27 November 2013

The Aesthetics of The Innards

When you're rummaging around in your turkey tomorrow, see if you turn up one of these:

It's cool, isn't it? The farmer/lawyer/blogger we got our turkey from does his own butchering, and waxed rhapsodic about the loveliness of the gizzard.

When opened this way, the gizzard is an object of considerable beauty. The inner sac, with its ridged membrane, resembles a taupe-colored squash blossom. Once removed, the sac leaves behind a ridged slightly yellowy, flower-like impression, which contrasts with the deep red of the surrounding, pleasantly symmetrical muscle. The opened gizzard is as colorful and pleasingly symmetrical as any still-life subject—an opened fig, an oyster, or a skull by Georgia O’Keefe.

Alas, too often a supermarket bird comes without the usual innards: neck, liver, heart, gizzard. Besides being tasty additions to your feast, they're lovely and interesting. The neck reminds you that the chicken or turkey had a head, the neck reminds me that my grandmother always said it was the tastiest meat on the bird. The heart of a big bird? Feed your brain two ways, by poking it through with chopsticks or small fingers to figure out which chamber is which, and then by tossing it in your stock. And contemplate the beauty of the gizzard, and contrast that to its hard work of grinding: strength disguised.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Maude Lynn said...

We use the innards to make giblet gravy!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I did make giblet gravy, but I did not open up the gizzard-maybe next year. Or maybe not.