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Two Birds Plus A Turkey

(by Erika Lenkert)

Last year, like every other year, my mom called and asked, "What do you want to do about Thanksgiving?" It's a rhetorical question, a test that I've become used to passing. My mom would say she's respecting my freedom, offering me an out. But I know she's really confirming that we're on for our only family tradition—the preparation of what's called the Thompson turkey.

I did not like the event as a child. My mom loved to cook, but she was very tense in the kitchen. On most evenings, I avoided fights over proper measurements and mashed potato responsibilities by being relegated to dishwashing duty, during which I pretended I was a jailed princess awaiting my prince's rescue.

But on Thanksgiving I knew there was no escaping the line of fire. The recipe was laborious, and I was cheap labor.