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Turkey stew

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(I swear everything in this story is the truth)

All of Australias native birds are protected species, possibly even budgerigars, but as they are too puny and cute to be of much culinary or gastronomic use I will exclude them from this discussion.

This bird is definitely protected.  A common scavenger for food on the rainforest floor, it is extremely ungainly and noisy in flight and has difficulty gaining altitude.

Many years ago, before World Heritage listing of the Wooroonooran National Park, our family of three, me and Mrs GOF with little Globet strapped to her front in a Mei Tai sling, would take our aged Ferguson tractor of French manufacture down some old and disused logging tracks to cut firewood to burn in our Carmichael slow combustion stove.

The tractor had a vertical exhaust pipe sticking up in front of the driver.

One day, a scrub turkey in astonished flapping confusion propelled itself out of the undergrowth, flew into the exhaust pipe, and dropped to the ground dead. Stone motherless. Expired. Deceased. Bereft of life.

( For the benefit of any grammatical pedants or linguistic purists, I wish to point out that in the previous paragraph my use of the words "flew into" refer to the collision which occurred when the exhaust pipe exterior provided an impenetrable object in the flight path of the bird.
I was not intending to suggest that the turkey "flew into" the aperture or orifice of the pipe, a highly improbable scenario indeed given that the diameter of the turkey was significantly larger than the internal diameter of the exhaust pipe.  Also, remembering that the pipe was vertical, any possibility of this novel act occurring would have required "plummeting" rather than "flying". 
Clearly an action not indicated or insinuated in the original text.
Good, I am glad we have cleared that up.
Now, as you may well have lost the plot by now, please continue, with GOF contemplating what to do with a dead turkey on the ground next to his tractor.)

Not being greatly endowed with cash at the time, we interpreted this event as being a sympathetic and charitable food drop from God, which clearly out-trumped any currently enforceable fauna conservation statutes put in place by Man.

The turkey was accordingly prepared as the primary ingredient for a delicious stew.
Very much later that evening we just knew we should have followed the original old timers scrub turkey recipe;

"Place the turkey in a large saucepan,
  together with an old leather boot.
  Boil for 10 hours.

  Discard the turkey.

  Eat the boot."

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

16 responses »

  1. Hmm, a likely story. Next you'll be telling us about the wild sheep you were forced to kill to protect yourself.

  2. Eat the bootIs this a strange Australian custom I missed out on last time I was there??

  3. Ha, I'm a grammar marm and even I didn't notice the "error", loved the addendum though. Turkeys are certainly linked with some strange supernatural forces, I think.

  4. I can hear John Cleese reading this out loud in my mind's eye (I hate to think how many grammatical errors and mixed metaphors I just managed in a short reply).Should I assume from the aside you taught Physics at Secondary college level?

  5. Next you'll be telling us about the wild sheep you were forced to kill to protect yourself.And chooks Snowy! Vicious hordes of rampaging chooks!

  6. There are a whole lot of strange Aussie customs Pete…..more than usual in my immediate vicinity.

  7. Thanks Ellie. These turkeys can really create havok if they get into a vegetable or ornamental garden… they shred everything and kick the debris all over the place.

  8. Should I assume from the aside you taught Physics at Secondary college level? Thank you for your perceptive reading of this article Peter.I did have a short period teaching Form 1 Physics. Sadly I was disbarred and banned for life and forced to leave Victoria. I thought it was important for 13 year olds to know about the more circuitous route that a chicken could take from exhaust pipe to the ground. ie reverse internal combustion…..down the exhaust pipe, through the combustion chamber, then emerge from the air intake. It might have been an error of judgement at the time, but magicians get away with this sort of stuff all the time on stage. I was just making science interesting. It's a cruel world.Dear oh dear, why does anyone voluntarily choose to read all this rubbish.

  9. Aussie's eat boots? Is this a strange and foreign delicacy? I'm from a city so it woul never occur to me to actually eat anything that I've destroyed with my vehicle. Which I'm sure is very wasteful, the countryside is littered with dead stuff, usually roadkill, that I'm sure you could eat. In fact I know you can because I once saw a tv programme about a man in Cumbria who loves solely off roadkill.
    'Wooroonooran' – I don't think I've ever seen a word with as many 'o's as that one.

  10. It would never occur to me to actually eat anything that I've destroyed with my vehicle.I didn't destroy it Vicola….it sacrificed it's own life for my dietary supplementation…..except that it was so tough that the boot made for more tender eating ;-)Wooroonooran is the aboriginal word for my area. I was going to mention the name of the tribe but it is so difficult to spell …I am going to have to walk 4km to the sign and write it down correctly.

  11. I absolutely love turkeys! (at least our wild turkeys and even the domestic ones we've raised)I also love to eat them. My favorite trick is after having roasted the turkey and consumed it in different ways (there's a lot of meat on a turkey, so one must become Creative), slice the breasts thinly, dredge in flour and pan-fry. Use drippings to make milk gravy (almost a roux but with grease+drippings in place of butter…then, add salted milk once the thickening is finished and stir until it's too soupy but almost how you'd like it to end up — it will continue thickening once removed from heat).Serve sliced "fried" turkey breast slices on a plate with biscuits (Am., not Brit.) topped with gravy and ground black pepper. DAMN that's good.

  12. Thank you for the recipe m-t…..sounds delicious and you have me salivating even though it is only breakfast time here.In writing this story I should have been more considerate of my overseas readers, for in Australia scrub turkeys have the reputation of being inedible and as tough as old boots… matter how you try and cook them.Domestic turkeys are an entirely different matter. At various times in my life I have looked after turkeys, ducks, geese and chooks, and they all provided great entertainment for my simple farmers mind.

  13. We have started to spy bush turkeys in our street! If they start scratching in my garden, I shall be looking for a good exhaust and a large boot indeed!

  14. I am positive it was just an accident of God, GOF.Thanks FD. So am I. I was just trying to make the believers feel good 😉

  15. LOL – what a great tale. That reminds me that my mother used to cook kangaroo tails – hours & hours of cooking didn't seem to tenderize them much!

  16. Thanks Emjay…..I think I once had kangaroo tail soup but did not have anything to do with cooking it……I can imagine that it took a long time when you think about what a kangaroo does with its tail then it necessarily needs to be tough I suppose.


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