Are You Really Cutting the Turkey Like THAT???
I’m at my sister’s house for Thanksgiving and I immediately notice that the neighbor, Joe, is cutting the turkey the wrong way! You know, horizontally, cutting down, not flat against the bone. Oh my G-d! The man accountable for cutting the turkey is a sergeant, so rather than openly object to the butchering at hand, I silently suffer.
How do I know it’s wrong? Because…that was my father’s method. This manner of cutting the turkey is a long standing tradition. Dad was a deli guy in the 40’s who came from a deli family and who worked behind the counter every afternoon after school with my grandparents. If anyone knows how to cut a turkey, it’s dad.
We would watch dad with wonder at the majesty of his ritual. He would put on the apron, get out the sharpening rock and, with great finesse, sharpen the turkey knife like he was preparing for surgery (he was a general surgeon). And when the knife was sharp enough to cut a floating napkin, only then was the turkey cutting ritual ready to start. Against the bone, of course.
They’ve all since disappeared, my family.
Only my sister and I are left to carry on that tradition.
My sister saw my somber expression and put her hand on my shoulder. She said, “Maryl, there is no “right” way to cut the turkey. Joe has way, dad had his and it’s OK. You can remember dad’s way and allow for new ways too.” My eyes swelled with tears. We had just lost both of our parents and the idea of losing yet another piece of family history and tradition was more than my heart was ready to deal with.
I miss my father and his turkey cutting mastery.
I miss my family’s version of Thanksgiving.
Now, after several years, I remember dad’s turkey cutting tradition with a full and happy heart. I do miss him AND all is well. This year, I’ll be on the hunt for the turkey cutter with the most prowess and have confidence that my father’s soul might just be whispering in their ear!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!