Turkey Comfort

Shrink-wrapped Turkey

Actually, although I love to eat turkey, when it comes to preparing the big bird, I am turkey-phobic, so I take little comfort in the roasting ordeal ahead of me. To brine or not to brine–that is the question. Most everyone says the answer is a resounding “YES!” but adding coolers and ice and the prospect of salty gravy to the mix has driven me back into the trusty arms of my mother-in-law. She counsels oil-soaked cheesecloth and two cups of wine, one to pour over the turkey, one to pour down my throat. I love my mother-in-law.

I also love Thanksgiving and cooking, except for roasts that everyone else claims are the easiest thing in the world. (Note: I am also gravy-phobic, and have a standby quart from the deli just in case.) I especially love to bake. So, apparently, do the cooks at my favorite cafe, Comforts, where I spied these adorable mocha buttercream turkeys while getting my daily latte this morning:

Mocha buttercream petit-fours turkeys from my favorite cafe, Comforts I almost bought up a dozen to add to our Thanksgiving table, but in the nick of time saved myself from further caloric catastrophe by snapping a photo instead. I sent it to my daughter Ally in Spain, who is at this very moment wondering how cornbread made with olive oil will taste, and how to track down green beans in a country enamored of tomatoes. The price of living abroad.

My oldest daughter, Emma, however, blew in from New York last night ahead of the storm now wreaking havoc on holiday plans throughout the northeast. Soon we’ll get to work making cornbread-and-wild-rice stuffing, whipped sweet potatoes, cranberry relish with horseradish. And the desserts! Blasphemous as usual, I don’t like pumpkin pie, so true believers are charged with bringing that. Emma and I will contribute Almond-Filled Cookie Cake

Almond filled cookie cake

and Chocolate Truffle Tart (sorry, no link!).

Chocolate Truffle Tart

Tarts are sort of like pies, aren’t they?

Emma and I will have our own mother-daughter deliciousness, something I wrote about in a different essay published this month in Skirt! Magazine. It’s about the food, but it’s also about the love transmitted from generation to generation.

Emma in the kitchen

So enjoy whoever and whatever is at your table, brined or not.

Happy Thanksgiving!


What are your favorite memories of delicious food and Thanksgiving gatherings?

6 thoughts on “Turkey Comfort

  1. Oh those desserts look delicious! Now you HAVE to post the recipe for the almond-filled cookie cake and cranberry relish with horseradish!

    • They were indeed delicious! There should be a link in the post to the almond-filled cookie cake recipe. And as for the cranberry relish, it’s another great tip from my mother-in-law, and ridiculously easy: Open two cans of whole berry cranberry sauce; open one 15-oz (or so) can of crushed pineapple in natural juices; mix together with about 1-3 tsp. prepared horseradish. I think I used about a tbsp, which gives it a nice bite. Usually I’m a from-scratch cook, but I believe in short-cuts!

  2. I loved your mother-in law’s recipe for one cup of wine for the turkey and one for you. Some of my best Thanksgiving memories are when extended family stayed at a cousin’s cottage and walked to a bread & breakfast where the owner catered our dinner. The first time, my mother-in-law was taken aback by such a thought. She realized she sat and enjoyed the meal more than others where she’d run back & forth to the kitchen. She became a convert and we did this for about four years running, until we moved away.

  3. Phew!! For a second I thought you made those chocolate turkeys, and I just about gave up and bought a one-way ticket home. Luckily, my friends here are die-hard fans of all things traditional, even when some of the ingredients are impossible to come by in Spain, and are making a pumpkin-pie from scratch even if it takes them all day. (And I’m stealing my roommate’s veggie oil….olive oil just won’t cut it for the cornbread!)
    I’m glad Emma beat the storm!! Send me some photos from tomorrow’s dinner, but try not to make me too jealous.

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