Shop Talk : Talking turkey
Easy does it. Almost everyone I have spoken to is planning to stay on the Island for Thanksgiving, but whether your home is the traditional destination, or it's your first time hosting, you'll find everything you need for Thanksgiving on the Vineyard.
Both Granite in Edgartown and LeRoux in Vineyard Haven have all things turkey. To ensure a properly cooked turkey, use a pop-up timer ($2.19) or a small meat thermometer ($3.99 to 4.99). Keep in mind - a moist bird is a basted bird, so a turkey baster is a must. An old-fashioned plastic baster (you know, that funny looking bulbous thing that just sits in the utility drawer 364 days a year) starts at $2.19 while a new silicon basting brush is $2.99. If you are an adventurous chef who is going to bone and stuff your turkey, save time and energy with a turkey lacer ($1.69).
For those first-timers who are starting from scratch, LeRoux's Turkey 101 Cooking Kit ($24.95) has silicone turkey lifters, a baster, an instant read thermometer, kitchen prep gloves and a cooking guide. All of these items will be for naught if you don't have a properly sized roasting pan for your bird. You can go as simple as a disposable roasting pan (available at every grocery and home goods store) to a fine metal one with a roasting rack included. Granite's basic pan starts at $21.99 while LeRoux has a phenomenal heavy-duty roasting pan with rack for $49.99, a wise investment that ensures even cooking and will stand the test of time. Another great investment would be a beautiful carving set. I still have my grandmothers, along with a set of LeRoux's Shun cutlery. (It was the same price as off-Island and on the Internet.)
Now that you have the utensils, a flavor and preparation decision is required. LeRoux offers their line of Urban Accents to help with brining or an herbal rub, along with seasonings for gravy and stuffing. Cronig's in Vineyard Haven and Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown provide a great selection of fresh and dried herbs, so you can mix your own traditional flavor palate.
Looking for menu ideas? Check out the books: LeRoux offers "The Best Pumpkin Recipes" ($5.95) while Bunch of Grapes in Vineyard Haven and Edgartown Books has "Essentials of Roasting" from Williams-Sonoma ($34.95). The November issues of Country Living magazine ($4.50) and Food & Wine magazine ($4.95) focus on Thanksgiving recipes.
Thanksgiving dinners usually include wine. Asking Jamison Loveday of Your Market in Edgartown for suggestions for Thanksgiving dinner wine became an enlightening and easy conversation. The Your Markets Wine purchaser said that while Pinot Noir, a lighter style red, is the most popular customer choice, he would recommend a Pinot Blanc, a white wine that is lighter than the more traditional Chardonnay. While he prefers wines from France for their complexity, he says the price is outreaching their value. Instead, he suggests looking at Californian and Oregon wines for a better value. Great Pinot Noirs can be had for $18 to $60 and his Pinot Blanc pick is Oregon's A to Z ($14.99). For a well-rounded wine that goes with everything from cranberry to turkey, Jamieson recommends a rosé, the well-known "summer wine," because it can double as a sipping or starter wine. Other Island shops known for fabulous wine selections in Edgartown are Al's, Town Provisions, and Great Harbour Gourmet & Spirits, and in Oak Bluffs you can also at Jim's, Our Market, Tony's and Vineyard Wine & Cheese Shop.