I did it. I finally made a turkey. Ok, my husband did most of, ok all of the gross stuff like stuffing it with apples and herbs to make it aromatic and piercing the thigh with a meat thermometer every hour. I participated by inspecting the meat to make sure we weren’t giving all of our friends food poisoning.
I know what you’re thinking…Thanksgiving is a couple days away.
Being nomads, we’ve never done a true Thanksgiving. We spent our first Thanksgiving married in a Shari’s Diner eating half-frozen turkey sandwiches with blobs of cranberry sauce on the side. I cried.
I vowed never to let that happen again, so for the next few years we found a fancy restaurant and dined there. Still didn’t feel right. No football, no drunk cousins, no Cool Whip? Something about the white-linen tablecloth made me feel awkward making a mashed-potato volcano. Too fancy, no family. And I cry again.
Thankfully, a friend took me in the next year, when The Husband was in Quebec and I was in Seattle. No crying and I am still grateful. Be supportive to your Thanksgiving strays, they’ll remember it.
Then came the Quebec year. Thanksgiving isn’t a big to-do in Quebec like it is here.
First, their Thanksgiving (L’action de Grace) takes place before Halloween. That’s strange. It’s like eating dessert before dinner. And most people, at least in Quebec see Thanksgiving as a day off to cover their pools and construct their carports. Most people I knew didn’t even eat turkey.
That’s right: Thanksgiving in Belle Province is pretty much relegated to a labor-day type of holiday. Which is fine, they have plenty of awesome holidays and at the time, I thought I could use a break from American-style gorging.
Then the day arrived. A regular old Thursday. I spent it at the Quebec DMV (SAAQ) trying to get my license plates changed over. Family members called post stuffing, pre-game and left messages about their glorious golden brown turkeys while I was navigating a complicated government system in a second language.
No wine. No turkey. Just fluorescent lights, mounds of paper, and disgruntled employees. Didn’t even get the license plates. I cry into a pile of paperwork.
Young Turkey Day
As I mentioned, we held a pre-Thanksgiving feast inviting a lot of our neighbors and friends to try out their food before the real holiday. We were determined to get it right. I was determined not to cry.
The Husband stepped up to tackle the turkey. I got to pick it out. I select the bird, a 13-pounder and heave it onto the cash register.
The cashier does the price check. “Young Turkey. Got a Young Turkey on aisle 8.”
Oh no. She did not just tell me the relative age of the animal I was about to eat. “Young turkey?! Wait, so this is a, Young Turkey?”
She’s on the phone, getting the price per pound. You see, I like most humans, prefer to imagine my animal food with it’s whole life behind it.
Until she said the words, “Young Turkey,” I pictured the turkey in a recliner, his feet up, drinking whiskey, watching reruns of “All in the Family.” The type of turkey who’s lived a full life and then dies peacefully in his sleep, so I could dine guilt free.
Young Turkey conjured all kinds of images of the turkey out playing whiffle ball or trying to pick up girls. Young Turkey dreamed of owning his own skateboard. Young Turkey frequented the mall arcade, where he could be found with his buddies, White Meat and Chicken Tender. Young Turkey desperately wanted to live in California.
When we cut into Young Turkey, I cried a little. Not even Thanksgiving yet, a pre-Thanksgiving and I’m already in tears. It’s hopeless.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Comment below with what you’re thankful for. Among countless other things, I am thankful for my health and peppermint mochas. (I know those two things don’t go together).
Ps. No, I am not still NOT thankful for raisins that look suspiciously like chocolate chips. Gets me everytime.