Monday, December 1, 2008

Turkey Day Without Turkey

My mother always ordered a "fresh" turkey for Thanksgiving. I have no idea what that meant, except that it hadn't been frozen. It was still a commercially-produced turkey from some turkey farm somewhere, maybe even the place in Alaska that Sarah Palin used as a backdrop for her little impromptu press conference the other week. At any rate, once the "fresh" turkey arrived in our house things went downhill from there, and once I describe it you'll see why I don't like and don't ever cook turkey.

My mother's stuffing featured chopped liver. Why anyone would sully perfectly good stuffing with chopped liver is beyond me, but she did. My father would then stuff the bird so full it probably weighed 30 pounds. It weighed enough that it needed to cook no less than ten hours. It was so stuffed that every drop of fat and moisture from the bird was absorbed by the stuffing, resulting in incredibly dry turkey that tasted of chopped liver. By the time we'd eat, somewhere around 8 PM, the adults were always so drunk they probably didn't notice how dry and chopped liver-y was the food, but I always noticed. The only part of the bird I found edible was the tip of the wing, which tasted more of burnt skin than of liver.

My mother's idea of mashed potatoes was to mash potatoes in a pot with some fake margarine added. In other words, these too were dry and inedible. Since the bird had produced no drippings that weren't absorbed by the stuffing, gravy was flour, water, and maybe a bouillon cube. Inedible. Although it was often a runny mess, her homemade cranberry sauce was good, as was the green been casserole. So although I loved Thanksgiving, for me the meal generally consisted of part of a turkey wing, some cranberry sauce, some green beans, and maybe a roll.

Now that I plan my own Thanksgiving I forgo turkey, stuffing, gravy and potatoes. I don't miss it. Here's the best part of all this: unlike the rest of America, I did not need to spend my weekend finding creative ways to disguise and ingest leftover turkey. I did not need to make turkey lasagna, turkey pot pie, turkey croquettes, turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey stew, turkey patties, or turkey tetrazzini.

Wise up, America. Next year, make a ham.


beths said...

I lucked out with a local turkey from Rainbow Farms in New Tripoli, PA. I was amazed by how tasty it was/is. The meal was so much work that I have eaten parts of it twice a day since then, happy to have something delicious (though repetitive) that I did not have to cook, again. I heartily endorse the practice of eating and sharing what you enjoy on thanksgiving!

tunsie said...

I was very fortunate 2 have grown up around some of the greatest cooks on earth.I laugh when I go 2 a restaurant and the food is priced high as if that is going 2 reflect the quality.I was raised a food snob.It better b good not priced good.we ate very very well.I am sorry about your curlinary deviates during your youth but 4 now hang with me and you will eat very well.i luv u xoxoxoxoxox.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie