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The 10 days of turkey

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the turkey seems to live on forever, or at least at my house. Every Thanksgiving I cook the big dinner complete with an enormous turkey, and everything that goes with it, up to and including homemade cranberry sauce.

I enjoy the cooking and everyone helps. The bird is magnificent, and dinner is delicious. We always have a lot of leftovers. So many leftovers… maybe too many leftovers.

The first few days after the holiday, we continue to eat Thanksgiving dinner, feasting on everything all over again, and even remarking to each other how much we love getting to eat such great leftovers. We could eat turkey, stuffing and gravy everyday for a year. That’s how enthusiastic we are.

Somewhere around the fourth day post-holiday, I pull the rest of the meat off the carcass that’s taking up so much room in my refrigerator, and I make turkey soup with the bones.

This takes us through to day six. The soup is great, even though the recipe makes about two gallons, and we speak of the joys of turkey soup on cold winter days. Meanwhile there’s still a plate of turkey in the fridge, a few pieces of stuffing, maybe a scoop or two of mashed potatoes, and various other side dishes.

Day seven. What to do with turkey? Are we having turkey again? You bet. Asian style sesame stir-fry turkey over soba noodles. Another turkey dinner under our belts.

How long can turkey last in the refrigerator? We’re testing that theory on day eight. In fact, we’re wondering when the turkey is going to go bad. Apparently not today. So, it’s turkey soup again, because there’s still a big bowl of it, and maybe that last piece of pumpkin pie way in the back of the fridge.

Day nine. Really? The turkey hasn’t gone moldy yet? I would blame preservatives, but it’s an organic, free-range turkey. It’s lasting this long on its own power without chemical help. So, I make a casserole of sorts with cabbage, gravy, rice and yes… turkey. It’s not bad. We would probably think it was delicious if we weren’t coming up on day 10 of our turkey extravaganza.

On the 10th day it becomes a game. What else can I make with turkey? Really all I have left is the soup. All the rest of the turkey has finally, mercifully been consumed. I consult the Food Network and learn I can use the soup in a couple of different ways. I could make turkey cacciatore or turkey polenta, or maybe even turkey tetrazzini.

To tell the truth, I don’t have much enthusiasm for any of that stuff. We’re so over turkey. Instead, we pack the last of the soup for our lunches and turn the lights out on our turkey leftover challenge. We make hamburgers for dinner.

It was a good run. We are thankful that we got so many meals out of our Thanksgiving dinner, but we are also glad that there are 355 days left to go until the next one.


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