Flipping The Bird

It’s a tradition; a universal gesture of fellowship and goodwill that never fails to cause indigestion at the very least and a full-blown coronary at the worst.  I’m referring, of course, to the practice of “flipping the bird”, and it’s something I offer my family and friends at least twice a year; sometimes more frequently.

But they don’t seem to mind…

This past weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving Day here in Canada, a holiday that centres around eating far more turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie than is healthy or even comfortable.  (But some things are good for the body while others are good for the soul; and a giant feast with friends and family is definitely good for the soul.)

Turkey dinner is a tradition that always gives me a giggle, partly because of the connotations of “flipping the bird”.  When I was growing up in a more innocent time, we always referred to the turkey as “the bird”:  E.g. “I want to get the bird stuffed and into the oven before ten” or “Is it time to flip the bird yet?”

“Flipping the bird” only meant turning the turkey from its front (where it began roasting to conserve the juices in the white meat) to its back (to create that perfect golden-brown crispy skin during the last bit of cooking time).  Imagine my amusement when I got old enough to realize that phrase could mean something else entirely.

And here’s another funny thing about a turkey-and-pumpkin-pie dinner:  The aromas of both turkey and pumpkin pie are instantly recognizable by anyone who’s ever eaten the traditional meal… but the smells that make everyone’s mouths water aren’t even turkey or pumpkin.

So many times I’ve heard people remark, “Oh, that turkey smells so good!” just a short time after the bird (yes, I said it) goes into the oven.  But you can’t even smell turkey until it’s been roasting for two or three hours.  Before that, all you can smell is the sage and thyme and onions in the stuffing.

Same with pumpkin pie.  The flavour and scent of the actual pumpkin are completely disguised by cinnamon and nutmeg and other yummies.  After smelling the pie, a taste of plain old pumpkin would be terribly disappointing.

But despite the fact that the staples of the feast aren’t exactly as advertised, it’s still nice to have a holiday whose sole purpose is to express gratitude for our good fortune.  For instance, I’m thankful for the fact that, unlike our neighbours in the United States, our Thanksgiving is early enough to allow us time to recover from the turkey stupor so we can enjoy it again at Christmas.

Seriously, though, I’m immensely grateful to live in a warm comfortable house with a loving husband in a safe neighbourhood in a safe country.  To have the luxury of complaining that I’ve eaten too much.  To have family and friends who love me despite my oddities.  To be able to pursue a career I enjoy.

And I’m grateful to all of you, my faithful readers, who brighten my days with your witty comments and kind support.  Thank you, everyone!

(And I promise not to flip you the bird… unless it’s a roasting turkey.)  😉

Happy Thanksgiving!

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New discussion over the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  What Makes You Stop Reading?  What unforgivable storytelling sin will make you chuck a book?  Click here to have your say!

23 thoughts on “Flipping The Bird

    • Belated happy Thanksgiving to you, too! A lot of people don’t like cooking turkeys – one of my friends never liked the process in the first place, but when she got pregnant she couldn’t face it all – she said the turkey looked too much like a baby. 🙂


  1. Hi Diane, you have a lovely blog, and it sounds like you had a great time on Thanksgiving. Your book covers are lovely, by the way. Warm greetings from a fellow Canadian in Montreal, Canada. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like turkey, too, but I’m glad “turkey” occasions only happen a few times a year. Hubby could cheerfully eat turkey day after day but I get tired of it. I make turkey chili with the leftovers just to camouflage the taste!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Never heard of turning the turkey over mid roast. Basting it, yes. I am hoping we can get a turkey here for, as Tanya calls it, Catholic Christmas, as I think my daughter in London will come for the holidays. Village raised bronze are available at the market some Sundays so we will have to watch. My oldest in Regina made Thanksgiving dinner for family and apparently did a good job up to soup from the bones. http://imaybshe.blogspot.com/2016/10/overcome-smell-of-rotting-broccoli.html

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you! Haha to flipping the bird. I shall never look at a turkey quite the same.
    After just reading several articles in the news I am with you in gratitude for living in this country. Even if I did have to shovel snow this past week.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never flipped the bird – in either sense, actually, now that I think about it. We roast our turkey breast side up for the entire cooking time. I am flabbergasted to think I’ve been missing out on something here! Ahhh, the smells of Thanksgiving (and Christmas) dinner. Nothing quite like it. For us, strangely, the smell of turnip mixed in with all the other ones is also necessary. A Maritime thing, maybe? Hope your dinner tasted just as good as you could have wanted. We are very lucky in Canada, are we not?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Incredibly lucky! And that’s funny – I love turnips with Thanksgiving dinner, too. You’re likely right that it’s a Maritime thing – we never had turnips with “the bird” growing up on the prairies, but my husband’s family came from the Maritimes and they introduced me to the deliciousness of turnips mashed with butter, salt and pepper, and just a touch of brown sugar. YUM! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think Thanksgiving is a terrific holiday. It is totally inclusive no matter your nation of origin, your religious or political beliefs, or your dietary needs, restrictions or choices. The menu is very flexible if you allow it to be. It can be formal or pot luck. You are not required to spend money on cards or gifts. You aren’t celebrating a historical event that destroyed other people’s lives, and you aren’t required to celebrate it exclusively with certain people only. It is the most healthy thing in the world to spend a few moments in gratitude no matter what troubles are facing you at the moment. When those closest to me are having some of the hardest days of their lives and can still find things to be thankful for, I am sure everything will be alright. Happy Thanksgiving, Diane, and to everyone else, Canadians or not.

    Liked by 1 person

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