How to Buy a Thanksgiving Turkey

SeeTurkey Labels

This month, millions of us will find ourselves standing, dazed and confused, at butcher shops, supermarkets, hoity-toity gourmet stores, and farmers markets, wondering how to buy a Thanksgiving turkey. Once again we’ll be confronted, as we are each November, with every conceivable type of turkey, each labeled with terms that may seem straightforward but in fact don’t always mean what you’d think. Fresh. Frozen. Free-range. Organic. Kosher. Natural. Heritage. Self-basting. Wild. With such a litany of ill-defined and largely unregulated information bombarding us, the task of choosing a bird for that holiest of holy food days can range from haphazard to hand-wringing. So I decided to find out once and for all what these darn terms mean and which ones will cause spontaneous choruses of “We’re having Thanksgiving at your house again next year!” from your guests. Read more “How to Buy a Thanksgiving Turkey” »

A Tale of Two Portuguese Stuffings

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was part holiday, part carnival. We’d gather around the table and all the women (that’s not as sexist a remark as it may seem; it was the ’60s, after all) would become carnie barkers. Right after my grandfather finished grace, the air would explode with their babble—Hey, you, young man! How about you, little lady!—trying to coax you to step up and try their kale soup, sausage stuffing, or meringue cookies. Sides were heavily drawn along immediate family lines, until that first brave (read: foolish) cousin dared dip his fork into an aunt’s paprika-and-chouriço-roasted potatoes, and all hell broke lose. Matrilineal allegiances would drop like canaries in a mine shaft and the annual holiday season had begun. Read more “A Tale of Two Portuguese Stuffings” »

The Secret Behind Milk Mayonnaise

Milk Mayonnaise

It’s the unlikeliest of couples. One thin and popular, the other fat and shunned. Each repelled by the other. But when senselessly beaten into a frenzied submission, oh, how they cave! These two frenemies suddenly give in and embrace one other, creating a more perfect union.

Sound like a bad episode of The Marriage Ref? Not surprising. When these culinary opposites—milk and oil—are thrown together, they act a lot like warring spouses, which makes their participation in the creation of Portuguese maionese de leite (may-o-NEZ duh late), or milk mayonnaise, all the more amazing. Read more “The Secret Behind Milk Mayonnaise” »