By Jim Callicott
When the holiday season (Thanksgiving to Christmas) rolls around, the majority of the population north of the Rio Grande River begins to salivate at the very thought of turkey. I’ve never quite understand this as I care not for the bird. Fix it any way you like, I’d still rather have a bowl of good gumbo.
Some say it’s a tradition in this country to eat turkey at Thanksgiving, because the Pilgrims were the first to consume the bird at the inaugural event. I’ve checked YouTube and I’ve seen no evidence of that happening.
In fact, I have it on good authority that the Pilgrims ordered take out for the first Thanksgiving meal from some guy named McDonald. The Indians brought the beer. Since this occurred in New England, I’m guessing after the feast, New England played the Redskins in some kind of ball game.
Many people take pride in their ability to cook the bird to the point of bragging. Some wish they had opened a can of spam. I’m referring to my friend Faye. Her office decided to have a Christmas party and each person was assigned to bring a certain dish. Faye, who had trouble making toast, volunteered to cook the turkey.
In her defense, she was about 20 years old at the time. The office chipped in and Faye bought the turkey. She read several recipes and decided they were too complicated. All you have to do, she thought, was to thaw the bird, put it in the oven and when it was brown, it was ready.
Not wanting to spend all night cooking the bird for the party the next day, she put the bird in the oven, turned the temperature up to 500 degrees and went to a movie. By the time she returned home after the movie and a little Christmas shopping, the turkey was brown, really brown.
As office work turned to party time, Carl, the office manager who kept the Coke machine stocked with beer, opened it up and the party began. “Let’s eat,” someone said and Carl took out his knife to slice the turkey. The turkey refused to be sliced. He began to stab the bird and little chunks fell off.
Needless to say the turkey wasn’t eaten, but it didn’t go to waste, Carl took a drumstick home with him as his hammer was broke.
Then there was my nephew Jerry, who decided to impress the family by frying his turkey. Jerry learned a valuable lesson that day; never put a frozen turkey in a container of boiling oil.
Jerry fired up his new propane turkey cooker on the front porch and soon the peanut oil was boiling. He figured it would be best to slowly ease the turkey into the hot oil. He decided to tie a rope to the turkey’s legs, throw the rope over the porch light fixture and ease the bird into the oil.
He couldn’t find a rope so he took a cord from an old venetian blind and threw it over the light fixture and tied it to the turkey’s legs. As he was slowly easing the turkey toward the pot of boiling oil, the cord broke. The frozen turkey fell into the hot oil, the oil erupted and flames consumed the front porch. By the time the fire department arrived they were able to save part of the back bedroom.
Some people may disagree with me that turkey is unimportant for the holidays, but remember, the Pilgrims didn’t have a deep fryer and peanut oil at that first meal. Don’t believe me, look it up on YouTube.