Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Tale of Two Turkeys

No, you're right, those aren't turkeys. Bear with me . . . Before I was thinking of turkeys at all today, I was ruminating on how my tastebuds seem to be "off" lately. I've not enjoyed arugula or radicchio very much recently, which is disappointing, as they are normally "eye-rolling delicious" to me. As I was engaged in this rumination, and wishing for a spare loaf of Eziekiel bread to fill my confused belly, I reached into the garage freezer for something else and found . . . Eziekiel! You know how it feels when you find a $20 in the pocket of a jacket you haven't worn in 6 months? Yeah, that's what it felt like! Score! I moved Eziekiel to the fridge and went out on my errands.

I'm currently doing my son's cat-sitting job for him since his doctor determined the cat dander exacerbates his migraines, so I did that first. Then I drove into town to make a deposit and pick up my compounded medicine. As I was driving on North Main Street, right here in downtown Alpharetta Georgia, on the sidewalk across from the church where Wynne went to preschool was a turkey. Yes -- a turkey. Not a Butterball, not even the fat white lucky one who is pardoned by the President. This was a very out-of-context, wild Tom Turkey, lovely and brown with a bit of blue iridescence around the neck and a handsome red gobbly-thing (I'm fairly certain this is not the technical term for this part of a turkey's anatomy, but you get the picture). I'm guestimating he was about 15-20 lbs. Tom was busying himself chowing down on something that was on the sidewalk (seeds?). He looked proud and unfazed by the incredulous drivers passing by. I said a small prayer that he wouldn't venture off the sidewalk, and then I was swept along with the other traffic to complete my errands.  Driving back home, I realized I had forgotten all about the turkey when I saw him again, thankfully still in one piece, thankfully still happily munching whatever he was munching.

Why am I telling you this? I don't know! I'm sure I'd have forgotten about him altogether if not for one of my stream-of-consciuosness sessions that followed as I was attempting to find something that would satisfy my unfamiliar tastes lately. I'm not sure what is up with my tastebuds, but suspect the Spring pollen. I am, for the second Spring in a row (both vegan Springs) undaunted by seasonal allergies. By undaunted, I mean I am not flattened by a Spring sinus infection, which was my prior pattern. But that doesn't mean I am necessarily totally unaffected. Maybe the pollen is changing the way things taste to me. It's fine -- I'll take that any day over an infection!

So back to lunch -- I lazily microwaved an Amy's Black Bean Burrito, with some Spinach and Daiya on the side, and it was great, but I was still hungy for sweets!  This is WEIRD for me. I never want sweets. So I toasted some Eziekiel bread and spread it with Almond butter, fresh pear slices and slices of dried figs. So delicious, and just what I wanted! Here comes the other turkey:  as I was slicing the dried figs, I remembered the year I had overzealously (without reading the tag on the plants about space requirements) bought a couple of fig trees to fill some spaces in a flower bed up at the curb in our front yard. I was actually thinking of the potted fiddle-leaf fig trees I have indoors (the leaves do look like "fiddles" or violins) My indoor figs are ornamental and do not bear fruit and take up no horizontal space,  growing vertically.

The figs by the street were so happy with the sunny spot I chose that they quickly bullied all the other plants and spread across the bed with large scary leaves (shaped not like a fiddle, but like the one Adam wore). The effect was swamp creature-like. The bushes were flat on the ground and creeping with large luscious fruit that was most often found first by the wildlife so the intoxicating fragrance of the bitten and crushed figs drew swarms of wasps. I could often be found on my way to the bus stop to meet the kids, squatting, flailing and screaming as I tried to find a few unmolested fruits without being stung. The figs were luscious. I had inadvertently chosen two different monster fig breeds: Black Mission and Brown Turkey (there's the other turkey!) I loved both, but preferred the Black Mission. I was a bit of a laughing stock of the cul-de-sac for a while as I tried to find a way to live with my plant/beasts. I pruned severely and repeatedly, only to find the figs had otherwordly regenerative powers akin to Harry Potter's hair. Eventually I had to admit my folly and submit to the winch on my husband's jeep to pull the plants out. But I sure ate high on the Black Mission and Brown Turkey that year (I was the only one brave enough to eat the fruit of the plant/beasts).

As I savored the storebought dried figs, I enjoyed remembering this Brown Turkey Fig chapter, and sent some more good vibes to Tom Turkey of North Main Street, for his well-being.


  1. we have wild turkeys out here in the woods, but how odd to spot one in town! i hope he got to wherever he was headed.

  2. Yes, I think so, thankfully -- After posting this in a hurry I had to run out again for an appointment and drove right through the same location. Thank goodness there was no sign of him!

  3. I love turkeys! They are so beautiful and really smart, too. FYI, the gobbly thing under a turkey's beak is called the wattle. The skin that hangs over the beak is called a snood, I believe.

  4. Excellent! I love working on my vocabulary. I don't think I could have figured out how to look that one up. Thanks Burnout!

  5. Beautiful writing Cheryl and fun to read!

  6. Thanks so much Emily! Glad you liked it.