rich and full of childlike emotions that are hard to express but wonderful to experience and take part in.

For all the things we have, may the Lord make us truly grateful.