Who's the Alpha Cook in Your Thanksgiving Kitchen?
Although I'm usually the alpha cook in our kitchen, the battle for kitchen hegemony in our house on Thanksgiving can get a little dicey. Are we the exception or the rule on Turkey Day? Does everyone have issues with kitchen control on Thanksgiving? Serious Eaters want to know.
Let me set the scene for you. Usually my wonderful wife, Vicky, happily lets me take control of the cooking. She doesn't care about food as much as I do, and I have ceded control to her on virtually every other aspect of our home life.
On Thanksgiving this year at our house we are going to be thirteen. Every one of those thirteen with the exception of our son and me are my wife's birth family. So because the guest list is comprised of her family, Vicky decided a few years ago she wanted a power-sharing arrangement in our Thanksgiving kitchen. Our first negotiations were freighted affairs, complete with raised voices and hurt feelings, probably not dissimilar to what is going on in Pakistan with Bhutto and Musharraf.
But eventually, at least in this case, cooler heads prevailed. Vicky decided she was going to make the stuffing—the beloved cornbread, apple, pecan, and sausage stuffing from the Silver Palate Cookbook that I had picked out many years ago.
Vicky asked about switching to another Silver Palate stuffing a friend had raved about, made with dried apricots, but our power-sharing arrangement gives us both veto power. She in turn vetoed my bacon-wrapped turkey request a couple of years ago.
Vicky also decided to make a broccoli purée with crème fraîche enlivened with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, also from the Silver Palate, as the green vegetable. I suggested any vegetable with bacon in it instead, but that suggestion met the same fate as my bacon-wrapped turkey. Vicky does not share my opinion that bacon makes everything taste and smell better.
I make the turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and buy the pies.
Our Thanksgiving kitchen power-sharing arrangement would be the envy of Pakistan, and nobody gets killed in the process. All is downright serene on Thanksgiving around here. No yelling, no tears, just the hum of a well-oiled Thanksgiving cooking machine punctuated by laughter, good cheer, and the occasional shouted expletive when something has gone temporarily awry. Sometimes, even in a Thanksgiving kitchen, love does conquer all.