Monday, November 22, 2010

The Manly Art of Turkey Carving

It's that time of year when my blog gets a lot of hits for "turkey diagram."  Don't bother looking for it, I removed the picture from the blog, but I left the link to the original diagram.  It did get me thinking, though, why someone would want a diagram of turkey parts instead of instructions on how to carve a turkey.  I know that I wanted to identify the parts of the live turkeys running through my yard, but that has little to do with Thanksgiving.

For those who want to recreate the 18th century gentleman's approach to turkey carving, here are some words of wisdom from The Honours of the Table, by Reverend John Trusler, 1791.

"We are always in pain for a man who instead of cutting up a fowl genteely is hacking for half an hour across the bone, greasing himself and bespattering the company with the sauce.

"But where the master or mistress of a table dissects a bird with ease and grace or serves guests with such parts that are most esteemed, they are not only well thought of but admired."
Additionally, Reverend Trusler warns that second helpings are "indelicate for a lady."  Now I don't know how things operate in your house, but voicing such a sentiment in mine might just land you a punch in the nose, bespattering the company with more than sauce.

That last statement notwithstanding, if you, like me, think that carving the bird is a man's job (or at least not your job), but want to know how to do it just in case, then check out this gem, complete with instructional links and videos, at the Art of Manliness: How to Cook and Carve a Thanksgiving Turkey Like a Man.  (We happen to use Alton Brown's brining method as well.)

Finally, I leave you with this motivational Manvotional, presented on the same blog, written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

A Psalm of Life
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) 

What the heart of the young man said to the psalmist

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

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