There is one Italy memory in particular I want to write about, mostly because Matt has taken care of the rest of our stories/experiences in his brilliant Facebook photo album captions. But I’ll save that for next time.
Because it’s almost Thanksgiving.
This year, since work obligations are keeping us in Omaha, we’re hosting Thanksgiving at our place, and my mom, sister and brothers are driving up from St. Louis to join us. I’ve spent the past few days collecting a hodgepodge of ingredients – the side table in our dining room is littered with onions, boxes of orange jell-o, Tupperware containers of cubed, dried bread, and a pecan pie. Thank God my mom will be here or else I’d probably just combine all of those ingredients into one casserole, burn it, and feed everyone cold hotdogs instead.
In the process of trying to console ourselves over our less-than-desirable Thanksgiving arrangement (we’ve both come to associate Thanksgiving with going home, not staying home), we decided to invest in what had long been a holiday joke – a funny idea that never comes to pass. We bought a Turducken. Or so we thought.
Imagine my amazement when, after seeing mail-order Turduckens advertised for anywhere from $50 to $100, the Hy-Vee meat department told me they could order me one for $20. And it would be boneless – a pile of animals, each wearing the skin suit of the other. And therefore, it would be easy to cook and serve and sure, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be traditional, but it would definitely be magical.
Cut to Sunday evening, when I burst through the doors of Hy-Vee, wheeling a cart toward the meat counter, praying that it would be sturdy enough to accommodate such a large entrée. A duck is heavy on its own, but put it inside a chicken, and then stuff it inside a turkey, and then freeze it, and we’re talking pounds and pounds of pure feast. I walked up the counter and whispered, “I’m here to pick up a Turducken,” a knowing grin spreading across my face. I was about to be a spectacle of the best kind.
The butcher shuffled back behind swinging doors and emerged with a small package, about the size of a shoebox. “This must be the box of beaks that comes on the side,” I thought. Not so – this was the Turducken, or rather the Turducken roast. The picture on the front looked like a Swiss Cake Roll made of fowl. I tried to be grateful as I tossed it into my empty cart. I tried to sell it to Matt when we got home. “Doesn’t it look delicious?? And remember, my mom is bringing a backup turkey.” The mutual disappointment was palpable.
Tortilla chip added for scale (also, I'm eating tortilla chips).
But it’s almost Thanksgiving.
And so we will learn from our Turducken mistakes and eat the Swiss Cake Roll with a side of whatever my mom decides to cook using the ingredients I’ve purchased. I’m just looking forward to seeing my family, and to the times when Matt isn’t at work. Staying in Omaha for Thanksgiving may not seem natural, but neither does a duck inside a chicken inside a turkey. That doesn’t mean it can’t be good.