Friday, November 16, 2018

A Turkey Tale

Does anyone else have turkey cooking memories from years past?

I do.
At this point you may be thinking 'of course you do Laura'.

I began my early marriage cooking history thinking that someone else older and turkey wiser than I would always take care of the turkey.

I helped in the kitchen of course, and I contributed some sort of side or dessert, but I was not 'in charge' , and it never dawned on me that I ever would be.

I postponed that thinking because I still had one foot in 'sitting at the kid's table thinking'.

Oh the blessed 'cluelessness' of youth. 

I remember my mother talking about how the Riverside brand of turkey at HEB was just as moist as a Butterball and how lucky I would be if I ever had double ovens in my kitchen.

I cooked my first turkey in a tiny rent house on Glasscock Road in Mission, Texas with an even tinier kitchen. 

While standing in the middle of the kitchen, I could rest my elbows on the counters on either side.

I used the handwritten recipe of a new colleague at Sharyland High School- where I had just started teaching.

Her name was Martha Louise Kendrick.

Martha Louise's recipe was certainly a method different than what my mother, grandmothers, or aunts used.

She wrapped her turkey in a cheesecloth that had been soaked in melted butter. 

This sounded very exotic to me, but I was determined to try.
This was of course long before cell phones, unlimited long distance, or Butterball hotlines.

I can't tell you if it was a success.

It was more like wrestling...

very slippery, buttery wrestling. 

But one thing happened that day.
I took a giant step away from the kids' table.


November 16, 2018
40 years later.

I just got back from the WalMart near our house after stopping by Albertson's and a WalMart in a different location.

I was on the hunt for a 24-25 pound Butterball turkey.

I learned years ago that if I am going to cook a turkey, we are going to have plenty to share with family members and to have as leftovers.

The nicest meat department manager was unboxing Butterballs.

I asked him for the size I wanted, and he found a 24 pound turkey , and it was on sale for 98 cents a pound.

At this stage in life, I think I am finally past worrying about poisoning everyone because of my rebellious thawing techniques. 

I have also learned in the last 40 years that at 5:00 am Thanksgiving morning when I am wrestling (once again) with the turkey, that that is a solitary sport.

I am grateful for that young woman wrestling in that kitchen 40 years ago, because she was learning then and gaining her adult footing.

I am grateful to Martha Louise Kendrick, and for all of the turkeys since then-

wrestling and all:)


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Jeanie said...

I love this post to pieces, Laura. Yes, that first turkey year is a killer, isn't it? and trying to get everything done at the same time when a big bird is taking up the whole of the oven! And look at you now!

Rustown Mom said...

I have pics of myself somewhere holding up my first married lady turkey - it was a beaut! I should dig it out of my archives...maybe cooking your first bird is a rite of passage. (:

Stacey said...

I have never cooked a turkey. There I said it out loud.

The visions of you resting your elbows on each counter are in my head. Also, wrestling the've seen those videos, right?

Donnamae said...

While you were cooking your first turkey in a tiny kitchen....I was cooking mine in an avocado green one. Oh...what I would’ve given for the internet, too! But nobody has gotten sick...that’s always a plus. My dinners have steadily improved over the years....thanks to a double oven. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgivingvwith your Family! ;)

Andi Cox said...

Very sweet Laura, I think every turkey cook an identify. I've never heard of the cheesecloth method, may need to try. My first turkey, I washed it well, I removed the neck from the cavity, filled the cavity with cold water rinsing it two or three times. But I never dug down inside ....I cooked the giblets inside the turkey, paper and all! :)
Happy Thanksgiving!

NanaDiana said...

Right there with you. I was 22 when I did my first Thanksgiving (being in charge) and have been there ever since. For the first time I will not be "in charge". I am headed to my dd's house and her request is that I bring a Costco pumpkin pie. hahahaha. Works for me! Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Laura. xo Diana

Theresa said...

I guess at 64 years old, I am still at the kid's table:) My Sisters bring the ham and turkey and I bring sides a'plenty:) I love Thanksgiving and all of the memories from the past years. Have a blessed day and week ahead dear Laura, HUGS!

Beverly Noland Ozburn said...

Ah, Laura! I'm laughing out loud here. At 59-years-old I can so relate to your tales. My first experience was with smoking a huge turkey breast. I'm not sure that we didn't all get sick afterward but it was quite the adventure and I was probably in my late 20s to early 30s. Over the years we have smoked giant birds, roasted medium birds, and fried them. It is always a wrestling match and we always enjoy the results. Thanks for sharing!

CHERI said...

Oh the stories I could tell about my early days of learning to cook! That's why I am diligently working on teaching my 12 year old granddaughter some tried and true recipes (since her mother doesn't cook!) I've been behind in reading my blogs but just read your last post about simple things...loved it! Happy Belated on to Christmas:)

Nancy's Notes said...

Goodness, I am perplexed. I thought I commented on this post. LOL...perplexed is my new normal! My first Thanksgiving dinner was for my family and his family and that's a number of people! A ping pong table turned dining room table was perfect! And the turkey, ahem, I didn't take out the stuff inside! Oh well! Was delicious.

I am missing your posts! You encouraged me to get back and here I am, so HURRY back!


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