Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just Ask

I am all smiles today, because it is snowing and it is almost Thanksgiving!

This morning I went to Stop and Shop and did my Thanksgiving grocery shopping. I'm cooking a dinner for five this year. It's my first time doing my own Thanksgiving dinner, and I'm excited about it. And after doing my first Easter meal for ten people last spring, cooking for five seems quite feasible.

I've been reading Adam Roberts' new book The Amateur Gourmet: How to Shop, Chop, and Table Hop Like a Pro (Almost), and one of the things Adam recommends is not being embarassed to ask questions. Ask your waiter what wine he recommends with the meal you're ordering. Ask the guy in the produce department what vegetables he thinks are freshest today. Ask the butcher any questions you have about a cut of meat you're looking for.

This morning, I did exactly that. After perusing the many turkeys, I decided to ask the man behind the meat counter what he recommended. I caught his eye, and he asked, "Can I help you with anything?" I told him I was doing my first Thanksgiving turkey and wasn't quite sure what size turkey I would need to feed five people. He was so very helpful, suggesting the proper size and then sorting through the birds and choosing one for me that was the best: "This one is really meaty. Nice, wide breast. You'll do well with this one." Then, for good measure, he walked me through the steps of preparing and cooking the turkey. I had already read a variety of recipes and was familiar with what I planned to do, but it was good to hear his suggestions - it basically affirmed that I was on the right track.

Asking questions doesn't make you look dumb; it sets you up for success! I'm glad I asked today, and I'll keep following the advice of The Amateur Gourmet in my future cooking and dining endeavors!

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