I WONDER if the turkeys know the festive season is near; if they say to each other in mournful tones as they pass in the fields or barnyards, “Christmas comes but once a year, but when it comes it brings good cheer”? That is what the people say, ‘but,” says the poor turkey, “I have quite a dismal, shuddering horror of the day, and I wonder good Christians don’t stop using us for a feast-dish; they certainly have no Bible authority for it; tliev ought to kill a particalarly fat calf or a tender, dainty little kid, which they might share with us, so we could join in the general chorus of ‘Merry Christmas.'”
I don’t know why it is that turkeys must go to the sacrifice each year, but it has become such an honored custom that parents who do not always, in many important ways, obey their Maker in considering their duty toward their children, would be horrified at feeding His little ones with other than turkey meat on His birthday. So, as it has been decided for us that turkey must be the “piece de resistance” for our Christmas feast, all we have got to consider is how we shall send it to our board in its most becoming dress.
The Germans always stuff this holiday bird with potatoes, nicely mashed, with milk and butter, minced onions, chopped parsley, and tiny pieces of pork thoroughly mixed through; this makes a rich and delicious addition to our turkey if the stuffing receives its full share of the hasting. Be sure to baste the turkey freely, particularly if the bird has not had its share of food in life. Have a good, clear fire for the roasting (not too fierce), and a little while before serving baste with butter and dredge a little flour over it, so it may appear at the table a rich, red-brown color.
Most of us make stuffing for turkey with breadcrumb (baker’s bread is best) mixed with sage, and thyme, onions and butter, pepper and salt. One turkey I remember was stuffed with a quail; inside the quail was a smaller bird with oyster stuffing.
If more than one turkey is needed it is nice to have a variety; have a boiled one at one end of the table, but roast the larger one; it will be the general favorite. In boiling use the same stuffing, only a little more highly seasoned ; a little minced chicken is very nice; allow fifteen minutes to the pound in boiling.
Send to the table with a crisp bunch of parsley in the crop and deluged in parsley dressing (arich drawn butter in which chopped parsley has simmered ten minutes). Oyster sauce suits roast or boiled turkey; in fact, it takes a verv poor cook, with a most determined will, to spoil this bird and make it entirely unpalatable.
Source: Arthur’s Home Magazine, 1885