When the day was over, I brought the turkey-bones back here to make turkey frame soup. Every year I tell anybody around who will listen to me: "Don't throw away your turkey bones!"
There was still a generous amount of meat on the bones of our bird. With so much meat, I decided to make two one-gallon bags of turkey broth with meat to put in the freezer from the one turkey, instead of one.
Getting all these good fixin's is a messy proposition: You take all the remains of the cooked bird and boil them for ninety minutes, which means you will have the largest pan in the house to clean up later. When it's done, you set a colander atop another "biggest pan in the house" and start pouring the contents of the first pan through the colander into the second. Now you have two more things to wash, and if you're a slob like me, you've splashed quite a bit of broth around the kitchen.
Take the colander filled with drained chicken off that (second) pan and set the pan aside. Get a container to hold the meat you're going to coax off the bones, and start hunting for meat. Usually I'll end up with at least two cups for the soup, even on the sparest turkey frame. Now you will spend at least thirty minutes picking the skin off what you've collected and picking tiny pieces of meat out of the backbone and neck bone. If turkey frame soup wasn't so good, I wouldn't put myself through all this.
So, I had already processed two turkey frames this week when son-in-law Kevin came home from his family Thanksgiving dinner at Carthage carrying a couple of Walmart bags with two turkey frames. My cup runneth over! As he handed the bagged-up remains to me, he said, "I'm pretty sure there's still a lot of meat on these."
I would rather have put these bones into the freezer and worked on them some other day, having already been through the mess the day before. But neither of the carcasses would have fit into a gallon freezer bag. I shoved it all in the refrigerator and went to bed. Awake at four Sunday morning, I drank a cup or two of coffee and realized my best bet was to go ahead and boil these babies, pick the meat off the bones, put the broth and meat in the freezer, and be done with it. Once more I was up to my elbows in a turkey mess, and I got turkey frame number 3 for the year cooked before church. By the time we got home, it was cool enough to prepare for the freezer and I got number four cooking. That last carcass is chilling on the cold back porch waiting for me to separate the meat from bones today.
I found out Kevin's remark about "a lot of meat" was an understatement. There was so much of it, I actually saved two pints of chopped meat for casseroles.
What you see in the green bowl is the turkey I'll put back in the broth to freeze for soup (Another bowl to wash.) I suppose we'll be eating a lot of turkey this winter, but I'm armed with a lot of casserole and soup recipes.
Friends on Facebook posted pictures of their lovely table settings and seasonal decorations; I was impressed, believe me. We spend our holidays in the shop with the big Oliver 1855. It's green, so I guess that would count as a Christmas decoration. There's a furnace out there, and sometimes a wood stove, so it's cozy. We have lots of folding picnic tables and plenty of throwaway plates and plastic utensils. If there are children, as there were at the Fourth of July gathering, they can run and play and shout. The worst part of holding a feast in the shop is getting all the food out there after it's prepared. And the coffeepot, creamer, sugar... stuff like that. But a lot of the food is brought by guests, and it doesn't matter where they have to carry their offerings.
I went out to the shop refrigerator this morning to make sure nothing was rotting in there. All I found was a veggies-and-dip tray. I ate some today with my turkey frame soup, but I knew we could never eat all those munchies before they ruined.
But wait! I can cook all those, and there's plenty there to cook. Those peas would be nice in a stir-fry.
Thanksgiving is still my favorite holiday, and yet it's always sort of a relief to have it behind me.