Dr. Demento and the Desecrated Turkey

Photo (cc) by Nesster

I recently walked over to the Asian market to buy carrots and came home with a turkey. Yes, I know the difference between root vegetables and edible fowls. But the bird was on sale for 25 cents a pound. The whole thing cost only $2.65. I’ve paid more than that for a soft drink at a ballpark.

(What does this have to do with Dr. Demento? I’ll get to that.)

I stashed the 10.58-pound bird in the freezer. Then I ignored it. Why? Because a turkey dinner is such a production. I’d have to buy potatoes, a couple of other vegetables, and some cranberry sauce. Onions and celery and white bread for the stuffing. Cabbage and sour cream for the coleslaw. Yeast to make rolls, apples for applesauce. I already had a can of pumpkin on the shelf, and I had baking chocolate in the freezer for brownies, but I’d need whipped cream or vanilla ice cream – or both – to go on the desserts.

And if I were going to make that much food, I should invite people over. Having dinner guests would mean that I’d need to clean the apartment and wear something other than sweatpants and my caulk-stained “Anchorage Daily News Health & Safety Committee” T-shirt.

The rational part of my brain piped up: What if I just ate it myself, with whatever I have on hand? Rice, maybe, and a side vegetable?

The irrational part of my brain immediately shouted back: Impossible! There’s only one way to make a turkey!

A gut-busting occasion

Once upon a time, turkey was a holiday dish. Now it’s the go-to protein for people who are grossed out by meat but still yearn for hot dogs and “bacon.” Somehow, it’s easier to eat a bird than a pig or a cow. I’m not sure why, since they all have faces.

Ben Franklin once suggested, possibly in jest, that the turkey would make a much better national bird than the eagle. Wonder what we’d all be eating on Thanksgiving if he’d had his way? Eagle drumsticks, anybody?

(We’re getting closer to the Dr. Demento part. Hang in there.)

Fact is, I’d imprinted on all those years of watching and helping my mom churn and burn in the kitchen. The only way to serve turkey is with a platoon of side dishes and desserts. Until I could do that, the bird would stay on ice.

Rice, no cranberries

Yes, I know how silly that sounds. But the irrational lobe of my brain has had a lot more practice. Slowly, slowly I’m starting to rethink what I always, deep down, believed to be true. Things like…

  • A woman’s worth is defined in terms of her service to others.
  • I’m not smart enough to do math.
  • I have to do things the way they’ve always been done. I just do, that’s all.

Finally, finally, I listened to the rational lobe. Last week, I roasted the bird. And lightning did not strike, even though I completely desecrated the memory of long-ago turkey dinners.

I cooked rice because I had no potatoes, and a side dish of corn. No cranberry sauce – I hate the stuff. Since I prefer the dark meat, I cut up the turkey breast and froze it to use in future pots of chili.

And as I worked, I kept giggling at the memory of the day I spent driving Dr. Demento around the city of Anchorage, Alaska.

Eagles and trains

Years ago, the good doctor was in town to perform at the late, lamented Fly By Night Club. I was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, and it fell to me to interview him – and to score some fish heads for a photo shoot, a nod to the “Fish Heads” song that Demento likes to play.

Incidentally: Although known for wacky novelty and comedy records, Demento was (and probably still is) the most ordinary guy I’ve ever met. Middle-aged, native of Minnesota, married to the same woman for decades, fascinated by bald eagles and railroad trains. His real first name is Barry, for heaven’s sake.

He loved the Alaska Railroad depot. Then I showed him where a couple of eagles were nesting nearby. One of them perched on a branch, glaring at us. (I think it was glaring. With eagles, it’s hard to tell.)

Demento was delighted enough to start quoting from a classic Stan Freberg skit about a snafu at the first Thanksgiving: The turkey, meant to be a centerpiece, was mistakenly roasted. “‘You put our national bird in the oven!‘”

At that precise moment, the eagle took an enormous dump. Clearly not a radio fan.

Think outside the giblet bag

So what have we learned here?

It’s really OK to do things differently from the way we’ve always done them. Doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about personal finance or side dishes.

When you find turkey at 25 cents a pound, go back and buy a few more.

Eagles have no sense of humor, so stand far away from the tree when quoting Stan Freberg.

Oh, and if you get fish heads for a photo shoot, refrigerate them. Luckily, Barry was a swell sport about being surrounded by dangling, stinking piscine craniums. Bless his heart.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive

These Amazon products can give you an extra edge at work and other parts of your life.

The 13 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate
The 13 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate

Some types of traffic violations can drive your car insurance rate dramatically higher.

5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement
5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement

Medicare can be confusing. Beware these missteps — which can hike your costs.

12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized
12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized

These items will help put your vehicular mess to rest — and each is available for less than $20 on Amazon.

8 Secrets of an Expert Thrift Store Shopper
8 Secrets of an Expert Thrift Store Shopper

Here’s how a veteran thrift shopper scores the best deals — and turns a profit from them.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach
10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach

Does the pandemic have you reaching for bleach more than ever before? Learn the ins and outs of using this powerful disinfectant.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.