|Turkey on the Cat|
|Written by Carole Connolly Castle|
|Sunday, 26 October 2008 20:34|
So there I was muscling my Butterball up the gangplank trying to look casual, like this was an everyday occurrence. If I could just get past the corner where the guys from the gas dock hung out, I could slip aboard the catamaran, get the big bird in the freezer and call it good. No such luck. So there I was muscling my Butterball up the gangplank trying to look casual, like this was an everyday occurrence. If I could just get past the corner where the guys from the gas dock hung out, I could slip aboard the catamaran, get the big bird in the freezer and call it good. No such luck. As I rounded the bend, there they were, all three of them, taking the umpteenth cigarette break of the day. As they say in the Caribbean, they be limin', those boys. I put on a bright smile, gave a hearty greeting and hoped they wouldn't notice the fat turkey I was toting. With Thanksgiving coming up that Thursday, I thought everybody would be stocking their turkeys on Saturday, provisioning for the week's charter.
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I couldn't understand why I didn't see the other charter chefs grappling with theirs. Didn't they celebrate Turkey Day? Was it because we were sailing to the British Virgin Islands, where it is not a national holiday? Well, my charter guests were American, and I, for one, was going to put on the feast with all the trimmings; apricot/prune/chestnut stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, home-made cranberry sauce, my world-famous broccoli ring with creamed onions in the center, candied yams and pumpkin pie!
I knew those local guys on the corner were going to make great sport out of my endeavor. My friendly bantering with them throughout the season paved the way for it. They had to be formal and polite with most of the rich yachties that gassed up at their dock. I knew they looked forward to my friendly, relaxed demeanor and especially enjoyed the left-over baked goods I passed to them throughout the season; favorites were chocolate cherry cake and piña colada cheesecake with mango glaze. As I approached I braced myself for the chiding."Hey, girlie! Where you goin' wid dat?" asked Jamal. "You tink dat gonna fit in your oven?" All three keeled over with laughter, as I scurried aboard the boat wondering the very same thing!
Before going to Marina Market in St. Thomas to purchase the turkey, I had actually measured the interior of the oven. I brought a cloth tape measure into the market with me and was quite careful to buy the largest bird possible while staying within the 6" height limitation. So why did it NOT fit into the oven? Hmmmm. Well, this bird was still frozen. All I had to do was give it a good whack on the breast bone when it thawed and that baby would be in! I hope.
We made plans with the crew of Quicksilver, another 42' catamaran, to meet in Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, raft up and celebrate the holiday together. They had a nice couple from New York on board and we had a family of 5 from California. The women on board our boat wanted to participate in the meal preparation saying it just wouldn't be a real Thanksgiving unless everyone was in the kitchen together as was their tradition. In this case, "everyone" was just the mom, Micki, and her grand-daughter, Chelsea. I made an exception of the rule: Nobody cooks in my galley, but me! It turned out to be fun in those close quarters, in spite of literally getting stuck between the sink and the stove trying to get past Micki. The three of us laughed all day, sipped rum and coke while cooking (Cruzan rum is a necessary ingredient when letting strangers into your galley) and managed to put out an unforgettable Thanksgiving feast. Clad in sarongs, all enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday in the British Virgin Islands! I'll have to deliver the left-over pumpkin pie to the dock boys. So, the moral of the story is: don't forget to measure your turkey. And remember the fist-whacking -mashing-down technique...it works!
Carole Castle is a freelance chef/crew with her STCW.