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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Very Special Lileks Thanksgiving

From today's Bleat:

My guest did not arrive... Turns out that there are other people attempting to leave the East coast by plane this time of year - go figure - so he's driving, and should roll up to Jasperwood Wednesday night. Which means we will have an Aussie for Thanksgiving.

Mmmm-mmm! Them's good eatin'!

Now, the best way to cook Aussie, obviously, is on the barbie, but that might not be practicable in Minnesota in late November. I assume the Aussie in question is Tim Blair, who looks a goodish size, so I hope you have a large oven. Otherwise you're going to have to cut him up and freeze him (or, in Minnesota, just store him out in the back yard).

This is the perfect time to post my recipe for Stuffed Aussie[*]. The very first ingredient you will need (er, besides the Aussie) is beer. Lots and lots of beer. Don't be getting that Foster's crap. Australian for beer is not Foster's, but Victoria Bitter. I don't say it's good beer, but it's way more popular than Foster's. But you probably don't have a supply of that on hand at such short notice, so any beer will do, although he may kick if you try to feed him Bud (or Busch, Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz, or Miller).

Besides beer you will need:
About 100 cups of bread cubes (see below)
1 bunch celery
2 medium-to-large onions
4 or 5 mangoes
4 cups white raisins
2 cups chicken broth
4 lightly beaten eggs
8 tsp ground sage
12 tsp salt
4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Butter, softened
More beer. Quite a lot of beer.

Now, once you've poured enough beer into your Aussie, he'll pass out (note: for an Aussie, this requires an awesome amount of beer). The trick is not to pass out yourself, and there you're on your own. After he's good and unconscious, you can dispatch him by any convenient method. Then you must clean and gut him, and there again you're on your own. I don't even cut up chickens anymore. You might want to truss his legs up so he fits in the oven better.

Now, if you want to roast him whole it's going to take a good while, so you might want to start the proceedings as soon as he arrives. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.

For the stuffing, you're going to want to use damper; this is a very popular bread in Australia, sort of a pioneer bread I guess. Brumby's Breads makes a nice spinach and feta cheese damper, but again you probably don't have that on hand. So while you're waiting for Tim to arrive, bake up a bunch of drop biscuits. Damper is essentially a giant drop biscuit, so you should be all right with those. My cookbook doesn't have a recipe for roast Aussie, but it says that you'll need 12 cups of bread cubes for a 12 pound turkey. I make Tim about 180 pounds (hard to tell, since I don't know how tall he is), but the body cavity on a human is smaller, in proportion, than a turkey's, so let's say 100 cups of bread cubes. It might be a good idea to make more biscuits, just in case you find you need them.

So, once your biscuits are baked, break them up into cubes (Gnat can help with this, if they're not too hot), and stick them back in the oven to dry on a low temperature. Meanwhile, slice up a bunch of celery and two medium onions, and sautee them in butter until the onion's clear. Peel and pit the mangoes and cut them into small cubes. They just love mangoes in Australia, for some unknown reason, so this will go well with your Aussie. Combine bread cubes, celery, onion, mangoes, raisins, chicken broth, and seasonings. The broth won't be sufficient to moisten this much stuffing, so add more beer until the bread is thoroughly damp, and just a little soupy. Add eggs and mix thoroughly.

Rub inside with salt. No, the Aussie's inside; I suppose after this much beer, I need to make that plain. Add stuffing. Dot Aussie with butter, place in shallow baking tray, and cover lightly with foil. Roast at 325 for 24 to 36 hours. Yes, in the oven. Baste frequently with beer. Remove foil for last 20 minutes.

When you can wiggle his leg freely, remove Aussie from oven and let rest for ten minutes. Discard stuffing. Discard Aussie. Drink the rest of the beer. Prepare chicken nuggets for child and tell her they're roast Aussie. Remove child to safe place, such as the basement. Load guns. Practice screaming, "You'll never take me alive, coppers!"

[*] Obligatory disclaimer: Not a real recipe. Do not kill people and eat them. Do not expose human tissue to temperatures of 325 degrees Farenheit. Do not shoot at police. Keep away from small children. Have a bit of flippin' sense, for God's sake.