Could your tired, traditional foods use a little more cowbell? One of my favourite ladies in writing gave me an unusual tip for gravy, once upon a time. I did try it, and it was kind of astonishing–I never would have thought of pairing these two things together. It’s worth sharing, and I thought it better that she tell the tip for herself! She kindly consented to do so, and so she’s covering my butt while I’m at a conference. – Anne
It is the same every year: the host of the family celebration spends all day cooking. Never mind the stress of fussing over the turkey drying out and wondering if you remembered to remove that sack of nasty gizzards. It is a marathon of missing ingredients, crashing yeast in buns and peeling… always with the peeling.
I always make the same things. It is getting to be a bit of a bore, frankly. I mean, how do you make it interesting when the menu is set in years of tradition? I swear, if I have to jauntily scatter mini marshmallows over mashed yams one more time, I am going to stuff the damned turkey with them too.
My loved ones know me as a bit of an experimenter, and they are tolerant about eating the occasional dish served from the depths of crushing kitchen defeat. I love them for that, but what they will not brook is the indignity of change to the holiday meal. No, they will not have it. My husband would probably turn his back at the table if I tried to add some quinoa or kale to his carbs and sugar.
We also know that it isn’t just the household residents who have the menu committed to memory; our esteemed visitors are often also resistant to change (ahem…. Inlaws..). They, too, want the traditional “happy family memories” food and will balk if we try to mix it up.
I think I have a solution my fellow host with the most. You can make a change that will be invisible to the human eye and remain undetected until the magical flavours are already being savoured, and then you can take a bow. You could even jump up and high five yourself at the victory because every last one of them will be busy making little yummy noises as they chew.
Here is the ultimate magic for your turkey gravy. Make it as you usually do, and at the very last minute, break up three squares of 70% dark chocolate and stir them into your gravy until they are completely blended in. Do so surreptitiously so you don’t get busted by your loud mouthed brother-in-law yelling “what the hell are you doing to the gravy?!?”
The colour of the gravy goes a deep brown, and the undertone of chocolate is actually a little piece of heaven. You will not regret this innovation.
Maybe next year you can sneak some new foods into the menu because if they whine, tell ‘em they can’t have any gravy.
About the author: Magnolia Ripkin is sort of like your mouthy Aunt who drinks too much and tells you how to run your life, except funny… well mostly funny… like a cold glass of water in the face. Channeling Erma Bombeck and Dear Abby she is flinging out advice, answering pressing questions about business, personal development, parenting, heck even the bedroom isn’t safe. Other places to find her: She is the editor in chief of the edgy site BluntMoms, as well as a frequent contributor. You can also read her stuff on Huffington Post and check her out in the amazing compendium of hot bloggers who are published in I Just Want to Be Alone (I Just Want to Pee Alone) and the main event is on her blog www.magnoliaripkin.com