thanksgiving at le café witteveen


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Our Thanksgiving was an intimate celebration with Tina’s brother Michael, his partner Jason and their friend Sasha.

I 24-hour brined a turkey in a salt-water immersion with mixed ingredients that I found in several different recipes, including salt, soy sauce, rosemary, lemon zest, and bacon fat.

Just kidding. I didn’t use bacon fat.

I oven roasted our bird for 3 hours and it was hands down the juiciest turkey I’ve ever had. One trick was the 24-hour brine. Another trick was cooking it upside down for one hour. Another was removing it when it was 5 degrees from finished. And finally, letting it rest for over 30 minutes. I didn’t carve it for about an hour.

Resting is essential for ALL cooked meat. But I never realized that you should let a turkey (or chicken) rest for that long.

An hour later, the bird was still piping hot when I cut into it. All the recipes I found said that the brine wouldn’t make the meat more salty, but it tasted a bit salty to me. I blamed the soy sauce, and probably wouldn’t use that again.

I also made mashed sweet potatoes.

Tina made pecan bars that were to die for.

Michael made two pizzas, a thanksgiving tradition. He also made garlicky fingerling potatoes, brussels sprouts and an amazing kale salad with a myriad of fresh berries and almonds.

Our guest brought to pumpkin pies, two cans of whipped cream and two containers of strawberries.

We had a great time. Sasha is a hilarious person with crass proclivities that I wish more people had. For instance, she made the lock screen on her mom’s iphone a closeup of a man’s penis and balls.

My camera lens of choice this holiday was a 50mm 1.4 set at 1.4 between ISOs 100-200.

Dip below the fold to check out more of the fun.

Bon appétit.  Continue reading

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A Table!


sophia w _0953-EditToday is a day for tables. And food. And thanks.

Nourishing the relationships with the metaphor of nourishing your body.

It all goes hand in hand.

Yesterday, I photographed little side tables. Here’s an early edit of one of them.

Aren’t they cute.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone here at Le Café Witteveen.

I sound like a broken record: every year I retort, “eating turkey does not make you tired.”


L -Tryptophan (Trp / W)

L -Tryptophan (Trp / W) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 10th grade, high school biology, our teacher told us that it’s not tryptophan that makes you tired at Thanksgiving. She gave biological reasons why, citing primarily that the digestion process — especially after overeating — caused a slowing in the body function that encouraged a sense of lethargy.

Tryptophan is found in all food and turkey does not feature a greater surplus amount than other foods.

Validation comes in the form of an article in a science magazine article. Check this out. Quoth the article:

The oft-repeated turkey mythstems from the fact that turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which forms the basis of brain chemicals that make people tired. But turkey isn’t any more sleep-inducing than other foods. In fact, consuming large amounts of carbohydrates and alcohol may be the real cause of a post-Thanksgiving-meal snooze, experts say.

Tryptophan is a component of the brain chemical serotonin, which gets converted into the well-known sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Poultry and many other foods also contain tryptophan, in similar amounts to that found in turkey. Gram for gram, cheddar cheese actually contains more tryptophan than turkey does.

And later:

Basically, any big meal containing tryptophan and lots of carbohydrates can trigger sleepiness — not just turkey. And on Thanksgiving, many other factors contribute to feelings of tiredness, such as drinking alcohol. The holidays are also a time when people often take a break from their hard work.

But like all myths, people stick to what they know despite science’s ability to dispel rumors and change traditional ideas.

What sucks is I’ve been repeating it yearly since 1992.

If the war on tryptophan = sleepiness is this tough, imagine the sisyphean feat of educating people to understand and disregard religious myths.