Awakening the foodie

Published 11:10 pm Friday, November 6, 2009

I think we’ve managed to pre-package every possible culinary experience these days.

You want turkey and stuffing with cranberry sauce? You can get it all in a bowl in less than 5 minutes. You want pot-stickers or Chinese dumplings? Pop the frozen goodies in the microwave and, in seconds, you have those delicacies on your plate, complete with dipping sauce. It’s enough to lull us all into a false sense of what good food is.

For me, the final straw was the other day in the frozen food section. I actually found myself getting angry at the fact that the spicy, crispy wings I wanted did not come with microwave instructions and that I would actually have to use my conventional oven to enjoy those awesome wings.

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Much like yourselves, I feel I just don’t have the time to make a good meal anymore.

In that moment, my inner foodie shook a judgmental finger at me and I was ashamed by my own laziness in this most precious season of giving. And when I say season of giving, I mean Thanksgiving.

I’m all for convenience. But as a foodie, Thanksgivings are for slowing things down and paying tribute to the ceremony of the meal. It was once the one day of the year my dearly departed mother would actually cook.

“From scratch” was a phrase that was actually used and applied in the kitchen. My mother cooked, I ate, and all was right with the world. So, in her passing, I am honored to attempt to pick up her apron strings, step up to my stove, and try to carry on a tradition my stomach dictates must live on.

So what does a guy do to create the perfect homemade Thanksgiving feast in a world that is headed towards a “cut a few slits in the top of the plastic and heat for 3 to 5 minutes” existence?

The meal I’m looking to prepare this year will be an attempt to bring back the dining room table of yesteryear. There will be as little “just add water” side items as possible, the greens will not come from a can, and my turkey will not be a simple heat-and-eat number from Boston Market (though they are amazing).

Of course, my biggest dilemma lies in that darling of a dessert treasure: sweet potato pie. Not to sound sexist, but I am resolved to believe that a good sweet potato pie is something only a woman can make. I don’t stand a chance. So, sadly, my quest for the perfect Thanksgiving feast may end in a store-bought compromise.

It’s a world of convenience in which taste gets sacrificed daily. I reluctantly accept that in my day-to-day routine. But I miss taste. I want it back this Thanksgiving. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to control all the sodium and fat one can inhale from those convenient items by cooking my meal from scratch.

So with only days to go until the big meal, I’m activating my inner foodie long enough to pull off a meal my mother would be proud of.