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Monday, November 22, 2010

Today In The Cookbook ...

I was just looking up the basic cooking times for roasting a turkey. Not even sure I'm gonna need the information. This year's Thanksgiving festivities are gonna be a little "different" for me. I'm currently in a mortal combat-style feud with two of my three siblings so I'm boycotting the family meal. And I had plans to share the day with a good friend and her immediate family but their gathering shifted to an out-of-town venue. So I'm just gonna enjoy some type of turkey meal all by my lonesome and get out a few of my favorite dvds. I may just enjoy my "bird" while watching the "Bourne" trilogy or all the "Die Hard" flicks.

I might even shake things up with turkey burgers with avocado or turkey sausage chili or a humongous turkey and cranberry omelet with bacon and pepper jack cheese. Who says I have to have "traditional" fare.

So while I was perusing the culinary guidebooks, I thought about how many different ways we use the word turkey. In respect to the upcoming holiday, turkey refers to the domesticated breeds of Meleagris gallopavo, or wild turkey. Originally bred by the ancient Aztecs as a source of meat, wild turkeys flourish in the forests of North America and have been linked to legends surrounding the "first Thanksgiving" meal shared by early settlers and certain Native American tribes. Today, turkey farming is a thriving poultry practice, using a variety of techniques to produce birds with heavier musculature and larger breasts.

As is typical with may types of birds, the males tend to be larger and more colorful. Turkeys are also known for the unique "gobbling" sounds they produce. There is a myth that turkeys are flightless birds ... all turkeys can fly but it is an ability that, in this breed particularly, is proportionate to weight. Simply put, the big, fat turkeys we buy in the store couldn't fly because they were bred to be big and fat.

Turkey also commonly refers to the Republic of Turkey, a country in western Asia and home to more than 73 million people. Turkey sits amid some of today's global hotspots such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Greece. The country also enjoys a lucrative tourist trade because of its adjacency to both the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. Each year, the nation's largest cities of Ankara (also the country's capital) and Istanbul draw in millions of vacationers from around the world.

Back in the day, I guess turkey was used to describe someone who was sort of a jerk or an idiot. It was also implied that this type of "turkey" often spoke with great authority about topics they knew nothing about. Occasionally I see an old sit-com where someone gets called a "jive turkey," and if the laugh track is any indication then I guess it was a really hysterical and well-received slur to employ.

And I would never ... ever ... use the word turkey like this, but I was at the mall the other day and these girls ... about 12 or 13 and dressed like they were 21 and heading into a club ... were sniping about some woman being a turkey and calling her a "mean turkey lady." I really thought they were utilizing my previous definition (i.e. idiot or dunce) ... which is bad enough ... but when I followed their glances, I spied an older female shopkeeper with a pronounced wattle. Not a waddle ... wattle, or excess skin around her neck similar to that of the common turkey. The woman did appear to be a dour individual but it's not like she chose to lose skin elasticity as she aged. Teenage girls can be such bitches!!

two parties meet to discuss a business proposal, they often engage in initial pleasantries ... asking about family and leisure activities like vacations and the progress being made on a golf swing ... but when deliberations turn serious, it is often termed "talking turkey."

for any of us with friends or family members who are ex-smokers, we have probably witnessed the explosive tempers and listless moods of someone attempting to quit an ingrained habit like tobacco "cold turkey."
Oh, and there's a turkey in bowling ... three consecutive strikes in a single game. Some people call it a "gobbler," but the turkeyesque theme still remains.

POINT OF RANT: All this turkey talk is making me hungry ... I'd give my right "giblet" for some good old-fashioned stuffing instead of the stove-top crap!!

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