“Dale’s benediction at last launched and growing ever smaller in the stratosphere, we unlinked our sweaty hands, and there settled ineluctably into the center of my vision the turkey to be carved. Oh, those diabolically elusive, bloody and tenacious second joints! And the golden glazed skin that proves tougher than strapping tape! Esther, compared with Lillian, does a dry turkey, and you can slice the breast only so thin before crumbs and shredding compromise the slice.”
John Updike, from Roger’s Version
HOW TO CARVE A TURKEY
Jacques Pepin, in his large square tome titled Jacques Pepin: New Complete
Techniques, offers the following instructions for decoupage de la dinde:
“1. Preheat the oven to 350*. Truss the turkey. Rub with salt, pepper and ½ stick soft butter. Place in a roasting pan and bake. A small, 10 pound turkey will take 2-1/4 hours. Baste every 20 minutes after the first hour. Ten minutes before the baking time is over, add 1 cup hot water or stock to the pan to create a natural gravy. Place the turkey on a large platter. Insert a kitchen fork into the leg. Cut the skin all around the leg.
2. Pull off the leg, holding the turkey steady with the knife.
3. Place the leg on a plate and separate the thigh from the drumstick at the joint.
4. Slice the thigh around the bone.
5. Slice the drumstick, arranging the dark meat on a hot plate. (Slicing the drumstick would be heresy to any small child who has fought siblings for it.
6. With a long, thin knife, cut the breast. straight down into very thin slices. Hold the turkey with the fork while cutting.
7. Arrange the slices on a hot plate.
8. Separate the wing at the joint.
9. Remove the dark and white meat from one side of the turkey and place it on the platter. Repeat entire process with the other side of the turkey and serve with the natural gravy.”