December 22, and I'm getting behind in my Christmas dinner schedule. I want to make some cookies, pumpkin rolls, and somebody please remind me to take Mr. Tom Turkey out of the freezer! The first time I cooked a turkey my ex and I bought it the night before. It wasn't completely thawed out when I started cooking it. About eight hours later, I took it out, and began slicing. When I got toward the bone, it was still a little pink. But I served it anyway. Thankfully we didn't die. When I started to scoop out the stuffing, a bag of something came out with it. On closer examination, it proved to be a neck, a few lumps of something, and a slimy thing that for some reason I immediately identified as a liver. "Hey," I said, "I probably was supposed to take this out before I stuffed it!" My ex decided he didn't want any turkey that year, but he did ultimately ate a few of the top slices of white meat.
You learn as you go, I guess. My mother would not allow anyone in the kitchen while she was cooking. So, those mother-daughter cooking sessions just didn't happen for me. My mother was what many people would describe as "high-strung". So, your best bet was to steer clear of her in the kitchen. But, now, I often think, how in the world did she manage to cook for 6 kids, prepare the meals she served, and stay sane with no indoor plumbing. We did not have any water that came into the house except that which was brought into the house by buckets, or pails, if you prefer. I started my turn as a water toter at the age of six. I think that is why I have long arms. We walked about a hundred yards or so, to an artisian well, and dipped the water out with a bucket. Being small, I was doing good to get half a bucket. In the winter you sometimes had to break a slight skim of ice on the top of the water.
The water was the best tasting I have ever had. Clear, cold, pure, and clean. No water I have had since, even the bottled kind will ever compete with that clear exquisite taste. Of course, not that I appreciated it at the time. I was too busy hating the fact I had to tote it. I was always terrified of falling in, head first, and drowning with my feet sticking up.
When I finally married and had my first apartment, I loved my sink. It amazed me that I could turn on the faucet and water would magically appear. I have since lived in situations where I didn't have water, due to a power outage, ice storm, or not having the deep well hooked up. But, I knew how to be resourceful. I caught rain water in buckets to wash clothes and dishes with. Drinking water I bought in jugs. I knew what to do. Thanks to my early experiences.
I used to dream as a kid that I would be rich and famous and buy my mother a new house with all of the modern conveniences she wanted so much. But, I didn't. Become rich and famous, I mean. In certain circles I may have been infamous, but never famous.
Getting back to the turkey, I decided I needed to learn a few things about this thing called cooking, so I bought many a cookbook, and found I could follow directions reasonably well. Since then I have cooked a lot of turkeys. Some good, some not so good, but all edible. But I miss calling my mom, and talking to her about what I was cooking for this day and that. When I go out shopping I always want to buy her a magnificent Christmas card, or I think what would she want for Christmas. She has been gone for 10 years now, but those thoughts don't ever go away.
Anyhoo, I best get off my butt and start doing something. And, please God, let me remember to take that damn turkey out of the freezer!