Turkey Days of the Past

On Thanksgiving Day, just two days ago, I was reminded at the dinner table of some of my memories of past Thanksgivings, and for the amusement of my readers I’d like to reminisce a little. First of all let me clarify the title of this post. I don’t actually call Thanksgiving, Turkey Day. In fact, I think that is a stupid name for the holiday, because it implies that everyone that celebrates Thanksgiving eats turkey on that day, which isn’t always the case. However, most of the stories that I was reminded of, this past Thursday, were related to the topic of turkeys so I saw it as a fitting title.

My Favorite Food?

First, let me go way back to when I was a youngster in Elementary School. At that time, I always told everybody that my favorite food was turkey. This was a lie, but in all fairness, I didn’t realize it was a lie. Let me explain. It seemed my family only had turkey once or twice a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and because I had it on such a rare occasion, it was a really big deal for me, and, admittedly I really liked the taste of turkey skin, so I’d always say it was my favorite food.

Truthfully, my favorite food as a child was pizza, and why wouldn’t it be? I mean, pizza had all the four basic food groups right there (there were only four food groups when I was growing up: meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables (these were one group), and grains), and pizza sure tasted good. But, admittedly, every kid’s favorite food was pizza, and as my readers know, I like to be different, so I decided my favorite food was turkey, which, of course, I ate rarely.

I don’t like turkey, and looking back, I never really did. Processed turkey is okay, it’s edible, you can make sandwiches out of it, but an actual baked bird is absolutely terrible. Maybe it’s just because I’ve never had a good turkey, but it seems to me that it’s a dry bird, it takes a lot of effort to chew, and as far as I’m concerned, it just doesn’t taste that good. I still have it on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that is more for the tradition than the taste.

My family had a ham for Thanksgiving once, and I liked that a lot better, but, of course, there were complaints that you’re supposed to have Turkey on Thanksgiving, so we never did it again, to my dismay.

The Deformed Turkey

Speaking of having other things for Thanksgiving, my family had a deformed turkey once. Well, it wasn’t really deformed, but when my mom brought the turkey out of the oven I thought it was deformed. You see, it had no legs or wings, it was a turkey missing it’s limbs. I told my mom I thought the turkey was deformed, and asked her if she got it because she felt bad for it. She just looked at me funny.

You see, in the years before that, my siblings and I just weren’t eating the dark meat on the turkey (the wings and legs), and since that meat was basically just sitting around until my mom ground it up, she figured she’d get a turkey that was all white meat. That is, a turkey that had no legs and wings. Well, to her disappointment, we didn’t want to eat that turkey at all, because we thought it was deformed, and we figured the meat must be bad.

Turkey Croquettes

A turkey is a fairly sizable bird, so naturally, when feeding a family of five there is plenty of turkey left over. Naturally you can’t just throw out the turkey, it would be a disservice to the animal that sacrificed itself to become your dinner.

Turkey croquettes.

In my family, the leftover turkey became what I call (and apparently this name is pretty universal) turkey croquettes.

What exactly is a turkey croquette? Well, I don’t really know. I best describe them as a wad of ground up turkey that is breaded and deep fried. Is it good? To answer that, recall that I don’t like turkey to begin with, so in my opinion, no, they aren’t very good. Somebody may like them, but not me. In fact, to make them taste good, you absolutely have to smother them in ketchup, and that brings me to my next memory.

In the weeks after thanksgiving, my brother and I would sit across from each other with a few turkey croquettes on our plates. Neither one of us wanted to eat them, but we knew our mom expected us to. We’d have the ketchup there on the table, and we would declare to each other that each of the croquettes on our plates were battleships that were about to go to war against each other.

Naturally when one of our battleships attacked the other person’s croquette, men on board the ships would die, and that’s where the ketchup came into play. You see, as soon as we decided that one of the battleships was hit by a cannon, we’d squeeze some ketchup onto the croquette, as if it were blood from the dead sailors.

The battle would continue as my brother and I discussed which ships were attacking and which were hit. Soon all the croquette-battleships were covered in blood, and then it was time for the ships to sink. This was accomplished by smashing the croquette flat with our forks to indicate a destroyed ship. And that’s how you eat a turkey croquette. You put ketchup on it and smash it flat. The ketchup makes them taste a little more tolerable, and thinking of them as battleships or pirate ships makes the process of eating them a little more fun. That is, it was torture for me to eat these things, and this process took some of the pain away.

And those are some of my memories of past Thanksgiving holidays. I have more memories, but I think I’ve already written enough for one post, so maybe I’ll write more about Thanksgiving next year. I hope you enjoyed reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing about them, but if not, oh well.