No, I’m not referring to “talking turkey” in the sense of discussing business, nor in the sense of a chatty fowl. What I mean is, sometimes I’m a turkey when I’m talking.
I’ve mentioned on several occasions that my mouth tends to get ahead of my brain at times, and a couple of weeks ago I made yet another conversational gaffe. But before I reveal it, allow me to digress for a moment (I promise this is relevant, as you’ll see shortly).
The concept of noun gender in French tends to confound most native English-speakers. Why “la chaise”, a female chair? Or “le magasin”, a male shop? It eludes logic.
But have you ever noticed that a lot of English-speakers assign gender to inanimate objects, too?
When a pronoun is required in conversation, one of my friends always refers to her car as “she”. Plants often end up with a gender-specific pronoun, too (like Fred, my Norfolk Island pine, and his prickly buddy Dick). Some people arbitrarily assign the female pronoun to all cats, regardless of their actual gender. And, for reasons unknown, I tend to refer to dead turkeys as “him”.
My sister and I were visiting my step-mom for an early Christmas celebration, and we were preparing “Christmas” dinner, complete with turkey and all the trimmings. I had never used an electric turkey roaster before, so I was keeping a close eye on the proceedings. My sister was sanguine about the roaster, but she’s always very careful about food safety, so she was hovering with her temperature probe. (Which suited me fine – I’ve never been fond of Salmonella Surprise.)
We peeked into the roaster an hour before our meal was scheduled, exclaiming over the beautiful golden-brown bird and the delicious smells wafting into the kitchen.
I nodded sagely (’cause you can’t roast a turkey without sage) and observed, “Yep, he’s done.”
My sister inserted her temperature probe, checked the readout, and concurred: “He’s done, but that breast still feels a little tough.”
I waved an airy hand. “Don’t worry, there’s still lots of time. We’ll just turn him down to 225. After he goes down low and slow for an hour, that breast will-”
Everyone in the kitchen exploded into laughter. At last, my sister managed to choke out, “I didn’t think that changed the texture of breasts…”
Bedlam reigned and risqué double entendres volleyed back and forth. In the end, we agreed we should inform our respective husbands that more research was required.
So there’s your cooking tip for the day (regardless of which kind of “cooking” you’re referring to): Going down low and slow for an hour will reward you with a tender, delicious breast.
You heard it here first.
But I still feel like a bit of a turkey.
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The internet is down at my house today, so I’m posting from a coffee shop and probably won’t be able to respond to comments until the afternoon (if I’m lucky and the tech gets everything fixed). Talk to you later…
P.S. If you haven’t entered to win a signed copy of SPY, SPY AWAY yet, here’s the contest link: http://blog.dianehenders.com/do-you-know-me/book-contest/