A New Turkey Story

In honor of the fast-approaching Thanksgiving holiday, today I bring you a turkey story. Of course, I have already told one turkey story, but it turns out that I have more.

Actually, I have two turkey tales. One is about the time that Jason and I (living in Prague) carried a frozen turkey with us on an overnight train all the way to Bulgaria. We were visiting our friends the Masseys for Thanksgiving. They could not could buy turkeys there for some reason, so we brought one along in a cooler. It turned out to be a very agreeable traveling companion, and a very tasty meal.

My second turkey story is another overseas story. One of our last Thanksgivings in Prague, we decided we would make a traditional holiday meal for our little family. As you might imagine, it is not easy to find your typical Thanksgiving fixings in a central European city. However, I had caught word in the expatriate rumor mill that they were selling fresh turkeys at the local Tesco store. So off I went, boys in tow, to buy us a turkey. When I arrived, I couldn't see any fresh turkeys at all behind the meat counter, so I approached the counter and asked after one. I already knew the Czech word for turkey - or rather the words for turkey. If it's a male bird, it's krocan. If it's female, it's kruta. I didn't really think it mattered, until the butcher asked me which one of those I wanted.

At this, I was completely flummoxed. Ummm, did it matter? And if it did matter, which one did I want? I might at first thought assume that a male bird might be tougher, and a female bird perhaps...plumper, but I wasn't really sure. Some females can be pretty tough, and of course males can be...plump.

Well, in the end it didn't really matter, because he didn't have any fresh ones that day anyway, and wouldn't have any more until after the holiday. He directed me to the frozen fowl section instead.

There I found an assortment of frozen birds, but they all seemed rather small. I'm had my desired kilogram range all figured out ahead of time, but none of those scrawny birds were making the cut. As a result, I decided I would just get two small birds, and then we would surely have enough.

Ahhh, the joys of living where you have to use another language. When I got home, the Official Turkey Preparer (Jason) was aghast to discover what it was that I had actually bought. Yes, it turkey, but I had missed that one little Czech word - pulka. Pulka means "half" in Czech, which means that I had bought two halves of turkeys. Presumably from two different birds, although I'm not sure what that mattered. I can tell you that Official Turkey Preparer was truly all aflutter over this development - something about keeping the bird moist while cooking and all.

Well, I thought about the problem for a bit, and then decided that surely we could make the best of what we had. So I just placed the halves side by side in a big pan and pulled their skin up and together. Then I did my best to "sew" them together using toothpicks. I would stick the toothpick through the two layers of skin and then out again, like you would pin fabric together. Come to think of it, I don't know why I didn't just use safety pins, or even sew them together with some white embroidery floss. I'm not sure it would have made a difference.

Well, the turkey turned out just fine, and after hours of preparation and general turkey angst, the boys finished their fancy holiday meal in about 8.9 minutes. I'm sure, however, that the turkey wasn't as moist and delicious as Jason might have hoped. It just goes to prove that just as two wrongs don't make a right, two turkey halves don't make a full bird.

AnneS –   – (14 November 2009 at 09:07)  

At least you did not abandon a frozen turkey in the trash can in Prague! lol

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