Our path to Thanksgiving is unusual this year. No Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Probably no turkey. Unlikely there will be football in the afternoon. We are going to Florida for a few days, and as the plan stands now, we will be celebrating the day with Harry Potter in Hogsmeade. So my Thanksgiving fix will come from Thanksgivings past. This one is from Thanksgiving morning, November 2012... Ahhhh. Thanksgiving morn. I felt a telepathic scuttle when my alarm went off this morning. That turkey energy running through kitchens all through the country. Houses quiet but for the one person carrying the load of the day: preparing the turkey.
In our house, it’s double duty. I’m kind of the director and Bill does the hands-on lifting, cleaning, rubbing, and carving. We have a special guest of honor this year: we know our turkey lived a charmed life roaming on Chestnut Farms. On Sunday, Bill went to the distribution point to collect our gobbler. My name wasn’t on the list, but the farmer remembered my name. She asked, “What size did Linda order?” Bill hadn’t an idea of available sizes. “Probably a medium.”
And on that day our turkey grew from 14-16 pounds to 17-20 pounds for four people. There will actually be six of us, but I’m pretty sure Will & Liam won’t be trying the turkey. “Point of View” by Shel Silverstein was read by one of the students at the all-school Thanksgiving meeting Monday. Many of us chuckled at it. Others of us used it to sum up exactly why mac’n’cheese is a perfectly good Thanksgiving entrée.
All week I’ve been visualizing that beautifully roasted, domed bird. Daily Bill has been given it cold baths, per farmer’s direction, then covering it with a wet towel, foil and returning it to the fridge. I’ve been studying the many options of preparation: brining, buttering, herbing, or simply shoving it in a 350-degree oven. Since we are having an evening feast, I’ve decided to go with brining it for the day in kosher salt in a sinkful of ice water.
At 6:30 a.m., Bill brought the turkey up from the basement fridge and uncovered it as I gave directions. “I think it should go breast down so that meat is fully submerged in the brine.” We started filling the sink with water and ice; Bill placed the turkey into its prep sink. I restated, “No, it needs to go breast-down.” Bill, looking at me as if I had two heads, “It is breast down. It’s been this way all week.”
Thus we enter a very peculiar state of “I’m right… No, I’m right.” But I AM right, as sure as I can tell the pungent difference between cow manure and pig shit, I AM right. At this intersection, I can’t speak. After a few seconds staring at the tail, the elbow of the wing – and yes, the backbone – I say, “Bill, do you really think this is the breast?” Pause. Sigh. “No, now I don’t.”
Our DD breasted turkey was now a BB. Flat chested. Condensed. Flat as a pancake. She had been lying comatose on her breasts for four days.
Today, I’m thankful for a slower pace so we can gather as a family, turning off the responsibilities and the roles outside our four walls. After all, it’s the human side of Bill that I just adore. At moments like this, he makes me smile deliriously.
Next weekend, I think we will roast a chicken together. I will make a farmer out of him yet.