Vietnamese people do not like turkey. I have a theory that it has too much meat and too few bones, but my wife won’t confirm this suspicion. I do know that I tried to serve a rotisserie chicken to her family when they came for dinner one time, and had bought 3 chickens to serve the 30 people we had coming. I had cut each chicken the normal American way–in 8 pieces–2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, 2 drumsticks, and one ass, and the only thing anyone ate was the ass. I am failing at my attempt to avoid saying that everyone loves a good piece of ass, so bear with me please.
The next time they came over, my wife bought one chicken and cut it up. Actually she didn’t cut it, she chopped it. There must have been 30 pieces when she finished. Even drumsticks were chopped into 3 or 4 pieces. They loved it and ate every bony piece. I hate bone shards and fragments in my meat, the Vietnamese seem to love them. They daintily put the bones into a common cup for disposal, whereas the Chinese usually spit them onto the table near their plate. That’s why Chinese home meals are usually served on a glass topped table–it facilitates cleaning.
But back to Thanksgiving dinner at the Robinson Home. I had purchased a 7 kg turkey dinner from the Equatorial Hotel this year. For the past two years we had bought our turkey dinner from the New World Hotel, site of HCMC’s beauty pageants and a recent Miss World Beauty Contest. I figure that maybe some left over beauties might be hanging out in the lobby and I could feast my eyes before I feasted my belly, but no such luck. So this year we decided to try a new place and my wife recommended the Equatorial. The fact that it was $20 cheaper and the turkey was 2 Kg heavier really did have something to do with our decision, and best of all, the meal was better than the more expensive one. There was enough food for 12 Americans, or 15 Canadians, or 84 Vietnamese, 20 Chinese, and 5 Thais. My wife made me save the bones and she made a great stock that she will turn into wonderful soup for the rest of the year.
The turkey was not only bigger, it was better. The dressing was in two kilo sized cryovacked (sp?) packs and there was a pint of cranberry sauce, two pints of giblet gravy, and two big containers of great mashed potatoes. There was also a huge pack of buttered carrots and another of green beans. The dressing was fair, the veggies poor, and the gravy repairable by the addition of a lot of garlic. Best of all was the turkey. It was stuffed with an orange half, chopped celery, and some water hyacinths which moistened the meat and seemed to tenderize it at the same time. The chefs had packed a sort of stuffing under the skin of the breasts, and this was delicious. Imagine Stove Top Stuffing Mix with lots of butter and schmaltz stuffed under the skin, creating a moisture and trading flavors with the skin and meat. Great stuff, terrific idea.
It is difficult to leave while composing a posting and then return days later. I find my interest has waned and I have new ideas (right now I have an idea that I want to go get a massage) that I want to write about. So, I’ll cut this off and pick up after the pending massage.