BRIDGEPORT, CT (WFSB) – Wednesday is National Clam Chowder Day.
The day celebrates the popular soup, which is often made from claims, onion and potato.
Recipes, however, vary from country to country.
A recent “Chowdafest” festival in Bridgeport, which organizers said determines New England’s best chowder, claimed Donovan’s in South Norwalk has the best. In fact, the eatery won top honors multiple years in a row.
The competition, typically held on October, had O’Neill’s and Spark’s Sports Grill, also both in Norwalk, rounding out the top three.
Sarah Josepha Hale petitioned for a national Thanksgiving holiday for close to 40 years, believing that “Thanksgiving, like the Fourth of July, should be considered a national festival and observed by all our people.”
Sarah Josepha Hale, the enormously influential magazine editor and author who waged a tireless campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in the mid-19th century, was also the author of the classic nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
Margaret Cusack’s Thanksgiving design on U.S. Postage
In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative Thanksgiving stamp. Designed by the artist Margaret Cusack in a style resembling traditional folk-art needlework, it depicted a cornucopia overflowing with fruits and vegetables, under the phrase “We Give Thanks.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in America, with a planned production total of 46.5 million in 2011. Six states—Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, and Indinia—account for nearly two-thirds of the 248 million turkeys that will be raised in the U.S. this year.
The National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys—one fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States—were eaten at Thanksgiving.
In a survey conducted by the National Turkey Federation, nearly 88 percent of Americans said they eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds, which means some 690 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the U.S. during Thanksgiving in 2007.
Cranberry production in the U.S. is expected to reach 750 million pounds in 2011. Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are the top cranberry growing states.
Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and New York are the major pumpkin growing states, together they produced 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkin in 2010. Total U.S. production was over 1.5 billion pounds.
The sweet potato is most plentifully produced in North Carolina, which grew 972 million pounds of the popular Thanksgiving side dish vegetable in 2010. Other sweet potato powerhouses included California and Mississippi, and the top producing states together generated over 2.4 billion pounds of the tubers.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long. It was baked on October 8, 2005 by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio, and included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon, 2 pounds of pumpkin spice and 250 pounds of crust.
Lobster, seal and swans were on the Pilgrims’ menu.
The heaviest pumpkin weighs 1,054.01 kg (2,323.70 lb) when it was presented by Beni Meier (Switzerland) at the European Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on 12 October 2014. Beni Meier grew a total of three record-breaking pumpkins in one season! Click HERE to find more at the Guinness World Records website.
THANKSGIVING AROUND THE COUNTRY
Three towns in the U.S. take their name from the traditional Thanksgiving bird, including Turkey, Texas (pop. 465); Turkey Creek, Louisiana (pop. 363); and Turkey, North Carolina (pop. 270).
Originally known as Macy’s Christmas Parade—to signify the launch of the Christmas shopping season—the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in New York City in 1924. It was launched by Macy’s employees and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. Today, some 3 million people attend the annual parade and another 44 million watch it on television.
Tony Sarg, a children’s book illustrator and puppeteer, designed the first giant hot air balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927. He later created the elaborate mechanically animated window displays that grace the façade of the New York store from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
Snoopy from the Peanuts cartoon has appeared as a giant balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade more times than any other character in history. As the Flying Ace, Snoopy made his sixth appearance in the 2006 parade.
While a Kilgore, Texas, band struts its stuff, the character with the most balloons in history follows behind. Seven different versions of the Snoopy character have appeared in the parade, the first being Aviator Snoopy in 1968. Astronaut Snoopy appeared in 1972 (a tribute to Apollo 11), Skating Snoopy in 1987, Snoopy with Woodstock in 1988, Millennium Snoopy in 1999, Flying Ace Snoopy in 2006, and the seventh one will appear in the 2013 parade. He not only has the most balloons in history, he also has appeared in 32 parades, more than any other character.
The first time the Detroit Lions played football on Thanksgiving Day was in 1934, when they hosted the Chicago Bears at the University of Detroit stadium, in front of 26,000 fans. The NBC radio network broadcast the game on 94 stations across the country–the first national Thanksgiving football broadcast. Since that time, the Lions have played a game every Thanksgiving (except between 1939 and 1944); in 1956, fans watched the game on television for the first time.
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped carrot (1 medium)
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley (optional)
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups dried white bread cubes*
1 cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet cook celery, onion, and carrot in hot butter over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in parsley (if desired), poultry seasoning, and pepper.
In a very large bowl combine celery mixture and bread cubes. Drizzle with enough broth to moisten, tossing lightly to combine. Place stuffing in a 2-quart casserole.
Bake, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through.
From the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen
To make dry bread cubes, preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Cut 12 to 14 slices white bread into 1/2-inch cubes to yield 8 cups. Spread into two 15x10x1-inch baking pans; bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until dry, stirring twice; cool. (Cubes will continue to dry and crisp as they cool.) Or let bread cubes stand, loosely covered, at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. Slow Cooker Directions:
Prepare as directed, doubling the amounts of all ingredients, except use 1-1/3 cups chicken broth. Omit the 2-quart casserole and lightly coat a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon stuffing into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. (Stuffing gets very moist as it cooks.) Make-Ahead Directions:
Prepare as directed through Step 2, except do not preheat oven. Cover casserole tightly with plastic wrap; chill for up to 24 hours. To serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap. If desired, drizzle stuffing with an additional 1/4 cup chicken broth to moisten. Bake, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of stuffing registers 165 degrees F.
Nutrition Facts (Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing)
Per serving: 108 kcal cal., 5 g fat (3 g sat. fat, 1 g monounsatured fat), 10 mg chol., 288 mg sodium, 14 g carb., 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 2 g pro.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Finely chop 2 slices of the bacon. Stir together the finely chopped bacon, the finely chopped onion, and the finely snipped sage; set aside.
Remove neck and giblets from turkey; discard. Rinse turkey; pat dry with paper towels. Loosen the skin from the breast meat by sliding your fingers underneath it, being careful not to tear it. Slide your hand as far as you can toward the opposite end of the turkey, separating the skin from the meat. Rub the bacon mixture underneath the skin over the entire breast, working toward the thighs as much as possible.
Sprinkle inside of body cavity with kosher salt and pepper. Fill cavity with sage sprigs and sweet onion wedges. Pull neck skin to back and fasten with a small skewer. Tuck drumstick securely to tail, if available. If there is not a band of skin, tie drumsticks securely to the tail using 100% cotton kitchen string. Twist wing tips under back. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle turkey with additional salt and pepper. Weave remaining 8 strips of bacon in a lattice pattern over the breast. Tuck additional sage leaves into the lattice. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into center of inside thigh muscles. The thermometer should not touch bone. Cover loosely with foil.
Roast for 2 3/4 hours. Remove foil. Roast for 15 to 45 minutes more or until thermometer reaches 175 degrees F. (The juices should run clear and drumsticks should move easily in their sockets.) Remove from oven. Cover turkey with foil; let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
Transfer turkey to a cutting board. Remove and discard onion and sage from inside turkey. Carve turkey. Serve with Bacon and Onion Gravy.
Bacon and Onion Gravy
Stir 1 cup broth into pan drippings from roasted turkey in roasting pan, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Pour drippings into a 2-cup glass measure. Skim and reserve fat from drippings. If necessary add enough melted butter to the reserved fat to make 1/4 cup. Add enough broth to the drippings in measuring cup to make 2 cups total liquid.
In a large saucepan cook 2 slices bacon over medium heat until crisp-cooked. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from saucepan and drain on paper towels.
Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in saucepan; add 1/4 cup chopped onion and 1 teaspoon sage to the mixture. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Carefully add vinegar to skillet and cook until evaporated.
Add the 1/4 cup fat to the saucepan with the onion mixture. Stir in flour. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 minute.
Add drippings mixture all at once to flour mixture in saucepan, stirring until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
Stir in crumbled bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
From the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen
Hattie’s comment was “this is the best skin ever.” It had a great bacon flavor.
The sage was subtle, but nice. Bacon/onion/sage combo seemed very Thanksgiving like.
I cooked a smaller bird and only made 2 cups gravy, but for this 14-to 16-pound size you would need more.
The gravy was tasty. One thing I had thought about was adding a little whipping cream to the gravy, so you could try that.
Bacon is hard to finely chop. Could say to freeze bacon in a single layer and then break the frozen bacon and add to food processor. . . .it might chop it up better. TK could try this.
I used Vander Rose Farms bacon.
Nutrition Facts (Bacon Wrapped Turkey)
Per serving: 557 kcal cal., 29 g fat (9 g sat. fat, 6 g polyunsaturated fat, 11 g monounsatured fat), 270 mg chol., 519 mg sodium, 1 g carb., 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 73 g pro.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Rub ribs with Cajun seasoning. Layer ribs and onion in a 5-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, orange juice, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, Liquid Smoke if desired and salt. Pour over ribs. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until meat is tender.
Remove ribs and keep warm. Strain cooking juices and skim fat; transfer to a small saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with ribs.
Originally published as Lazy Man’s Ribs in Simple & Delicious January/February 2007, p.35