*My mom fancied herself a good cook; just like Dina Lohan fancies herself young, and a good mother. One Thanksgiving I watched as my mom stood at the kitchen table bathing a turkey with margarine; its false yellowness shining. If the turkey wasn’t already dead, it would have drowned in hydrogenated oils; my family was raised on preservatives with a double dash of cholesterol, salt and tears.
She made two boxes of Stove Top stuffing that was way too much for a 15-pound bird. My mom was not one to think too much about things. In fact, I believe our family motto was: Do first, think later; Of course I told her she was making too much stuffing; she gave me a dirty look; ashes dangling from her cigarette as she stuffed the birds behind.
“What the hell do they know?”
“But mom, the directions are there for a reason.”
“Oh, please! I’ve been stuffing turkey’s asses before they were born."
I sat at the kitchen table and looked at the three cans that held the vegetables that were supposed to give us a dose of healthiness. As I remembered it these vegetables always withered on my fork before they even made the journey into my mouth.
I tried to help my mom so I opened the can of sweet potatoes and let them hit the pan. The color was a shade of orange I’ve never seen and worst yet they smelled funny. The rest of the so-called sweet potatoes plopped out with a struggle; I guess they didn’t want to go voluntarily and needed coaxing.
I was disappointed; instead of the juicy ripe sweet potatoes that were pictured on the can, what sat there resembled a pile of horse manure that fell into a pot of orange Jell-O. Looking at the can’s label there was a golden brown turkey in the background and ripe sweet potatoes upfront. Studying the picture more closely I saw in fine print that this was just a serving suggestion, and it wasn’t their problem if you thought you were going to have mouth watering sweet potatoes and they took no responsibility if they sucked.
55 to 60 minutes later there was a noise like splat and I could hear my mom cursing.
“Oh shit, God damn it!”
I came downstairs to see the kitchen a mess and the stove looking like a bomb had gone off inside of it. The turkey had blown up.
“Shit. Don’t just stand there Hudson, help me,” my mom said.
The stuffing was like lava as it bubbled out of every pore of the oven, some even flew up to the cabinets that were over the kitchen sink. Maybe now when the lava stuffing was wiped, the cabinets would get cleaned for once.
I tried to help her wipe the mess up but the damage was so explosive it was hard to know where to start; some had even made it on poor Duke, our dog, who tried to reach the oily matter that was on his back with his tongue.
“I knew I should have bought a Butterball, never had no trouble with a fucking Butterball!” my mom said, making the sign of the cross.
As I tried to wipe the top of the oven I noticed that my mom had put the oven on broil and not the recommended 350 degrees.
“Mom, this is on broil, that’s too high—that’s why the stuffing got so hot and popped.”
“Balls, I’ve done it a hundred times before, damn turkey is no good.”
“The directions say 350! 350!” I yelled, pulling them out of the garbage and showing the torn plastic to her.
“What the hell do they know? I’ve been stuffing turkeys assess for over forty years!”
|Save room for the pumpkin pie or the Gas-X|
*Excert from "There's A Bastard Born Every Minute" a new book by Hudson Taylor
We had the only thing that was in the refrigerator-hot dogs and baked beans. Franks & beans; it was one Happy Gas-Giving I’d never forget.
Years later as I prepare Thanksgiving dinner im reminded of my mom and her turkey massacre; it makes me teary eyed that she is gone, but I always smile when I think of this story.