Dissection of the Meleagris Gallopavo
An Experiment in Holiday Fashion
The experiment of the Meleagris Gallopavo began as it normally would: an early morning awakening to light snowfall, hot coffee waiting on the stove, warm crackling heat and, a soon to be insatiable hunger cured only by the festival cheer, company of others, and of course the Gallopavo itself.
The morning proved picturesque as any I’d experienced before. It was 8 AM, November the 24th when I awakened from my slumber. The draft of the large house which I found myself in chilled the tip of my nose, and the ends of my feet. I had resided in the home of my dear friend, Sebastian, the night previous and had planned to spend the holiday there, in the quiet town of Chatham, New York, located just over a hundred miles north of my current residence in Connecticut.
I arose from my sleeping place in the guest bedroom upstairs and made my way down to the kitchen. Snow dallied about outside in the bleak mid-morning; rays of cold rosy sun making their way into the morning air. When I arrived downstairs I was greeted with a warm cup of coffee. Sebastian's mother, Elisa, and younger sister Isabelle, were in the kitchen already, cleaning the sink and counter for the cooking preparations to come.
Sebastian entered soon after, sporting a blue bathrobe and brown slippers. I sipped my coffee contentedly, enjoying the strong black liquid.
“Could I be of any service?” I mused after a moment of inconsequential chatter. I felt as though I should be of help in some way, even if lacking the proper aptitude.
“In due time, young man,” Elisa said, her apron already tied about her waist. “For now Isabelle and I require the kitchen to prepare the solanum tuberosum.” Elisa retrieved the tools from a drawer below the sink. She handed Isabelle a large knife to sharpen while Sebastian and I made our way out to the parlour.
The morning carried on without consequence. Sebastian and I slowly prepared the dining room for four o’clock dinner while Elisa, Isabelle and Sebastian’s oldest sister, Rosa, made headway on the specimen. Rosa, the eldest, had just returned from New York City to begin her job at a local newspaper. We spoke briefly while she sipped a cool mimosa. Sebastian appeared in the doorway of the dining room with a blade in his hand.
“We require the solanum tuberosum to be skinned.” I paused apprehensively for a moment.
“You trust me with this?” I asked, unsure if I was fit for the undertaking.
“You are of Germanic descent, are you not?” he replied.
“Indeed, I am.”
“Then you must be well equipped for such a task.” I gazed at the blade for a moment. It reminded me of the furcula if the two slit ends were attached. I approached him and accepted the task, knowing the experiment could be ruined if I were to fail.
Despite my qualms, I found it quite easy to skin the specimen. After inspecting carefully and washing the dirt from their exterior, I was able to release tuberosum from the protective outer shell. Next, I placed the solanum tuberosum in water in order to allow them to soften until the next stage of the experiment: immense heat for a long period of time, paired with various spices and mashed until a delightful warm porridge.
The afternoon rolled around with growing anticipation. Guests were beginning to arrive at the house. An apprehensive chatter began among them. I approached Sebastian with a glass of red wine in my hand, and offered him one of his own.
“Will the experiment be successful?” I inquired in a hushed tone. “Elisa has not yet revealed the Meleagris. I fear the guests will become uneasy.”
“It will be a success, Christian, fear not. Surely they will not leave this place in disappointment.”
“There seem to be a growing number of them streaming in, how do we expect to entertain them all?”
Suddenly there came a swell of warm air accompanied in smells of sage. Sebastian looked at me with assurance.
“It’s time.” He said. With this Elisa entered the dining room. The room fell silent. The low murmur of chatter and clinking of glasses all came to an abrupt end. Elisa grasped a large silver platter. Her arms quivered slightly under the weight of its contents; a droplet of sweat glistened on her brow. She approached the large table which had since been placed and decorated ostentatiously with silverware, glasses and foods and desserts of all kinds. Elisa placed the large and aromatic specimen in the center of the table; all eyes feasting upon its golden brown beauty. The Meleagris Gallopavo had been created. Seasoned by years of experience and hours of labor, it was now ready to be dissected.
I glanced around the room, looking for the one who dared to step forward. It was none other than the host, Sebastian, who entered the dining room now baring a large and immaculate ceremonial knife. Sebastian approached the specimen, gazing intently at the creation. The hunger in his eyes said more than even his stomach could. With a swift and precise motion of the right arm he plunged the knife into the weak jointed area of the bird and cut off its leg. Clear liquid of celestial aroma oozed forth and trickled onto the silver platter below. A gasp from the crowd indicated the festivities had officially begun. He placed the tender leg of the Meleagris onto a plate. Then, turning to me, revealed the hilt of the knife.
“Please, my guest of honor, I would be insulted if you did not partake in this dissection immediately following me.” I extended my hand and grabbed the knife. I felt uneasy with all eyes on me. I walked over to the bird and sliced a generous chunk of its side and placed the slab onto a provided platter.
“Let the festivities begin!” cried Sebastian. With that, the onlooking crowd cheered jubilantly. The knife was handed elsewhere while the host and I added an assortment of pie, vegetables, candied sweet potato and of course the softened, buttered solanum tuberosum which I had helped prepare.
Soon, the evening was filled with jolly laughter, the clinking of glasses toasting to health and thankfulness. The dissection of the Meleagris Gallopavo was by all means a success. Naught an ounce of the specimen was to be left behind. The evening continued in joyous fashion. The host and I divulged our lives to one another over helping after helping of Meleagris and sweet wine. Dear friends whom I had not seen in ages were present to share in the jovial nature of our dissection. Until next dissection, we shall be thankful for this day, and all which lie between.