This year’s bird is not free range, but is a good size and has been well cared for. Happy bird, happy dinner.
can only think in pounds for turkeys. She weighs about 14 pounds – a turkey. You can calculate how many kilos that is yourself without my help.
I would be a traditionalist. The wisest step ever taken in this country to advance the cause of European integration was to leave the pint and the turkey alone. There was a half hearted attempt to get us to drink pints but it didn’t work.
Who could ever ask for half a liter of clear wine?
The 2022 turkeys had to be kept indoors because of the dangers of bird flu. Our bird is being raised in the country by a much loved cousin. I think he was kind of relieved with the ban, even though it made the bird more expensive to fatten for the oven. But store rearing is now safer for the turkeys and all of us.
The landscape is full of foxes. We have a family of foxes on the other side of the forest. A man who understands foxes tells me he hears their hunting cries at night.
The urban foxes are as cheeky as you want. A long, scrawny, fit fox saunters across our lawn at dawn. The beauty of a proud rooster pheasant has been visiting us for a while, but now there is nothing to be seen of it. I hope the fox didn’t get the pheasant. He could be sure. Pheasants can escape with an almost vertical takeoff, unlike the fluttering, lumbering turkeys that require a runway.
The cousin had bad luck a few years ago. He is very proud of his turkeys. The cousin is strictly honest. When asked if the turkeys were free range, he replied “semi”. This means the bird was given a ration of turkey to supplement the snail diet. His turkeys are moist and tender.
Turkeys can be unruly and have a mind of their own. There are no pets to make of them. One of the chicken coops flew into a tree outside the enclosure. The bird would not be lured down and stayed outside all night. The cousin was concerned for the bird’s safety. The ermine is a killer and only kills for fun. The ermine would eat itself if you had a few feathers on. So what if a woman wearing one of those feather-tipped hats fell asleep in her clothes at a wedding after a few too many drinks? Would the ermine bite her if she left the hotel window open?
I’m not sure if it was the ermine or the fox that got the turkey in the treetop. The cousin parked the tractor across from the tree and sat in the cab on a freezing cold night. He works day and night so the cousin must have dozed off for a few seconds. But the fox was not asleep, and when the turkey came down from the tree, he struck before the foolish bird could take off.
I’m definitely starting to think the fox was the culprit as the ermine probably wouldn’t have had the patience for night time surveillance. Now we know where the phrase “cute as a fox” came from.
The bird of 2022 will only just survive day two, which involves the two dinners and night picking.
Last year, the family cooking team called for leaving the bird unfilled. The bread filling was cooked separately. At least they left it at herbs, crumbs and butter without these sausage meat, apple and chestnut additions.
We always stuffed the turkey on both sides. The breadcrumb filling was placed in aluminum foil around the neck and the potato filling was poured into the larger indentation at the back end of the Pope’s nose.
There is a family history of devouring the potato filling. Nana cooked and mashed the potatoes on Christmas Eve. Her sons, including dad, were home from all over the place. That was in the mid 1950s when the cattle boats bound for England were full of people.
A special welcome home to everyone who made it home this year for the first time in a long time. And for those of you who traveled on the big day, we love you and are thinking of you. Home is where the heart is and Zoom takes us to every room.
Dad and his brothers went to Allo Sheehy’s pub, two doors down, for a few pints on that very day about 70 years ago. Dad told me he used to dream of Christmas beers at Sheehy’s when he worked in Northampton beside the scorching British steel blast furnaces. Incidentally, Allo’s, as it’s now known, is the multi-award winning restaurant that operates in the old Sheehy pub.
Dad and my uncles were hungry after the few pints. They devoured the potato filling. Nana made a terrible noise, but because it was Christmas, she only let go for a few minutes.
I’m thinking of bringing myself to my knees if the turkey isn’t stuffed with mashed potatoes. I love scooping out a spoonful of the buttery mash as it slowly oozes out of what dad used to call the turkey’s waistcoat. My mom guarded the turkey’s bum as we all took a sneaky spoon when she wasn’t looking. The mother was sent on a wild goose hunt. “Mom, the hot tank is rumbling like a volcano.”
There is no better taste than that one moment of pure bliss once a year. The Christmas tasting is the Newgrange of filling.
I could be outvoted. Food safety is the reason. Because it’s Christmas, I can’t make a fuss. peace on earth and such.
I have a plan. The pub is closed tomorrow but Mam’s old stove still works. I was thinking of planting a small spare turkey in the oven. The bird could be filled to overflowing, squeezing the pulp in on both sides. I would eat almost the whole lot myself. But I don’t feel like eating alone. I also think of those of you who are struggling right now and may be alone or alone in company. Try your best to get through. Most of us have had bad old days. The darkest hour is before dawn.
We’re going to be together as a family for the first time ever, all of us.
The four grandchildren are here. Hugo (3), Ben (2), Isabella (2) and five-month-old Billy will be sleeping under our roof at times tonight.
It will make for an early start on Christmas Day and I’ll be first to check under the tree.
Merry Christmas to you all.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/keanes-kingdom-memories-of-christmas-past-and-the-way-the-turkeys-waistcoat-would-strain-against-the-potato-stuffing-42241849.html Keane’s Kingdom: Memories of Christmas Past and the way the turkey’s waistcoat pressed against the potato stuffing