The Oh family is very blessed to be able to enjoy roasting a whole turkey of about 15 pounds on both Thanksgiving Day and for Christmas this year. While Mum and Dad were here with us in October, we had the luxury of enjoying roasting the turkey and preparing other delectable dishes on Thanksgiving Day Eve. It was also the day before Mum and Dad went to Montreal and Ontario for a week to visit Aunty Maggie and Joan, and of course, the Niagara Falls too!
I remembered there was nothing left of the turkey because Mum literally capitalized on it so wisely. In fact, I was amazed at how many recipes Mum came up with using the turkey, including its leftover meat, and carcass:
- Roast turkey dinner with sides like roasted vegetables and puréed veg soup
- Roast turkey sandwich
- Turkey porridge
- Turkey à la King
- Turkey fried rice
- Cornish pasty (pronounced as PASS-tee) with fillings of turkey, diced root vegetables, mushrooms, etc.
- Turkey pot pie
- Turkey noodle soup and add an egg
- Mee Goreng with mushrooms, blanched greens and turkey slices
I’m pretty sure these are not all, but a 15-pound turkey only has that much meat anyway!
In our enthusiasm to usher in the joy that Christmas brings, we bought a turkey, defrosted it, and roasted it Gordon Ramsay style. But this time, I was on my own. Juggling with a 15-pound bird (cleaning it, stuffing it, butter-rubbing it, roasting it) in between baby’s crying spells was no easy feat! I must admit, I was a wee-bit overcommitted, with a smidgen of distress, and a touch of insanity, which is probably the rule, not exception, for most new moms who have a round-the-clock needy infant, who indeed requires your 24/7 attention even while she sleeps!
The big bird takes the center stage on Thanksgiving Day and of course, Christmas here in North America. While in Canada, I’ve learned several things about the turkey, and the role it plays in Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
Interestingly enough, the centerpiece of a sit-down Christmas meal is not always a turkey for all Americans, though it is for the Canadians. This is because the Americans choose to feature ham or roast beef instead, particularly since turkey is the mainstay at dinner for the American holiday of Thanksgiving in November, which they had just a month earlier.
The Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the 2nd Monday in October, as the family gather together to thank God for a good harvest. The Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday in November, as they thank God for His bounty and the generosity of the native Americans. Turkey, being the most common main dish of a Thanksgiving Dinner in the US, Thanksgiving Day is sometimes colloquially referred to as Turkey Day!
The Friday that follows after Thanksgiving is also referred to as Black Friday, which is now embraced by the Canadian retailers, to keep customers from crossing the border for cheaper merchandise. It is known as Black Friday because it is the day when losses (red) become profits (black) for the American retailers as people rush to buy post-Thanksgiving items on sale, similar to Boxing Day (day after Christmas) in Canada. This is not the original explanation for its name though! Black Friday got its name originally from the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on that day!
Here are some fun facts I have learnt about the big bird: “Gobble! Gobble!”
- Ben Franklin, in a letter to his daughter, proposed that the turkey should be the official bird to represent the United States. He wrote that a turkey is a “much more respectable bird” than the“bad moral character” of the eagle whom he described as a “rank coward”.
- The turducken, is in fact 3 birds (turkey, duck and chicken) nested inside each other and cooked together.
- Turkeys have a wide field of vision and by moving their neck, they can gain a 360-degree field of view.
- The first and final missions to land men on the moon (led by Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan respectively) both served up turkey and gravy!
- The male turkey is called a tom, the female turkey is called a hen, and baby turkeys are called poults.
- Only tom turkeys gobble, while hen turkeys make a clicking noise.
- Want to stave off macular degeneration: Turkey is listed among the top 10 foods fr your eyes because it’s rich in zinc (plus the B-vitamin niacin, which may help prevent cataracts).
- Domesticated turkeys cannot fly, and a tom turkey can reach a weight of 30 pounds within 18 weeks after hatching.
- Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 90 km/hr and can run at speeds up to 40 km/hr.
- The bare skin on the throat and head of a turkey changes colors when they become distressed or excited.
This Christmas, or the next Thanksgiving Day, how do you plan to use your turkey leftovers? After all, who can resist drying the wishbone from the breast of the turkey to make a wish?
Thoughts of God
The good things in life sometimes take us away from appreciating God and remembering all that He has granted us to have. Every good thing can remind, beckon, and awaken in us a greater desire for that elusive “something more.” However, may us never forget that all that we have comes from the LORD. There is nothing that we have that belongs to us, for “Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands.” (Ecclesiastes 5:15) This Christmas season, may you find joy, love and peace from God Himself, who gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, that we may live life more abundantly.