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Cinnamon in turkey is a sticking point

Everything was going well until we got to the part about the cinnamon stick. Patrick, who was cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, asked if I had one and I answered no and why?

It seems he was going to brine the turkey this year and stuff if with all sorts of aromatics, including sage and onion and rosemary.

"And one cinnamon stick," he said. I held up my traffic-cop hand to stop him.

"You can't put cinnamon in a turkey," I said. But he'd been searching for the perfect recipe, and this one called for brining in a salty bath the night before and roasting with a cinnamon stick the day of the meal. The recipe had thousands of good reviews, which should have been good enough for me.

Like most people who love to cook, Patrick is excellent at it. Since taking up with him, I've had one delicious omelet after another, day after day of fine sandwiches and more perfect dinners than I can count or remember.

But cinnamon-flavored turkey was a step in the wrong direction.

"What will Poppy think?" I asked, worrying that my turkey-loving dad would take that first long-awaited holiday bite and get more of a flavor of honeybaked ham than honeysuckle white.

"It's just a hint," Patrick said. "You'll just have to trust me on this one."

I was not ready to concede. I would be the hostess, after all, and proud as I may have been of my Thanksgiving table setting (a winter woodland with an armadillo as the centerpiece, a first in this wing of the family), I knew I (as any hostess) would be judged by the moistness of the turkey and the crispiness of its skin.

As I tend to do, I made a mental chew toy of the cinnamon stick dilemma. What could I do to stop him from including it? Could I race to the supermarket ahead of him and buy up all the cinnamon sticks?

Could I threaten to open a can of that cranberry goo and put a log of it on the table (he hates it as much as I do), or do I let him add the cinnamon stick and then sneak into the oven to pluck it out before it can do any damage?

A cinnamon stick just feels risky on an important holiday like Thanksgiving. I mean, what would all 17 of my people think? It would be like trying a strange, new hairstyle on your wedding day. Why risk disaster?

The turkey finished 90 minutes ahead of schedule, something that never happened before and that I blame on the cinnamon stick.

We carved it early. I nabbed that perfect sheet of crispy skin. Underneath was a breast of juicy meat. Read Full Article 

"I can't taste the cinnamon," I told the cook. He rolled his eyes. They were saying I told you so.

Beth Dolinar is a former Riverside resident and Pittsburgh television reporter who is staying at home to raise her two children. She can be reached at cootieJ@aol.com.

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