Tuesday, May 3, 2011

#9 He Respects Daddy Daughter Bonding Time

If you take the word tradition as it is used in "Fiddler on the Roof" you'll see tradition that always was, always is, and always will be. There would be no convincing Tevye otherwise. It is a stubborn sort of reality, not really created to be something looked forward to, but it is simply what is to be done because it always has been done.

However, sometimes traditions poof into being by chance. When they are first experienced they are well liked and enjoyed and therefore they stick around to eventually become known as tradition.

Carving a turkey. Typically a man's task, typically completed at Thanksgiving, yet not quite exactly a "tradition". However, my father and I have slowly formulated a tradition that whenever he carves a turkey I get the pleasure of standing by, fingers ready, to glean from the carcass as he carves. It has gotten even more fantastic over the last few years because he began deep frying our turkey with a Cajun rub that is applied to the turkey the night before and left to soak delicious flavor throughout the bird. Not to mention that he also injects the bird with Cajun flavor. We are hard core about our turkey.

Now I know those of you health nuts out there are freaking out just at the thought of the words "deep fry", however, those of you who truly understand flavor can grasp what I mean when I say: out of this world. Crispy skin oozing with flavor. Chunks of juicy meat that need no gravy. Fatty? Duh. Worth it? You betcha.

My mom used her free Easter turkey that she earned from Shop Rite and recently we had a regular Thanksgiving feast...only not on Thanksgiving, in fact, not even on Easter...a week later to be exact.

I allowed my new sister-in-law in on the tradition. I have to say, it was difficult letting an "outsider" in (and by the way, anyone who is not myself or my father I consider an outsider). My youngest brother had begun tagging along for the tradition a few years back, so I figured, 'What's one more?"

The art of gleaning from the turkey carcass as your father carves with a ridiculously sharp Cutco knife is certainly one that requires practice and precision, because he will not stop carving once the knife is going. This is literally the only way I eat fresh turkey. I won't have it any other way. I refuse to eat it at the table. It must be enjoyed piping hot as my mother and grandmother scurry around making sides and as my father is within inches of taking away my trigger finger. Occasionally he'll be kind and hand me a good piece of meat that falls off or a nice hunk of deep fried skin (yes health nuts, skinnnnnn!)

I am scavenging the entire time, however, once all the meat that can be cut off is on the serving plate, the task has only been half completed. This is the point where the under belly of the turkey is dug into (with bare hands, of course) in search of the tenderest pieces, the ones coating the bone.
It is a melancholy moment when the realization is come to that there truly is no more meat left on the bird. I slowly leave the carcass that brought me such joy and excitement to head to the dinner table and eat a plate full of sides.

Now, if that isn't a tradition worth sharing with your father, I clearly don't know what one is.

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