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 10.16.06
Quebec City


The last big turkey story (for about a month)

Like so many Canadians I had my regular encounter with meleagris gallopavo at Thanksgiving.

Better known as tom turkey to the common folk.

I have an on again off again love affair with the king of domestic birds.

On again, because when properly stuffed, trussed and roasted, it's a wonder on the platter.

Off again, because you have to stuff, truss, and roast the stupid thing!

There's also a matter of size.

It seems - at least for me - that it is impossible to obtain a reasonable sized version of my feathered friend.

Something in the order of twelve pounds, say. Enough to feed two comfortably with ample leftovers for the inevitable post-feast Sandwich.

No, apparently turkeys come In one size only. Enormous.

The love of my life, the "responsable" for the ordering of the fowl, assured me This year she had asked for the smallest bird available.

I should point out at this juncture, we buy our birds fresh from the farm from a wonderful young woman who treats them as kindly as if they were distant relatives.

No force fed, caged, mal-treated turkeys here.

When I enquired as to the possible size of this year's bird my love airily replied: Oh, about eighteen pounds.

Eighteen pounds! A full third bigger than I had hoped. But less than the infamous Christmas bird of three years back which was eventually removed from the baking pan with the aid of two sets of hands and a pair of vice grips.

My first sign of trouble was when my love mentioned she had to clean off the entire top shelf of the refrigerator to thaw the bird.

Apparently it wouldn't fit on the lower shelves because its legs had been frozen in an upright position giving it the look of a surrendering p-o-w.

The bird - at the official pre-fight weigh-in - turned out to be in actual fact twenty-one pounds!

Apparently, not only was it free-range but it had obviously spent the last six months stalking that same range and devouring anything it ran into.

Undaunted, I managed to wedge the ungainly beast, upright legs now tied tightly to its body, into the roasting pan.

I am happy to say the roasting was a success. To paraphrase Tiny Tim, there never was such a bird.

To echo another equally famous phrase, "I can't believe we're going to eat the whole thing!"

To date we have feasted on roast turkey with all the trimmings, leftover roast turkey with some of the trimmings, turkey sandwiches, turkey pie, and turkey casserole.

I have nibbled on bits and pieces, produced a delicious turkey soup and, together with the one I love, made up forty-eight turkey turnovers for our next soiree.

I now know how Henry II felt about Thomas à Beckett when he screamed "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest!" Or in my case poultry.

Anyway, we will struggle on. . . Maybe turkey tetrazzini or turkey burgers . . .