Prepping the Bird, Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving morn and JJ was up early to deal with the turkey.  Not some frozen supermarket bird but a real live turkey (it was alive two weeks ago) from a real live farm nearby.  “This bird is environmentally sound plus I’m supporting the local economy.” JJ tells himself these things, feeling good, and reaches into the cavity for the giblets.  There they are, wrapped in plastic.  Carl said to save them to help make gravy.  Well, Carl can make the gravy because JJ’s at a loss about this big-ass bird and what to do with it.  That’s when Carl came through the kitchen door, banging in with bags of food.  “You haven’t been humping that thing, have you?”

“I don’t even know where to start,” said JJ and patted the breast.

“Better at one of the ends.”

“You and your thing with food humping.  How are we going to cook it?”

“We’re gonna rinse it, then we’re gonna stuff it, then we’re gonna infuse it with butter and herbs and  then salt it and put it in the oven.”

“How long?”

“A long ass time.  Hours.  Five or six hours.”

“Where’s Anne?”

“She’ll be along.  She’s getting some stuff ready.”

“Like what?”

“Some kinda beet salad.  With goat cheese and pecans.”


“Exactly,” said Carl as he carried the bird to the sink.  “Where’s the roasting pan?”

“Roasting pan?”

“Oh shit,” Carl said.  “Here we go.”

“I thought it just went in the oven,” JJ said.  Though now he could see there would be juices, maybe grease and fire, certainly a mess.

“Please tell me that you’re not really that stupid.”

“I don’t have much of that stuff and you know it.”

“I thought maybe you would acquire some stuff.  Y’know, with your winnings,.”

“I bought plates and silverware and all that.  Pots too.  But no roasting pan.”

Carl took his phone out and called home.  “How soon are you coming…bring the roasting pan…yes, really… what?…No shit,” he said and looked at JJ.  “OK, see you soon.”

“What did she say?,” JJ asked.

“She says you need a lady.”

“No shit,”  JJ said.  “I know that.  What about the pan?”

“She’ll be here with the pan.”

Carl had a cake of butter mixed with herbs that he pushed in dabs up under the skin and into the cavities with the stuffing.  JJ cut some apples and onions into chunks.  They tied the legs together and pinned the wings to the body.  Anne arrived with the pan and they nestled the bird on the rack, filling the bottom of the pan with chunked onions and apples.  Carl rubbed some more butter on the breast and salted the whole thing.   JJ opened the oven door, moved the rack down to the bottom notch, and Carl put the whole deal into the oven.  JJ shut the door and bowed his head, hands clasped, in recognition that this ceremonial killing and cooking of a large awkward bird was taking place all over the country.  Thanksgiving, USA.

“I’m thankful for you guys,” JJ said.

Anne smiled and Carl said, “Yeah, yeah, same to you.  Let’s have some coffee and go throw the football.”

JJ looked out the window.  Not a single cloud in the pale blue sky.  “OK,” he said.  “Let’s do that.”

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