Friday, November 26, 2010
Voila, it took me 40 years to make it here, but I saw, conquered and cooked this turkey! What a feat, what a feast!
Lueg, Mami, min erschte Truthan!
I remember being in my early 20s, working minimum-wage as a cub reporter in a small town in the middle of nowhere and suddenly - out of the blue you might say - my boss heaved a 12 lb. turkey onto my desk and wished me a happy Thanksgiving before sending me off to cover yet another Turkey-themed event...just another of the many insults I endured in that just-out-of-college job working for a notoriously cheap family-owned newspaper...that turkey - nothing but a frozen mammoth to me - was my Christmas bonus...I was told later...after my boss cheerfully hit me up for a donation to United Way...I pointedly pointed out to him (pointedly pointed out?) that making $5.25 an hour qualified me for 80 percent of United Way's programs and an unplanned pregnancy or broken arm would help me with the remaining 20 percent...he never asked me to contribute again...I remember he blushed to a deep, satisfying-to-me purple at the suggestion of a pregnancy...
But there I was, Thanksgiving looming, just me and a frozen Turkey in my tiny apartment in the middle of flat-land Colorado (yep, there is a flat part to Colorado, but no one ever talks about it) I wrestled it into my fridge - it wouldn't fit into the purze-sized freezer and proceeded to call around to find just who would appreciate a gift of a quickly-thawing Gobbler ASAP...
It ended up at the local food bank, where a kindly man exchanged it for a package of cut deli turkey and a loaf of sandwich bread, which I gratefully ate at my tiny kitchen table, chewing on it and on my boss' seemingly bottomless insensitivities. I diligently worked that job for 18 more months, winning two awards along the way, before someone took notice and head-hunted me away to better working conditions.
That's the memory I visited as I wrestled my second ever frozen turkey out of the freezer and carefully thawed it in my fridge (three days!!! What in the world takes three days nowadays???) and then man-handled, hog-tied and massaged it to sheer deliciousness.
It was surpisingly easy and I discovered that basting is a very satisfying and soothing activity.
I'm so very grateful for my little, sweet family and God watching over us - and my days of paying my dues behind me.