Tag Archives: turkey

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!

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That Turkey Neck Seems Glad To See Me…

Warning: This post may leave you with a permanent aversion to turkey necks… or perhaps an unhealthy attraction to them.

It’s surprising how often I have a week where the coincidental funnies all have a similar theme. That’s what happened this week: it was all (loosely) food-related.

The first laugh occurred when I was eating lunch, digging happily into a giant jar of sauerkraut. (For those who are shuddering right now, Hubby completely agrees with you.) But I love sauerkraut despite the fact that it looks like something long-ago-drowned and smells like rotting socks.

You know how you’ve got that one little spot in your throat that’s supersensitive to everything from toast crumbs to pickle juice? That spot where the slightest touch makes your throat spasm and your eyes tear up and your nose run; and if you try to talk you sound like the Godfather with laryngitis?

Yeah, that one. I’d like to know what evolutionary function that stupid little spot ever served. It can’t be some built-in defense against poisoning, because by the time anything gets down that far it’s already too late.

Anyhow.

I got a tiny bit of sauerkraut juice on that spot. And my throat closed and my eyes teared up, etcetera. After I’d finished hacking and mopping up tears and was capable of speaking again, I croaked, “Got some sauerkraut in the wrong spot.”

To which Hubby wryly replied, “Oh, you mean ‘in your mouth’?”

The second laugh (albeit accompanied by a shudder of revulsion) happened when I was cooking a turkey on Saturday; a largish bird because we were going to have ten people around our table.

What’s funny about that, you ask? Well, the story started last week when one of my internet searches went off into the weeds, and in the process of navigating back I ran across onanism (children, take your hands out of your pants and look that up). That led to the unwelcome discovery that medieval women sometimes used turkey necks for, um, non-nutritional purposes.

Eeeeuuuwwww! Consider how rarely they bathed in the first place, and then add some lovely Eau de Decomposing Meat on top of that… *shudder*

So you can imagine the look on my face when I dragged out THE BIGGEST HONKIN’ TURKEY NECK I’VE EVER SEEN from the cavity of this bird. I wasn’t sure whether to blush, laugh, or gag. (I laughed, of course.)

The final bout of laughter occurred several hours later when we were all sitting around stuffed with the aforementioned turkey. (Note: We stuffed ourselves from the top down, not from the bottom up. Just wanted to clarify that.)

Anyhow, this was a pseudo-Christmas bash because we hadn’t gotten together in December, so a few small gifts were exchanged. Ever the queen of refined taste, I had made these hot-pads for the cat lovers:

It's a cat-owner’s most frequent view of the cat.

It’s a cat-owner’s most frequent view of the cat.

Merriment ensued, but we lost it completely when one of my friends (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) not-so-innocently remarked, “Gee, you could have made it really Christmassy by leaving a bit of tinsel hanging out of the hole.”  If you’ve ever owned a cat or dog, you know how that story goes.

And that was my week, from beginning to, um… end.  How was yours?

(Your week, not your… oh, never mind.)

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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”.

So.

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: https://blog.dianehenders.com/do-you-know-me/book-contest/

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