It’s one of my favorite holidays: the Day After Thanksgiving. We have two turkeys in our house, one of them cooked, and my wife is a vegetarian. Look out, freezer!
My dear well-intentioned 88-year-old mother-in-law wanted to get the Thanksgiving turkey for us, probably a freebie provided for seniors. This drives me a little bonkers, because the missus and I both draw decent salaries, and we feel that food should go to the needy. But the ma-in-law wants to contribute, so what to say?
Meanwhile, we did the grocery shopping and got a turkey from a good purveyor, just to be safe, unsure of what the freebie might be. On the holiday eve, however, my wife brought the freebie bird home from her mom’s house for me to cook (being the omnivore, and also particular about cooking). As my wife went into overdrive on the stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, butternut squash casserole, and pie front, I got the bird ready. The one we had bought. Desiring to preserve contributory illusions, she said to me, “We’ll let my mom think this is her bird, right?”
There is a part of my that would like to return the freebie, cooked, to my mother-in-law to make the point—we don’t want food intended for the needy. But really, what’s to be gained? “Of course,” I say. But I still reiterate my point, and she agrees.
So we make two types of gravy, turkey and veggie, and two types of stuffing as well. This is how the peace is kept. And the last time I had jury duty, I signed the travel reimbursement checks over to the local food bank. It’s my own Euro-American yin and yang, I suppose. Checks and balances, if you’ll pardon a pun. What it means in reality is that now the local food bank sends me frequent solicitations for more money.
Meanwhile, every year my mother-in-law wants to share the food bank bounty with us. With me, actually. The missus eats her tofu turkey, and has her own karma to contend with.
I woke up early this morning and thought about the frozen bags of stock fixings I’ve squirreled away in our two freezers. Plus the remains of the cooked bird in the upstairs fridge, and the uncooked bird downstairs. How to bring this altogether in a synchronized parade of food across my dinner plate in the months ahead?
I’ve got a plan. I’m going to get out the stockpot, and I’m going to trim all the meat off the cooked bird and put the carcass in the stockpot. Then I’m going to put all the frozen stock fixings in the pot as well, and put the pot in the fridge. The frozen stuff will thaw, keeping the carcass in decent shape.
This weekend I’ll cook that second bird. I like to use oven bags, and I cook turkeys on their breast, so the white meat stays moist. I’m going to have turkey Tupperware stacked in the freezer, man! Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey tetrazzini, I may try turkey cacciatore, too.
I’ll share with my ma-in-law, of course. By then who’ll know the provenance of the bird? I’m just thankful, friends, thankful for the issues I have in a world where there are plenty tougher nuts to crack.