Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Wrestling in Astoria

Happy Turkey Day to one and all!

I don't know what I was thinking, buying a 21 lb. turkey for the two of us, but I suspect it was a Yankee thing. Got the bird for $5, and the price and "the deal" got the better of my common sense.

As I was hefting the critter into the ever-handy brown-in bag this morning, I couldn't help but think of Thanksgivings past - of all of the women in the family struggling and fighting with slippery and recalcitrant birds, embalming them in tin foil tents, nursing them through the night with bastings ... all to be ravaged in one sitting by the herd of Visigoths who passed themselves off as relatives.

Steaming platters heaped with decadent goodies were placed on the table, along with (gasp!) home-made gravy, which usually required the culinary efforts of four women and several drinks to be stirred to smooth perfection. And turnips. Yes, turnips. Yankees love turnips, and it's probably because of all the butter and sherry they're dosed with to make them yummy. And parsnips (same treatment as the turnips). God forbid if anyone forgot to make the creamed onions, there would be hell to pay. And, of course, pumpkin and mince meat (never did figure out what they put in those things) pies with ice cream.

The feast would be followed by the obilgatory football games on TV played at ear-splitting decibel levels that were only out-done by the sonic snores of all the menfolk, comatose in their chairs in front of the screen. When they would awaken, whatever was left of the bird would be stripped to the bones as though flesh-eating beetles had discovered the carcass, not leaving enough to make even a weak broth of soup.

They're all gone, and so are the big decadent dinners I still dream about. Kind of makes me feel guilty when I think that with these wonderful cooking bags I can throw the turkey in the bag, throw the whole mess into the oven, and take a nap. No more turnips or parsnips or creamed onions, as no one will eat them but me, and I won't make them for just one person.

Ah well, so much for childhood reminiscences of turkeys past. The present turkey, having been wrestled into submission and baked, is nestling in its fridge-bed as visions of tettrazinis dance through my head.

Astoria Photografpix

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