Gratitude is one of the most powerful means of attracting positive energy and good things to our lives. So I try to remember to be thankful all year long for all I’ve received and all I’ve been able to give others. But in the little northern corner of the earth where I was born and raised, we did not celebrate Thanksgiving holiday in the same way it’s done in the US and Canada. That makes me an implant into this strong tradition.
As you may guess, there’s been many trials and tribulations over the years in adapting to this tradition, particularly in regard to the center piece at the dinner table, Mr. Turkey. He’s not always been very cooperative, to say the least.
During the first Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, just a few months after moving here, Mr. Turkey was missing in action in our home. I didn’t realize that he is an invited guest, no matter what. So I made a nice steak dinner. What a mistake! Our son who was in the fifth grade at the time couldn’t believe his eyes – no turkey on the table! He had already picked up this tradition from all his friends, whose mothers had been preparing their turkey the previous night. He was visibly disappointed and I felt really bad. The next day he went to his best friend’s house and had turkey…and I promised we’d have a turkey the following year.
The following year came and to make good on my promise, I bought a huge frozen turkey well in advance. I was extremely busy at work and travelled a lot, so I didn’t take the time to read the instructions. Early on Thanksgiving morning, I took it out to allow a couple of hours for thawing. But the bird didn’t want to be thawed! By the time I had planned to put it into the oven, its skin was just about free from frost. It was solid frozen!
I made all the mistakes described in the turkey cooking books! To cut the long story short, we had a Thanksgiving dinner that night with the turkey on the table. It was about 9 p.m. and the poor turkey was…very dry. Our son was hungry and very kind, he just poured a lot of gravy and ketchup on the turkey. My hubby quietly asked me if it was supposed to be that dry. What did I know? I remember we managed to eat about half of the bird by the time the weekend was over. Luckily I had not invited any friends over to taste my first ever baked whole turkey.
Then, of course, little by little I became a master of the turkey cooking art, and we enjoyed a well prepared turkey for many years. Until one year much later…Our son was away in college and flew home for Thanksgiving. As all mothers know, it’s so wonderful to have them home again! That particular year, I had found a nice whole smoked turkey that would only need to be heated up just before dinner time. It was small, like 6-7 pounds, but it would only be the three of us that year, so that should be fine.
On the night before Thanksgiving, our son went out with a group of his closest friends, all of whom we knew well, and told me that they would be coming back later in the evening to play pool in our basement, like they had done so often in the past. I had prepared the turkey and left it in the kitchen fridge on a plate, so when the guys came back home, our son asked me if they could make some cold sandwiches of the turkey later on. I said why not as it would be only the three of us eating it the next day, and I had plenty of other stuff prepared as well.
In the morning, I came down to the kitchen to make coffee. Everything was nice and tidy, no sign of the guys making sandwiches, no dishes in the sink. Nice, I thought, they are all in college and have finally learned to take care of things. Then I looked into the fridge. No turkey! We had another large fridge as a reserve in the storage area so I ran there. And there it was! The plate with the turkey bones, nicely covered in aluminium foil. It still had the wings. I had to laugh!
Later that morning, our son said he was sorry they ate so much, the turkey had been too delicious! I couldn’t be angry, just went back to my grocery store. I could no longer find a whole smoked turkey so I settled on two large smoked breasts, put them creatively on both sides of the breast bone and heated it all up for dinner. With some imagination it looked like a turkey. And it was just fine!
A few years ago I met the exactly same group of our son’s friends. They were all grown up now, out of college, and stood there in the church as handsome groomsmen at his wedding. I smiled again, reminded of the disappearing act of the smoked turkey!
I’m all adapted now. And giving thanks for everything in my life, including the turkeys, past, present and future. Gratefully signing off for about a week in the northern wilderness – with no internet connectivity. Take care and Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating this wonderful holiday later in the week!