Johnson City Record Courier
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The Storyteller
Ex Turkey Queen Turns In Her Turkey Baster
Thursday, November 29, 2012 • Posted November 29, 2012

Maybe you were not here when we had a full fledged Turkey Festival with turkeys in the street, a parade, cooking contests, and a Turkey Queen. There was a contest for who would be the first Turkey Queen and I won! Ok, there weren’t many entries. Ok, there were only two entries and I won. Ok, so I entered twice and beat myself once! I had always wanted to be the Queen of something and this came along and I thought, I’ll do it as I need something interesting for my obituary. Yes, the turkey festival lasted two more years and then for lack of interest or financing it fizzled out but there were two more Turkey Queens but that is not my story. This is my story; I got to ride in our bank president, Cubby Hudler’s brand new jazzy convertible. There I was perched on the top of the back seat throwing out turkey feathers. The bad part of that was that he had just had his car detailed and turkey feathers got stuck all over the inside and out. I don’t remember if the turkeys were herded through town before or after me but it was fun seeing them trying to keep 50 or so turkeys from getting away. That is how the turkeys got to market in the old days, I’m told. The Thanksgiving holiday has been our choice of family holidays to host at our ranch and I think my grandmother turned the cooking over to me in 1962. I would hope I have gotten better at it in all these years. I did cook one turkey with the neck and giblets still inside the turkey because I couldn’t find them to take them out. They were very crispy. We do much the same at Thanksgiving as far as what the family wants every year. Nothing original or unusual. We have dressing, (grandmother’s recipe) turkey and gravy, broccoli rice casserole, green bean casserole, Mary’s Sweet Potato casserole, sometimes mashed potatoes because grandson Ryan likes real mashed potatoes, and Watergate Salad. We usually have Grandmothers’ Potato Rolls but I have given that up as kneading the dough got to be more of a chore and I heard Sister Schubert made great rolls so now we use those. We also have 3 or 4 pies which no one eats because they have stuffed on the main course. We often have company for Thanksgiving and one couple we invited wanted to bring something for the table. When I told her my menu she exclaimed, “Why do you pour soup over all the vegetables?” I told her we like them that way and she asked if she could bring some steamed green beans and I said sure but no one will eat them. Boy was I wrong, her platter of beans went first. Oh well to each his own. I just heard from my son when I mentioned that this would be the last Thanksgiving meal I would cook, “Good, Mom. because if I ever think about you dying it would be at Thanksgiving because you get so wound up getting the meal cooked and on the table. You make me really nervous!” My girls have a dissimilar outlook on me not cooking any more because they realize that chore will fall to one of them next year. I usually burn a couple of things getting ready for Thanksgiving and more and more often I mess up a recipe I have been making for 50 years and have to start over and this year is no different. While making the icing for the Chocolate sheet cake I couldn’t remember if I had put in the milk that it called for. so I added more milk, then I realized the icing was too soupy, so I added more confectioners sugar, lots more! Then worrying that it might be too thick I went ahead and spread it over the cake and now I have a fudge covered chocolate cake and the fudge is about a ½” think…oh well, everyone loves fudge, right? Multi tasking is a thing of the past so my daughter, Mary came over one day this week and she and I (mostly she) made some side dishes that could be put together and frozen to be baked later. This is so there won’t be the big confusion on my part that bothers my son and makes him nervous and I won’t have so many last minute things to do. Mary is very precise in her kitchen work, she is the best chopper you could want. Every piece of celery, onion or whatever is exactly the same size. So I assign her to cut and chop. Jenni is the other daughter who wants to know how long ago I roasted the turkey and are the eggs fresh enough for the dressing but she does bring the most fantastic crab dip for befores, so I don’t mind assuring her that I won’t poison the family. We have a new granddaughter in law and turns out not only is she pretty but likes to cook and is a fantastic dishwasher!. Kelli is pregnant this year so we have given her a rest from bringing a dish all the way from Dallas. We are expecting a little girl great granddaughter next February and Mary Garrett and Donne will have their very first grandchild! So with any luck my swan song in the kitchen for Thanksgiving will be a good one and I can hand over the turkey baster to Jenni or Mary and next year I will be an invited guest and stay out of the kitchen. Wonder what that will feel like, I am afraid I might become like a ‘back seat driver’, giving information from the living room sofa. Gobble gobble.

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