I like to cook new things. I even like to cook, and try, new things on holidays. My dear wife does not. My dear wife likes traditional home-cooked holiday meals. My dear wife has still not forgiven me for our first Thanksgiving together 14 years ago, when we ate at the Jonathan Club because that's where my grandparents wanted to throw a dinner. (The fact that she was relentlessly interrogated by my female relatives may have something to do with it.) If an item of food is not visible in Freedom From Want, my dear wife wants no part of it.
I'm past my free will issues now and at peace with this. So I was somewhat surprised when my dear wife, inspired by an article in the Los Angeles Times, asked me to dry-brine the turkey this year.
I did it last night, using a mixture of kosher salt, diced fresh rosemary, and lemon zest. You clean the bird carefully first, dry it, then rub it vigorously with a generous sprinkling of this mixture.
Now, I really like salt. It's amazing that my blood pressure doesn't have more digits. But this seems like an awful lot of salt even to me. The experts swear that he salt will draw out all the juices and flavors without making the bird taste like the bottom of a pretzel bag. We'll see. If it doesn't work out, I will know who to blame.
Otherwise, I'm making it simpler this year. I'm passing up my mother's yam casserole, and therefore recovering roughly two months of our lives that would be spent by consuming that dish of butter and sugar. I'm going with my favorite stuffing (mushroom and carmelized onion stuffing from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook), a cheddar and chive mashed potato casserole, homemade cranberry sauce, and an cider gravy. Someone else is doing green vegetables and desert. Only 13 people. It will be practically relaxing.
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