November 21, 2012

Soup to Nuts: For Maine restaurants, Thanksgiving calls for mass production

On this Thanksgiving Eve, be thankful you're not Eric Flynn, the head chef at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, who will be cooking for a record 900 people today.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Chef Eric Flynn poses with some of the 800 pounds of potatoes he ordered for Thanksgiving dinner at Freeport’s Harraseeket Inn.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Chef Steve Corry finally decided to open Five Fifty-Five on Thanksgiving this year after a steady increase in inquiries about a holiday dinner in recent years.

Press Herald file/Jack Milton

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"Then we'll cook it at a gentle temperature for a long time until it's cooked, and then we'll take it and we'll roast it until it's crispy. You'll get a slice of this on the plate with your stuffing and your cranberry sauce. To some degree, your plate will remind you of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but with a little whimsy."

Corry will also serve his traditional New England oyster stuffing and some kind of play on green bean casserole.

Non-traditional options will include organic Scottish salmon, some kind of red meat roast or braise, and Corry's truffled lobster "mac & cheese," a customer favorite that he dares not remove from the menu.

Lobster is the thing (along with baked brie) that Flynn cannot remove from his menu or customers would howl. He serves the lobsters split in half and chilled.

Northrup says she always goes for the traditional turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes ("otherwise, it's not Thanksgiving") but if friends from New York join her it's a different story.

"This year I have two people from New York City," she said. "The lobster is a huge deal."

Northrup is a medical doctor and a women's health expert, but she confesses she doesn't worry too much about eating healthy on Thanksgiving. Yes, she loves the "unusual salads" that the inn serves, but when it comes to dessert, "I really have to have a taste of everything that's on the buffet. I admit it."

"I love mincemeat pie, so I always have that," she said. "And then, their vanilla ice cream is better than any other vanilla ice cream on planet earth. They make it there. I have to have that."

Northrup said she doesn't miss leftovers, one of the benefits of cooking Thanksgiving dinner at home. She just uses the rest of the weekend to try new recipes in a more relaxed environment.

Still, even after all these years of dining out on the holiday, Northrup is not immune to the pull of the Thanksgiving editions of Saveur and Bon Appetit and the over-the-top spreads shown on the Food Network.

"I still have my fantasies," she said, "because I've cooked so many Thanksgiving dinners over the years, and I'm so good at it."

 

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: mgoad@pressherald.com

 

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Chef Steve Corry will be cooking Thursday at his Five Fifty-Five in Portland.

Press Herald file/Jack Milton

  


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