Thursday, November 24, 2011

A bird in a bag - an American food story

Today it is Thanksgiving, and to celebrate this family event, I republish one of my first stories here on Enjoy Food & Travel from November 2006, where my cousin Ann tells an inventive way to prepare a turkey.
This is another American food story. Not from the Eastmans, this time, but from my fathers family, the Norwegian Skuggeviks originating from Tvedestrand in Aust-Agder County. 
My great uncle, Anders Bronn Skuggevik was an architect and engineer that moved to Canada with his Finnish-Russian wife Sonja. My cousin Ann Eastman McDonnell got this extraordinary way to roast a turkey from them. 
A word of warning - check whether your paperbags can take the heat before your start and that it is made from completely natural material. And do not roast a leg of lamb in it! It could be a serious hazard to your home. Here is my cousins story. 
"Have I ever told you the huge secret about how to cook a turkey? Well, here goes..
.... this idea came from an old relative of Sonja Skuggevik, the Finn who was married to my father and your father's cousin Anders Bronn Skuggevik. This old relative was Teddy Roosevelt's cook!
Here goes: you rub the turkey with butter....give it a good massage. sprinkle with whatever spice you prefer. I use a bit of garlic, salt, pepper and some paprika sometimes. Put it into a brown paper bag and turn the bag end over. If a really big turkey, use two bags. 
Roast in a slow oven 325F for about five hours for a twelve pounder. No basting, no looking, just ignoring. The ignoring is the best part. When you take it out of the oven, slit the bag and the bird will have a moist breast and not a single piece of dried out meat! People think I am nuts until they try it! 
This system only works on something really dry like a turkey. Tried it with a leg of lamb once and almost burned the house down!"
Enjoy! And if you try let me know how it works!

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