It’s an internecine squabble that ranks estimably with such era-spanning feuds as the Hatfield’s and McCoys, a rabid and raging area of contention which has threatened to rip my humble heritage apart time and time again. On one side, myself, my maternal grandmother and my brother dearest; on the other, my mother, my aunt and all the guile and cunningly deployed guilt they can muster. And what issue, you may ask, so seasonably sets my small Southeastern clan to each other’s throats? Inheritance, you may assume, or surely some dark, disowned branch making claims upon our name? No, my friends, the trouble that haunts the Jarrell clan whenever November rears her autumnal head is the age-old decision: turkey or ham. Having long ago learned that the best weapon to bring to this seasonal sortie is a perfectly prepared bird, as always, my dear readers, you are at an advantage. For I’ve collected a staggering array of tips and tricks I’m eager to pass on to your own households. First, the integral question: How big a bird? Despite the increasing John Goodmanification of our country’s constituency, in truth, the amount of bird per dinner guest has not radically shifted. I generally guesstimate about 1.5 pounds (including bone weight) of gobbler per guest, and then add 2-3 pounds. This ensures everyone is more than satisfied on the Day Of Thanks, and gives plenty of excess for superior soup stocks and those most coveted post-holiday turkey sandwiches. Secondly, do the math. Improperly calculated thawing time has ruined or inexcusably delayed a number of family meals. Estimate roughly 30 minutes per pound using the common cold water method of thawing. Last, but certainly not least, the eternal question: Basting…how much and how often. The answer: None at all. Opening and closing your oven door creates a number of temperature fluctuations ultimately baleful to your bird. Instead, dry your turkey, rub it thoroughly with butter or oil, and then place pats of butter under the skin. This will insure a turkey dinner that literally melts in your mouth.
Not so clever in the kitchen? Or simply find that year after year of dealing with titantc preparatory stresses is leaving you with nothing to be thankful for? Luckily, in this most magic of cities, we offer a number of excellent restaurants that will cater to your needs. In South Beach, The Dutch ceaselessly offers a seasonally-sensitive menu it might be worth ducking the in-laws for. For a more Brickell-based supper option, Perricone’s serves up an endless devotion to our residents with Italian-infused dinner options from noon to nine. And, for a classic, try New Canton. Your belly will THANK you.