Let’s discuss Thanksgiving, shall we?

It’s kind of astounding to me that I’m on my second Thanksgiving with this blog. While it’s been (I admit) pretty dead this year (our wedding and honeymoon month of October is completely dead), I’m still thinking about it & considering it. I figure that I enjoy Thanksgiving so much, and I’m thankful for the urge to play games (see the whole challenge aspect of this blog) that now’s probably the time to breathe some new life into this thing.

So, for today I thought I’d share a bit of my Thanksgiving menu with everyone1, and ask what your Thanksgiving plans and/or menu are. Tomorrow, I’ll update with yet more menu.

Last year we bought a huge turkey from the folks at Meadow Haven Farm. It was an almost 23 pound monster of a bird, and we enjoyed it a great deal. At the time, my intent was to go through Jeremy again.

However, in March, I learned about Caveny Farm and how they raise Bourbon Red Turkeys. “Bourbon Red” is a breed of turkey that isn’t much raised any more. At least one farmer has told me they are harder to manage than the “normal” turkey (the Broad-Breasted White), and they just don’t get nearly as big. So they’re a great deal more work for a lot less product at the end. Kind of the worst of all worlds.

However, once upon a time in Virginia, my ex-husband and I hosted a Thanksgiving for those who couldn’t go elsewhere. We knew it would be a small crowd, maybe eight people, with two vegetarians. So we went looking for a small turkey.

We found our small turkey in a small ranch in Virginia, and it was this turkey called a “Bourbon Red”. I didn’t, at that time, know anything about “heirloom varieties” of veggies or “heritage/endangered livestock breeds”, so I had no idea that a Bourbon Red turkey was anything special. I just knew the farmer said they didn’t get as big, which is what Ryan and I were looking for. So we bought ourselves a little turkey, about 8 lbs if I recall correctly, and cooked it up for our “orphans”.

It was, bar none, the best turkey I’d ever had. I was blown away at how good it was. I was retroactively bummed out, thinking about how the ranch we’d bought it from said it was the last year they were raising this breed. In the end, that didn’t impact me, as I wasn’t in Virginia for the next Thanksgiving, but I wasn’t to know that at the time. And I was sad that I couldn’t do this again the following year.

After that year, I didn’t see the Bourbon Red label again. I began to think I’d made something up in my head to explain the deliciousness of this bird. Until this March, when I went to the Family Farmed Expo talk “Antiques Roadshow: The Heirloom on Your Plate”, and one of the speakers there discussed raising Bourbon Reds. I was (as you can read in the link) thrilled, and immediately decided to try this bird again.

Bill’s worried on my behalf, and I don’t blame him. I mean, I’ve been thinking about this bird since I roasted it back in 2006, and have only had it the one time. Maybe I have made it into something bigger and tastier than it was. Of course, I’m a big fan of dark meat, so I don’t think so. I think I just adored having more than the tiny portion of dark meat that isn’t drumsticks available to me.

We’ll see. As is pretty obvious, I don’t expect to be disappointed. But then, who does?

fn1. Clearly, I wasn’t expecting to go all out about the turkey. I’ll post more later about the rest of the menu. Maybe later today, maybe tomorrow.