I thawed my dollar store turkey in the sink instead of the fridge.
When I peeled back the plastic I smelled something I did not like. No one else smelled it. Last year I did the same thing and it was REALLY wretched for all to smell so we threw it out and got a new one. Everyone just assumed this was some bizarre new tradition I was starting. After some intense discussion, my husband went to find his receipt and call the store to find out if they had any thawed birds.
I began to imagine how hard it would be for my husband to do that. The day had been so perfect. I did not want him to have to un-relax since it takes a lot to get him to relax, let alone re-relax. I thought about this turkey having given his life for our dinner. And suddenly it did not really smell anymore. I had bonded with this bird.
I felt a strange kinship as I patted the outside of the turkey with butter and I even blushed a little as I stuffed this sacrament to thanksgiving for our family. I even talked to it as I put it in the oven. Really, I said, “come on big dude, let’s get you in the oven”. I love animals. (They’re delicious). I don’t have it in me to be a vegetarian but at least I feel bad if I let myself think about what I am doing (and I never eat lamb or veal).
But this intimacy with the turkey was heightening my sensitivities to a new way of thinking. This had been a living creature, not just some white frozen lump from the store. I began to think that maybe I was beginning to understand the 4H mentality that had always alluded me. How could they raise an animal and then kill and eat it? Maybe like our cave ancestors this is really the enlightened sacred way to eat meat and not take it for granted. I can still not really imagine eating my pets or winning ribbons by selling them for others to eat, but I was closer than I had ever been to understanding that way of life.
No longer was I just making dinner, I was preparing a sacrifice. I was giving the gift of life to my family. It was a solemn occasion when I sliced into the flesh of this blessed bird.
The family thoroughly enjoyed the bird. Though the intensity with which I set the perfect table and delivered the meal was a bit dysfunctional for a few tense minutes, soon the family was laughing and sharing dreams for the coming year and reflections of the year that had come before. It was a day blessed with laughter and music and silly string.
That evening I got violently sick.
I guess the bird was bad after all.
I’m the only one who ate the dark meat so I am the only one who got sick before I threw out all the leftovers. So much for sacred birds, we have a normal turkey thawing in our fridge to cook tomorrow. I think I’ll watch T.V. while cooking this one.