Of Tryptophan and Football
By Joe “The Commish” Cahn
You know the drill: eat Thanksgiving Dinner, get in front of TV to watch the games and then it’s off to dreamland.
You might doze off in front of the Patriots/Lions game, wake up in the middle of the Saints/Cowboys tilt, nod off again and then finish it by catching what you can of the Bengals/Jets triple-header finale.
Everyone blames the tryptophan in the turkey.
You hear people announce this self-fulfilling prophecy — that the bird is what causes us to get in to that deep, REM, snore-worthy state of sleepy bliss.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it might not just be the turkey. Sure, turkey has high levels of tryptophan and it does contribute to the “sleepies.” But, it also has to do with the carbohydrates that you consume during the meal.
Yep, those rolls, potatoes, stuffing — anything that has carbs in it — are the culprits that trigger that tired feeling.
But, let’s be honest — maybe we should just keep this between us.
Because one of the great traditions of Thanksgiving is (usually) that uncle who rolls in for dinner and says something like, “alright, that recliner over there is mine. Once I eat turkey and get in front of that TV, it’s all over.”
If that uncle (or anyone) is a real football fan and tailgater, they will make it through the third game eating a turkey sandwich with tons of mayo. If the game ends up going in to overtime, then it’s a leftover wing or leg on top of it all.
Speaking of turkey, and since I have some experience here, I’d like to share a couple of recipes that you might want to try this week.
The first is a classic — deep-fried turkey — from Sandy, a tailgater from Colorado Springs, Colorado. If you’ve never tried it before, you are in for a real treat. Plus, it cooks much faster than the old roasting technique. If you have a 15-pound bird, for example, it will take less than an hour.
13 oz salt
1 1/2 oz ground black pepper
2 oz ground red pepper
1 oz garlic powder
1 oz chili powder
1 oz accent”
OR you can use Cajun Power Garlic Sauce
Depending on how much seasoning you want injected into the turkey depends on how much to dilute. We like alot of spices…so we will dilute about half of this mixture to a consistancy that will flow thru an injection needle. Then just inject the turkey to your heart’s content!
When frying the turkey at a game you sure get a lot of spectators wondering what in the world you are doing and a lot of people just coming to see what the wonderful smell is. In any event you meet alot of different people…such as The Commissioner of Tailgating…wondering what you are doing!
- Use a thawed turkey not to exceed 18 lbs.
- Inject turkey with Creole Seasoning (diluted with water)
- Fill turkey fryer with vegetable oil (make sure it will not overflow when turkey is put in)
- Heat oil to 350 degrees
- Cook for 3 minutes per pound plus 5 minutes more.
And, since we’re in the Thanksgiving mood, here is a Cranberry Compote recipe from Mary Whitesell, the team cook for Jeff Gordon’s #24 Dupont Team and (yes, I know it’s not football — but this recipe is GREAT and Mary is a master).
“1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 orange – zest and use juice
½ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped dry apricots
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Plumb raisins and apricots in orange juice. Add spices and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Allow to cool. Add to cranberry sauce. Add orange zest and mix together. Cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes.”
All I know is that there isn’t a better feeling that being relaxed, enjoying the sport we all love so much. Speaking of which, I will be headed to Detroit for another special Thanksgiving with some great Lions fans and friends.
Here’s what that celebration is going to look like:
- 6 turkeys
- 20 side dishes
- All of the other trimmings
- And a hot tub soak, in the parking lot, before the game
That’s going to be a good time and some top-notch relaxation.
And for that, I am very thankful.
So, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you try the recipes — get some good naps in on Thursday — and have a great time.
And, as always, I’ll see you down the road.