Thursday, November 24, 2005

Memoirs of a Turkey Queen

My Butterball turkey sits in my kitchen sink awaiting the special touches that will transform it from a naked carcass to our family’s Thanksgiving feast. I remember how surprised my mother was the first time she tasted a turkey I’d cooked. That the turkey was moist and tender and tasted as good as hers amazed her, while also filling her with pride. By that time she was tired of being the turkey queen of the family and anxious to hand me the crown.

I don’t know why she was so surprised at my success in the kitchen. Well, perhaps she recalled my incessant teenage mantra, “I’m not the domestic type” and believed it. She never realized how much I watched her, even thought I wasn’t interested. I was like that then and still am—I absorb things around me without realizing how much is getting in. Like pulling out the giblets from the turkey cavity. I watched her do that and thought, “Ewww, I’ll never do that.” Of course, like everything else to which we’ve sang that refrain, my hand goes into the turkey carcass and pulls out the bag with a flourish.

So in a few minutes I’ll tie on my apron and wave my scepter over the Butterball. I’ll drench it in hope, spice it with joy, and bake it with love. I’ll remember my mom who’s no longer here to share in earthly feasts and thank her for passing me a crown so well appreciated.


haute flash contessa said...

Beautiful memories of your mom! I'll think of my mom today, too, as I roll out the Pillsbury ready-made pie crust. Mom was a good cook - her turkey and dressing was the best - but she couldn't roll dough for the pie crust. The last time she attempted, she burst into tears and threw the dough in the trash. That was our pie-less Thanksgiving and the year I vowed never to bake a pie.

Thanks for the memories!

Ovation Leader said...

Why is it that great cooks are less than adequate with pie crust? My mom was an early adapter to the Betty Crocker roll-out variety also. So many legends of tough, cracked, melted and otherwise yucky pie crust at the hand of my mother gave me a healthy respect for the art of pastry. And like my mother before me, I've made the silent partnership with Betty Crocker and her rolled-up crusts.

k. wilkens said...

Nice memoir.