Here in Canada we are rapidly approaching Thanksgiving, a time when every last one of us, except for the vegetarians and vegans, will be starting to drool over the possibility of a full course turkey dinner. I can’t imagine that fantasizing over Tofurkey causes the same physiological response, but then physiological and logical are often not in the least connected. My brother-in-law Jody (George), once jokingly told me that he is a “meatatarian” and that he thinks vegetarians having Tofurkey is cheating. For him it would be like making meat into the shape and flavour of a carrot, because he missed carrots so much.
Of course this is silly, I’m sure he would never miss carrots…ever. That’s because my sister Kathy has been surreptitiously putting grated carrots into his meals for years. She uses them as a filler, along with Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP), in place of part of the ground beef in all the meaty dishes that Jody loves so much— chili, spaghetti, and meat loaf. Kathy is an innovative cook, who really knows her nutrition facts, and she works hard to keep her “meatatarian” healthy; she has made carrots magically pass as meat for quite a while now, and unknowingly (at least until now) Jody has also been enjoying the same thing that Tofurkey is made of— soy beans! This should make my brother-in law Al, who grows acres and acres of them very gleeful at the prospect of a few jokes at Jody’s expense. (You do know Al, that we sisters share our recipes all the time; don’t you?….)
Our American relatives will have to wait for their Thanksgiving, until late November. We have actually heard strange tales from them that a lot of people there actually prefer hams to turkeys. This hardly makes sense to me, unless it has something to do with the fact that the turkey, rather than the eagle, almost became their national symbol! Perhaps some still hold turkeys in too high esteem to consider having them for dinner, (yet not too high esteem to consider voting for them.)
Today: How to Make the Perfect Turkey on a Budget
Buy a utility bird at The Super Store for 99 cents a pound, on sale. “Utility” means it is definitely your best choice as “utility”is a synonym for handy or versatile or practical, isn’t it? And you know that you are a very handy, versatile, practical cook. Besides that you just can’t resist a bargain! Take this nice big 20 pound bird home and make a cozy nest for it in the freezer.
Your chest freezer is full to overflowing with all that left-over corn your brother-in-law brought for last month’s family BBQ. Who knew those sisters of yours would all be dieting to fit into new outfits for your niece’s upcoming wedding? Well, at least you didn’t let it all go to waste! But your husband is sick of corn just now, so taking any out for supper is pointless. Move the frozen strawberries out of the fridge freezer instead. You can always make jam out of them.
That bundle of summer-yielding berry plants you got at the garage sale, that your husband thought were dead, are still yielding like crazy from the top of the compost pile. You can freeze more of those berries for later on. Mmm! Homemade jam will also save you some money too….
The fruit flies hovering over the thawing berries alert you to the need to find your Certo— pronto! That Certo you thought was on the shelf turned out to be a box of “Humming Bird Syrup Powder” otherwise known as “Sugar” but in a tiny 4 ounce box that your husband paid $20 a pound for!
Off to Wal-Mart in a hurry to buy your Certo .Wow! Utility turkeys are only 97 cents a pound here! You’d have to be a fool to pass that up!
There’s got to be room for it somewhere…. Take out those last 11 packages of ground beef from Ralph Bos Meats, your local farm-sourced butcher shop, and that bag of frozen chopped peppers and the big bag of tomatoes you were going to thaw and peel a few at a time for your soups later on.
Time for a batch of Chili! Throw the tomatoes into the colander in the sink and start to thaw the ground beef. Oops! No room in the second sink until you do the dishes, so just put the ground beef in your big steel bread bowl instead.
Oh-oh! Nobody returned those jam jars from the last batch you gave away as gifts, so this time it will have to be freezer jam. You can put that into those old margarine containers you’ve been saving.Begin your berry crushing in small quantities and move them into the big steel bowl.
Well, first move the ground beef packages out of the steel bowl into a big plastic bag and sit it in the laundry tub.When the jam is finished it needs to rest at room temperature for 24 hours before going into the ― freezer? Oh well, figure that one out later!
Oh no! Out of chili powder! Send the hubby to town to get some, ’cause the ground beef is browning up nicely now in four big pans and everything’s moving along quickly….
“Honey!” he says,” You wont believe what I got for only 97 cents a pound!”
“Let me guess’’ you say as you try to empty out more space in the freezer. With a sigh, you make room, add the turkey to the roost with his two new friends, and put a frozen roast on a rack in a pan. Put the three frosty banana loaves on the bench by the back door to give to friends after your meeting later.
Finish off the chili, and fill the sinks and the laundry tub with enough cold water to chill the chili pots. Time to start in on the mountain of dishes…. Well, maybe later. They’ll just have to wait on the counter for now. The sinks are full of chilling chili pots.
‟ Wow! These margarine tubs are sure coming in handy!” you think as you fill the last of them with chili. ‟And now into the freezer! Hmmm… What the…! Move the turkeys into the laundry tub and refill with cold water…. Call up all your sisters and brothers and ask them to an early Thanksgiving dinner.
Call up The Super Store to complain that you’ve discovered that your bird has only one leg and find out that that is what “Utility” means when talking turkey. Check out your other birds from Wal-Mart and then try to figure out a way to get one complete turkey, presentable enough for carving at the table, with what you’ve got to work with― a handful of bamboo skewers, a roll of butcher’s string, a darning needle and three right-legged turkeys each also missing either a right or left wing.
In the end it will all turn out alright and you know it, because you are the model of efficiency! You are a handy, versatile, practical cook!
As it turns out your dinner is the talk of the town.‟ Look! The turkey is doing cartwheels!” the kids squeal as you carry in the beautiful golden bird!
“How did she get the legs and wings to do that?” an incredulous brother-in-law asks.
Everyone is delighted with the meal and the take home packages of leftover turkey.
‟How in the world could there possibly have been so much left over from just one turkey after we ate and ate?’’ they marvel.
‟It was almost like the loaves and fishes story!”
“Not quite.” you think to yourself, “I’m sure the Lord didn’t have a whole lot more on platters hidden away under striped kitchen towels and plaid oven mitts during the meal, just in case he ran out.”