Here’s to Gulliver, the first turkey I ever cooked (a post by Molly)

I’ll always be grateful to Gulliver, the first turkey I ever cooked.

From his humble beginnings on a farm owned by my father’s friend, Gulliver grew to be the largest turkey we ever cooked in our oven — weighing in at a whopping 22.46 lbs. He was a feisty turkey, even post-mortem, attempting a daring escape from our Lilliput-freezer. Yesterday Gulliver and I bonded in a way that I’ve never bonded with a bird before as I stuffed him with vegetables and flavored him with herbed butter. Even now there is a piece of Gulliver inside me and the knowledge I gained with him will stay with me forever. Though I’ll cook many other turkeys in my life, Gulliver will always hold a special place my heart.
Here’s a look:

Yesterday was the first Thanksgiving that I took the lead on the meal. Along with the turkey I made the gravy, the French rolls, the pie crust, and the whipped cream.

We served Gulliver alongside such delicacies as homemade stuffing and cranberry sauce, and a Derby pie, the most decadent pie to ever grace our table (nudging out the Peanut Butter Nutella pie). Here’s a little clip of Vinnie making the Derby pie:

With a bird as memorable Gulliver, it only seemed fitting to send him out with such a hurrah. We all had a wonderful meal and the best news is, we barely made a dent in big ole Gulliver. There’s a generous amount of all the dishes we made filling up our fridge. Because of our extreme amount of leftovers and things to be thankful for, I think it’s fair to say that this year our Thanksgiving will go on much longer than 24 hours.

Because we included videos of the turkey and Derby Pie, I’m just including my mom’s cranberry sauce recipe. Enjoy!

Cranberry Pear Sauce

Ingredients

2-1/2 cups cubed peeled ripe pears (about 3 medium)

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cinnamon stick (3 inches), broken in half

1 package (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries

1 to 1-1/4 cups Granulated Sugar

Directions

In a large saucepan, combine the pears, water, ginger      and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5      minutes. Stir in cranberries and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat;      simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until the cranberries have popped      and sauce is slightly thickened, stirring several items.

Discard cinnamon sticks. Mash sauce if desired. Cool. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

That turkey was so big we couldn’t shove him in our freezer. He looks like he’s trying to make a break for it. Poor Gulliver had to cool his heels in our neighbor’s bigger freezer until it came time to thaw him.
My real introduction to Gulliver came Thanksgiving morning.
The beginning of a very strange friendship
Gulliver right out of the oven
My mom’s delicious cranberry pear sauce
My first attempt at gravy, wild mushroom
Vinnie was able to fit every dish on his plate, arugula salad, cranberry pear sauce, turkey, rolls, apple almond stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn
Vinnie’s amazing Derby pie
Katherine couldn’t join us yesterday, but we’ll be able to celebrate with her on Saturday, because the holiday’s not over yet!

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