Time for turkey talk

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

This col­umn isn’t about turkey hunt­ing. That sea­son has al­ready come and gone, and we South­ern Mary­lan­ders must drive quite a dis­tance to the north­west­ern end of the state to take part any­way. Turkey sea­son is more of a spring thing around here.

The kind of turkey I want to talk about is the one that will grace your ta­ble in just a few short weeks this Thanks­giv­ing.

These days, peo­ple are get­ting more in­ter­ested in where their food comes from and we’ve got lots of op­tions for tur­keys.

Of course, first you must de­cide fresh or frozen, and nowa­days you can choose a bird that’s free range, or­ganic, her­itage, or even the true wild turkey if you opted to head north last week and bagged one of those gob­blers.

I’ve never ac­tu­ally bought one of those fancy her­itage tur­keys my­self, but I’ve had the plea­sure of en­joy­ing a very de­li­cious Bour­bon Red a few years ago at

my par­ents’ house.

My mom’s cook­ing is very good. She’s had decades of ex­pe­ri­ence brin­ing and roast­ing tur­keys ev­ery Thanks­giv­ing since 1969, so any kind of turkey she pre­pares is go­ing to taste great. Be­sides, I’m a dark meat fan, which should clue you in that my pal­ette isn’t the most dis­cern­ing. In a blind taste test, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t be able to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween a fancy $150 turkey and the un­der $20 spe­cial at Safe­way.

My hus­band sug­gested this year that we do some­thing dif­fer­ent for Thanks­giv­ing. He’s got one of those Big Green Eggs and has made some in­cred­i­ble grilled con­coc­tions on it, from mouth­wa­ter­ing beef brisket to im­pres­sive pizza

from scratch and of course the best burg­ers I’ve ever had the plea­sure of eat­ing. Be­tween the two of us, he might be the bet­ter cook.

He thought it might be a fun change of pace to serve prime rib for Thanks­giv­ing this year. At first I was taken in by his sug­ges­tion be­cause it would free up about eight hours of my time on Nov. 22 and 23. But then, two days later, I stopped by the farm in Loveville where we get our fresh eggs.

It just hap­pened to be the first cold, dreary weather day in South­ern Mary­land, and as rain poured down, I quickly ran to the porch where the eggs are kept on a ta­ble.

I didn’t get but half­way to the porch when I nat­u­rally slowed

down to sa­vor the most de­li­cious aroma em­a­nat­ing from in­side the farm­house. The wife was cook­ing one of her tur­keys. She and her hus­band raise them in a pen right in their back­yard and have them avail­able for pick-up at Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas ev­ery year.

Only one whiff. That’s all it took. I’ve or­dered our last three Thanks­giv­ing tur­keys from her, and this year is no dif­fer­ent. I’ll be pick­ing up a 20-pounder soon.

As I pulled out of the drive­way with a cou­ple dozen eggs, my mind im­me­di­ately started en­vi­sion­ing a ban­quet of mashed pota­toes with gravy, cran­berry sauce, and the in­evitable turkey sand­wiches on white bread made with the left­overs.

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