Carving a Turkey

Choose your Turkey Carving Method

or How I Learned to Carve a Turkey on YouTube.

I have spent several Thanksgivings struggling with big birds, trying to teach myself everything I never wanted to know about carving a turkey.

Eventually, I resorted to the internet, reading articles from ButterBall® to Martha Stewart to POPSUGAR Food (I’m not kidding). This was but a meager beginning. I soon found the motherload for TCI (Turkey Carving instructions) on YouTube. Here I discovered a plethora of live action videos, purporting to make me into a Grand Master in the art of turkey carving in just 3 to 5 minutes.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to review this video plethora. I have done it for you. I’ve divided these videos into three TCI methodologies: elegant (Norman Rockwell style), clever, and simple.

The Norman Rockwell carving style takes place in the dining room by showing off your skills in front of your guests by slicing the breast meat while it is still on the bird. It’s pretty…very pretty. Then the master retires to the kitchen to finish the ugly work with no witnesses.

The clever methods involve the tricks and speed-carving methods of professional chefs using ninja knives. They take apart turkeys in a flash, using knife skills that could easily cost me a limb. I’ll pass on the clever.

And, the simple method is for the really smart 1% (I don’t qualify), who have thoroughly researched the matter and found out that even Julia Child gave up on carving turkeys. In 1989 she proposed that the best way to cook a turkey was to separate the bird pieces in advance. Hence her recipe for a deconstructed turkey. No carving required. Of course, to many of us that kind of defeats the purpose of having a turkey in the house.

At the end of the day, I became a follower of Alton Brown’s Turkey carving method. It’s a bit clever and about as simple as could be without deconstructing in advance, but maybe not elegant. I’ll stick with it until I find a better system. I’m especially indebted to Mr. Brown for his technique of removing the thigh bone and carving the thigh.

Here’s a link to Food Network’s Alton Brown Turkey Carving Video 3:28.

My final bit of advice is that whatever method you choose, have a sharp carving knife for the slicing, and a sharp boning knife for that tricky thigh bone. ENJOY!

P.S. This blog is a follow-up to my earlier posting this month on turkey cooking tips:

TURKEY TIME

 

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Beverage Dispensers for the Home

We've Come a Long Way Baby

From Maytag's Skybox to the Dacor Wine Station

Launched somewhere around 2003-2004, the Maytag Skybox home beverage dispenser could dispense either bottles or cans. With a distinct sports theme (you could order panels for your favorite team), the Skybox was great for a basement or rec room. MSRP priced at $499 (most sold for less), this product was all about fun and whimsey. However, the Skybox was mostly plastic, made in China, and not what you'd describe as fitting the durable, premium image of the Maytag brand.

Maytag-Skybox

Maytag Skybox

It had a short life, but then Maytag itself didn't have a long life left, being sold to Whirlpool in 2005. Now let's fast forward to 2014 and the Dacor Discovery WineStation®.

Elegant, luxurious, and built for the true wine connoisseur –

Dacor-WineStation

Dacor Discovery WineStation

The Discovery WineStation® is the first automated, temperature-contolled, four-bottle wine dispensing and preservation system for the home.

Unlike the Skybox, The WineStation® is a serious product for serious wine lovers, and it carries a serious price of $5299. It's also not likely you'll find this on sale at the big box or home improvement stores, but just like the Skybox, the WineStation® is definitely an attention getter and a conversation starter.

As a commentator and observer of macro-trends in the appliance industry, it's great to take a step away from serious and often distressing appliance news to take a look at fun and interesting products such as the Maytag Skybox and Dacor WineStation®. Can you think of any unique appliance products that made you curious or put a smile on your face?

 

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GE Attempt at Deception Doesn’t Fool Anyone

Shocking Overstatement by GE in Leading Trade Magazine

 

The Nov. 2014 Retail Observer has a two-page GE ad/editorial pronouncing-

“GE Appliances is committed as ever to serving our customers and helping them grow their business.”

They must be kidding. GE is selling its appliance business to Electrolux. Of course, they’re not kidding and that makes the offense even larger. As you might expect, those clever PR folks were careful to cover their bottoms. They don’t actually say that GE is committed to serving their customers, do they? No, they say GE Appliances. You see, GE is not committed to serving its appliance customers because GE is SELLING GE Appliances, so it’s safe to say that GE Appliances not GE is the entity committed to the business. BUT, GE Appliances will be owned by Electrolux Appliances, a Swedish firm. Oh, how we can twist words. How about some honesty?

This is a BAD deal for GE dealers. It’s a BAD deal for GE employees, and one could easily argue that it’s also a BAD deal for a lot of U.S. employees of Electrolux. More importantly, it’s a really bad deal for the U.S. appliance industry and American consumers. I’ve written about monopolistic practices before, and even the Electrolux takeover of GE Appliances. See below:

US APPLIANCE COMPANY SELLS OUT

I have to say that I was particularly offended by the second page of the ad with a headline saying “THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING AMERICAN JOBS.” GE and Electrolux have not addressed the question of which factories will be closed and how many jobs will be lost. Anybody who has been around this industry and witnessed these takeovers knows that they never result in new factories or increased jobs. Sad about the sale of GE Appliances, but much sadder about this really pathetic deceit. Shame on you, GE.

 

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An Old Appliance Name: Chambers

Chambers Ranges and the Famous Daisy Burner

Chambers-Cooktop

Chambers Cooktop

This is a real blast from the past. I don’t remember much about Chambers Ranges and cooktops. They were purchased by KitchenAid back in the mid-1980’s. (At the time KitchenAid brand was part of Hobart. Later Whirlpool purchased KitchenAid).

Chambers had some unique and distinctive features and a price point that definitely put it in the premium brand category for ranges. Of course, back in the 1980’s, brands weren’t segmented as they are today.

The Daisy Burner

Chambers-Daisy-Burners

Chambers Daisy Burners

Chambers had a funky pop-up griddle/broiler feature, a thermostatic cooktop control that was called “a burner with a brain”, a deep well burner with a sunken pot, and the famous daisy burner. The daisy burner was adopted by KitchenAid and continued to be used on some KitchenAid cooktops long after the demise of the Chambers brand.

The daisy burner was impressive. It consisted of 4 or 5 small burners arranged in a circle. Each small burner was not any bigger in circumference than a quarter and had maybe 12-15 individual burner ports. I’ve read that it produced about 12,000 btus which was enormous back in those days.

Among the antique brands that are being sold on the internet today, a restored Chambers range can fetch a handsome price.

 

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Employee Dress and Appearance at Starbucks

Tattoos OK…Jewelry Not So Much

Starbucks-Coffee

Starbucks-Coffee

There’s been so much blather on social media about the recently announced Starbucks’ Dress Code, I wanted to see for myself what this dress code actually says. I looked it up, and I’ve attached the entire (1 page) Official Starbucks’ Dress Code at the bottom of this posting.

I personally don’t much like rules and I think the best rule book I’ve ever heard of was Nordstrom’s. Printed on a single 5″ X 7″ card, I’ve duplicated the entire rulebook contents below:

Welcome to Nordstrom

 

We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

 

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

 

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

I’m not certain that this remains their rulebook today, but I feel that the overall policy of employee empowerment is still respected today at Nordstrom.

I’ve always believed Starbucks to be a progressive company, but I hated Starbucks‘ tattoo policy. Many times I’ve noticed baristas with flesh colored bandages covering up a small tattoo on their neck, or a stud on their nose. How silly. I have no tattoos or nose jewelry, but this is the world we live in. It’s not for me to judge. I just want a smile and a cup of hot coffee.

Now, they have removed this foolish policy, but added the provision that employees may not wear watches or rings with stones in them. It turns out that Starbucks is not alone. Many restaurants and food service establishments severely restrict the jewelry employees can wear, and it appears that there there are in fact FDA rules related to this.

There’s more than meets the eye here. In the next few years, Starbucks aims to increase their food sales to 50% of their revenue. Because of this, I don’t think it’s likely they’re going to back down on the minimalistic approach to jewelry. I guess this is a you win some – you lose some proposition. Lightening up on Starbucks’ tattoo policy will make most employees happy, but as far as the jewelry decision goes, it’s just not likely to go away. Like others in the food service business, Starbucks will most certainly stick with the policy citing both legal and health safety reasons.

Click below to see Starbuck’s new policy:

StarbucksDressPolicy

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Management Advice

Peter Drucker’s Wisdom

Peter-Drucker

As I review my previous blogs, a brief blog referring to one of Peter Drucker’s famous quotes shows up in my top 10 blogs, no matter how I seem to sort them. It’s at least partly because the blog remains evergreen. I continue to get views on this blog regardless of the time of day, the day of the week, the season, the country, etc. It just seems to endure. I neither did nor said anything magical in the post. The reason is that Drucker’s name and the profound wisdom packed into one short phrase, shows up in name and topic searches.

Here’s the blog link:

Drucker’s Advice. Don’t solve problems – pursue opportunities.

Today, we’ll focus on entrepreneurship. Here’s what Drucker had to say about entrepreneurs:

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

Peter Drucker

It helps to know that when Drucker refers to entrepreneurs he is not talking about corporate managers, but genuine entrepreneurs, leading small and medium-sized businesses in various growth stages.

In fact, a big problem with many startups today is that early on they want to hire experienced corporate executives. Though these execs thrive in their corporate world, they lack the unique decision-making skills or leadership talents that are so critical for early-stage entrepreneurships. Moreover, they’re myopic. They only know how to act in a corporate way, not in an entrepreneurial way.

When Drucker says the entrepreneur always searches for change, he exposes the key difference between corporate managers and entrepreneurs. Corporate managers are looking for situations where they can leverage their accumulated strengths. Corporations want to apply their power and strength in manufacturing, distribution, or simply apply their corporate size and strength to win in the marketplace.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs don’t have scale and strength. They can’t bully their way to success. They win because they are all about new ideas, changing the game, and doing things different.

Successful small businesses are nimble almost by definition. They can change directions quickly, make decisions immediately, and will single-mindedly pursue a worthwhile goal. They have no choice. It’s all on the line for the entreprenuer.

 

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What do you want in an insurance policy?

Need Insurance? Get these provisions on your new policy.

Ask your agent to make sure that any insurance policy he offers you has these provisions. Do you think they are reasonable requests?

-Your children can remain on your policy up to age 26.
-There are no lifetime limits on total payout.
-Any appeal to a denied claim will be handled by a third party (instead of the insurance provider itself).

Issue of the policy is guarenteed. You cannot be refused.

-No pre-existing condition riders can be applied
-You cannot be rated (i.e. charged more)
-Your policy cannot include exclusion riders
-80% of premium charges will go to actual services, not administrative costs or profits.

-Key preventative care is covered at 100%

– immunization/flu shots
– blood pressure/cholesterol screening
– mammograms/colonoscopies
– type II diabetes screening
– Obesity Screening and counseling
– Tobacco use screening

Any policy your insurance agent recommends is sure to comply to these requests. It's the law!

By now you've probably guessed that these are key provisions of The Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as ObamaCare. An OVERWHELMING majority of Americans favor these ACA provisions, even though they rail at the bogeyman of ObamaCare. As much as America voted Republican over Democrat candidates in the off-year 2014 election, the repeal of the ACA is unlikely. The new Congress will not fall on their sword over this law, because its specific provisions are so popular.

So we don't like the Affordable Care Act, but we like its provisions. Similarly, we oppose an omnibus immigration reform law, but the American public is in favor of most of the reforms if presented to us individually. Go figure. My personal view is that we're pretty much decent folk, and favor what's sensible and fair. But we get our ire up and look for something or someone to blame when our govenment is intractable and unable to govern as it is now.

 

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Best Tripod Mount for your SmartPhone and More

Shoulderpod S1

In the last year or so I've been doing some event photography, and short YouTube videos using my iPhone 4S. I used an adapter called a Glif to connect my iPhone 4S to a tripod. There were other adapters, but the Glif had a very simple, yet clever design.

Now, I've upgraded to an iPhone 6, and my Glif won't fit. There's a new Glif, but after doing my research I settled on the Shoulderpod S1. It's similar to the Glif, with a simple design, but it offers much more:

TRIPOD MOUNT

The S1 is a hefty device that grips the camera firmly and safely. With a universal (1/4″-20) tripod mount you can attach your iPhone to a huge selection of tripods from the small desktop versions, to the flexible gorillapods, to a full-size tripod. If this were all the device did, then this would surely put it at or near the top of my tripod adapter list. But wait…There's more!! 🙂

FILMMAKER GRIP

The ShoulderPod S1 has an added grip that screws into the tripod mount, along with a wrist strap, that makes the S1 a steady grip for still photos, as well an incredible aid for filming. Imagine the ease and smoothness of pans, and the extra stabilization for zooms. This is a simple, but powerful tripod holder/grip for improving photos and filmmaking with your iPhone 6 or other camera-equipped phone.

TRAVELER STAND

As an added bonus, the ShoulderPod S1 serves as a stand for the phone. Handy, but not really a big deal or a reason to buy the S1. Not until you figure out that as a stand, the S1 also serves as a desktop tripod on its own. A tripod when you don't have a tripod? Cool.

S1 is Universal

I may not have made this clear, but the ShoulderPod S1 works with the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus, and most other cell phones out there with a case or without a case. Naturally, you'll want to check dimensions for yourself, but it's most likely to fit your device. Upon second thought, if you don't have a camera on your phone…well, if you don't have a camera on your phone you need a new phone. Then get yourself a ShoulderPod S1. You can order online from the manufacturer or through Amazon.com.

 

Coming soon. Video demo on the ShoulderPod S1

 

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Your New iPhone 6 Needs Some Accessories

Top iPhone 6 accessories

3 iPhone 6 Accessories You’ll Need Very Soon

After spending way too much money on a new iPhone, I decided that it was important to spend more money to protect it, and even a bit more to be able to keep the camera steady. So, here are 3 accessories for the iPhone 6 that I’ve researched, and I recommend here.

The first accessory you are probably going to need for your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus is a case. There are literally hundreds of cases to choose from, and you’ll probably have to go to hundreds of places to get just the one you want. Let me save you some time. Decide what you want the case for. Are you trying to make a fashion statement? Is leather important to you? Do you want to use this iPhone for scuba diving or wild game hunting? Seriously, I’ve seen some cases that would withstand being in a war zone. Guess what, I’m not ever going to a war zone. My priority was to (quickly) find a case that would protect my investment. Most likely I might drop it, so I wanted to protect it from breaking upon impact. Here was my solution.

Tech 21 iPhone Case

This company seems to focus on building a phone case that would buffer the phone from the shocks of dropping. They have their own technology for a very simple case that diverts the force of the impact when a phone is dropped. It’s a convincing story, and the case is widely available. Done.

After some time, I’m happy with the case. However, I’ve long ago gone away from a full-sized wallet to a thin leather case that holds a few credit cards and ID. Therefore, I’m thinking of an iPhone case that will hold some credit cards, thereby reducing two items to one.

ZAGG Screen Protector

ZAGG is a great company. Their customer service is unparalleled. I have a Zagg keyboard that I use every day on my iPad 2. It’s a fantastic product. Zagg has a glass screen protector for the iPhone 6 that comes with a great warranty. I got mine at a company store where they installed it using a heat process that enables it to adhere better to the screen, but they can also send the screen protector. Either way, I highly recommend the ZAGG glass finish for protection and clarity.

Joby Gorilla Pod

Joby is already famous for their flexible go everywhere Gorilla Pods. The new one depicted above is a Gorilla Pod that has a special grip for iPhones (and other smart phones). You kill two birds with this purchase by acquiring the grip which holds the phone to the Gorilla Pod, AND the Gorilla Pod tripod itself. I’m looking forward to mine arriving soon. I have another cool rig which is a tripod mount, grip, and stand that I’ll be doing a YouTube video on soon.

 

 

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Apps for your New iPhone 6

5 Apps worth getting for your iPhone 6

Here are 5 apps that come highly rated for use with the iPhone 6. They’re not new apps, but they’ve all been updated to take advantage of the IOS8 operating system as well as OS X for Yosemite. I’ve installed most of them, on my iPhone. I’ll have the others installed very soon.

DayOne

DayOne

DayOne has been an app that I began using daily about 6 months ago. I love this app and the way it syncs across my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Pro. Several apps such as DayOne that I formerly used daily on my iPad, I didn’t even bother opening on the small screen on my old iPhone 4S. Now, with the much bigger screen and improved keyboard, I often prefer the iPhone 6 over my iPad for quick daily activities.

1Password

1-Password

Not happy with the complexities of my present password system, I thought this would be a great time to find a new solution. Everywhere I research, I’m getting recommendations for 1Password. Seems to be the perfect solution for my specific situation, and I’m ready to download.

Pixelmator

Pixelmator

Here’s a Photo editing app that was used by Apple at their October 15th launch to demonstrate how amazingly great apps can optimize the capabilities of the new Apple products and operating systems. I went through some Pixelmator reviews and even a full tutorial. I’m excited about having this on my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Pro. It’s $4.99 for the IOS version (iPhone AND iPad), and $29.99 for the IOS X Yosemite version. I know that sounds a little pricey, but this app is seriously being compared to PhotoShop at many times the price.

Evernote

Evernote may be my favorite app…Ever! I was troubled with this app for a long time, because I just didn’t “get” it. But after a couple of false starts, I now use EvernoteEveryday. I also have Evernote shortcuts on my notification screen so that I don’t even have to open the application to access its key features. That makes Evernote perfect for for capturing and recording thoughts, ideas, photos, lists, and more on the spur of the moment.

Pocket

Another hugely popular app, Pocket is a holding place to temporarily save text, articles, etc. that you want to read but don’t have time for right now. It seemed like a waste to me considering my reliance on Evernote to handle well, Everything. However, I was wrong again. Pocket makes my life easier in many ways. I’m always saving research, news articles, and other materials to read later. Pocket is perfect to quickly save, read later, and then delete or save elsewhere, eg. Evernote, when you’re finished. I see why it gets so many rave reviews.

Well, there you have it. Five must have apps above that take advantage of the capabilities of the iPhone 6 and the new IOS 8 operating system as well as OS X Yosemite for Macbooks, Mac Minis, and iMacs. Don’t just use your new iPhone 6 for phone calls and text messages. Take advantage of all of it’s built-in wonderfulness.

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