Let’s Talk Turkey

Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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About 42 million turkeys, which, let’s face it, aren’t the most beautiful bird in the world with a head like a vulture and body of a peacock, will be elevated to the rank of superstardom this week as they are sacrificed, stripped clean, brined, baked, broasted or deep fried and proudly presented before family and friends to be feasted upon at the Thanksgiving table.
I’m not a big turkey fan myself..at least not anymore. I like it fine but it stopped liking me a few years ago when eating..even a little amount of turkey..brought on such severe acid reflux that I’d spend the entire afternoon praying for a big belch to relieve the pressure on my esophagus.  I can’t figure it out. Acid reflux is usually brought on by spicy foods. Even with a gallon of gravy on top, turkey is anything but spicy. Maybe it’s just a negative reaction to all steroids, oils or seasonings that are injected into the bird at the factory.
Anyway it’ll just mean more for everybody else whose only side effect from gorging down copious amounts of turkey is trying to stay awake through the Detroit Lions football game..which is hard enough to do this season even without the sleep-inducing tryptophan found in turkey meat.
It’s our turn to have Thanksgiving this year which is always interesting. At last count, 25 people will be showing up..all wondering where in the world will they be able to stake out a spot in our little house for the afternoon. 
I usually do the grocery shopping and, because I read somewhere that you needed a pound of meat for every person on the guest list, I bought a 25 pounder.It’s the biggest roaster we have."Oh, my god, Linda said. That’s the biggest turkey I’ve ever seen.  I hope it fits into the oven.”
It will..but just barely. And, lets see, aren’t you supposed to cook it 20 minutes for every pound? Five hourss?? Can that be right? Where’s that Butterball hotline number?
We transferred this humungous bird from the freezer to the refrigerator 36 hours ago to begin the thawing process but it’s still hard as 8th grade algebra.  I’m buying a ham as back-up just in case it’s still frozen Thursday morning.
I’ve always loved the Norman Rockwell painting “Freedom from Want” in which grandma..who must be strong as an ox..effortlessly carries the big beautifully browned bird and sets it before grandpa to carve at the Thanksgiving table. Many years ago, I thought I’d try recreate that scene at our house.  As I stood at the head of the table, with the whole turkey on a platter before me, I insisted that our four hungry daughters first stand and tell something they were thankful for.  Well, they weren’t as caught up in this Rockwell moment as me but after a good bit of whining, each managed to come with something. Then, after saying the fervent prayer I’d rehearsed, I grabbed the carving knife and fork and began to slice into the family fowl…or tried to. The knife,  a wedding gift I think, had never been out of the box and obviously never sharpened because it only made a glancing blow when it was applied to the turkey’s crusty skin. Immediately, I could hear little snorts from around the table as the girls tried desperately to hold back giggles. It was when I began a sawing motion trying to make the dull blade function, that they could no longer restrain themselves and erupted into laughter…and I did too.
So it turned out to be a memorable joyful Thanksgiving after all..just not the kind that wind up in famous paintings.
It’s tough to find a lot to be thankful for this year but I urge you to seek out the laughter of children. It’s more than enough.Oh, and also remember to sharpen the carving knife.

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