November 26, 2012

F. Scott Fitzgerald talks turkey


Right now you may be facing down the vast expanse of a leftover Thanksgiving turkey, or perhaps just the remnants dotted here and there throughout the refrigerator. Regardless of the size of the task ahead, you, so few days ago such an intrepid turkey-tackler, have been wondering: Can I eat this again? Is there something else I can do with it? Is there such a thing as turkey jam? Never fear, F. Scott Fitzgerald has the answers.

That’s right, the author of The Great Gatsby, May Day, and The Diamond As Big As the Ritz once took a few moments from his non-turkey-related endeavors to compose a list that would bolster us in this moment of weakness, a series of Fitzgerald family recipes that, he tells us, were collected from “old cook books, yellowed diaries of the Pilgrim Father, mail order catalogs, golf-bags and trash cans.” Here are a few of my favorites (poached from Shaun Usher’s Lists of Note):

11. Turkey Remnant: This is one of the most useful recipes for, though not “chic,” it tells what to do with the turkey after the holiday, and how to extract the most value from it. Take the remnants, or, if they have been consumed, take the various plates on which the turkey or its parts have rested and stew them for two hours in milk of magnesia. Stuff with moth-balls.

6. Stolen Turkey: Walk quickly from the market, and, if accosted, remark with a laugh that it had just flown into your arms and you hadn’t noticed it. Then drop the turkey with the white of one egg—well, anyhow, beat it.

5. Turkey Mousse: Seed a large prone turkey, being careful to remove the bones, flesh, fins, gravy, etc. Blow up with a bicycle pump. Mount in becoming style and hang in the front hall.

8. Turkey Hash: This is the delight of all connoisseurs of the holiday beast, but few understand how really to prepare it. Like a lobster, it must be plunged alive into boiling water, until it becomes bright red or purple or something, and then before the color fades, placed quickly in a washing machine and allowed to stew in its own gore as it is whirled around. Only then is it ready for hash. To hash, take a large sharp tool like a nail-file or, if none is handy, a bayonet will serve the purpose—and then get at it! Hash it well! Bind the remains with dental floss and serve.

And of course:

1. Turkey Cocktail: To one large turkey add one gallon of vermouth and a demijohn of angostura bitters. Shake.



Sal Robinson is a former Melville House editor. She's also the co-founder of the Bridge Series, a reading series focused on translation.