How was your turkey? Believe it or not, I cooked two turkeys on two different occasions. It had been a long time since I cooked a turkey so for me, it was almost like I was a new cook in the kitchen. That first turkey – a huge twenty-four-pound monster received rave reviews. Some of the diners called it an ostrich because it was so large. I was holding my breath and just sure it would be a disaster.
First of all, my refrigerator keeps things too cold, so the monster turkey was not completely thawed. Did you know, you can cook a turkey even when not completely thawed? That was a new experience for this cook. See, we are never too old to learn.
Since this cook was a little flustered and anxious about the results, I made just a few mistakes – at least they seemed like mistakes at the time. Actually, the mistakes seemed to turn out to be the right way to cook a turkey.
How about forgetting to rub the inside and out with special seasonings? This I realized too late after the bird was already in the oven. Now what was I to do?
The solution was to mix all the seasoning with one half cup of melted butter and pour the liquid down the neck opening of the turkey. Then began the worries. Would the neck area be too salty, and the rest of the turkey not seasoned at all? Actually, all those seasonings steamed through and through the giant bird. Turned out to be delicious.
Now the guests thought at first that I surely ruined the turkey by cooking it upside down. My two daughters made that mistake quite a few years ago when they insisted on cooking the Thanksgiving meal.
Well, it was no mistake. The white breast meat that generally is so dry will cook juicy and tender. You may not produce that beautifully browned turkey to grace your table, but you will have the juiciest, most tender meat.
My second Thanksgiving turkey was cooked on Thanksgiving Day and that one was cooked the same way – upside down. Give it a try when you cook your Christmas turkey. You will like it!
Now it certainly is time to turn our thoughts to Christmas … a most beautiful time of the year. Streets and homes are all decked out with lights. Special dishes exuding tempting smells fill our homes as we prepare those traditional family favorites. Christmas lights, parades, caroling and family gatherings delight us all.
Be sure to join your church, a local school or the park you live in if they celebrate with a posada. This celebration tells the story of Mary of Joseph trying to find a place where Mary could give birth to the Christ Child. This is a custom observed typically on the Mexican border and in almost every town in Mexico. Persons dressed as Mary and Joseph lead a group from house to house asking for lodging. After many denials, the group finally find a home that welcomes them in to enjoy tamales, hot chocolate and other goodies.
Another custom celebrated in the border area, and especially along the River Walk in San Antonio, is the lighting the way for the Holy Family. Paper bags filled with sand hold candles along the walkways. These are called Luminarios in Spanish.
A favorite local celebration is the annual Festival of Lights in Hidalgo. You can go in your car, or you can join a local tour company. The celebration is at night when the two-mile-long trail of lights can be viewed on a narrated trolley ride. Special entertainment is also offered by local school groups. Attending from Mexico will be the Estudiantina Guadalupana, an internationally famous musical group. You will be amazed at their talent. Not only are they extremely talented, the little ones – some as young as four or five years old – will steal your heart away.
Meantime, I hope you enjoyed your turkey! I hope you enjoyed the celebration! Now let’s get ready for Christmas. Go to the parades, visit the Brownsville Holiday Village, the South Padre Island Boat Parade, the McAllen extravaganza with the huge character balloons and for sure the Festival of Lights in Hidalgo. Enjoy the holidays!