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Thanksgiving


Start with just one word like that and see what your mind conjures up. Say "Thanksgiving" and think for a few moments. Where did you go in your mind?
Did you see; Crayon pictures of funny looking people with muskets and big buckled shoes hanging on your grade school walls?
Going to your Grandparents and eating at the small table with cousins you only saw once a year and getting to watch TV while you ate?
Or are you more in the here and now and think what you would like to do with your loved ones this day of Thanks.
It seems that each mindscape can be like the hole that Alice fell down...capable of each taking you to a swarm of lands, faces, smells, sounds, tastes, textures and emotions. It's that kind of day.
It was started in Plymouth Colony in 1621 after a winter of great suffering and starvation. The Governor of the time declared the feast and it was attended by the Colonial settlers and the Wampanoag tribe of Indians. My text tells me there were 99 Indians there that day. Perhaps there is some degree of apocrypha here but it is also put down that the braves arrived with a good many of the dishes, one of which was popcorn.
We Americans are very adaptive, yet revere tradition. Have you ever been served popcorn on Thanksgiving? ....Neither have I.

Eels were also served on Thanksgiving # 1, too.... Me neither.
Some traditions die.
But what has come and stayed is a big bird. Here is where our American rights to a food tradition actually have some basis in reality. The turkey is native to North America. It was not only found in the Northeast but in the Plains, the Southwest and down in Mexico. By the time the Spaniards arrived the Indians were cooking them in Mole.
Now that gives me an idea for our Thanksgiving dinner!



Black Truffles

Colette once said, "If I cannot have too many truffles, I'll do without."
She would have had no worries has she been with me the other night in Chicago where my tremendous friend, Charlie Trotter cooked for a group of 14 of us.
All of the wines were from the private collections of several of the guests and all were served from magnums. The first four main courses were served with white wines from Burgundy, as well as a superb Mayacamas Chardonnay from the 1980 vintage.
The next three main courses, which all included black truffles were served with the following succession of wines;

  • Chateau Pichon Lalande from Pauillac, 1978,
  • Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, "Cask 23", Cabernet Sauvignon, 1978
  • St. Julien Chateau Beycheville, 1959 and the
  • Heitz Cellars, "Martha's Vineyards" from the 1975 and 1974 vintages.
Thirst was hardly an issue.
The presence of the truffles in each course provided a metronome of magic. There are three major types of truffles and it is helpful to know the Latin names in case some one is trying to pass off tuber aestivum as tuber melanosporum. It is the melanosporum variety that is the true black truffle and the one we enjoyed so much. The other is a "summer truffle" and although it is interesting it ain't nearly so perfumed as the black ones. The most famous region for black truffles is Perigord, but they are also found in Provence and around Spoleto in Umbria and Norcia in Marche. It grows from mid November to March and in symbiosis with the oak tree. There is no such thing as a man made truffle yet.
Thanksgiving is coming fast upon us, in fact a few truffles worked into your mashed potatoes would not be something to be un-thankful about!
Black Truffles. A miracle of nature and the moment is now.




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