For many of us, travel and life on the road is a reality. Often, particularly at holiday times, it is an inconvenient reality. But as I covered in a previous column (see the previous Psychology Today article), it need not always be a food desert. In fact, with a little effort in can be a worthwhile exercise to hone your culinary skills for when you are back in the comfort of your own (well equipped) kitchen. Think of it as your own audition for an episode of Chopped, starring you.
A hotel room and a single pot and pan certainly limits Thanksgiving options. No perfectly roasted turkey, or smoked deliciousness here. But it was an opportunity to recreate a little living history, taking a page quite literally from Ancient Eats. While the modern Thanksgiving feast focuses on poultry, pastry, and processed products; things were a bit more Pilgrim for the original feasters.
According to what we know about “The First Thanksgiving,” held in 1621, is that there was turkey. William Bradford noted that, “besides waterfowl, there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many.” There was also ham, berries, fruits, pumpkins, and squash. Many of these remain staples on the tables of today.
However, the Wampanoag, the Native Americans who rescued Plymouth Colony, provided the newcomers an extensive table, even by modern standards. Less likely found on contemporary menus, there abounded waterfowl, venison, lobster, clams, and other seafood. When a scrounging of the local market provided a super sale on the few remaining live Maine lobster, well, no time like the present to revisit the past.
A lovely holiday meal ensued in typical Food Shaman fashion! The lobster was dispatched, and the meat reserved. The shells and other bits were used to make a quick, shellfish stock. Herbed flatbreads were crafted from the same recipe used in the last article.
The stock was reinforced with some clam juice and reduced for a lovely intensity of flavor. A scrummy lobster bisque was finished with a little half and half and a bit of roux to thicken into creamy, velvety smooth refreshment. This little taste of the sea was finished with bits of the reserved meat, parsley and a little grated Parmigiana-Reggiano (well, no need to skimp on great modern additions).
Some dressing to the flatbreads and the rest of the lobster meat was finished with a bit of roasted garlic avocado mayo (like I said, no reason to suffer; this is Thanksgiving after all). A lovely spin on an often forgotten piece of the historical Thanksgiving table; lobster bisque, and lobster roll with roasted garlic avocado mayo on herbed flatbread. A holiday edition of The Tales of The One Pot Doc.
Remember, if I can do it in a hotel room; you can do it in your kitchen!