Talking Turkey

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.

* * *

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:

42 thoughts on “Talking Turkey

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  3. I periodically wonder about the male-female aspect of other languages, and always mean to do some research. But then, three seconds later, I’ve forgotten about it. What’s female about a table? (I’m almost afraid to ask.)


    • I kept trying to find logic in it when I was learning French, but my mistake was in trying to relate the gender to the actual object. I found out much later that the pronoun relates to the noun’s spelling/structure, but by then it was too late – I had a permanent mental image of a table with sexy, curvy legs ending in high heeled pumps. 😉


  4. Hehehehe!

    You know I never realised it till you pointed it out..we do give some sort of gender qualifications to certain things..I know I call my mind a “him”..hehe.

    As for the French language…yea..I asked a friend of mine…*how* does one remember all that! He said it’s just a given…when you grow up speaking the language..I guess it comes naturally?


      • With English as my only language (my bad on that for sure) I can honestly say that there isn’t a whole lot of sense to it either if you really look at it. Most people from other countries say ours is the hardest one to learn. Way too much “slang” is accepted and it pretty much goes down hill from there. I think French is one of the sexiest languages around, I mean, let someone read a pre-primer like “Dick and Jane” and it sounds like an erotic novel. LOL


  5. I love the content of your blog, no matter what is said or how it’s said. I’ve had people say that I can’t be offended. Not true. I just sort of “float” through life in the 3rd person, I see and read most things as if watching from afar. Doing that I can laugh at most things first and then later, if I find the subject a little offensive I can just shrug it off and smile. I don’t get overly involved that way. LOL
    I kinda like my own little place on the planet. hahaha


  6. LOL! Oh, and if this post is “inappropriate” in any way … thank you. 😉

    But, seriously, you said nothing explicit. If someone chooses to read something “inappropriate” into it … well, that’s just how some minds work, I guess. 🙂


    • Thanks for that! ‘Cause you know my mind would never go anywhere inappropriate. It’s sheer coincidence that I titled my book series “Probably Inappropriate”, “Definitely Inappropriate”, “Totally Inappropriate”… 😉


  7. Really funny! I’m still laughing. I can totally see that happening and similar thing have happened to me as well. Especially in English (it being my 2nd language) where I have no idea of double meanings of words. So I innocently can say the funniest things apparently, judging by other ppl’s laughter 😉


  8. A friend told me that her dad always called his car “Elvira”. The reason being that when he treated her nice by naming her the sweet name she always performed pretty well. When she did cause problems and he sweet talked her she always started running ok. Sounds like a bunch of BS to me. Never tried it on a turkey even though I had one chase me one time and pecked me a good one and clawed my arm. I didn’t take the time to sweet talk the SOB, I just shot her/him/it or what ever and we had a good turkey for holiday dinner.


    • A very expedient solution! I’ve seen wild turkeys from a respectful distance, but I’ve never actually confronted a domestic turkey. If they’re that vicious, a bit of 12-gauge negotiation sounds like an excellent idea.


  9. About the assigned-gender thing, we always have called out GPSs “Belle.” Not hard to figure since we always select the female voice for audio output. But our first one, bought back in 2009, the dark ages for the devices, would produce a bell-like tone as a heads-up signal that further instructions were forthcoming. Hence the name Belle.

    That instance of gender assignment is at least plausible. For other things, the microwave oven for instance, the process is a complete mystery. Something from the subconscious, no doubt. The deep subconscious. The deep DARK subconscious… 🙂


  10. “Salmonella Surprise”—Haha, always a good thing to avoid.

    I imagine by now your family baits you, just waiting for you to say the wrong thing. I’m sure they’re well versed in your sexlexia by now, but I bet the game never gets old. 🙂


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