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Do you ever just take the best part and keep quiet about it?

johnb Dec 25, 2009 07:04 PM

Today I made a 2-rib roast for Xmas dinner--it was pretty good, having been dry aged by me for several days and roasted to about 131 in the middle. Anyway, I sliced off the ribs and separated them, sliced the roast itself, and served it all to my non-chowhound family and friends. Nobody took any bones until the platter got to me--I took one. I sat there and nearly had a foodgasm eating this rib it was so good, but I tried to not moan too much so nobody would catch on. Then later I quietly took the second one, that everyone else had passed up, and ate it too, while the others were gushing over how good the meal was (the rest of the roast was pretty good, but not like those ribs.....).

I do the same thing with the "oysters" on any form of poultry. Anyhow, nobody else ever seems to want them; I even recall once getting both oysters from a restaurant buffet whole turkey that was otherwise completely gone. I am similarly amazed how often folks pass up the nicely browned crust on the edge of a casserole.

Am I a bad person? Should I alert others? Do you quietly just go ahead and take the best part, knowing that the others probably won't appreciate it anyway? What things fit this description for you?

  1. c
    capitts Dec 25, 2009 07:16 PM

    No way dude, you are not a bad person.
    You're educated and know what you like.

    It sounds like you enjoyed your meal(s). That's awesome!

    1. Jasz Dec 25, 2009 07:22 PM

      Nah, you put them out there, they could have taken them if they wanted to and didn't. It wasn't as if you kept them in the kitchen and then secretly loaded your plate with the yummies. Enjoy them with a clear conscience.

      1. bagelman01 Dec 25, 2009 07:35 PM

        Last turkey I made, My wife asked where the gizzard was.................

        I showed her the wrapper and pointed out the words that 'some giblets may be missing'

        I didn't have to fess up to eating it in the kitchen before bringing the platter to the dining room.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bagelman01
          mickie44 Dec 26, 2009 08:18 AM

          LOL. I do the same thing to avoid fighting over it at the table. Only family I know of that fights over the innards. To atone, I frequently make dirty rice with gizzards, hearts and livers.

          1. re: mickie44
            bagelman01 Dec 26, 2009 05:49 PM

            Growing up, the wings and neck were in demand in our family. My mother used to make a turkey and roast an additional 8 wings and 4 necks in the pan. Everyone was happy.,

            I made a turkey for dinner tonight. Only sliced breast and thigh made it to the table. I made a meal from the neck, gizzard, carrots, onions and celery in the kitchen.

        2. buttertart Dec 26, 2009 07:31 AM

          Guilty as charged, your Honor. I do this whenever I can get away with it.

          1. susancinsf Dec 26, 2009 07:47 AM

            why be quiet about it? Had dinner yesterday at my father and stepmom's. Got there and stepsis and I realized that stepmom was a little behind on her cooking: she'd been travelling and hadn't quite gotten back into the swing of kitchen stuff (though she is an excellent cook)...so stepsis and I pitched in to help. It was a sterotypical scene: the 'boys' (five of them) in the dining room tasting and drinking wine and snacking on appetizers while the 'girls' got dinner on the table, including picking a few of the produce items she needed from her garden....

            anyway, centerpiece of the meal was a huge rib roast, which stepmom had roasted to perfection. As we put it on the table we announced that the girls got the bones and first choice of slices of roast, since after all, we'd done all the work! :-)

            1. m
              MNLisaB Dec 26, 2009 07:57 AM

              I laughed so hard at this!! We had a standing rib yesterday and 6 people fought over the 3 bones, it was pretty funny. I am usually lucky enough to make a hearty beef broth from these, no such luck, they were gnawed plumb clean.

              Since I am the head chef and chief bottle washer in my home, I get the good stuff before anyone. And why not, no guilt here in MN!!!

              1. jfood Dec 26, 2009 08:06 AM

                jfood always takes last and whatever is left to choose from is fair game. When he plates the dishes for a dinner at the house and there are some less than perfect pieces that do not pass the "guest plate" criteria, they will go on jfood's plate as well.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jfood
                  bagelman01 Dec 26, 2009 05:53 PM

                  J--it's all in the growimg up. As a child, I only ate white meat. My mother served the kids and herself and my father got what was left.
                  \Now, I serve my wife and kids and I eat what ever is left. Tonight it was turkey, dressing, Mashed potatoes and broccoli.

                  I got no potatoes, the well done corners of the dressing from the pan, no brocolli (the 21 year old daughter, emptied what was in the serving bowl before it got to me, announcing that since she was home from college she had forst dibs on whatever she desired. I got the carcass of the bird, and the right to wash the dishes.

                  1. re: jfood
                    invinotheresverde Dec 30, 2009 06:58 AM

                    Same here. I always give my husband the best parts.

                  2. linguafood Dec 26, 2009 08:17 AM

                    In my mom's household, the best piece went to her boyfriend (not me, no way), as she was and is highly deferential to men -- or rather, the men in her life. Be it the salad heart, or the best piece of meat, etc. etc.

                    When I serve food at my house, I will always take the least pretty plate, e.g. yesterday I served shrimp salad in radicchio cups, and I automatically took the one that looked worst. I'll always keep the not-so-perfect pieces for me so that my guests can have the good stuff. Whether they are men or not, and whether I am dating them or not.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: linguafood
                      nvcook Dec 28, 2009 07:44 PM

                      OMG - we have the same mother. But, as I tell my daughter, we learn from grandma's mistakes.

                      1. re: linguafood
                        ChristinaMason Jan 2, 2010 08:15 AM

                        Me too. I'll tell my husband which plate is his to take ("the prettier one"). :)

                        1. re: ChristinaMason
                          linguafood Jan 2, 2010 11:03 AM

                          It's called LURV.

                          1. re: linguafood
                            ChristinaMason Jan 2, 2010 11:33 AM

                            LOL. True. But I cannot sympathize with these people who serve everyone else the meal and then eat only what's left, even if it's just a carcass. If I'm cooking--damned straight--I'm going to get a full portion! Guess I'm not a true cooking martyr.

                            1. re: ChristinaMason
                              linguafood Jan 2, 2010 11:39 AM

                              No martyr here, either, believe me! Thankfully, the majority of time I cook it's really just for the two of us, I always get plenty (spell = too much!), so there's always enough to go around. But my man will get the prettier plate. Even tho he probably cares less than I do. Men. '-D

                      2. f
                        fourunder Dec 26, 2009 08:35 AM

                        This reminds me of the movie The Joy Luck Club, where one of the girls always takes the prime pieces of Dungeness Crab and another does not, but what is considered a lesser quality piece......later on, when the second girl who takes the less desirable parts of the crab gets into an argument with her mother, she states her her mother doesn't understand her, or something along those lines, but her mother tells her she's wrong and notices that, always, her daughter has taken the less desirable part allher life.....she tells her daughter her friend has always taken the best parts, or First Quality, but she has always known her daughter takes what's left over after everyone else has enjoyed themselves to the best parts of the crab......because in her views, her daughter had a good heart and cared about others before herself.

                        Be careful what you take.......people notice.

                        For the record, on the first pass, I take only the very tiniest portions with others in mind......however, if there is an opportunity for a second helping....I:ll take the the best that's left on the serving plate. Like jfood above, unless I'm seated at the table as an invited guest, in my home I always wait until others are served first before I take whatever's left.....

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: fourunder
                          janethepain Dec 28, 2009 07:15 AM

                          For me, it depends on who else is at dinner. At a dinner with family or others that you love? Would save a lot of the best parts for them. At a dinner with people you don't love or people who wouldn't know good food anyway? Take the best parts (not all of course) and don't look back. When I'm old and become a mom, I give all the best to my kids and hubby (even forcing it on them if they don't know any better.... which i'd hope they would) and would serve myself last.

                          You could get into a whole other argument about people who select the best looking or biggest slice of the pie all the time. Wow that bothers me. I think it's just bad manners.

                          1. re: janethepain
                            9lives Dec 28, 2009 01:15 PM

                            The "biggest slice of pie" reminds me of an old 3 stooges. Curley complains to Moe that he always gets the smallest piece of pie and that if he were cutting he'd give Moe the larger piece anff take the smaller for himself. Moe's answer, you gotthe small piece so what are you complaining about..:)

                            Growing up with 2 bros, who could measure the size of a piece of cake or pie from 100yds+, my father had 1 of us cut, and then choose last, insuring anyone would be very careful to cut the pie or cake evenly.

                          2. re: fourunder
                            nvcook Dec 28, 2009 07:50 PM

                            'zactly - I had 12 for dinner and the Caesar salad served 11 - I took the salad bowl away before anybody noticed (except eagle eyed daughter - whom I told I didn't want any anyways) and all was good. Honestly, there was so much food, I did not miss it at all.

                          3. g
                            gordeaux Dec 28, 2009 01:48 PM

                            Watermelon heart. I can cube up a watermelon using angles to make it virtually seedless, but nobody gets the heart except for me. Unless it's a really good watermelon, and then I'll share a little bit of the heart with the s/o...but just a little.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: gordeaux
                              nkeane Dec 28, 2009 07:55 PM

                              oh man, this reminds me of years worth of my childhood, visiting relatives in watermelon country(Hermiston, Or). we would sneak out at night, taking a butcher knife and walk into the middle of a patch of melons and do nothing but eat the hearts, leaving everything else behind! Wasteful, yes....but delicious!;-) We would waddle back to the house, with our bellies sloshing, and hands stained red! Grandpa always knew, but just gave us a wry smile. Good times!

                              1. re: gordeaux
                                buttertart Dec 29, 2009 05:44 AM

                                Oh yeah. I got into big trouble with my mother-in-law when we were very first married (and I was only 18) impulsively snatching the heart from her baby boy's watermelon piece. He didn't mind but she did! Took a long time to live that one down.

                                1. re: buttertart
                                  linguafood Dec 29, 2009 08:41 AM

                                  I honestly had no idea watermelons had hearts. Seriously?

                                  1. re: linguafood
                                    buttertart Dec 29, 2009 09:09 AM

                                    It's the extra-sweet succulent bit right in the center, a few inches in diameter -especially in seeded watermelons, it detaches very satisfyingly for pleasurable scarfing up.

                                    1. re: linguafood
                                      southernexpat Dec 29, 2009 03:20 PM

                                      They absolutely do have hearts, and I've gotten more than one bloody nose trying to get it. I have three brothers (I'm in the middle). Several times each summer, my dad thought it was big fun to scour and rinse the smooth concrete patio in the back of the house, and then HEAVE three or four huge chilled watermelons into the air. They would burst on the patio, and we would all dive like maniacs to get to the best parts. I was smallest so I could usually dive through the fray and grab the heart, but most often I got elbowed out of it before I could take a big bite. Ah, good times.

                                      1. re: linguafood
                                        gordeaux Dec 30, 2009 04:58 AM

                                        Linguafood -
                                        When melon season comes around next year, you now have something to look forward to. Do not share your newfound knowledge with the rest of your household. The heart of the watermelon runs through the middle, it is seedless, and kind of star shaped. Think of the apple core. If you were to lay an apple on its side, the core would run lengthwise. That would be similar to a water melon heart.
                                        When they go on sale at the height of the season. I buy them, carve out the hearts, and shamefully pick at the rest of the not so seedy parts and discard the rest. Watermelon hearts are the epitome of summer to me.

                                        1. re: gordeaux
                                          linguafood Dec 30, 2009 08:31 AM

                                          I'll have to do that. I gotta admit, tho.... I'm not super-crazy about watermelon. Maybe the heart will convince me!

                                          1. re: linguafood
                                            buttertart Dec 30, 2009 08:35 AM

                                            It's the most flavorful and sweetest part by far.

                                  2. g
                                    gryphonskeeper Dec 28, 2009 08:52 PM

                                    I thought I was the only one who ate those 2 small patches on the underbelly of the Turkey (I assume that is what you mean by oysters) Those 2 patches of heaven are the best part of the whole turkey!!!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                      jfood Dec 29, 2009 02:56 AM


                                      chickens have them as well. :-))

                                      When jfood cuts up a whole chicken he removes the spine and places on the side. then he serves the other pieces and eats the skin and oysters together over the sink before joining the family at the dinner table. Outstanding way to start a meal.

                                      1. re: jfood
                                        gryphonskeeper Dec 29, 2009 06:43 PM

                                        I do the same thing!! :D

                                      2. re: gryphonskeeper
                                        c oliver Jan 12, 2010 02:54 PM

                                        Isn't that the back rather than the "underbelly"? Or are you talking about something different.

                                        1. re: c oliver
                                          johnb Jan 13, 2010 01:24 PM

                                          I think the original reference was to the back; there are no little bits of meat on the underbelly--in fact, I don't even know that there is a place on a chicken that could technically be identified as "underbelly."

                                          In any case, yes, what is termed the oysters are in the back, just in front of where the thigh connects to the backbone.

                                          1. re: c oliver
                                            ricepad Jan 13, 2010 06:40 PM

                                            I think a chicken's "underbelly" is a big HOLE!

                                        2. Sam Fujisaka Dec 29, 2009 04:19 AM

                                          The guests get "the best parts" if we are talking about what is commonly thought of as "the best".

                                          I get "the best parts" if we are talking about what I like but others do not - the organs, fish heads, chicken "oysters".

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                            Caitlin McGrath Dec 29, 2009 11:39 AM

                                            Does anyone not like the chicken "oysters"? I believe it's more often likely people just don't even know they exist (or maybe don't want to bother flipping the chicken over, in which case, their loss!).

                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                              NYCkaren Dec 29, 2009 01:21 PM

                                              I didn't know they were called that but I've always loved them. My favorite part of the chicken _ except maybe the liver.

                                              1. re: NYCkaren
                                                dcbbq Dec 29, 2009 01:39 PM

                                                Most people go for the white meat on chickens and turkeys, and that includes relatively sophisticated eaters. Compare the price of chicken breasts (boneless, yet) with the price of thighs. when cooking chicken outdoors, I always cut up a whoile chicken myself so that the platter will include the back. No one has ever fought me for it

                                            2. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                              lagatta Dec 29, 2009 03:03 PM

                                              Sam, that lovely piece of fish flesh right by the gills? As yummy as poultry oysters. I remember a relationship that didn't work out when I was very young - turned out bf was actually gay, and repressing it way back then. But among his many graces were the fact that he first pointed out that wonderful bit of flesh, as we were eating a beautiful whole fish in a modest Chinese restaurant in Toronto.

                                              1. re: lagatta
                                                fourunder Dec 29, 2009 03:04 PM

                                                Are we talking about fish cheeks?

                                                1. re: lagatta
                                                  Sam Fujisaka Dec 29, 2009 08:20 PM

                                                  Yes, fish cheeks!!

                                                  On a larger scale, broiled yellowfin cheeks - kinown to be one of the best "parts" on the planet!!

                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                    James Cristinian Dec 29, 2009 08:28 PM

                                                    Here on the Gulf Coast, redfish throats are a highly prized.

                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                      lagatta Dec 30, 2009 04:45 PM

                                                      Aren't they wonderful? Imagine all the squeamish people cutting off the heads and losing the fish cheeks.

                                                      1. re: lagatta
                                                        buttertart Jan 1, 2010 06:44 AM

                                                        And the delicious flesh on the top side of the head, My favorite bits.

                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                          ChristinaMason Jan 2, 2010 08:19 AM

                                                          mmm, fish cheeks. seriously good.

                                                2. elfcook Dec 29, 2009 04:43 AM

                                                  You are not a bad person - you know what you like.

                                                  That said, I am a mom. That means (in my house), I serve husband & kids the food and take what is left. If we have guests, they get first picks, then husband & kids, then I take. It is just the way I am - I cannot enjoy it until I make sure everyone else has their plate set first.
                                                  One exception - roast chicken or turkey, I do nibble on the skin. Even then, I always call husband in so he can get some. Daughter has also learned to come running when I am carving in the kitchen. And she is the only one other than me who likes dark meat, so my portion is getting smaller!!

                                                  1. tcamp Dec 29, 2009 05:23 AM

                                                    I'd do same as you. You let your guests choose their preference and then you took what was left. Everyone was happy, presumably, with their choice.

                                                    That said, I am not above nibbling/scarfing the crispy skin bits when I am slicing a chicken or turkey before serving.

                                                    1. b
                                                      beevod Dec 29, 2009 06:47 AM

                                                      Yes, you're a very bad person. Smack yourself.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: beevod
                                                        Athena Dec 29, 2009 01:41 PM

                                                        No you are not a bad person at all.

                                                        Nobody knows about the chicken and turkey oysters but me and I'm keeping it that way. Last Christmas Day my son discovered the deliciously crispy overflow of stuffing in the turkey that I had managed to keep secret for 25 years and grab for myself when the turkey came out of the oven, now I have to share it.

                                                        I'm a mom, but I'm also a hopelessly selfish only child.

                                                      2. j
                                                        Jase Dec 29, 2009 01:32 PM

                                                        Growing up old school asian, I was taught that elders/parents got first choice. So I'm used to deferring to parents to letting them have the best. Of course now that I'm older, I figure it's my turn to take the best.

                                                        That of course doesn't apply when I have guests. Although it is funny now that my parents are older, they try to push off the best parts to me. We usually compromise and split if possible.

                                                        1. johnb Dec 29, 2009 02:59 PM

                                                          A little update to my own thread on the subject of the "oysters" in turkey.

                                                          The day after Xmas we took the kids and g'kids to a "fancy" buffet at a fancy hotel (specifically, the Grove Park Inn in Asheville--mainly we went to see the gingerbread houses). Anyway on this buffet they had a whole turkey that a fellow was carving. He asked me what I wanted, white or dark meat, and I said, could I have the oysters? He looked at me and said "I've already carved them out and thrown them in the trash--nobody ever asks for them." I asked if he minded looking in the trash to see if he could find them, which seemed a perfectly reasonable Chowhound thing to ask. He did look, not too hard, and said they were already covered up. So I gave up, and as a matter of fact never did have any turkey.

                                                          So I guess the moral of that story is don't worry about depriving anyone of the oysters, just grab 'em if you can.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: johnb
                                                            Kajikit Dec 29, 2009 07:57 PM

                                                            'Thrown them out'? You mean he ate them on the sly because he didn't think anyone would miss them...

                                                            1. re: Kajikit
                                                              gryphonskeeper Dec 30, 2009 05:23 PM

                                                              I was JUST going to post the same thing!!

                                                          2. b
                                                            Beach Chick Dec 29, 2009 08:09 PM

                                                            Hell yes...busted gut when reading the title of this post because I make it a goal to always try and weasel the good stuff and leave the dregs for the 'others'..
                                                            I can't keep it quiet for too long..the yummy noises give it away.

                                                            1. Karl S Dec 31, 2009 04:56 AM

                                                              Being for a while the next to last child in a large family, I was in that period last in line for choice of food along with Cook (aka Mom): the protocol was Dad first, then baby, then oldest child on down. So I learned to enjoy the rejects (though not the knarly side of tongue, which Cook ate): as noted in other threads, I also learned to love well-roasted bits like the end of the poultry legs, or the spine, or other crispy-tender bits of bone that most people overlook as good eats but are actually fantastically delicious. I am always amazed that people find poultry tails icky; they are delicious, and in fact the privilege of Cook, along with other similar delicious bits....

                                                              1. chef chicklet Jan 15, 2010 08:19 AM

                                                                oh I have no idea why, but I give the best to others, it does my heart good to see others enjoying the best cut, or piece. Been giving food off my plate, making sure it was the best piece and putting it in my sons mouths since they could chew. Just a habit of a mom. But I also will give the best to my dh as well, and the same for the guests.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                  nutzyP Jan 16, 2010 10:09 AM

                                                                  Like someone else mentioned, growing up my sister and I would spend so much time making sure we each got the exact same proportion of the best part of whatever it was.
                                                                  Since I met my Husband (who was deprived of real cooking all his life and his Mom readily admits it as she scarfs down whatever I have made) I got such a high out of his enjoyment of my food that I always let him pick the best of everything and his son as well when he stayed with us. Well it's been 10 years and I am tired of watching them swarm the serving platters (how can two people take up so much room ?) only to be cofronted with the detritus of whatever I have spent a good amount of my day cooking.
                                                                  It was really hard for me at first but I have just started to serve myself as I am calling them to dinner. They don't even notice and I have stopped seething silently through dinner.

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