But I Don’t Like Turkey!
By Patrick F. Cannon
My ode last week to the joys of a proper Thanksgiving turkey dinner was well received on the whole. I must admit, however, to receiving some plaintive pleas from the few among my readers who actually don’t like Turkey. As pandering to minority rights is one of my priorities, I have decided to offer some menu ideas for this worthy, if misguided, group.
For those of my readers who are dedicated vegetarians, I offer this toothsome concoction. Into a food processor, throw generous quantities of the following: chick peas, lentils, wheat germ, oats, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, organic fresh avocado, Greek yogurt, black strap molasses and the whey from goat’s milk. Process until smooth. Here’s the festive touch. Pour into a well-greased turkey-shaped mold of the sort usually meant for Jell-O. Bake in a 350-degree oven for two hours. Let cool, then unmold and enjoy!
(If you’re a vegan, substitute tofu for the yogurt and almond milk for the goat’s whey. If your sensitivities don’t permit the turkey mold, you might try the internet to see if a mold in the shape of Miley Cyrus’ cute little head is available.)
By the way, a good starter for the above would be a concoction I recently heard an emaciated TV cook extol: avocado and miso spread. Sounds yummy to me.
In another vein, I find that many meat eaters among you deplore how we waste some of the animal’s innards that once were staples in our ancestors’ diets. Only our French cousins, it seems, regularly eat the organs and intestines of farm animals. In my own youth, kidney stew was a staple and favorite. And it’s so easy! For this recipe, I favor lamb kidneys. You may have noticed that they don’t appear regularly (or at all) in your butcher’s meat case, but any reputable shop should be able to special order some for you.
As they are rather small, you will probably need three or four kidneys to feed your hungry brood. After trimming arteries, connective tissue and other extraneous bits, cut the organs into bite-sized bits. Put into a large pot with chopped onion, and cover with water. Simmer slowly, skimming the crud off the top as you go. Now, one must admit that some more sensitive folk find the smell of simmering kidneys unsettling. Needless to say, running the exhaust fan and opening all the kitchen windows is helpful, but the weak of stomach may wish to take in a matinee at the local cinema.
Anyway, after the crud stops appearing, add cut up potatoes and carrots and season to taste. When the vegetables are tender, serve what has become a hearty kidney stew in bowls, along with a crusty bread. You’ll be surprised at the reaction.
A more obvious substitute for turkey would be ham. Now, you could just bake a whole or half ham, but I have another variation you might try. Instead of a large chunk of ham, ask for ham steaks. One steak should feed two or three, so buy accordingly. To speed cooking, they shouldn’t be too thick – a half inch is about right.
Grease a large frying pan or griddle with bacon fat or lard. Fry the steaks thoroughly on both sides until a crust forms. My daughter Elizabeth suggests that what we’re looking for rather resembles tree bark. When satisfied with the firmness of the finish, pour a bottle or two of maraschino cherries and their juices over the ham and continue heating until the sauce is piping hot. Cut into serving portions with a chain saw, and make sure your steak knives are sharp. As a side dish, canned asparagus can’t be beat.
Instead of the usual pumpkin pie, you might opt for a true American desert. Simply pile serving plates high with Twinkies and Ho-Hos. You might also provide a pitcher of chocolate sauce as an accompanying treat!
Copyright 2018, Patrick F. Cannon