Sunday, November 28, 2010


turkey_dishesIf anyone tells you that the holiday season is a time of excess, point to your frugal management of food. Yes, some meals may seem extravagant, but thanks to iceboxes, cold weather and other preservation methods, nothing need go to waste.

All parts of the turkey, for example, have a use. The meat can be eaten as soon as it is roasted, or it can be smoked, dried or pickled and stored for later use. Turkey bones can be saved and added to soup for flavor, or boiled further into gelatin for broths and desserts. The large feathers can be made into writing instruments; the pin feathers can stuff pillows. One may also boil the beak and feet to the same purpose as bones, or dry them for use as back-scratchers. It is a little-known fact that the turkey head also makes excellent wolverine bait and, once caught, the wolverine can protect your valuables (after you have tamed it).

Likewise the fruitcake has a myriad of uses: door stopper; theatrical curtain counterweight and ship ballast, among other things. I knew a woman in Nome, Alaska, whose concerned relatives back East always sent her a good quantity of fruitcake to carry her through winter. When fuel grew low, she would toss one on the fire. It would usually burn for a week.

What may seem like excess could also merely be a misapplication of Wizard Water© to stretch a meal. A little flour and a few drops of Wizard Water added to turkey drippings, for instance, can more than quadruple the available gravy. Only try this if you are expecting a lot of guests, though. A widow who lived alone once added a little Wizard Water© to a 10-quart pot on her stove, thinking that would be adequate, but the pot overflowed. If she hadn't been wearing a bamboo bustle she might well have drowned before she floated into the yard. (She was not a wasteful woman, either; she sold the excess gravy to a bricklayer who used it as a sealant.)

So never look at your holiday dinner as an extravagance. If anyone criticizes the quantity of food you are serving, show them the cold storage room that you have built of stacked fruitcakes sealed with congealed gravy, containing all your smoked turkey, quill pens, pillows and back-scratchers, well-guarded by your trained wolverine.

copyright ©2010 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

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