Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 10.12.02
Quebec City


On getting festively stuffed

Thanksgiving is upon us, which means it's also time for the great turkey debate.

Now, the love of my life and I both love to eat and to cook.

This is normally a good thing, sharing common interests and all that.

But it can also be the source of a minor amount of friction.

Take cucumbers, for example.

She loves them. I can't stand them. Nor do I care much for pickled beets, which she eats with what I feel is unseemly gusto.

In the matter of beef we are at complete odds as well.

For some strange reason she prefers her beef cooked until it is bereft of all juices and any taste.

I, on the other hand, like my prime rib cooked only to the point where, if given proper care, it might yet recover.

But back to the turkey.

The problem is not a matter of taste. We both like turkey.

Nor is it a problem of preparation since we are of one mind when it comes to the method of cooking god's gift to family gatherings.

This in itself, by the way, is strange since we both grew up with mothers who followed the traditional method of cooking a large bird.

You took it, stuffed it, and cooked it slowly, over relatively low heat for anywhere from eight to ten hours.

Whether this was a throw back to wood burning stoves where a constant temperature was difficult to maintain or concern over salmonella in a pre-refrigerator age I don't know.

I do know the result was a bird that only gravy could save.

No, the problem with me and herself is one of dressing.

I prefer a simple, understated, tasty, traditional sage dressing handed down from generation to generation that has been refined to exquisite perfection.

She, on the other hand, would stuff the bird with a combination of bread, onions, various unnamed spices and raisins of all things!

And when questioned, she defends this dubious practice as being part of a traditional Polish family recipe - as if the Poles knew anything about Thanksgiving.

Our original solution to this thorny problem was based on geography.

Since we alternated Christmases and Thanksgivings from family to family we alternated dressings.

Sort of the home field advantage rule.

But when we began to travel less over the holidays and ate at our own home more often, a new solution was in order.

Thankfully, God in his or her wisdom, gave turkeys two ends. And so we stuff them both.

Each to their own, or with their own.

Sort of a his and hers Thanksgiving.