Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner [Repost]

Prompt: Assay

Rockwell turkey dinner.jpg

At least Iggie and Aggie were dressed for dinner. By that I mean they had some clothes on. Iggie wore a pair of my father’s swim trunks, which looked uncomfortably tight and inflexible, and Aggie wore a pair of Julie’s terry cloth work shorts. They each had a kind of shawl, made of deerskin, which they wore fur side in, and which actually didn’t smell that bad. When ever my mother passed Aggie, sitting awkwardly in her dining chair, she wrapped the shawl a little tighter at the front, to avoid the exposure of Aggie’s nipples.

Breasts were OK at the dinner table, just not nipples. Julie wore a very low scoop-necked white sweater, which so showed off her pillowy breasts that Iggie reached across the table to touch them. His wrist was caught in a swift move by my father, who slapped a turkey drumstick into Iggie’s palm, and this seemed to diffuse the situation.

Iggie and Aggie glared at Uncle Fred, because Uncle Fred made no allowances for their sneezing and wore a healthy dollop of Old Spice anyway. Uncle Fred never made allowances, so Iggie and Aggie should not have taken this personally. Uncle Fred also resisted allowing them to touch his carefully gelled and parted hair, or poke their pinkie fingers into his ear.

We never had our devices with us at the dinner table; it was a rule. Except for Celia, who at eight years old pretty much did whatever she wanted. My mother made her put a napkin over her iPhone, and surprisingly, she complied. But she peeked at it every so often, and whatever she found there made her laugh. Iggie and Aggie looked at her with pity. They had never seen an Apple, though they seemed quite fond of apples, which they ate whole, spitting out only the stems, which still lay on the hallway floor.

When Celia realized that neither of our guests could speak or understand English, nor any language, really, she very cheerfully made child judgements of their appearance and smell. “Iggie smells like Charlie’s breath, that time he ate that dead fish that washed up on the beach,” she said.

“That,” said my father, “is very disrespectful.”

Iggie picked up the fork at the side of his plate, which he hadn’t used yet, and started to scratch his groin with it. Aggie watched him with disdain, then snatched the fork out of his hand and threw it across the room. This seemed to be some kind of personal issue, so we stayed out of it.

When it was time to go, we all stood up. Mother gave them a tupperware container of homemade chocolate chip cookies which they put in the Batman pillow case that Celia had provided. Aggie took the turkey carcass from its platter and put it in the pillow slip along with the cookies. Iggie crossed the room and picked up the fork Aggie had thrown and put it in the bag, too. Then he bit Julie in the ass. Aggie, startled by his attentions to another woman, bit Uncle Fred in the ass. They started to laugh, and we all joined in.

We must have inherited their sense of humour.


Original Prompt: Modern Families, January 10, 2016
If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?

dog and fish

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Scorched and Day 20 of Nano

Prompt: Scorched

mr-bean-turkey

Are your memories of your first, really botched meals as pathetic as mine?

I rarely burned or scorched anything; in fact I had the opposite problem. On a long ago Thanksgiving I  roasted a turkey for my partner’s English boss and his wife. I was laying out a feast like the ones my mother used to do: the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, roast turnips– the whole shootin’ match.

It seems food takes longer to cook at higher altitudes, and we’d recently moved to Calgary, altitude 1050m (3445 ft). The damn turkey just would not cook.

Now at Thanksgiving, the appetizers are light and few, because of the massive feast to come, but our guests had eaten all the pickles and olives and neatly sliced celery. They were getting close to licking the dainty little plates they were served in. Everything else was mashed, buttered, stirred, plated, and bowled and inevitably getting dry and cold.

The turkey, about 7 kilos (or 15 lb) was gorgeous. Golden brown, glistening, plump– but mostly raw in the middle. Unless we planned to eat after midnight, we had to take it out of the oven. We put it on a platter and partner proudly showed it to our guests, by now sucking on the ice cubes from their drinks, and quite possibly biting their nails in hunger, before taking it into the kitchen to be carved.

The top part of each breast was cooked beautifully, so we carved that and put it on the platter. It was skimpy and would not feed four people. The drumsticks, thighs, wings, everything else were bloody at the joint, inedible, but they were duly carved and place decoratively on the platter. I put some parsley sprigs around it. Garnish is important.

We sat at the table and passed around all the delicious vegetables and stuffing to our guests, but when it came time to pass the turkey around, my partner and I were horribly rude. We picked what we wanted first! I took a drumstick and thigh and a wing, so did partner.  More meat than a reasonable person could consume. This left only a few perfectly cooked slices of white meat and several sprigs of parsley for our guests.

I remember the boss’ wife, let’s say her name was Vivian. Vivian could not hide how she felt– she tried, and said the right words, but her face always betrayed her. When they’d first arrived to our apartment that evening, she simply could not disguise that she found Calgary quite frigid and horrible, despite saying they were settling in “fine”.

So she looked at our plates heaped with turkey, and the meagre white slices given to her and her husband, and a look of horror and disgust briefly crossed her face.

“Dig in!” said my partner.

It was all very tasty, especially the gravy, and partner and I ate most of the skin from the drumsticks and thighs, and filled up on mash and stuffing.

We became friends with these people, but never told them about the raw turkey. Vivian just believes I am the worst cook and most piggish host ever.