COOKING THANKSGIVING TURKEY AT DAWN

Today is Thanksgiving Day in America.  We get to thank whatever gods or goddesses or flying horses, for our good fortune.  Too bad, we let a bunch of crazed gnomes destroy our good fortune.  We shall deal with them later!

 

But today, I have some of my family over for Thanksgiving Dinner.  Alas, my own children this year are doing their own obligations with other relations in our extended family that lives all over Kingdom Come.  So I make lots and lots of leftovers which I freeze for them.  We happen to really like Thanksgiving leftovers.  Personally, I think these are the best, the seasonings have time to percolate in the dark cave of the freezer.

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Frankly, this Fall has been so cold, leaving things on the front porch is sufficient.  Back when we lived in the Tent Complex at the other end of the property while I was building our house, I would tell people, the refrigerator has finally turned on when the outdoor temperature fell enough to store food outside.  In a steel box in the ground so the bears and other creatures couldn’t get to it.

 

Only once, did a bear try to get to our food.  The horse, Sparky, went nuts.  The dogs barreled out of the Tent Complex via their Dog Door.  They and the horse chased off the bear who never came back.

 

My husband woke me up before sunrise.  I needed at least an hour and a half for the prenuptial preparations.  I didn’t bother changing into my day clothes and did all this early cooking dressed appropriately:

 

cooking-in-my-nighties

Since it was below freezing outside and inside, I had just started up our only source of heating, the wood stove in the living room, it is no surprise that my nighties is flannel and has penguins on it.  Here is one of my cats, Tigger, helping me start the morning fire:

tigger-sleeps-by-fireplace

Cats are no good for carrying firewood.  Or shoveling coal.  Or putting paper in the fire. Indeed, Tigger was sleeping in the kindling box.  Yesterday, when I was filling the wood box, he was sleeping there and I had to kick him out.  Cats don’t like being kicked out of their sleeping places.  This is why they sleep in places we have to kick them out. 

 

Example: if I am reading a book in bed, a cat will walk onto my chest and sit down in front of the book with his or her face in my face.  ‘Meow,’ says the cat which is cat-language for ‘Pet me, not the book.’  If the cat is generous, they might purr as incentive.

 

This irritates the dogs on the floor.  A dog head pops up and whimpering begins. ‘What about me?  Me?  Please!  ME!!’  This makes the cat’s claws begin to unsheath as the cat glares at the interloping canines.  The dogs know very well, what happens if they stick their noses between the cats and the books and the humans so they whimper and duck back down.

 

But unlike normal mornings, this morning, I am cooking meat.  All the animals loved this and wonder if this is a new regime here.  Sorry, guys.  No way am I going to do this every day.

sautee-the-sausage

First, I sautee some sausage. I always carefully drain the fat and set the sausage aside.  Then, I sautee the oysters.  I have already taken out the 20 lb turkey and washed it after removing all the other body parts, the neck and the gibbets [or giblets].  I then take the excess fat from the turkey and throw it in to flavor the oysters and to fry the fat for later use in making the gravy and other things.

 

sautee-the-oysters-and-turkey-fat

Fluff and Akamaru join me in the kitchen and request that I put all the dirty dishes and pans on the floor for them so they can help with the cleaning.  Some people object to animals working like this.  Well, it isn’t slave labor!  They WANT to do this! 

 

As for squeamish people who think that I won’t sterilize the dishes and pans later: sorry.  I have been doing this for 50 years and am still alive.  It won’t kill you.  And it saves me a lot of work at my end of the deal.

fluff-and-akamaru-help-with-cooking-turkey1

Now I cut up a whole head of celery to add to the stuffing.  I make a HUGE amount of stuffing because I freeze it.  Honestly, it tastes good, later!  So I make 4 loaves worth of turkey stuffing.  I use only about 2 cups in the turkey, itself.  But the rest is flavored with turkey drippings.  

chopping-the-celery

 

mixing-the-stuffing

Mix the meat, add a cup of chopped chestnuts to the sausage and oysters, then put in the celery and herbs and mix with the hands.  My mother-in-law runs a herbal garden.  So every one of the herbs in this stuffing mix came from her own hands.  She dried them out and mixed them.  So they have a pungent savory smell.

raping-the-turkey

In mediaeval times, this was literally called ‘raping the bird’.  For some reason, people think our ancestors didn’t have a wild sense of humor.  Even in the darkest days of yore, they had a sense of humor.  Despite the Church trying to get everyone to behave, they still didn’t behave.  This seems to be normal for humans.

 

I oil the turkey with pure virgin olive oil.  The obvious second joke doesn’t need to be told here.  Heh.  We all think dirty at my blog.  Anyway, once I stuff the turkey, I have to put it in the oven set at 325 degrees F.  I am a bit frustrated by turkeys we buy in the store.  I used to raise turkeys, both, in Arizona and in New York.  Store turkeys don’t have the flap in the back which can be sewn up after stuffing.  Ditto, the neck area.  

 

Since I stuff the turkey as best I can, I wire the hind legs together with baling wire.  Baling wire is what we use when we bundle things on a farm.  I have a huge roll of the stuff.

sunrise-thanksgiving-dawn

Just as I put the turkey in the oven, the sun peeks out from between the heavy layers of clouds which have been dropping snow off and on.  The sun rise is very lovely and lasts about 5 minutes.

 

By the way, I fill the cooking tray with one inch of chicken broth so the turkey cooks with  moisture.  Too many people cook their turkeys dry!  Don’t do it!  It is bad!  Once, when I raised a 48 pound prize Bronze turkey, I couldn’t fit him in any oven.  So I took a three legged kettle and dropped the turkey headfirst into it, filled it with juices and apples and cooked it over an outdoor fire.  This was back when we were still living in the Tent Complex.  

 

It was quite delicious.  I far, far prefer juicy turkey.  The breast slices should be wet, not dry!  What a difference that makes.  In the old days, the birds were basted while they turned over an open fire with a dripping pan underneath.  An elderly person would sit by the warm fire and ladle drippings over the spitted bird.  These drippings became the gravy which people dipped bread in. 

 

The servants usually did this.  The upper story nobility ate the bird itself.  This is the unfair system of yore.  There are many yorish things back then.  Peasants were peasants and lords were annoying as hell.  

 

gloomy-november-morning

FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME AT emeinel@fairpoint.net

17 Comments

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17 responses to “COOKING THANKSGIVING TURKEY AT DAWN

  1. don

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family………………………

  2. Elaine – Thanks for sharing this —- especially the pictures!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    Peace,
    Ken

  3. csurge

    Happy Thanksgiving, Elaine. Thanks for the pictures. 🙂

  4. Steve M. (uncreatively)

    Somebody should come up with a”Surviving Great Depression II” cookbook. I’ve been eating prepared foods so long that I barely know how to add my own spices, much less kill and clean anything.

  5. You have much to give thanks for , you have a nice life, 11000 sq ft mansions are not requred.

  6. emsnews

    Once upon a time, I bought a mansion so I could rebuild it and sell it. I lived in it for three years.

    IT WAS PURE HELL…the upkeep of the grounds, cleaning all the woodwork with the proper oils, all the details that had to be polished and groomed. I sold it and swore to NEVER try that again! Never.

    I am quite content with a much smaller place.

  7. Joseppi

    Ahhh…that was a sweet turkey day tour of your tent remodel, and the culinary secrets you shared with us.
    As pilgrims, refugees and downtrodden aborigines of faithful readers of yours we are thankful despite the criminal corruption we are suppressed with in this fine mental concept known as America.
    Happy Thanksgiving, Elaine.

  8. drkrbyluv

    Hope everyone is having a nice Thanksgiving. It’s important to celebrate life at every opportunity.

    My Thanksgiving has been miserable. First I woke up feeling terrible with what I suspect is a cold and flu. Then my wife reminded me that in the past few years we had got flu shots which seemed to work well, but this year I halted the practice as I had read somewhere about the NWO bastards adding the H5N1 strain (bird flu) to this years mix. Elderly people and young toddlers typically get these shots and it was just precautionary for us.

    Then my wife reminded me that last Saturday, at the END the FED rally, I only wore a light sweatshirt even though the temperature was in the teens. I created a custom design sweatshirt that included “noNWO” and END the FED. I didn’t want to cover the message.

    Then, my wife asked me not to bring up anything about NWO Banking Bastards at dinner. With that, I had to cancel and am now home alone – which is probably best..

  9. emsnews

    Aw, poor dear.

    I was shivering in the cold that day, too. Many of us were pretty miserable afterwards. The price you pay!

    Well, hope everyone enjoyed the cyber feast.

    I am drinking wine right now.

  10. DeVaul

    Hi all and Happy Thanksgiving!

    I am here at my mother’s with my father, who I and my brother had to rescue from a homeless shelter in Baton Rouge after his wife of 30 years tossed him out on the street with only 12 hours of oxygen left. He is dying of emphasema(sp?).

    My brother brought him here at great expense to live out his few remaining months and see my daughter and hopefully my sons this Christmass. He was gone for 30 years and now he is back in my home.

    Life is very strange and the future brings many surprises.

    My sons were not allowed to speak to him today despite my plea to my ex-wife, but I did get to speak to them and we had a good laugh about them pushing me around in a grocery cart on the roller rink. They said they would make it more comfortable for me than a regular cart. I wanted them to carry me, but they said I was too heavy.

    It was a bittersweet conversation for me because I caught their stepfather lying and trying to deceive me with bogus “evidence” videos he posted on the internet claiming that the disks I sent my sons are defective. Lucky for me, the entire IT Department at my law firm sat and watched the videos and laughed and shook their heads as they pointed out all the tricks he used to prevent the disks from opening. They said they had never seen anything like it before.

    I called him out on his lies in an email and the next day the videos and all links to them had been disabled. Wished I had videotaped the session, but I am not devious enough to think of things like that fast enough.

    At least I will see them for Christmas for three days and my brother will be coming, so we will have a good time.

    I hope that everyone will find something to be happy about and thankful for on this day, no matter how dark things may seem.

  11. emsnews

    Devaul, you have a big heart and a lovely wife and family and notice how it is growing again because you are faithful and open. People come crawling back home in the end.

    Patience is so hard to have but it pays, oh, it pays, in the end! And don’t worry about people doing stupid things. This is normal, not exceptional.

    Hope you have a fun Xmas with the kids.

  12. drkrbyluv

    DeVaul – sorry to hear about your family stuff. It’s sad that it seems all too common for families to drift apart. One of my two daughters was in Florida today relaxing with her in-laws, which was nice, but we missed her. And I have a sister who doesn’t speak to me or my other sister. Makes holidays complicated.

    Sounds like you are setting a good example and trying to make things work. Hope your Christmas plans work out.

  13. emsnews

    HAHAHA. All families have members who will not talk to each other! This is so common. These petty interior battles are most amazing. This is why Cain killed Able. I suppose this was better than them being Cain-a-bles. Heh. Eating each other instead of turkeys…..

  14. PFO

    Hello Elaine,

    Your ‘Cat & Dog’ comments reminds me of idyllic days of yore when my children were young and we lived in a cabin in the Cascade Mountains on the Canadian – Washington border.

    Arron & Sarah were 9 and 8 years old at the time and crazy to have cats of their own. So I found two black fuzzy kittens shortly named Nemo & Blue and they were in 7th. Heaven.

    Since Nemo & Blue were bro & sis I had Blue neutered to avoid any whacky litters from Nemo. About March of the next year I returned from a business trip to find Nemo very with child and purring up a cyclone.

    Three months later was kitten nirvana and my most cherished memory is Sarah taking all 6 into the bedroom each afternoon to make sure they got a nap. Of course I gave her that chore to insure her nap as well and can still see her snoozing with an angelic look on her face under a kitten blanket.

    Naturally, they would romp all over the house at night like you cats. I coined a classic cat phrase one evening after lights out when I indignantly ordered: “Kindly remove your hairy butt from my face!” to one of the offenders.

    Arron & Sarah laughed til high school.

    Regards,
    PFO

    PS By-the-by I certainly didn’t see an ‘old crone’ in any of the pictures from your mountain-top this past year!

  15. emsnews

    HAHAHA. Thanks for the stories of the kittens.

    Here is another story: we had, in the Tent Complex, a cat door. One day, the ducks discovered they could slither through this door. I was cooking spaghetti in the kitchen when I heard happy quacks at my ankles.

    After that, we couldn’t keep the ducks from coming in for their dinner. We also had a big toad that used the cat door, too. He ended up living under the hot tub.

  16. JSmitth

    Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

    I was tied up with family and have not been online for a few days. Good pictures, Elaine – I like your skillet. I’ve used cast iron myself for 20 years; my wife says it’s too heavy but it’s really the only way to go.

  17. emsnews

    Cast iron is great for cooking! It doesn’t burn things so much and retains heat so it is great for making gravy, for example. I have a lot of iron in my kitchen.

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