Over the long history of mankind, people mark the passing of the seasons with various traditions … decorating dead conifers, taking candy from strangers, getting drunk in Savannah under the guise of cultural heritage. I know it’s Thanksgiving Eve when I’m placing a turkey into a bucket on my back porch.
My turkey recipe of choice is Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey. This is the only recipe I have that requires a five gallon bucket from a home improvement store. I started using this recipe when Suzan and I first decided to hold an expatriate Thanksgiving … it’s now a staple of my holiday diet. This year I bought a new bucket (only $2.78 plus tax) and a slightly larger turkey than normal (almost 20 pounds).
Soaking a turkey in brine has formed a ritualistic association in my brain. No, the turkey wasn’t killed by a cult (unless you count membership in Costco, but we’re not exactly a secret society). I only make this recipe for the holidays, and Thanksgiving is the only large holiday I host. Smaller family gatherings don’t need a 20 pound bird (I have a great ham recipe for that). For the 20-30 person GeekFarm Thanksgiving, you need a lot of dead evolved dinosaur.
The turkey, in a sense, is friend bait. The stone for stone soup. Sure, it is the centerpiece of a “traditional” American Thanksgiving, much the same as a pagan’s pine tree covered in Coke ornaments is a tribute to one brand of personal savior. But it’s not really the point, is it.
My family is divided, many people in many cities. Seeing them all in one place for Thanksgiving is impractical. I’ll find time with them on better terms, not based on the calendar’s whim. I have built another family here, and I want them to have a “home” when they can’t practically head back for their Thanksgiving. In a way, the turkey dangles from a big hook, waiting on people I care about to take the bait.
When I do get them on the hook, I hope they bring a vegetable side-dish. I’m not cooking this entire meal by myself.