Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Thanksgiving Nightmare - Handling a Naked Turkey

Thanksgiving is now officially one of my favorite holidays. I tried for years to enjoy it, but that damned turkey ruined it every year. Don’t get me wrong, the turkey tasted just fine. I just could not stand the idea of reaching inside that bird and removing “giblets”, whatever the hell that is and who thinks of these words. “Giblets” sounded like a less fortunate member of the family. It was sickening.

One year, I had friends over for Thanksgiving and they saw the rubber gloves still out. Oops. I had to explain why I hated cooking turkey. I said I felt like I was violating a dead animal by reaching in there and removing parts. I explained I was no turkey gynecologist, but I always used rubber gloves for the examination. I hated touching that dead bird with no feathers or head. It is true. I do use rubber gloves. That bird spread out looked obscene. I think they thought I was strange.

It was always something wrong with cooking the turkey too! No matter how many packets were inside, I always left one in there. If there were three, I removed two thinking I had them all. Who thought of the dumb game “ Hide Little Bags of Weird Turkey Parts That I Have to Throw Out” inside the turkey? What kind of mind does that? Couldn’t they just put it in one big baggy for those people who use giblets and necks and those other packets of unknowns? Saving out turkey parts sounds like a perverse goal.

It was always a great phone conversation I had with my mother across the country every Thanksgiving?
Me: “How many of those little bags are in a turkey?”
Mom: “47”
Me: “Oh no!”
Mom: “Why? How many did you remove?”
Me: “Only 36. Now I have to get that damned turkey out of the oven, let it cool down and look for the other 11 packets.”
Mom: (Laughing) “I love Thanksgiving. I wish you were here to let me cook the turkey. I love you, dear.” Me: “I love you, too, but why do they keep on adding extra plastic bags of weird parts every year and shoving them up the turkey’s ass?”
Mom: “Watch the mouth, but your turkey will be just fine. You cannot ruin a turkey.”

I miss that insane conversation that I had every year with my mom about the turkey. She was right. You cannot ruin a turkey, but my meal was always haunted by that troubling encounter prior to cooking. I hated touching that poor old, big fat, ugly bird with no feathers or head. I sure as hell never stuffed that poor pitiful yucky thing. I am sure that it violates some law of nature and religion. If it doesn't, this is a sick word we live in.
Finally, I discovered the joy of smoked turkey. Someone else does all the dirty work. I am no longer a turkey gynecologist, playing "Find the Giblets" and feeling shame and embarrassment because I was unsuccessful. Now, I can enjoy a beautifully prepared turkey without any unpleasant memories of feeling around inside a dead bird. No more finding cooked plastic packets of obscure and prior to this time unknown turkey parts when it was carved. (That became an embarrassing annual event with my husband prodding it with a knife and dragging it out at the dinner table.) The thing is that it was never the bird. It was about being with screwy relatives and having fun. That was always the real treat. Be thankful. Happy Thanksgiving Y'all.

1 comment:

P K Menon said...

rumerelYou write with literary insight. Moments of family get together linger and we all cherish them long after the events The food and merry making get us involved so much and we do not spare any effort to give our all to lend color and vitality to the occasion. Yet we remain true to our individual self with our peculiar likes and dislikes. When you give life to apparently trivial feelings in enigmatic words readers enjoy the freshness of your thoughts.