How do you cook a turkey? Ever since I have had any major role in the whole Christmas cookery process, I have cooked "the dinner" thanks to Katie Stewart's recipe in The Times Cook Book, c. 1972. The book is in truth a bit battered, and has so fallen apart in three different versions that it is honestly a bit hard to find the turkey cooking times, let alone the bread sauce recipe or the forcemeat stuffing. (That's the kitchen table above, plus an old Keith Floyd for the pudding recipe.)
I was a bit struck that a few years ago one of my friends remarked that this was a bit of a retro idea, but it wasn't until last Thursday that I saw quite how very old-fashioned dear Katie was.
As the daughter and I were getting it all together, she pointed out that we were very close to being candidates for some "recon" history programme, featuring the culinary habits of the early 1970s. For Katie, the cooking medium of choice was butter (olive oil hardly gets a mention), and almost every time she dares to suggest a herb, it is in some decidely un-fresh form (powdered sage in the stuffing is only the start). You can just hear the voice-over of the tv programme: "herbs were still uncommon in the post war British diet..."
As the daughter pointed out, if we were hip we wouldn't be cooking turkey (try goose, or some clever stuffed three bird combo, or just beef); and we certainly wouldn't be cooking it this way (ie lashings of butter and shove it in the oven at gas mark 3, end of). It would be all much more fresh and complicated.