Friday, October 10, 2008

How to Stuff A Turkey

Last week I was on course and we were talking about 'triggers' - those things that cause memories, emotions and asscociations to arise in the forefront of our minds to current situations and experiences. Michael (Watson), my NLP trainer, was mentioning food - one of my favorite subjects. As soon as he started talking about food relating to different times in our lives, my mouth began to water as I was imagining turkey dinner.

As I now live in Florida and the US does not celebrate Thanksgiving until November, I almost forgot that it was Thanksgiving this weekend back home in Canada. I will miss Thanksgiving with my family and friends back in Nova Scotia, but am celebrating just the same. Who says you can't have Thanksgiving twice in one year? I have posted one of my short stories about how to stuff a turkey for my friends and family back home today. I miss and love you all. I am thinking of each and every one of you and am thankful for you all. The best part of all, is that I am grateful all year around - not just on holidays. Save me some stuffing!

How To Stuff A Turkey..

We have all had those days, when someone was in town, or decided to ‘pop over for dinner’. We have all celebrated holidays with family and friends and celebrated being together over a Turkey dinner. Let’s face it, Turkey is a comfort food.

Just this week, my husband called me from work to say that a friend was in town visiting and that they were stopping over for a visit. Panic is not one of my favorite words, but there was definitely a fluttering in my stomach as I thought of what I should have for dinner. I decided on a turkey. I could put it in the oven and basically forget about it. There is no such thing in my mind as turkey without stuffing.

So, off I walk to the local grocery store. I get a 26 lb turkey, and a box of stuffing mix. I have learned over the years of my ever expanding family that boxed stuffing can be a gift sent from heaven. I make it up, and then add my own mashed potatoes and spices to give it that homemade taste – a tip I learned from my mother-in-law – a mom of eight, grandmom of eighteen. I walk home thinking how I have made the right choice.

I peel, boil and mash the potatoes. I mix the potatoes in, and add some fresh onion, and garlic and herbs, spices…just about anything I can find in the cupboard. My claim to fame is that I am a great cook, but nothing is ever the same no matter how many times I prepare it. I don’t believe in recipes. I have always taken the basics, and made them my own.

After everything is mixed together, the smell of the spices is almost overwhelming. I begin to spoon the stuffing in the huge bird I have just washed like it was my first born. Around the second full spoon, memories begin to flash across the screen of mind. I see Christmas dinners at my home and at my husbands’, Thanksgiving dinners with all of the people I love, weddings, funerals – all with family and friends that mean everything to me. I watch as the next spoonful goes in, all the while the movie playing in my head is of my brother-in-laws dozing – full of dinner and arguing that it was the chemical in the turkey that made them sleepy – a scientific fact – not the wine that we toasted. I see the kids playing with toys under Christmas trees, and I feel the warmth of the fireplace that is burning in my memory of a distant Thanksgiving. I watch as my father begins to carve that turkey – it is golden brown, a true trophy to be shared as we pass our plates one by one.

I realize, as I look down, that I have been filling the turkey. I have been moving the spoon almost like a caress that I would share with my children before sleep. I am not in shock, but taken aback a moment by the intense feelings, connections, and memories. I realize that anytime I have, and ever will stuff a turkey, it will be with love. My noticing of my own physical motions at that moment, and all of the feelings make me smile. What truth there is in living the moment. I love the small stuff in life.

Stuff your turkeys with love…who cares what the recipe says.



Jeni said...

I loved this story! My husband fondly refers to me as his little kitchen witch, because everything I cook comes out tasting so great, whether it's homeade, from a box, or anything in between. I always smile at him and just remind him he's lucky to be married to such a good cook, but inside I've always known that the reason my cooking tastes so good is because it's prepared with love. I put my love for those I'm feeding into my meals just as surely as I add butter to my mashed potatoes. It's just part of how I cook. Love makes a difference, no matter who believes me, I stand by it.

Leigh LeCreux said...

jeni...i think that at some time we should and will meet. I think we have more in common than we could ever discuss. I love your comments. you are an inspiration to me to keep writing on the days that I want to curl up and say the heck with all that. Thank you for putting your feelings here and being you - full of sincerity. That, for me, is the most important quality in a human being.
your friend,