Italian Big Bird

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Uploaded 12 Mar 2010 — 18 favorites
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© Deborah Downes
Views 418
Likes 0
Favorites 17
Comments 33
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Submitted to Traditions

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Photo license: © All rights reserved

I originally posted this shot a year from last Thanksgiving. As I’ve mentioned before, Fred (my husband) is the real cook in the family. He traditionally prepares our Thanksgiving feast. Has done so throughout our marriage (37 years and counting). We’ve lived in foreign countries where it’s been difficult or impossible to purchase a turkey. When we lived near Siena in Tuscany, Fred didn’t have a problem ordering one from a local butcher. He asked for about a 15 pound bird, figuring that would be a good size for us and the friends we’d invited for Thanksgiving.

I so wish I’d been with Fred when he picked up the turkey, so I could have photographed the look on his face when he saw the only size one the butcher could offer, 36 pounds. Knowing how much all of us were looking forward to a traditional American Thanksgiving feast, Fred bought the Italian Big Bird. Of course then came the challenge of getting that beast into our oven. By the time I took this shot Fred had removed the legs and thighs, hoping that would solve the problem. No such luck. Thankfully, via the internet, he discovered a great way to cook just the breasts, thighs, and legs, with stuffing in the thighs and under the breasts, and everything arranged to where it looked like a whole 18 pound bird. Of course we were worried this Italian Big Bird would be tough and dry. Turned out to be the juiciest and most tender turkey we’ve ever had. Plus our guests were thrilled over the leftovers we gave them to take home.

33 responses

  • dp *

    dp * gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    RAD for sure, nice one. dp

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight (Deleted) said (12 Mar 2010):

    Fred may be smiling, but look at the strain on his forearms! What a great story. The butcher must have thought you wanted an ostrich, not a turkey. Or, maybe it's an emu. Whatever the case, it had to be a Thanksgiving to remember! Fanstastic shot and narrative. Voted!

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett   gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    Looks like Fred is holding on for dear life!! BTV!

  • JOE FAILK

    JOE FAILK gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    Yea Rad Vote!

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    LOL....looks like he used a hawser to tie it down!! Great entry!

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    Oh YEAH/RAD!

  • Anne Worner

    Anne Worner (Deleted) gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    Definitely RAD. If Thanksgiving isn't traditional I don't know what is. I have never seen such a large turkey. In Norway, the past years, they have been trying to introduce Thanksgiving, with turkey, but I don't think they come this big. So, with time this may become a tradition there also!

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham (Deleted) gave props (13 Mar 2010):

    What a fabulous story!! A great entry!!

  • Karen Foto Fiddler

    Karen Foto Fiddler (Deleted) gave props (14 Mar 2010):

    VOTE! Love this story! 36 lbs! WOW!

  • Judy Wanamaker

    Judy Wanamaker (Deleted) gave props (14 Mar 2010):

    I remember this one!!! A great shot and a great entry.

  • Warren ~Mangione~

    Warren ~Mangione~ gave props (14 Mar 2010):

    WOW! Hope you had a huge oven for that incredibly huge turkey! Great story.

  • Luke Everett

    Luke Everett gave props (14 Mar 2010):

    Voted!! Great for theme

  • Ann Reece

    Ann Reece   gave props (14 Mar 2010):

    Fantastic photo and story about the big Italian bird! I voted!

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (15 Mar 2010):

    That's one fine bird...

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (15 Mar 2010):

    Oh YEAH! Rad!

  • Zerina Phillip

    Zerina Phillip gave props (16 Mar 2010):

    Oh my! Just imagine this is reverse.....voted

  • Lanis Rossi

    Lanis Rossi gave props (16 Mar 2010):

    Neat story, great photo and entry! Voted!

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (16 Mar 2010):

    Great story and image...That is a huge turkey, challenging to prepare... not to forget the many hours it woudl take to roast... you have my vote!

  • Debrah Leonard

    Debrah Leonard (Deleted) gave props (16 Mar 2010):

    vote!

  • Suzanne McGeady

    Suzanne McGeady said (17 Mar 2010):

    My Goodness Look at the thighs on that big bird!! That would last right through to the New Year and then some!! Nice to see these traditions continue especially with a winter christmas to go with it.

  • Winky Vivas

    Winky Vivas (Deleted) gave props (17 Mar 2010):

    Great entry for the theme! Voted!

  • jan-louise haller

    jan-louise haller gave props (18 Mar 2010):

    Great American Tradition...my favorite ! Vote !

  • Martin E. Morris

    Martin E. Morris (Deleted) gave props (18 Mar 2010):

    An impreesive bird and an equally impressive image and narrative.Get's my vote!!!

  • Christopher J Chalk

    Christopher J Chalk gave props (20 Mar 2010):

    Has Fred got a job coming up in OZ:) That is one big chook Deb, Fred is even flexing his muscles to hold it.....LOL

  • Christopher J Chalk

    Christopher J Chalk gave props (20 Mar 2010):

    PS: I did vote :)

  • Suzanne McGeady

    Suzanne McGeady said (23 Mar 2010):

    BTV!!!

  • Fred Downes

    Fred Downes said (25 Mar 2010):

    Before I started the "amputations" on my emu, I held him up as high as my chest by his legs. Admittedly he was pretty limp but his wings almost hit the floor. That's the picture Deb needed to take! The rope strung through him was so I could more easily shift him around before cooking. The best part about roasting just the ribcage and breasts (with the legs and thighs alongside, is you can really mound the dressing, my God I do love dressing, under it all without over-stuffing. I use the same technique with much smaller birds when I am at home now. Great results without all the waste. Big Bird was, by the way, the best turkey I ever cooked in flavor, tenderness and texture. Try it!!!

  • david ong

    david ong gave props (1 Apr 2010):

    :) got my vote

  • Steven Maguire

    Steven Maguire gave props (5 Apr 2010):

    Fantastic entry!!!!

  • Aaron Mythen

    Aaron Mythen gave props (7 May 2010):

    Now thats a what you call a bird..!!! Tell Fred I said hello!!!

  • Steve Baker

    Steve Baker   gave props (11 May 2010):

    Gorgeous entry. GMV!

  • Michael Ball

    Michael Ball gave props (25 May 2010):

    That's a big bird and a wonderful tradition!! My vote for sure!!

  • Bruce Miller

    Bruce Miller (Deleted) gave props (9 Jun 2010):

    That thing's huge!!!!!

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