After doing my group presentation, I was thinking about the setting...A dinner table. The majority of discourse between family members happens around a dinner table. Whether the parties are happily reminiscing about their day, arguing, discussing mundane matters while making small "talk" or nonverbally communicating in awkward silence.
This thought inspired me to recall my most recent Thanksgiving experience. Thanksgiving is usually a time when families....extended or not...all get together to visit, stuff themselves, and boast or ponder about what they are most thankful for. The most recent Thanksgiving was actually most definitely different for me this year. Actually it was shocking. I was recently married and now of course the in-laws all find the need to fight over whose family the blissful couple will spend the holidays with. First of all I am in kind of a different situation, I live alone while at school and visit my husband about once a month as his job is not in Bozeman. (details that help you understand the story situation). I was determined to have turkey day at my home so....we spent the actual Thanksgiving Day at my in laws...I observed the family, noticing how odd it seemed to only have one person speaking at a time at the table and mainly noticing the differences between my family traditions and their lack of traditions and relaxed lack of structure related to Thanksgiving feasting. It was wine, meal, then football game. The next day my family was supposed to arrive by train, however a derailment ruined the plans. I was determined to see my family so we drove over and recreated the holiday with my family that afternoon filled with excited loud talking (almost blissful chaos) at the table, board games after the meal, tradition of saying what we were thankful for and lots of brandy laced cider. The next day...while at my home (not college) I decided that the turkey I had not yet cooked was still thawed in my refridgerator. I had never cooked a turkey and once I had that thing raw and naked oozing juices in my kitchen sink...I felt a slight panic coming on. It was a fear of trying something new. It was to do something I had often heard about and never actually done. (Much like being a literary critic, it takes some getting used to... water testing...getting legs for it)
I called my mom, she was not home. I called my friend Cindy, she was not home either. This was an adventure, I realized then and there that I was going to have to do all by myself and I was intimidated. I rolled up my sleeves, took off my rings, (not my watch...But I should have) and then thrust my hand in the bird and searched for what the turkey wrapper called giblets and a neck...the crevice was cold and icy...in fact the neck had ice crystals on it, creeped out...I hastily extracted the foul fowl neck and accidentally caught my watch on the damn spring-loaded metal thing that holds the legs of the bird together. It shot out and hit the kitchen floor. After failing an attempt to relodge the thing in its proper place, I decided it was not important as the instructions said it was. I could not find the giblets and decided that this turkey must not have any. (leaving Important pieces out as it would apply to Lit Criticism)
Seeing that it would take more time to cook the turkey with stuffing, I decided to cook the bird hollow and then last minute stuff it, Jeff would not be home until the turkey was already stuffed and on the table....So I thought. I turned up the temperature on the oven an extra 10 degrees in order to get rid of those unexpected ice crystals I found and decided that I had done something heroic that afternoon, conquering my first turkey cooking experience and it was not as hard as I had anticipated. So while it cooked for the next planned 3 1/2 hours, I rewarded myself with an afternoon of reading, scriptwriting (for my project) and drinking a bottle of "good wine" occasionally taking a break to baste the bird.
Much to my error and dismay...when the timing came to cheat at stuffing the turkey 20 minutes before it was supposed to be done...I noticed that the turkey done button indicator piece I will call it for lack of a better term, had not popped up and the crevice was filled with sickly juices when I stuck the baster in there, it was chunky and deep red, more red than turkey meat or any color one would ever see on a white meat bird, this was sick. My feeling of accomplishment and confidence was turning into panic. So I turned up the heat and told Jeff not to rush home from work...because the turkey was not quite done yet. Finally, an hour later, the button popped up, Jeff was home and knew that I had not stuffed the turkey but we were ready to celebrate our first kind of Thanksgiving by ourselves in our new home excited to use the wedding china with all the bells and whistles.
After Jeff fired up the electric knife and went straight for the wishbone, we found the missing giblets. "Uh...Honey...what is this grey bag that is oozing what looks like purple chunks of...is this some sort of cranberry sauce flavoring packet stuffing or whatever" I wish I could say it was a good flavor. Despite all odds, we sat down for dinner, oh so carefully and gracefully trying to savor the moment of what will probably be the last fricken turkey I ever cook.
Let me just tell you this, the conversation at this dinner table was flowery with an attempt to brush on the side of Whitmanesque but also at the same time there was a reverence, a fine balance for me between saying... Wow, how lovely, our first time using the china, our first holiday all by ourselves, my first turkey cooking experience, is it not just lovely and delicious and on the other hand me wanting to say..NO! Don't eat this sick dinner, it will surely make you puke. I must say, Jeff was the perfect gentleman when he saw that the latter half (not the breast of the turkey was rawish on the bottom (the crevice that had ice particles in it) "Surly if we drink enough wine, I think the alcohol will kill any type of salmonella poisoning....Don't worry it was the best...well juicy turkey..that I've ever had." -after clearing the table, I asked where the turkey was...so I could at least put it in the crock pot and make turkey soup...it turns out that the Turkey...pan giblets and all had already made it out to the dumpster in the alley.
This is a true story. Feel free to critique it. Notice that there are probably spelling errors, stylistic problems, made up words, relationship to the author, feminist stereotypes, grotesque images, and several other aspects to consider like how it made you feel (probably happy you were not there), etc. What is your response as a reader and how can this relate to literary criticism....or does it?