Smoked Turkeys and Fredasynthesis
I've tried to avoid the "what are you eating for the holidays?" locker room questions since two years ago, when the Wizards provided answers that could never really be topped. Gilbert Arenas said he'd "eat a nice hamburger and just call it turkey." DeShawn Stevenson said he'd eat McDonald's.
But two things today made me relent. First was a poster hanging in the locker room at Redskins Park, announcing the NFL's "Nutrition Game Plan" for the holiday season, tips to "make it through the holiday season lean, strong and swift." Someone with access to the NFL logo really ought to be writing cookbooks.
* Squash: The pilgrim who introduced this beauty to the table was a true nutritional visionary. Dig into the Butternut, Hubbard or Acorn varieties and be treated to a mouthful of flavor as well as a whole host of phytochemicals and a potent antioxidant, Vitamin A.
* Pumpkin Pie: This is the pumpkin's time to shine, and boy, does it shine in this position.
And so on. The second thing was an innocent question from the Redskins' official blogger about how Fred Smoot prepares his fried turkeys.
"I inject it, plus I go through a process that I will go through tonight called Fredasynthesis," Smoot explained. "It's when that turkey turns from a turkey to the TURKEY."
Smoot feels passionately about turkey prep, and about the merits of hot oil over hot air, if you can believe that.
"Point blank man," Smoot said. "You want to talk about getting the most out of turkey? You've got to fry it, because not only is the turkey gonna be juicy, well cooked, [but] you're gonna eat the skin. Won't be a piece left on a fried turkey. Roasted is longer, not really a lot of taste, kind of bland. You know, it tastes just like turkey."
Heaven forbid. Elsewhere, Greg Blache was extolling the value of seafood gumbo and "backup" turkey sandwiches ("look at this body, I do a lot of backup sandwiches," he said) while spinning tales from his childhood.
"Even as kids, it was always neat because we had a glass of wine," he said, to the horror of zero-tolerance groups. "Seven, eight years old, you'd have that little glass of wine and you'd sip it like you were from France, or like the real European kids."
While I tried to figure out why real European kids were celebrating Thanksgiving, punter Ryan Plackemeier was revealing that he had attended a Jim Zorn Thanksgiving that involved a smoked turkey. From a man who skins coyotes and creates cast-metal sculptures, you had to think that maybe....
"I don't necessarily smoke the turkey," Zorn said." We HAVE a smoked turkey."
Someone (not me, I swear) asked if he at least skins the bird.
"No, it's not that fresh," Zorn said, and paused. "I COULD skin it if I had to," he added.
November 26, 2008; 4:39 PM ET
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