Every November, Americans gather their family around the dinner table to give thanks for the many brown things we have to eat. Pumpkin pie, stuffing, gravy, UPS, dirt — these are all delicious brown things, but the centerpiece of the celebration, at least in my house this year, was a bird stuffed with two other birds. Finally, Turducken.
Oh, how I have longed for this mighty amalgam of avian delights. Humanity has been stuffing animals into other animals since the Middle Ages — it's called engastration (which rhymes with hen castration, though that doesn't make sense) — yet the closest I've come is a McChicken inside a McDouble inside a McRib.
Enter Goldbely.com, the website where America's most famous foods are collected and made available for shipping directly to your door. Having sampled the service several times in the past (see Snacktaku reviews of Jeni's Ice Creams and Half-Smokes with Chili Sauce), I decided to seek out the food aggregator for the best thanksgiving fare I could find.
Goldbely had everything I needed. From Louisiana's famous La Boucherie, I acquired a sausage-stuffed turducken roll. Florida's acclaimed Mike's Pies (something about the name, I think) provided a pumpkin cheesecake. Finally, Michigan's own Achatz Handmade Pie Co. finished off the meal with a pumpkin praline pie.
What about the side dishes? The stuffing? The mashed potatoes? the rolls? I had people for that. My sister Nadine, my mother, and the wife and kids all chipped in to round out the meal.
The video above is a chronicle of our culinary adventure. If all you you want is words, give thanks for the following paragraphs.
Was it everything I expected it to be?
That all depends. Are we talking about my completely unrealistic expectations? Then no. It did not change my life, outside of a few pounds and some funny stories. It did not give me the equivalent strength of three birds (dammit). I did not die instantly upon tasting it.
As for my more realistic expectations, La Boucherie's turducken roll pretty much nailed them. With Cajun spices rubbed inside and out and a filling of pork sausage (turduckenork), the three bird flavors merged, giving the whole affair a general spiced bird taste. That's a fine taste, I suppose.
Once I finally found where the turkey ended and the chicken and meager amount of duck began, I realized the turducken is more a study in textures than it is flavors.
It's like MTV's The Real World. Cramming different people into a house for a long period of time, they begin to feel like a single product, but should you eat those people, the textural differences would shine through.
That might be the worst analogy ever. Or the best. Anyway, turducken isn't so much three birds in one as it is three birds as one.
By popular demand...
What's next? Oh yes.
Mike's Pies Pumpkin Cheesecake
Thick, rich and creamy, normally one small slice of cheesecake is normally just fine for me, thanks.
Not this time. That empty space there? That's all me.
Part of the blame for that lies with my dinner companions, who would not stop talking as I attempted to film my initial bite, causing me to go through three slices in three takes.
The rest of the blame falls squarely on the cheesecake crust. I don't know what Mike and company did to make pressed graham cracker crumbs taste like crack, but I would gladly pay for one massive disk of whatever was underneath the lightest, creamiest pumpkin cheesecake I've ever had.
Fun fact: My sister made a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving at my mother's house this year. She really shouldn't have.
And last, but not least...
Achatz Pumpkin Praline Pie
I have eaten many purchased pies in my time, and they almost always tasted as if they were made by amazing pie-making robots. Not this one.
Achatz's pumpkin praline pie tasted like my mother made it, only this version of my mother never burns the top or "accidentally" drops sewing needles into the filling before baking. She also lives in Michigan, and has a completely different name and appearance.
Light, fluffy pumpkin pie filling, sprinkled with pecan praline crumble, all atop a hidden layer of vanilla cheesecake — this is a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. No one aspect of the pie is overwhelming. All of it works in perfect harmony, right down to the flaky, love-infused crust.
The true winner here is me, followed closely by Goldbely for making this meal possible. I got to mark another food off my list of must-eats, and I got to share an amazing meal with my family — that includes all of you folks.