Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful to be Talking Turkey

by Dinah, owner of the Winslow Falls General Store
from Live Free or Die by Jessie Crockett

As the owner of the Winslow Falls, NH General Store I end up with a lot of information about the private lives of my fellow townsfolk. And let me tell you, the things I see on a daily basis make me feel almighty grateful to be me, especially around the holidays.  Sure, running the store is hard work. The hours are long and short order cooking for the public can be demanding. But I'm my own boss and I don't have to answer to any foolishness on the home front since my only housemate is my goldfish Antonio, and he's pretty quiet.

The chaos in a person's life comes to the fore at the most inconvenient times, like Thanksgiving morning. Which is why I open at five a.m. just like any other day and stay that way until two in the afternoon. My phone usually starts ringing the minutes I flip on the lights. Customers have panicked questions about flash thawing a still frozen bird and inquiries as to whether I carry undetectable poisons in sufficient quantities to dispatch mothers-in-law. I always keep a few thawed turkeys on hand and even roast a couple for cases of extreme emergency which often saves someone's marriage. While I am in no way a fan of inconvenient relatives, I make it a point not to encourage criminal behavior. I just remind the caller that they don't serve my doughnuts in the state prison system and that usually does the trick.

After frantic customers have stopped streaming in for pints of whipping cream and jars of pickles, I turn my attention to what to do with any of the turkeys that didn't sell. You'd think people would be sick to death of turkey the week of Thanksgiving but when the usual crew perches at the counter for lunch they all want turkey in some form or other. After a couple of days the birds are pretty picked over and it takes a bit of doing to make anything presentable out of what's left. If you have the same trouble at your place here's a recipe of sorts you might be thankful to have in your repertoire:

Dinah's Turkey Spread

Round up any leftover turkey meat that's no longer inspiring enthusiasm. Separate the meat from any skin or bones. Toss what you've got into a food processor and pulse until it becomes uniformly small bits. Add a bit of softened butter and pulse until it makes a smooth paste. Now search in your refrigerator or pantry for things that taste good with turkey, like a dollop or two of cranberry sauce, some sweet pickle or some chutney, even a dab of chipotle pepper if you are more adventurous than most of my customers. Add that to the mix and pulse to combine. Sample it to decide if it needs salt and pepper and adjust accordingly. Use as a sandwich filling, as a cracker spread or lay off the carbs and stuff it in celery.  Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Thanks for sharing that idea Jessie! I don't think you can ever have too much turkey, or too many carcasses (of the poultry persuasion) because I make turkey soup, and you just have to have the bones for that!

    Happy thanksgiving!!

  2. After working all morning, I hope you'll get to enjoy a feast with friends and family, Dinah!

  3. That sounds like a recipe my mother used to make back in the 40s-50s using a hand food grinder that attached to the table edge!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

  4. I have never heard of doing this but I think it's a super idea. I'm definitely going to try it. Thanks!! (my mom had the same hand food grinder, Karen B. She used for all sorts of meats but don't recall turkey as one of them).