I learned everything I know about “homemaking” from my mom. OK, OK, to be precise: I give maybe 2% credit to high school home economics courses and another couple of points to my mum-in-law from my first marriage. This is me folks, wanting to be accurate and not found wanting as far as truth in reporting is concerned.
To recap: I learned 95% of everything I know about “homemaking” from my mom. 🙄
Though Mom’s bible was the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, more often than not, she cooked by the seat of her pants. She passed those skills on to me.
One of the first meals that I helped prepare was Thanksgiving turkey dinner. I suppose that’s why, even though I no longer eat meat, there’s a tiny tug at my heart when I see the grocery store ads. We here in Canada celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend. Since I will not prepare a roast fowl, I’ll write about it.
How I Learned to Prepare the Thanksgiving Turkey
Pre-heat the oven according to the package instructions, then throw away the wrapper and label. You’ve done this so often you could roast that bird blindfolded.
Heat up the big Revere Ware frying pan.
Toss is a huge gob of margarine and when it melts, continue to toss two or three chopped cooking onions. Fry like stink. Don’t those onions make a tantalizing sizzle?
When the onions start to brown, throw in the chopped up giblets. Let the cat have the heart, because it’s too grisly. The heart is grisly, not the cat.
More tossing: a generous sprinkle of poultry seasoning and some salt and pepper.
Once the giblets have lost their bloody colour, turn off the heat.
In the meantime, you’ve been slicing and dicing up an entire loaf of bread. White bread, to be precise, because whole wheat bread has not yet been invented.
Into the big yellow Pyrex mixing bowl goes the bread and the onion mixture. Add some skim milk if you need extra moisture. Mix thoroughly and prepare to get gunk all over the place. In the future, several decades later when you are a homemaker yourself, you will use your hands. It feels like you are cheating and there is nothing more satisfying than that!
Prepare that big ol’ bird by rinsing it out a half-dozen times under the tap. It’s probably a utility grade, which means it’s missing a few key features, but who cares, right? It all tastes the same and once it’s on the plate with the mashed potatoes, turnips, and cranberry dressing, who’s going to notice?
Scoop the stuffing inside. Both ends.
Sorry. I forgot a step. Undo your stuffing work at the head end and withdraw the neck.
Carry on and pack in every last single solitary crumb. Even when you think there is no more room, fear not. It will all fit. I guarantee it.
Now sew him* up. Use a big tapestry needle and heavy-duty thread. A thimble helps.
Arrange the wings so that the bird looks like it’s ready for a day at the beach, breast-up and arms linked behind its once-upon-a-time noggin. If you are roasting à la mum-in-law, drape half a package of bacon on top… as if you are suddenly aware of your exposed bosom and need to cover-up. (Who knew? My mum-in-law was decades ahead of her time in the bacon department.)
Hold your breath as you lower the bird on a wire rack in the roasting pan. It will be a tight fit.
Place the lid on the pan.
I repeat, place the lid on the pan!
Plan B: Tin foil tent time.
Now is the time to retrieve the packaging from the garbage. You will need to do this every single time you roast a bird, so forget about committing the weight/temperature/time details to memory. Do the math, set the timer, pop the bird in the oven, and clean up the mess.
Several hours and baked pumpkin pies later, you are ready to receive compliments and requests for second helpings to the stuffing.
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Inspiration (I hope) for this week’s Writing Essential Group Challenge.