James Beard's Carving Manifesto from 1948 'Gourmet'

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If the turkey is already out of the oven and you need a quick primer on how to rend the meat from the carcass, this is not your guide. There are probably countless such how-to's you can find online that streamline the process. But if you're of the belief that "Carving is An Art"—and you have ample time before Thanksgiving dinner is actually served—check out what James Beard himself had to say on the subject in the November 1948 issue of Gourmet magazine.

Beard stressed the importance of proper equipment—"I am a great believer in having a set of knives to be used for different types of carving"—and proper care of said equipment: "It has been my experience, however, that these contemporary precision instruments need as careful attention as a surgeon's tools. Too often, however, they are treated with complete carelessness and are often abused." That said, Beard slyly recommends swapping out whatever fancy fork comes in your carving set for a heavy, utilitarian version of the utensil. The essay includes detailed instructions for carving duck, goose, pheasant, partridge, grouse and, of course, turkey—which it turns out is the easiest of them all.

Gourmet is, unfortunately, now defunct; it published its first issue in January 1941 and shuttered following the November 2009 edition. You can read the archives, which are full of culinary treasures, here.