least 20 updates in December, that's my present to anyone reading, and
my promise to Cindy (all
round cool person, birthday twin, same month, date and year)
and Jette (all
round cool person not born on my day). Leap in and check back
daily at the portal, all
sorts of fab goodies for the month, tasting better, more filling with
nary a kilojoule. I'll be notifying
the Precipice regulars, come join there if you'd like an almost
in, with a post thanksgiving/pre-Christmas question from Anna;
“How do you cope with turkey twice in a month? Do you just
not do turkey for Christmas?”
and I, both coming from Australia, don't have a big turkey tradition,
but have fallen into needing something like that by dint of our American
spouses. Course, living in the US now, I didn't have to pay $66 for
our turkey, although her turkey breast stuffed with pancetta and rosemary
sounds really good, and certainly something that'd fit in my oven.
been here 5 years in January, and I haven't cooked a Thanksgiving
or Christmas turkey yet. Jeff's Dad is a mad turkey fiend with a large
oven and a history of cooking the bird, I'm an ambivalent turkey eater
with a teeny tiny 1960's wall oven, so we always go over there.
shops give away free turkeys (12-20 pounds/5.5 to 9 kilos) if you
spend a certain amount of $$. As it's only $250 over a period of 8
weeks (a store card keeps track of it, use the store card, accrue
the points, assist in their marketing, tracking everything we buy,
that's the cost of the discounts), we usually end up with a free turkey
or two, specially since Jeff's parents use the same store card for
their groceries .
this time of year, the turkeys (garden variety Pathmark/Acme/ShopRite/
supermarket) are about $0.89US a pound, so it's a $10-$20 freebie.
We give one to his parents for the Thanksgiving meal and one for the
Christmas meal. Right now I have two extra turkeys in my freezer,
and there'll probably be another freebie by the end of this coming
month. My plan is to give the two turkeys in the freezer to local
churches that do food baskets for the not so well off. We try to buy
the whole meal, or at least the canned/packeted bits of it, and then
donate that to one of the local charity/non-profits.
have to cook turkey, see Turkey Mad Dad. A cultural reference is
the Dad from my favourite Christmas/Holiday movie, “A
Christmas Story”. Jeff's Dad and Movie Dad, they have
a similar fervour for the turkey. Much as Jeff loves this movie,
his favourite Holiday movie is “It's
a Wonderful Life”. Cultural touchstone, every Christmas.
I've seen it once 1996, the first Christmas of Jeff. For him I drank
Pepsi (when we were in different countries, it reminded
me of him. As soon as we lived in the same place, I hardly touched
the stuff) and watched a perfectly serviceable movie that
didn't ding my bell as much as it did his.
Dad stuffs the bird the night before, which I believe is not quite
so hygienic, but I have the original cast iron stomach, so I'm not
so bothered. I drink the non-pasteurised apple cider from a local
orchard, I laugh in the face of E-coli.
to fill up on mashed potatoes, bread rolls and veges, rounding the
plate out with a cool cranberry relish his Mum makes with walnuts
and apples and jelly and fresh cranberries, which adds a nice zing
to the small amount of turkey I end up having room for. Ham is the
thing I really can't stand, that's around Easter, bleagh. So, cheap
turkey, not too much of it seems to be the trick for me.
the subject of the “free” turkey. I do realise it's
not free, in fact this past Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving,
in order to qualify for said freebies, I spent $180 at two local
supermarkets. Not quite such a good deal, maybe, but I'm a fool
for the freebies.
already qualified for the first turkey, a 20 pounder, it'd been
happily thawing in the freezer since the previous Saturday night.
For your reference, to thaw a turkey in the fridge, it takes 24
hours per 5 pounds of meat. So, a 20 pounder, allow 4 days. You
can leave it out overnight, but that's just a little too Evel Knievel
cuisine even for me. So, in the ridgy-didge, a couple a days, she'll
can also thaw it in a bucket of water, but you need to change the
water every hour or so, I don't have a bucket big enough to thaw
a 20 pound anything in, and I didn't fancy explaining to my father
in law what the wee nibble marks on the side were. (5
cats and a turkey inna bucket, it's a recipe, but not for anything
in that $180 was enough side bits to give away the two full meals.
I'll be glad to do that, not just for the warm fuzzies, but I'd really
like that freezer real estate back. This time of year, I'm into the
soups and the stews, make ahead, pre-portion, freeze, and when I can't
be fagged cooking, et voila, dinner. I'll keep the turkeys in there
as long as the charity needs me to, no point in giving them something
they have nowhere to put, but I'll be looking forward to my turkey
2 December, 2002
Amanda Page, 1996-2002