Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)
TITLE: A Fowl Tale
By Patricia Protzman
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I combed through my personal collection of recipes and cookbooks and selected a menu. In my experience, I never cooked a turkey larger than 10 pounds, but how hard could it be to roast a larger bird?
The Monday before Thanksgiving I drove to the local butcher shop and purchased a 25 pound fresh turkey. As I walked to my car I careened into another vehicle where I dropped my treasure on top of the hood. The owner, still inside, scowled at me. I said, “Sorry”, picked up the turkey, and staggered toward my car. As I stooped to open the door, my heavy load plopped to the ground.
“Grrr! Come here you turkey!” I said as I struggled with the fowl.
“Can I help you?” A male voice asked.
I stood and turned to see a young man.
“Oh, yes, thank you.”
“No problem,” He said as he grabbed the bird with one hand and put it in the back seat with ease.
I thanked him again and drove home. My husband Tom opened the car door and the turkey rolled onto the ground. He managed to pick up the fowl, carry it inside, and place it in the refrigerator.
The side dishes and pies were prepared on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning I stuffed the turkey, deposited it in a roasting pan, and placed it in the oven with a silent prayer.
Two hours later I heard a sizzling sound from the oven. Flames flared, when I opened the door.
“Tom, come quick, the oven is on fire!” I yelled as I removed a box of baking soda from the cabinet.
“It’s too hot—oops,” he said as the pan tilted backwards and hot liquid spilled inside the oven.
The flames intensified and shot out into the kitchen. I tossed in baking soda which doused the flames but covered the turkey. Tom placed the large fowl in the sink and washed away the white substance under running water.
“It’s ruined, Tom, and I can’t make gravy without the broth,” I whined.
“Honey, he said as he place his arms around me, don’t give up now. It’ll be okay.”
“Maybe,” I said. “But I’ll need your help. Run to the store and buy one of those large aluminum pans and two jars of turkey gravy.”
While I waited for Tom to return, I cleaned the oven. He returned 30 minutes later to a smoke-filled kitchen, a chirping alarm, and me in tears.
In a few seconds, silence returned, he opened a few windows, and turned on the ceiling fan.
“It’s ok, Sue. I’ll clean the pan and we’ll get this turkey cooking again.”
In 15 minutes the bird was back in the oven.
“Grrr, you think you’ve won, don’t you,” I said as I shut the oven door. “But I don’t give up without a fight.”
A few hours later our dinner guests arrived and the turkey finished roasting. The golden brown beauty made me proud. Even with the mishaps, it turned out well. The next test, the taste test. I heated the gravy and placed the side dishes on the beautiful lace-covered table with a cornucopia as the centerpiece. Tom placed our special project in front of him.
Dad said grace and Tom carved the bird. My mother and mother-in-law said, “What a beautiful turkey.”
“What’s this?” Tom asked, as he pulled a bag from the turkey and held it in the air.
“Oh, you forget to remove the giblets, Sue.” My mother said.
Grrr! I knew something else would go wrong.
I wanted to crawl under the table, my face felt on fire. Dad took a bite of the turkey and said, “Sue, this turkey tastes great, and it’s moist! Good job!”
My mother and mother-in-law also complimented me. The gravy, side dishes, and desserts received rave reviews. The dinner went well to my surprise.
Since 1995, I have cooked Thanksgiving dinner for our family, which grew from 14 to 20. Each year someone tells the fowl tale of the “overstuffed” bird. We laugh and gobble down the turkey and fixings. Tom and I smile at one another. We know the true story.
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