all of the selves we Have ever been
Somewhere in my cousin’s
excited description of the Thanksgiving menu, I heard it:
What?! I ducked for cover. My mind and body went on red alert the way it did when I was a kid and heard one of my parents curse. It brought back the trauma of the one and only time I heard my father say the
Spatchcocked? Surely, that is a term that belongs on the list of bona fide dirty words. But I thought dirty words came in four-letter packages. This is a twelve-letter word. There must be a much longer list of dirty words than I ever imagined. I am naïve. I need to work on my vocabulary.
Spatchcocked. Sounds like something nasty. I am certain my parents would have required me to say “butterflied” should I ever be permitted to speak of such a thing. To utter the word spatchcocked may have led to a mouthful of soap instead of cranberries.
Apparently, spatchcock means to split open the turkey and lay it flat in the roasting pan. According to Martha Stewart, the bird cooks faster, remains moist on the inside while becoming brown and crisp on the outside. It is considered a “nontraditional” presentation. As far as I can see, the meat might cook faster, but the Thanksgiving centerpiece does not look so regal with its back broken and legs spread across the plate. Forget the memorable family photos of granddad carving up the traditional turkey.
Martha Stewart reports that spatchcocking has revolutionized turkey preparation. With all of the recent talk of revolution, I didn’t think we were talking turkeys, at least not Thanksgiving turkeys. Martha writes, “Whatever you do, don’t let the term intimidate you.” Easy for Martha to say, but face it, that woman has been to prison. There is no way that word will not intimidate me. Her cavalier attitude makes me uneasy about every bite of my meal. Should I be on the look-out for a file in the pumpkin pie? Razor blades in the yeast rolls?
Martha says it is easy to spatchcock a turkey. But again, this is a woman who taught the home arts in prison. “All you need is kitchen shears and elbow grease.” Seems to me I ended up with some pretty bad haircuts the few times I combined kitchen shears and elbow grease. If it took six months to pay off the emergency room bill and grow out my bangs, I am not likely to go after a slippery 20 pound bird even if it is dead and doesn’t care about how it looks.
Upon further research, I discovered thousands of websites discussing spatchcocking. I am very late to the revolution.
Despite my parents often saying, “Pardon my French” before uttering a dirty word, spatchcocking was neither a cause nor an outcome of the French revolution. The practice, or at least the word, may be of Irish origin, yet I’ve never heard anyone say, “Pardon my Irish.” But maybe we just like to put down the French out of jealousy over their delicious cuisine and fine couture.
In my studies on the subject of spatchcocking, I did find one saving grace, a cause worth fighting for. The spatchcocked bird takes less room in the oven leaving more room for sides. I don’t know about you, but while the bird gets all of the attention, I’m all about the sides, and that’s the side I’m taking in this revolution.