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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful its Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in Austin usually consists of two things.  Firstly the traditional Turkey dinner, then sitting around the television to watch the college rivalry football game.  Texas, the team from the University of Texas, play their arch rivals, 'The Aggies', the Texas A&M University (Agriculture and Manufacturing).  Texas has, for years and years, been a top team, but this year they are playing worse than Acrington Stanley! (Who?  Exactly!)

Our house is no different to hundreds of others in the area, apart from the excess of Turkeys.  Samantha's traditional offering is a cup cake turkey.  This is a small cake with a thick blob of icing for the head and neck and 'candy corns' for feathers.  Unfortunately, they have become so popular that she makes in excess of half a century. 

Coming home on Wednesday night, after an extremely long day, I was confronted by a table full of chocolate turkeys, each one with a different expression upon his face.  After the obligatory praise (which is well deserved), I was faced with the task of preparing the Turkey for the morning.  It is traditional here to 'brine' the Turkey.  When I first heard this term, I was slightly confused, as I had always considered brine to be salt water.  However, on further investigation, I found that 'brining' did not necessarily mean plunging the dead bird into a saline solution.  A fruit mixture of cranberries, apples, oranges and lemons, has been mentioned on more than one occasion and the ensuing 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from those who had consumed the meal, encouraged me to stray from the traditional sage and onion stuffed fowl.

The turkey, fifteen pounds of slippery flesh, was released from its plastic prison.  It was time for the first round of operations.  Releasing its little legs from the clip, I encouraged it to 'push' and with some help, a bag of giblets was delivered.  In its place (after cleaning of course) was stuffed apples, oranges and cranberries.  Finally, a bath of coke and apple juice was prepared and the turkey laid back and relaxed in the cocktail, ready for a good nights rest in the fridge.

However, as I opened the fridge I was confronted with a malicious looking group of chocolate turkeys.  What had I done to their leader? The turkey takeover had begun. With stealthy precision, I managed to place the larger fowl on a free shelf, and shut the door without hearing a squawk. 

Thanksgiving morning is just like Christmas, minus the presents.  The kitchen activity is just as fraught and my turkey was taken from its cold bedroom, removed from the liquid and put in its final resting place before cremation (metophorically speaking of course....I hoped...after Monday night's episode).  It was 9am and I still had the rest of the dinner to prepare.  With potatoes peeled, cauliflower boiled and gratin'd, beef sausages wrapped in turkey bacon, it was time for coffee and raisin toast.  I opened the cupboard to get a plate and there, staring down, was a group of  turkeys.  I shut the door quickly and opened the other side.  Had they moved or was it another group?  Bravely, I opened both doors and saw that there were indeed two more plates of chocolate birds. 

It may seem that I am over-reacting, but when you see trays filled with these creatures, each one with a different look in their eye, you could be forgiven for thinking you hear them squawk. 

Being overrun by turkeys on Thanksgiving is not unusual in my house.  It is Thanksgiving, itself, that is still slightly alien.  I have been asked, 'do you have Thanksgiving in England?'  When I reply in the negative, they are most surprised.  I then reply, 'we have nothing to be thankful for!'  That is usually enough to stop the conversation in its tracks and I do not have to explain the story of Thanksgiving to those who celebrate ignorantly.  However, I now live in the USA and the traditions that are American have become part of my life.  After all, when in Rome......

With everything neatly placed in the oven and not a hint of smoke, I breathed a sigh of relief and went to find a table cloth.  Imagine my delight when Samantha informed me that one of my all time favourite films was on the television.  To hear Julie Andrews singing 'A spoonful of sugar' suddenly made everything perfect (or at least practically perfect) and I happily skipped around the house and tackled the washing up with a new sense of vigour.  It was then that I realised the answer to the army of turkeys that had invaded my house was to fight them with the biggest word they had ever heard!  Singing loudly (and probably very out of tune), I opened the fridge and began with a 'supercala'.  The turkeys had gone. I opened the cupboard with another 'supercala', but the cupboard was bare.  Realising how rediculous I must look, I laid the table and walked into the living room. 

How can I describe what happened next.  You know the sound that Hitchcock achieved when Anthony Perkins played his most famous role in the shower scene?  I could hear that ringing in my ears as I saw all the turkeys sitting in boxes on the table in my lounge!  The biggest word I have ever heard suddenly didnt help at all.  Even Julie couldnt help me. 

After lunch, Samantha and Co went to their traditional Thanksgiving afternoon venue (a friend in the next town) and took some of the flightless birds, leaving the army depleted and me feeling less invaded. 

My turkey was cooked to perfection and the brining really seemed to bring out the flavour.  All in all the dinner was a huge success, unlike the result of the football game as Texas went out with a very uninspiring fizzle. 

I am not sure what I am going to do for the rest of the weekend.  I may take advantage of Black Friday (the biggest shopping day of the year) although I do not plan to do the midnight shopping that Samantha enjoys.  If I do anything worthy of reporting, that will be..... another story.

1 comment:

  1. LOL...... I'm starving now!! LOL... Too funny, this piece of writing was so amuzing and you left my wanting MORE.......... Turkey? lol.... Really enjoyed it!!