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Have They Invented a New Food Yet?

Getting out of the cooking rut.

People, like me, who cook a lot tend to get into ruts. It's easy to do because the process of cooking is not just walking into the kitchen and heating something up. It requires a plan, then a shopping list, then shopping, then cooking. Then, after that, you can just walk into the kitchen and heat something up.

It can be even more mind-numbing if you have one or more picky eaters, as I do. My husband has food issues from his childhood so doesn't eat a lot of foods that many people consider staples. He doesn't like and has issues with pork chops that I still don't fully understand. That limits entrée choices quite a bit. One of my children is also a picky eater, but that's another story altogether.

I often find myself sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by the supermarket flyer, pads of papers, pens, and various cookbooks asking myself, "Have they invented a new food yet?"

That's when I turn to my big black book. It's filled not with phone numbers and addresses as the traditional little black book is, but with favorite recipes that are not in my cookbooks and aren't necessarily the first thing that come to mind when I'm trying to figure out a menu plan for the week. 

Some of the recipes in my big black book were given to me by friends. Some I have created and want to have a written record of since I often pass my recipes along and want to be as specific as possible. Some I've downloaded from the Internet over the years and they've become family favorites. Others have come from newspapers or magazines, cut out and pasted on a sheet of white paper and stuck in a page protector.

The only rule for my big black book is a recipe can't go in there unless it's a keeper. This means it was either a success on the first try, or was a success on subsequent tries with tweaks to the directions.

Needless to say, I've been grilling a lot with the nice weather. I've also had a lot of company, so have been cooking and eating a lot of ribs, burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and (in spite of my husband) chicken.

After everyone finally went back to their various lives, I found myself sitting at the kitchen table wondering about the invention of a new food. And then I saw my recipe for Festival Turkey Legs.

It's not new, but grilled turkey legs are quick, easy and a food I always seem to forget about when I'm making my weekly list. Even though they're poultry, my husband likes them, possibly because they would have been considered too unusual for a meal in his childhood home so he never had them. No bad food memories for these drumsticks.

Even my picky son likes them because they remind him of one of his favorite annual events - the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival. This is eating from the Middle Ages - messy and hands on. Be sure to have lots of napkins. It's also not a bad idea to serve a side dish that can be eaten with your hands, like corn on the cob. It's a fun, casual meal that is sure to create lasting memories of good food and happy family dinners for your children. 

Recipe: Festival Turkey Legs

There are as many recipes for Festival Turkey Legs as there are turkeys in the world. However, this is not the original. The original recipe calls for boiling hot pepper flakes and hot sauce, which is a terrible idea. Boiling those spicy ingredients fills the air with a choking gas that is extremely unpleasant. Why this is not listed as a disclaimer on these recipes, I don't understand.  It also tells you to grill the turkey on top of onion slices, a truly puzzling step, if you ask me. There are also recipes for roasted versions, but I've never tried one. I distilled the original recipe down to its absolute essentials and it's very good without the choking gasses or the hassle.

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 Turkey legs
  • One liter bottle of lemon lime soda
  • Barbecue sauce, any brand

Directions:

  1. Place turkey legs in large pot or Dutch oven. Pour in soda. Cover
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to just a low boil. Skim off foam as needed.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes and drain in colander.
  4. Preheat grill.
  5. Place turkey legs on grill over low heat. Grill for about 15 minutes, turning every couple of minutes. Brush with barbecue sauce in the last 5 minutes or so. 

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