Thursday, November 26, 2009

trapped in one's own expectations

i went to the butcher this afternoon to pick up the turkey i ordered last week. i said i wanted a fresh one, not frozen and i said it had to feed 21 people. strangely, it did not occur to me to ask for a ballpark figure of the cost. i guess i was too busy asking whether the turkey would be frisk in danish,  seeing the smile cross the young man's face as i realized my mistake and he said, it would be possible to have it fersk. the two words, while sounding quite similar are the difference between whether it's had a good night's sleep and is happy, chipper and energetic and whether it's not been frozen.

the turkey was in an enormous box and weighs more than 10 kilos (20-odd pounds). it was wrapped in some kind of butcher paper and plastic, so i didn't open it up 'til i got it home. i guess i didn't look at it while i was at the butcher shop because i was too busy trying not to faint dead away at the price of it. it was a mind-numbing price, one which i do not even dare to type because that would be like saying it out loud. shall we just say that i am thankful i only do this once a year and next year i may cook up a small herd of veal calves  and a little suckling pig instead and it will still cost less.

so i get home and mix up my brine in sabin's old baby bathtub (after scrubbing it and giving it a treatment with two kettles of boiling water). then, i unwrap the turkey to lower it into the brine and right there on what should be its pristine and quite possibly gold-plated breast was an enormous black wart/zit-like thing that could possibly be an attack by another bird or cancer or the beast attempting (apparently quite successfully) to grow another eye right there on its breast. in other words, a horrible, awful, unslightly blemish on my very expensive bird. so there will be no martha-like presentation of the golden brown beauty at the table, because i had to cut a bit hunk out of the skin to remove the barnacle. and as i was fuming about that, i discovered that there were no giblets. so i did what any highly strung wanna-be martha would do. i called husband and burst into hysterical tears.

he gave me a pep talk and i went back down to the butcher, determined to tell them off. and i went in and started to explain and once again, to my dismay, burst into hysterical tears. but it worked. i got $50 back and he gave me two bottles of wine. and he was really apologetic. he had ordered the bird from the big meat market in copenhagen where restaurants go and he hadn't seen the blemish himself because it came all wrapped up. i gave him the cut off little nasty bit in a small zip loc and he said he would talk to them when he goes in on saturday and he assured me that it wouldn't happen again in the future.

now my enormous, but flawed turkey is in its brine and everything else is on schedule. we will have a great thanksgiving on saturday, but we will be carving the bird in the kitchen before serving it. those swedes who are coming are always so martha perfect, i'll just have to dazzle them with the pies.

why oh why is everything a competition...i blame martha.


A thorough contemplation of life said...

I bet that irritated you!
I hate when you have such high expectations of how something should be, and then a situation occurs that seems to put a shadow on your day!

I hope it was a success though :)


sheris white said...

Reminds me of my youngest daughter's attempt at making Christmas dinner, as a new bride, in England. When the butcher told her it was 40 pounds, she thought that was what the turkey weighed, not the cost!

Delena said...

Oh Julie, I read your post to my husband and when I got to the part of the "wart" on the bird he laughed out loud. Sorry you put a vision in our heads with that description. I don't want to upset you but we bought our turkey here in Yuma for 6.76. We were dumbfounded at that price!
I am sure your dinner will be wonderful!

Molly said...

how awful! the whole experience. well, right up until the complimentary wine :)
does it help if I say I'm in total awe of your roasting your own turkey, no matter the size, like a grown-up? I think I'm at least 10yrs off from attempting such bravery myself.

spudballoo said...

I know, big birds are pricey aren't they? We sometimes buy a big organic chicken to feed 6 or so and have to take out a loan to pay for it.

BTW it's 22 for dinner. Bertie saw the picture on the food blog of the bird in brine and said, 'Oh that looks like SUCH a tasty dinner doesnt it?' ... erm, yes, when it's cooked I'm sure it will be.

I'll pop him on a plane in the mornnig, be a love and fetch him from the airport will you?


Lisa-Marie said...

21 people? You know, you could do bacon over the top of the turkey. It keeps the moisture in, and it looks (and tastes) really good!

Good luck, and try to remember the people are coming not only for the feast, but for you too!

Elizabeth said...

In case you have forgotten in all your butcher-stress thanksgiving is about giving thanks to all the things not only to the perfect ones.

Have a great day in your kitchen and try to breath so now and again.

Wonderful weekend.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

When everything goes horribly wrong, it always helps to release the tears. The sympathy factor is a nice bonus - and everything usually turns out okay. Hope the wine was good!

Unknown said...

I understand. Entertaining a big group of people can be stressful. said...

Ah, I hope the scarred turkey does not scar you for life! Enjoy the feast!

(Word verification is mince... will there be mince meat pie?)

beth said...

how irritating that you had to deal with all that...I blame martha, too !

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

Not easy at all, especially when you are spending so much money!

I got a "what would you do" call from a Martha-style friend on Thanksgiving morning as her dog had pulled the 20 pound turkey off the counter and had it on the kitchen floor, licking it. Wash it off, roast the hell out of it and don't say anything.

I am sure your meal was amazing, even with the blemish - perfect!

Char said...

i blame truman and june cleaver. of course i did listen to a bit of martha on thursday and laughed when she said she would never bake her turkey in plastic (one of those old fashioned baking bags).

i know everyone loved it regardless.

Magpie said...

I love that he gave you two bottles of wine along with the cash...