Friday, October 10, 2014

Here's a Story About a Turkey

So, Not That You Asked, but Did I Tell You About the Turkey?
Well, couple of days ago, weekday, maybe Tuesday, Chepa, my wife/ex-wife, calls and says she needs a favor. She didn't say that but she called me Petercito, a Peruvian suffix that indicates affection, which meant she was going to ask for a favor.
The favor was "can you cook a turkey for me?"
The answer was "sure."
The problem was she wanted the turkey cooked right then, and right then I was headed out to a meeting at my newspaper. She asked how long it would take to cook a turkey. I told her 3-6 hours depending on the size. I was imagining she had a nice little 12-pounder she wanted me to cook for her sisters, who were all in town that day.
Well, I ran my errands and didn't think of the turkey again until I returned home at about 3 PM to find Italo, my handsome son--and I have another handsome son as well in Marco--working on his truck and he casually mentioned: "Mom left something for you to cook...." in the kitchen, on the table, was my huge ayahuasca pot, a stainless steel beauty, that she'd borrowed last month to make juane, Peruvian rice balls with a bit of egg, chicken and black olive, covered in the black of the residue of cooking over an open fire. Damn, she's supposed to wash it before she returns it, but when I mentioned that to her she reminded me that I ate two of the juanes, one of which paid for borrowing the pot, one of which paid for me spending two hours cleaning it.
Anyway, inside the pot was a 21+ pound turkey. It was 3 PM and she needed it done by 6 PM. Impossible. That was a 5 hour bird.
Nonetheless, and despite not getting a single kiss from that girl for maybe 8 years--but still working at it--I ripped open a bag of organic celery and laced an aluminum baking dish with it. Then I cut two onions, thickly, and laid them between and on top of the celery. Then I washed the turkey, rubbed it down with sea salt, garlic in olive oil and cracked black pepper. I stuffed it with 3 oranges cut into 4 pieces each and a good organic granny smith apple.
I tossed the bird into a 350 degree oven fvor an hour, then reduced it to 330. WHile it was cooking I made stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed red potatoes and heated up two cans of peas and corn. When the bird was near done I drained the juice into a saucepan and made homemade gravy.
By 7 PM that baby and all the fixin's were ready.
Chepa came by at 7:30 to ask where the dog food was. I said I had no idea what she was talking about. She said, "The turkey was for the dogs. Did you make it or not?"
I held my tongue, sliced enough turkey for Italo, Madeleina and myself, and then gave Chepa the rest. We had a feast. The dogs had a feast. I shouldn't complain, right?
Life is never quite the way you imagine it, eh? Love that lady, even though we're miles apart on so many things. Her dog food is my family treat.

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