Saturday, December 27, 2008

In Which I Fight A Turkey And A Jar Of Pickles

"Why did you get such a big turkey?" they all asked me.

EVERYONE has asked me.

"HOW did you get such a big turkey?!"

Well... there was a nice man standing beside the turkey bin, and he offered to put the turkey into my cart for me.

And Randall was there to load the thing into the back of the van.

And there were people here to bring it into the house and take it downstairs.

It looked like a promising bird. I didn't bother to do the rough calculations in my head, so it wasn't until I was figuring out how long it would need to be cooked that I confirmed that 13.315 kg = 29.3 pounds...

And then I realized that as I've never cooked such a huge fowl, I hadn't given thought as to WHAT I would cook it IN...

There was a bit of discussion as to how the thing should be placed- breast up or breast down. Randall prefers his breast a little dry, and therefore suggested it go tets up, while Thomas likes his white meat moister, and would so prefer it baked breast side down.

We ended up with a compromise, as the only way Tom fit into the roasting pan was sideways.

With a ring of tinfoil to close the  5 inch gap between lid and pan, I won the fight with the turkey, and 6 and a half hours later we would give thanks and make a slight dent in it's carcass.

As for the pickles,

I didn't come out of that fight quite as well.

You know the story. I'm sure you've all done it.

Canning jar of dill pickles... you grab the fork that you're going to get the pickles out of the jar with... you turn the fork around to use the straight end as a lever with which to pry the tin lid off the top of the jar...

And the fork slips just as the lid lifts off, and your hand shifts,

And the tin lid slices through the middle joint of the index finger on your right hand.

And with a cry and a little dance of pain you run screaming to the bathroom, leaving a trail of blood in your wake.


You don't routinely do such things?

It's just me then.

Ah, well.

The shredded finger was a good excuse to have a go at the good cry that had been just below the surface all day.

And so, Christmas Day was all that.

It was a good day, but it was a strange day. I think we were all feeling it.

We set up a web-cam here, and our Brother in Saskatoon did the same so we were able to "have dinner" with them and watch them open their gifts. We were able to wave at our little nephew and share a few laughs. We had a good chat with Johanna in Wisconsin. We enjoyed a good dinner (thanks to Hillary and Randall who finished the mashing, gravy making, slicing and setting after I lost the fight with the jar).

But on some levels it just accentuated the loneliness here for everyone.

It wasn't that we weren't able to enjoy each other here, but I think we were really missing our extended family. That was the hard thing.

And it will take a little while to find the new normal. Next year will be easier. This will feel more like our home. And when we repeat the good things we did they will take on more of the look of "tradition".

And so the day after the day after Christmas, half of that gargantuan turkey is in the freezer while half is awaiting consumption in the fridge, and the finger seems to be healing with no signs of infection or blood poisoning.

And we ate all the pickles.


Maybe I did win that fight as well, after all.


  1. 29 pounds?! Your turkey was bigger than Olivia! My mom got a 15lb turkey for the 12 of us at her house.

    Glad to hear the day was okay, even if different and a bit lonely.

    Sometimes a good cry is the best medicine, hey? :)

  2. Twenty of us ate from a 9 pounder and we have leftovers! You will be eating turkey for a looooong time.

    Of course the up side is that you could not cook for a long time, that finger will have time to heal, and everyone will still have plenty to eat.

  3. Wow!! 29 pounds. We haven't cooked one that big for some time now. It's always fun to have some kind of challenge in the making of the meal...isn't it??? Isn't it?????

    Perhaps you would have had stitches in that finger if you were closer to a hospital???

    Anyway, glad it all worked out for you guys, being the first Christmas away from all of us over here.

    The Vanderfamily seem to be holding us together quite
    well and we are grateful to them.:-)

    LOVE your new table and chairs. Beauty!!

  4. Oh and I would have loved to see a picture of it in the oven sideways. Haha :)

  5. 29lbs eh? Wow! I thought we were going a little crazy with a 19.5lb bird for 14 adults and 4 children, but we do just have one ziplock bag full of leftover meat. Though the inlaws sent us home with a container full of white meat becaues they like the dark stuff....

  6. you said you cut your hand when you were carving the turkey...

  7. Nope. Maybe you just got that impression. Dad had to carve the turkey, because I'd already cut my finger by the time we got to the carving.

    : )

  8. I kept picturing that it was beet, really, really red and nasty. :o)

    Anyway, I know it was hard for you to be on webcam, but surprisingly I really liked it. We didnt have to pass around the stupid phone....and talk to everyone, and we could see you....and Hillary's lovely Christmas sweater.