The Australian Turkey!

This boy grew up to know how to
carve a turkey! It’s now a lost art at
our house. Sorry Grandfather!

I don’t do Thanksgiving as well as my grandparents. My grandmother made fabulous feasts. Everyone would sit at a long table that held more than 20 chairs. My grandfather sat at the head of the table and carved the turkey and passed along each plate down the line. My grandmother made countless dishes to go along with our turkey, but one of the favorites of my brother and myself were Maryland biscuits.

They hurt when they hit!

They weren’t our favorite as they tasted good, though I did enjoy eating them. They were our favorite as they are small and golf ball shaped and very hard. Much like an egg, they were a food that was shaped for throwing.

As an adult, I found I had little experience with Thanksgiving. Both my grandparents loved to cook, so I had little practical experience with cooking. They loved to cook and I was fine with eating the delicious results without being tempted to learn to cook myself.

The pop up timer is my friend, and I looked for a Turkey based on if it had a pop up timer or not. I later learned you can buy just the pop up timers. This meant even the very expensive, but sadly pop up missing, bird could now survive my cooking inexperience.

I had a series of illnesses over the years that always seemed to happen over Thanksgiving. The worst Thanksgiving my family had was when I was in the hospital for surgery. My husband came home thinking to go out with our daughter for a nice meal at a restaurant, only to find them all closed. I had my turkey dinner via an IV, he and my daughter had frozen fish sticks.

A determined cold another year meant that my husband had to handle turkey duty, and he decided he liked it and has done it ever since. That doesn’t mean he’s good at it. One year I had picked out a very expensive turkey for him , and plastic pop up timer! All he had to do was stick it in the back in bag and cook. Yes, we use a baking bag and a pop up timer. It really doesn’t even deserve to be called cooking. The problem with this bird came when it was time to carve it.

Sadly we do not own a large table that seats more than 20 where the father sits in a large end chair and carves with skill. Instead we have a lovely, but small, dining room table. We have to spend three days taking off and putting away all the projects we have in various stages on the table.

Our family carves the turkey and then takes a platter into the dining room. We don’t want to wait for anyone to carve, we want to eat. But this one year, as Mark was carving he began to complain. “What is wrong with this turkey? There is hardly any meat on it!”

I was confused, I thought I had bought a 14 pound bird.

“Seriously, it may just be 6 people this year, but this isn’t enough for 2 people, why didn’t you buy a bigger bird?” I finally went over to look, and sure enough, there didn’t seem to be much meat on the bird. It just looked wrong altogether.

I finally said, “Well honey, that’s an Australian turkey, that’s why you aren’t getting much meat. If you just turn the Australian turkey upside down…” and then I picked up the bird and flipped it over “You’ll find there is plenty of meat!”

Mark had placed the bird in the pan upside down. It is now a tradition at our home to ask if we are having “Australian turkey” again this year. It was actually quite tasty having been roasted upside down, even if the skin was not crispy!

Not much meat on these
Australian turkies!

Sadly, not for us the complexities of pumpkin pie from scratch, instead I Google which frozen pumpkin pie tastes the best. I will mash up sweet and yellow potatoes, and my step father taught me the secret to good potatoes. Heavy cream and lots of it. Some real butter helps also. The most popular dish with my now grown children is the green bean casserole. Canned green beans + cream of mushroom soup + friend onions. It’s three cans, and I can’t make enough of it.

We should be ashamed, but we’re not. We’re too busy eating green bean casserole, heart attack inducing mashed potatoes, and Australian turkey, to care.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Categories: Family, Food

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