Caroline Hennessy had some misgivings about her plan to rear and then kill the family turkeys for Christmas and Thanksgiving but, after the Turkey Killer did his job, she gained a fresh appreciation of the festive feast. As published in the Irish Examiner on Saturday 18 December, following on from A turkey for the table.
It wouldn’t be at all unusual to come across something like Chocolate Cream or Whipped Chocolate Syllabub on a modern day menu. What is surprising is that these are dishes that may have been eaten at an Irish Christmas celebration during the 1700s, at least from the evidence of Mary Cannon’s Commonplace Book.
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If you happened to pick up a copy of yesterday’s Irish Times, you might have come across the Christmas supplement with an article on food-related gifts by one Caroline Hennessy. If you didn’t, then you can take a look at the piece below. Click on a page to see it in a larger format on the Irish Times website.
As published in the Irish Examiner on 2 October 2010.“They’re rather…ugly,” said Scott, aka the husband, gazing intently at the pair of awkward-looking eight-week old turkeys that he had just wrestled from the boot of my car into their new home. All long legs, ruffled feathers and indignant hissing, they huddled together in the back corner. “We’ll have no problem eating such awful looking birds!” he added with satisfaction. Eighteen-month-old Hannah, fascinated with any animal that crosses her path, wanted to join them in the house but they were having none of it. A few squawks quickly saw her off and she was easily distracted with her regular playmates: the hens and cats. Thankfully, there would be no love lost there either. It’s a little early to be getting into “the turkeys have gone to help Santa get ready for Christmas” explanations.
Barbara Kingsolver may be responsible for propagating the myth that turkeys are so suicidally dumb that they can drown just by gazing skywards as it rains but a quick online search will soon see you right. In 2003, Tom Savage, a poultry scientist at Oregon State University tried to get some respect for the turkey population by explaining that the only reason turkeys stare at the sky is because of a misunderstood genetic nervous disorder. According to his observations, the birds were no less intelligent than any similar fowl. I beg to differ.