[lit-ideas] Re: Physics, Philosophy, Turkey, Urban Myth

  • From: david ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 21:53:11 -0800

Some people on this list cook; others pride themselves on their sardines and vegan pizzas. None need be excluded from the debate that follows. Here is the issue. Those of us who eat meat on Thanksgiving will put a turkey in the oven and, one way or another-- here factionism enters in--cook it. I am not concerned here with whether you cover the thing with aluminum foil, start with breasts down, stick the corpse on a beer can, douse the beast in brine. These are the schisms of kitchen belief.

What bothers me is an American appetite for cold food. I have come to live with the potluck supper, an euphemism for "let's eat everything cold." And I know that Thanksgiving is supposed to be a Puritan festival--and how better to feel Puritan than by eating food that ought to be hot, cold?--but I have reached my limit of patience with daft advice in the newspaper. Today's Oregonian has a Thanksgiving Turkey expert explaining, "You don't take [the turkey from the oven] to the table. You *hide* it. I hide it in the garage. Now you put the side dishes in the oven. Then I call everyone to the table for the first course. All you're doing is buying time while the turkey rests--half an hour or 45 minutes, if you play it right."

Our garage temperature is currently about thirty two degrees (normal scale, not foreign). Forty five minutes in this temperature would give you what? Near-frozen turkey.

Americans will tell you that a roast beast continues to cook after you take it out of the oven and thus, like a clockwork toy that needs time to unwind, you must let it "rest." So much of a shibboleth has this become that I am beset on all sides when I try to ask for a piece that is fresh from the oven and hot.

My questions to you are: where did this notion of a well-rested dead beast come from? What does it mean concerning the American Way of Death? Why don't some like it hot?

David Ritchie
Portland, Oregon

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