Thanksgiving has been a turkey-free holiday for us for the past 4 years. I mean, we found delicious substitutes and created our own olfactory and gustatory memories but none of them included turkey. I have avoided decorating the house with the perfunctory turkey pinups, cringed at the thought of making hand-traced turkeys out of construction paper, and avoided referring to the holiday as “Turkey Day”. Not because I feel disdain for the bird itself, but we avoided turkey on Thanksgiving because we always avoided turkey. Gino was allergic to turkey. He would eat a few bites and quickly develop hives all around his mouth with an accompanying severe stomachache.
About 6 months ago, Gino’s blood test numbers fell to a value that my allergist felt comfortable recommending home introduction. We held our breath but we did introduce it and for the first time in years, he ate turkey with no reaction, not a single hive, not a hint of tummy rumbling. He wasn’t crazy about the flavor but we have managed to keep him eating it fairly regularly – mostly because we have been masquerading it in breading and bacon!
This Thanksgiving has been different. I have traced a thousand turkey-hands and bought a big turkey decoration for the entryway. Gino is thrilled that he can eat turkey this year. I am, as I am sure you can all relate, still a little nervous. We haven’t actually eaten a whole cooked turkey. The turkey we have eaten has been highly processed, I’m sure, so I cross my fingers that we make it through this holiday meal without any problems. It should be fine but there is always that worry that eats away at you. There are few things worse than spending a holiday in the emergency room.
So this Thanksgiving, we still won’t eat creamed corn or cranberry sauce or warm wheat bread dripping with butter, but we will eat a turkey. I ordered it this morning and when I told my dad, he reminded me that I will need to take the insides out of the turkey before I cooked it. I nearly changed my mind on the whole turkey thing altogether. Seriously? They leave organs inside the turkey? Why? Well, I guess I will make myself do whatever needs to be done to get this turkey cooked and carved and placed in the center of our Thanksgiving table. It will be a symbol of hope and something for which we can be truly thankful.
So for those of you who don’t eat turkey, Happy Thanksgiving!
And for those of you who do, Happy Turkey Day!