Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
The other day, I felt the time had come to Vitamix some Bordeaux. Any reasonably sane person, of course, might wonder why. After all, the Vitamix (or at least the Vitamix Professional Series 750) whizzes its razor-sharp steel blades around at 24,000 rpm, which is fast enough to liquify pretty much anything. You could toss a license plate and some pool balls in there and end up with a smoothie; a weird one, but a smoothie nonetheless.
There's a Chekhovian theatrical trope that asserts that if a gun is introduced in the first act, it's got to go off by the third. The culinary corollary: if you're employing hot, bubbling oil to cook your Thanksgiving turkey and there are any other technically edible substances around, you've gotta end up deep frying most of them. Just embrace your destiny.
Behold the Stuffpuppy - an orb of textural pleasures progressing inward from crunch to sponge to pillow. It's the turducken of the sides world: a cloud-soft core of buttery mashed potatoes, swaddled in savory stuffing (or dressing - your call), crusted in crushed potato chips and fried to sublimity. To bite into one is to gaze upon the naked face of Thanksgiving and tremble in ecstasy.
Plus it's really, really, REALLY fun to throw random stuff in the fryer.
Around this time last year, a colleague who was long on culinary passion and short on storage space offered me a brand new Butterball Digital Electric Turkey Fryer, that claimed to be suitable for use indoors. I am, if nothing else, not the least bit risk-averse when it comes to big cooking projects and somewhat of a glutton for peril.
And, quite frankly, I've gotten a tad fed up with some media's seeming obsession with making people panic that if shopping benchmarks aren't achieved by a certain point, all will be lost, family will disown you and your dog will regard you with a mixture of pity and disdain.
I set out to prove that one can indeed be birdless, mid-afternoon and have a company-worthy turkey by early evening, and that deep-frying doesn't have to spell disaster - if you exercise appropriate caution.
The five-second rule proves, to the shock of children and drunk people the world over, insufficiently prophylactic against salmonella and other bacterial buzzkills.