Years ago, after Dances With Wolves won the best picture Oscar for 1990, the late, great Spy Magazine had a little blurb comparing Dances with Wolves to the old cheeseball sitcom F-Troop. Spy Magazine claimed that the two plots were identical. Spy Magazine was right. To wit: The hero becomes a Civil War hero by accident, and goes out west to discover Indians are kindly and the cavalry is cowardly and corrupt. Can you tell if this describes the movie or the TV show?
In our effort to make this blog about Best Pictures the best blog out there we actually netflixed an F-troop DVD and watched a couple of episodes on Thanksgiving. We then watched Dances on our regular Sunday. I liked F-Troop better. It has a healthy dose of cynicism that Dances seems to lack. Besides, Larry Storch is a lot funnier than Kevin Costner. In the second episode we watched Don Rickles played an Indian. Does it get better than that?
1990 has one of the gravest injustices Oscars have ever been part of (oooh injustice). 1990 was the year of Goodfellas. How the Academy could pick this overblown feather-brained new age crystal-y “western” over the genius that is Martin Scorcese is beyond me. The fact that up until this time, no Western movie had won a best picture since 1931’s Cimarron puzzles me too. Why now? Why this one? Westerns are not up there as a favorite of mine but I know genius when I see it (well most of the time). Genius Howard Hawks never got one for any of his Westerns (Red River, hello!) he was only nominated once (for Sergeant York). Oy vey and Kevin Costner has a best director’s Oscars. Genius John Ford, the guy who pretty much elevated the Western won 4 best director Academy Awards. None of his were for Westerns. So why this one Academy, why? OK, the buffalo stampede is pretty cool. And Mary McDonnell’s Ralph Lauren-esque Indian costumes are really pretty. But Goodfellas is a masterpiece. I wonder if Martin Scorcese felt like that guy from the old pollution PSAs– you know the guy—him
Timing is everything, though. Because our viewing of Dances With Wolves was right around the time we in America celebrate Thanksgiving I decided to go with the feast that the Indians first taught us way back when and what we’ve bastardized since then. And since we watched this on the Sunday following Thanksgiving we had Turkey leftovers. So appropriate:
We had a Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving with a little Williams-Sonoma thrown in. I bought a pre-brined turkey from TJ’s (brining make the bird juicier)
- 1 fresh turkey, about 16 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed (reserved, if desired)
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400ºF.
melt the butter and add the maple syrup to the pan
Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Loosely tent the turkey with foil, then reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. After about 2 1/2 hours of total roasting time, begin testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh, away from the bone. The breast should register 165°F and the thigh, 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 3 3/4 hours.
Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
Stuffing was from a TJ’s mix.
Gravy was from a great Williams sonoma gravy base (I hate fussing over gravy–this was so easy)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
1 package fresh cranberries (never use that canned crap. Never)
dissolve sugar into the juice and bring to a boil. Add cranberries and lower the heat until the cranberries start to pop. Remove from heat, the sauce will thicken. I always add some chopped walnuts.
For dessert we had a TJ’s pumpkin tart.
All of these make great leftovers.