The Thanksgiving Meal: To Tweak or Not To Tweak

“I cook German food all year long, so why would I want to add it to the meal,” Jeremy Nolen, the chef at Brauhaus Schmitz says in shooting down my dreams of speck laden brussels or any sign of the border spanning modern German cuisine that Brauhaus features much more prominently via a recent menu change.

“We keep it pretty traditional. Some of it comes from my mom and her upbringing in New England,” he says, with that accounting for the mashed carrots and turnips with salt, pepper, and butter that traveled with early settlers from across the pond. Other inflections shaping Nolen’s traditional version of the holiday come from his upbringing in Reading, with PA Dutch favorites filtering in.

“We’d always have dried corn with butter,” he says. In addition to sweetness, the corn is marked by a nutty flavor via the drying process (it’s sold either dry or reconstituted). Potato filling is another PA Dutch favorite. “The name is misleading,” however, he says. “You don’t fill it with anything.  When you make stuffing, what doesn’t fit in the turkey, you mix it with mashed potatoes and bake it with butter.”

And for the turkey? Smoked like the pork chop on the Brauhaus butcher’s plate? Or, given a beer brine?

Again, they keep it simple, with his dad getting a fresh killed, farm raised turkey from a local Amish farm. “There’s no need to brine a farm fresh turkey. I grew up in farm country so I’ve never had a frozen turkey,” he adds.

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