Day Eleven: Turkey
There are some memories I have to fact check with my mom, my brothers or my sister because they are so strange and outrageous that I cannot imagine it’s actually true. This is one of them. We were one of the first people on our street to bring home a microwave. The Amana Radarange had a dial-centric control panel and lots of chrome. We were just grazing the start of the 80’s and the appliance felt like a giant step into the future. It was too large for our countertop so it resided on a sort of television stand on wheels, next to the dishwasher and near the window. We cooked or tried to cook everything in that microwave. We made hot dogs and melted cheese sandwiches. We made scrambled eggs in plastic ramekins and that first year and that Thanksgiving we cooked a small turkey in it.
It was terrible.
Though the cookbook that came with the microwave gave instructions on cooking thoroughly, on “browning” the turkey and though the picture that accompanied the recipe looked as appetizing as anything we’d see in the Betty Crocker version, it was still terrible. The turkey was both rubbery and dry and there were no drippings for gravy. The house smelled strange at best. In truth, there was little apart from heating canned and condensed soup that ever tasted good for having been cooked in that microwave. The promise was convenience and time saving and of course it delivered that but at a cost.
And this is important, not just because I love roasted turkey but because it speaks to a deeper issue in our current culture of convenience. We want it all and we want it now. It’s why drive-throughs exist for so many things- food, liquor, dry cleaners. This bothers me and I confess that recently, when a building was going up on the corner near my house I found myself fantasizing and hoping for a drive-through Starbucks…a block from my house. I don’t know if it’s that I’ve become lazy or impatient or obsessed with the time ticking away in my lifespan. Maybe it’s all of these things. In the end though, the vital lesson I take away from that dry and rubbery microwaved turkey is that some things worth having, worth receiving, worth giving and yes, worth eating, deserve time and effort. The feast is worth the price.