Turkey Season


It happened every year. Dad would walk into the kitchen and tell Mom, “You’d better watch out.”

We children would all hold our breath for a moment in anticipation until finally he continued, “Turkey season starts today.” (For those of you who didn’t grow up with a National Forest infested with wild turkeys in your back yard, “Turkey Season” is the time of year when you can hunt turkey. There is also, of course, Bow Season and Deer Season. Unless things have changed in the years since I’ve left any bear, possum, or raccoon that wanders into your yard does it at it’s own risk year-round.)

For better or worse, I’ve brought my Thanksgiving traditions with me to my Japanese family. What can I say? It seemed like a good idea at the time. But those of you who have lived in Japan know every Japanese person is a closet gourmet and prone to comment at length and ad nauseam about flavoring, spices, texture, juiciness, and food presentation. Coming as I do from a “those that do not help shalt not complain” household this is particularly infuriating and hard to stomach (pun intended.)

This year HRH, who I have long suspected has a condition that forces him to make himself the center of attention always and forever, announced that he will be making the stuffing from scratch this year. “Fine,” I say, “but I will have nothing to do with it” being busy with the pie, cornbread, and all of the other meals the family has to eat in the meantime.

I’m from a low-context country. When I say something, generally I mean it. HRH has not yet figured this out. He called me no less than five times from the grocery store, then gave up and sent me to buy the spices he needs. He wants to use homemade bread. We have a bread machine so どうぞ I say (help yourself.) He takes over the entire kitchen when I need to be making breakfast to make this bread. (I am beginning to feel less than thankful.) He forgets to cube the bread ahead of time, so ends up in the kitchen during breakfast again the next day. He sends me to the grocery store again, wants to discuss every little detail of this stuffing, and about now I really wish he would just stuff it already. Go watch football and be useless like a real man, for godssake.

Me Too had an awful night last night, coughing and sputtering to such a degree that I didn’t get more than thirty minutes sleep in a row the entire night. I wanted to take her to the doctor yesterday, but HRH didn’t want her taking medicine, “It’s poison” he said. That made me feel great, you can imagine, and more than a little resentful when consequently I was up with her All. Night. Long.

At one point in the middle of the night HRH gets fed up with the noise and goes searching for the vapo-rub. Um, that won’t help asthma. She needs a breathing treatment. Of course he can’t find it, so he comes and wakes me up from my fitful slumber to insult my housekeeping abilities. Bad timing, no? Look, I get it that it’s frustrating to not be able to help your child. Listening to her cough and carry on all night grates on the nerves, but taking it out on me is taking a toll on our marriage.

I woke up this morning to mess in the kitchen, again, a pounding headache from lack of sleep, and feeling pretty resentful that I have to spend this entire day cooking for a bunch of pseudo gourmets who are gonna end up pouring soy sauce on the turkey just like they do every year. HRH hadn’t given the children anything to eat, though to his credit he did let me sleep in for an extra twenty minutes or so.

I get out the iPad to check the weather so I can make an informed decision about the laundry and he tells me, “The children can’t wait for their breakfast,” then calls me selfish and stupid.

Hello, kettle. Nice to meet you.

On the other hand, though, the children love Thanksgiving. Me First is a corn bread addict. I let him have a taste yesterday, and he gave it “ten thumbs up.” We’ve been reading books about Pilgrims and Indians; they’re excited about helping me make the pie.

Tomorrow, I will keep the children home from school and we will go to the “real Thanksgiving,” the non-stressful version the Foreign Wives Club puts on, where nobody complains about the food and we just enjoy each other’s company. Hopefully that is the version the children will remember.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margeee
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 09:46:35

    I’m actually cooking Thanksgiving this year – hopefully everyone will survive! I think you were already living in Japan the year your mom and I decided to do something different and have Mexican instead of the traditional meal. Needless to say your dear old dad was not happy and your brother was none too pleased either.


  2. Beth
    Nov 24, 2011 @ 05:02:14

    “pouring soy sauce on the turkey just like they do every year” made me smile. My in-laws are Korean, so instead of soy sauce with turkey, we have Tabasco and kimchi with turkey. Asian fusion.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: