By Marcia Pilgeram
A few sure signs that Thanksgiving is just around the corner: friends are calling me for recipes and turkey-cooking advice, and wise-daughter Ryanne reminds me (almost daily) during phone conversations that I’m the only one in the family (or maybe even the universe) who eats homemade cranberry relish sauce.
Other signs include the recent arrival of my annual Heritage Farms catalog. Unfortunately, their eight varieties of Standardbred turkeys are going for about $20 a pound. Though I love their mission — Heritage Foods is a mail order and wholesale company founded in New York in 2001 to preserve endangered species of livestock and poultry from extinction — their prices are a bit too high to feed my growing crew of carnivores. (If you want to learn more about them, visit heritagefoods.com).
Another sign that Thanksgiving is imminent: With big hearts and generous spirits, the new owners of the Hoot Owl, Josh Butler and family, will continue the long tradition of a free Thanksgiving dinner. Served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. After 1 p.m., they’ll even pack it up to go, on a first-come, first-served basis. It would not surprise me to see a favorite person and former-owner Wendy Hansen Franck there as well, decked out in her best apron and up to her elbows in mashed potatoes. There’s a donation can at the counter, so if you stop in for some biscuits and gravy, for goodness sake, be generous and help out with this ongoing tradition.
Elsewhere in town, thanks to the efforts of the Bonner Community Food Bank, many families will be roasting birds with all the trimmings. The food bank began distributing Thanksgiving meals this week and will continue through next week (see Page 18 for more). If you can’t help them out before Thanksgiving, my friend and favorite dance partner, Debbie Love (the food bank’s executive director), reminded me that they’re happy to receive your turkey and other food donations throughout the rest of the holiday season. Drop-off Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at either location: 1707 Culvers Drive in Sandpoint, or 45 S. McKinley St., Suite 107, in Priest River. If you prefer, you donate via their website: foodbank83864.com.
Debbie and I agree that turkey goes much further than one-time poultry on a platter. It’s packed with protein and the leftover options are limitless, which is why I bought the biggest one I could find; and, at $1.18 a pound, I thought it was a real bargain. I also went to Safeway this week and spent $50 on groceries so I could purchase a second one for just 65 cents a pound. Along with some other staples, that one went to the food bank, and I wasn’t a bit surprised to see all the donations pouring in while I was there. Thanks to our generous community, many good folks will have a lot of excellent food on their tables.
My family typically sits for Thanksgiving dinner at about 3 p.m., so after naps, football games and evening debauchery, they’re looking for another meal before bedtime. By then, I’ve already carved the remainder of the turkey and bagged the bones for a pot of savory broth to make a batch of pot pies or dumplings. My personal favorite leftover is turkey salad, and I’m quick to take care of the leftovers myself. It’s true that I’ve been known to hide a bag of sliced turkey in the vegetable drawer before it’s discovered by the others who are known to pile more than their fair share of bird between a couple of pieces of bread (the number of sandwich-making people you run into at midnight is staggering).
It’s been a year full of challenges for many of us, and, as cliché as it sounds, I’m filled with gratitude and so darn thankful. Primarily for simple things, like food and shelter for my family and friends. It’s hard to imagine going hungry or not being able to provide for our loved ones. Be kind and be generous. Share what you can, then dare to share even more (even your coveted turkey salad). Happy Thanksgiving.
Holiday turkey salad recipe • A tasty way to use up some of those leftovers. For the vegetables, use leftover crudites from the relish tray. Use a medium dice for salad or sandwiches, or finely chop for appetizer and serve with crackers. Makes 6-8 sandwiches or 4 luncheon-size salads.
• 1 pound cooked turkey meat (about three cups)
• ½ cup finely chopped red onion
• ½ cup Best Foods mayonnaise
• 1 tbs orange marmalade
• 2 tsp S&B curry powder
• 1 tbs rice wine vinegar
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp ground white pepper
• ½ cup chopped cashews
• 2 Clementines (sectioned)
• Pomegranate seeds or red radish
Chop cooked turkey meat and dice vegetables (celery, green onions, peppers, etc.).
Transfer turkey mixture to a medium bowl.
Mix mayonnaise, marmalade, curry powder, vinegar, salt and pepper until well combined. Pour over turkey, mix and combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate, 8 hours to overnight. Before serving, add the cashews and Clementine sections (omit Clementines for appetizer).
Garnish with pomegranate seeds — or thin radish slices — and chopped green onion.
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