Thanksgiving Boot Camp

posted by Momo Fali on November 11, 2009

I have never tried to hide the fact that I am not the best cook. Mostly it’s because my life is busy. Really busy. Dinner usually consists of something I’ve thrown together at the last minute. I may have once fed my children Beef-a-Roni and buttered hot dog buns for dinner.

For the last several years we have had Thanksgiving at our house and you can’t slack off in the preparations for that meal. Unless, of course, your husband stuffs the turkey and your mom brings the bread, corn, green beans and pie. However, I am quite skilled at opening the wine.

This year will be different though! This year, Thanksgiving dinner is my responsibility. Why? Because I went to Thanksgiving Boot Camp! My instructor was the lovely Robin Davis, food editor of The Columbus Dispatch. The location was the fabulous North Market.

The first thing I learned is that your ingredients should be fresh. That means you use real celery, onions and bread in your stuffing! Real bread! Okay, the pumpkin for the pie was canned, but everything else? Totally fresh! Almost all of our ingredients came straight from North Market vendors.

Here I am with my friend, Amy, right before I crushed her in the pie-making competition. Oh…wait. I may have forgotten to put sugar in my pie and it may not have cooked thoroughly, even though Robin tried to save it by sprinkling brown sugar on it while it was in the oven. But, my crust was amazing! I mean, not that I scraped the not-done pie off the top and ate the crust or anything, because that would just be wrong.

When we were finished, we sat down to some lovely conversation, a delightful Pinot Noir and the most delicious turkey I have ever had.

I will be taking over the entire refrigerator for this recipe, but it will be worth it. Robin knows her stuff.
Well, except for how to save my pie.


  • Amber

    Sounds like Thanksgiving boot camp was the perfect way to prepare for your first big day.

  • Tom

    Did they make you drop and give them 50? Did you learn how to field-dress a Turkey or take a yam apart and reassemble it in under 60 seconds? I'm curious how serious these boot camps are.

  • Jack

    Go buy a Home Depot Large Orange Bucket. Put the turkey in there with the Brine and put ice in, seal the lid and put it in the cold garage or basement for the 12 to 24 hours.

    Then take it out and follow the rest of the directions. I brine turkeys every year that way and they come out great, and don't take a bit of space in the fridge.

    Of course, my cooking method is MUCH easier (no basting or turning needed), and it comes out so moist you can squeeze the juices out of the turkey with your fork while it is on your plate.

    I use Alton Brown's Brined Turkey recipe. I just buy the concentrated vegetable base though instead of making my own vegetable stock.

    -Jack Burton AKA Rick Shantery

  • Tara R.

    The boot camp sounds like it was huge fun.

    I've read that brine is THE way to prepare a turkey. I need to try it this year. We have been deep frying ours the last couple years, that has worked great too. Maybe I can combine the techniques.

  • Bean

    Cool! I have always wanted to do one of those … but for regular dinner, not Thanksgiving. We'll be sure to stop by your house this year to try your turkey and strumpets!

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