I was in the generation (actually, I’m currently still in “that” generation), of baby boomers.
The generation that flooded this counties University Systems. In the 60’s, no one was anyone, unless you went to college. There I was, in my late teens wondering what tomorrow morning would bring let alone a career direction.
When I was very young, the family money was tight. I can recall many an evening dad would slice off pieces of baloney to be fried in the skillet along with fried potatoes. I loved baloney, especially on sandwiches with butter and catsup.
I was attempting to sort out my collegiate educational goals, while riding a school bus from West Lafayette to Anderson, Indiana; it was the semester that I was enrolled in Animal Science. We arrived at the cow and hog butchering facility, which we toured from slaughter to packaging. The flash of knives caught our attention, and we all concurred, these were NOT people to confront in a dark alley! The most memorable, was what hit the floor, the scraps, which were shoveled into a chute, to disappear into the darkness.
We were led to the basement, into a room with glossy walls. Between the chute and glossy walls was a nondescript process. After processing the “stuff” hit the floor like poop, it was scoop shoveled up and thrown into a machine that cased it. It was baloney!! People in hip boots shoveling my baloney! The baloney aromas, that I had loved so much, was now unbearable in its intensity. It was almost 30 years before I could eat baloney again.
All of us, as we get older, want to spend as much time as possible with our families. It’s just enjoyable (well at least for our family) to see how everyone has turned out. The problem though with large gatherings becomes the feeding. Fifteen dishes prepared when you were young, are now a difficulty. When you get 18 or more people together, you want to please their likes and avoid their dislikes. So, then, types of food are important.
This was the first year in the last few years, that EVERYBODY would be gathered here, at least for a few hours, on Christmas day!
I was standing in the middle of “The Big Box Store”, looking for the turkey breasts. We had an absolutely marvelous turkey breast last year for a small group….acquired from this same big box store. The picture, is of me standing in the main aisle of the Big Box Store, holding onto a super sized big box store grocery cart. Invisible to the picture is my nature. My nature tends to NOT be the shopper. My nature leans toward the buyer. I, yes, I have pre-determined my purchase, the challenge; focus, locate, procure, and get out, ASAP!
I charged to the location of last year’s great find…or it’s where I think I remembered they were, this year it is European Cheeses. Four loops around and through the meat and deli area and there, in the upright cooler, is turkey breasts. One was 10 pounds, but we’ve got some big eaters so two would be good. But everyone one likes turkey sandwiches so THREE would be perfect. Whats more, in good Christmas spirit, I left one for somebody else!
The day before the gathering, we warmed the turkey, then waited for it to cool. I had a little cough that day, so my wife did the slicing honors. I, standing over her shoulder, instructed her to SLICE IT THICK, we’ve got plenty of turkey here!
Wait! This didn’t look like my turkey. It looked more like that stuff in the glossy room, shoveled into a machine, and pressure shot into a casings, Hog Lips and Cow Feathers. I checked, it was 100% real turkey, but it was processed into….woooo, something awful looking….. We finally used up the one that everybody left at our house and DIDN’T fight over to take home. Later, we mulled it over and gave one 10 pound breast package away to a needy family.
We still have one in freezer. I think it’s living down there, I’m afraid to look.
I have learned is that I’ve lost my turkey breast buying responsiblity. I think I now have bathroom duty!