Family meals are a little different for the rich and famous. When you’re ridiculously wealthy, no one argues over who’s turn it is to do the washing up, or whether you should open up that extra expensive bottle of wine. Instead, there’s probably someone much poorer than you to take care of clear-up, and there’s a cellarful of pricey bottles from which to choose. Imagine a holiday where all you have to argue over is the peasants outside who keep asking for silly things like “proper healthcare” and “a living wage”. No wonder they’re all so smug.
Naturally, the dinnertime differences extend beyond psychology and stress levels. According to many of the private chefs responsible for making every meal magical for the super rich, the biggest contrast comes when you look at what they do with their Thanksgiving or Christmas centrepiece. You might think that there’s only so many things you can do with a roast turkey. As we shall see, you couldn’t be more wrong.
According to Gail Arnold, private chef to director Steven Spielberg and his family, posh Thanksgiving involves not one, but two turkeys - one for showing and another one for eating. Apparently, this is because the picture perfect turkeys that you see in glossy mags and Instagram aren’t actually as delicious as you’d think. To anyone who comes out in cold sweats at the prospect of cooking one bird for a gaggle of screaming relatives, such an idea seems almost impossible to indulge.
Speaking to the New York Post, Arnold elaborated on the multiple turkey-making millionaire’s logic. “If you have a whole turkey, and you’re waiting for the thighs to cook thoroughly, the breasts tend to dry out,” she says. Since different bits of the bird cook at drastically different times, it actually makes much more sense to cut it into its constituent parts before it goes into the oven. But, for a client who wants his or her guests to moon over something golden and magnificent, a plate of perfectly cooked, hacked up meat bits simply won’t do the trick. This is where the back-up bird comes in handy.
Arnold says that, on Thanksgiving day, she will cook the “eating” bird well ahead of time, before reheating it as it is about to be served. This allows her to create as photogenic a turkey as possible in the interim. It is this second bird that then gets recycled into the panoply of classic turkey leftover dishes over the following days, rather than the rest of us, who have to make do with slicing slowly greying meat from an old, worn out carcass. As Arnold puts it, “To me, it’s a no-brainer. You got the picture-perfect turkey and you have plenty of leftovers”. Spoken like a true disciple of “budgetless” cooking.
Though leftovers always will be an indispensable part of the holiday experience, it’s pretty depressing to know the lengths which wealthy people are prepared to go to get the turkey sandwich of their dreams. If you think you can afford to get an extra bird or two for the following few days after the main event, be our our guest. The rest of us will man the barricades and remain annoyed at the overindulgence of the income aristocracy. Do you hear the people sing? We want the whole world to find holidays as stressful as we do.