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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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