Hello my followers and thanks for taking the time to have a quick read. Many people are rushing hither and thither – looking at the presents and wondering whether that’s enough or should I get them something else. Will there be enough food, oh and of course – we need to have something in just in case anyone comes ! What if they do ? There is always far too much food and by mid afternoon on boxing day the plate of food you probably fancy the most is fish and chips.
You know I raise my own turkeys and Sunday 18th December will be their last day. I have been fattening up my own turkey each Christmas for the last five years and it certainly doesn’t get any easier. The first year I gave them names – Chestnut, Cranberry, Rosemary and Sage but that was not a good idea. My great friend and butcher Dave Benson takes me to choose my baby birds in the summer, we bring them home and then he collects them and does to them what he has to do in December. He told me he raised his own turkey one year but the family got so attached to it that he wasn’t allowed to kill it – in fact they had it for eleven years ! Our arrangement is ideal – I fatten up the birds but then he sorts out the difficult bit. It’s a win/win situation – we both get a fabulous free range, home grown turkey for Christmas.
Some friends have said to me that I am cruel, whilst others say they could not do it themselves but my standard response is that if you want to eat turkey then a bird has to die. I know my birds have had the very best. They have lived in a clean, outdoor environment – have walked around, grazed on windfall apples and have enjoyed doing what turkeys do. They love picking at grass, leaves on trees and generally watching the world go by. They have used our dogs as their protectors and have tended to hang around wherever they are. My birds have had to have no prophylactic antibiotics, they have enjoyed the fresh air and have not been cooped up in a barn or worst still a factory.
I have the utmost respect for these birds and when my butcher friend comes to collect them from me on Sunday, as always, I will be sad, tearful yet resolute knowing that I have done the very best for these birds. As they are tame and unafraid of humans they can be handled easily therefore when they are taken from me the situation is quite calm plus they are taken at the end of the day when they are ready to roost so are sleepy and, I believe, less aware.
The next time I will see my bird will be around the 23rd December looking very much like any other turkey in the butcher’s shop. I will collect her, bring her home and give her the very best attention in my kitchen. All the family including the grandchildren understand that the turkey grew up in the garden and I think it is important that children understand that food is precious and has had a life. I will be feeding around 20 on Christmas Day and we will all give thanks to our turkey.
Not one morsel will be wasted. The carcass will be used to make the very best of soups with pearl barley and other pulses and the giblets of course will make the best gravy on Christmas day.
Whilst on the subject of turkey – I love cranberry sauce too and my recipe this time is the easiest, quickest, no fuss cranberry sauce – oh, and no washing up. Give it a try and in the meantime have a lovely Christmas everyone. Please don’t stress and give a thought to those people for whom Christmas isn’t that great.
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