Wednesday, October 16, 2019

What a Turkey!

Will he fit or do we operate?

For years we enjoyed listening to Stewart Maclean read his story “Dave Cooks the Turkey” every Christmas. It is a hilarious story and if you have not heard it, you need to do so. It is hard to believe that something as simple as cooking a turkey could be so funny. This Thanksgiving I discovered that real life can be almost as entertaining.

We were invited to Aunt Margie's for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Now Margie is not actually our aunt, she is my daughter's husband's aunt, and we had only met her once at our daughter's wedding. The fact that we were invited to her house for Thanksgiving gives you some idea of what this lady is like. It was a bit complicated; we had invited our daughter's in-laws (Aunt Margie's sister) to visit and they arranged to come after Thanksgiving. Since we were in Ontario on a staycation at Ryan's new condo, we were driving home on the Thanksgiving weekend and so the stars aligned and we were included in the family celebration at Aunt Margie's house outside of Fredricton New Brunswick.

I offered to contribute my famous “Double Jack” pie (Jack-O-Lantern & Jack Daniels), and of course we offered to help in any way. Regis had been chatting with the mother-in-law Mary and she told us that Thanksgiving at Aunt Margie's was an event . . . she was an avid gardener and was planning to harvest all her own organic vegetables for the dinner and had actually raised the turkey which was to be the center-piece of the dinner. Regis then told me that I might be called in to help lead the bird to his actual demise. I had visions of axes and bloody tree stumps, but I was prepared to help out if necessary. After all I had no connection with this turkey and had no attachment to him; he was just going to be Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, Aunt Margie's great granddaughter, while giving me a tour of the estate, pointed to the vacated turkey pen and explained, “That is where the turkeys used to live, but now they are dinner.”

Fortunately, when we arrived, the turkey (he had been named Thanksgiving) had already met his demise and was stored in the fridge in the basement. However, the problems with this beast were only beginning. Over a couple of glasses of wine we started discussing how to process this turkey. It was discovered that it weighed 42 pounds and we tried to decided how long it would take to cook. Then someone suggested we should first see if it would even fit in the oven. A tape measure determined that it might fit although someone suggested we could cut him up and cook just the main body and do the wings and drumsticks separately.

Ready to carve
Next question was if there was any pan in the house that could hold a 42 pound turkey. At first nothing close to fitting could be found, and welding up a special pan out of stainless was suggested. Mike (Margie's husband) refused saying he needed that stainless for more important projects. Finally a HUGE rarely used lasagna pan was located and although the turkey hung out on all sides, he did sort of fit.

Then a search on the internet determined that getting a turkey of 42 pounds to “Done” would require at least 10 hours, so dinner at 4:00 pm required someone to get up at 6:00 am to wrangle the thing into the oven. By the time we got up in the morning, “Thanksgiving” was installed in the oven and starting to brown nicely. However, tenting him in tinfoil was a chore and every time he was pulled out of the oven for basting he threatened to break the oven door off.

Ten hours later, “Thanksgiving” was dinner, and he was delicious, although even with ten people eating dinner we only managed to get through one-eighth of the Turkey.
Now that's a drumstick!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Underpass Street Art

Corktown Underpass Park

The bigger cities get, the more traffic congestion is created and one of the ways to help this is with expressways to whisk people in and out of the city over top of the stop and go local traffic. When you build expressways they work best without stoplights and intersections, so they have to go over other roads. This creates overpasses, and many of them become unsightly areas that no one likes. They collect garbage and sometimes slightly unsavoury segments of society. We visited an area of Houston Texas that developed a park under their highways, and it was apparently a constant struggle to clear the homeless from these sheltered areas. Toronto has taken a different approach to utilizing highways 'underpasses'.

In a neighbourhood of Toronto called Corktown, two of the cities major expressways converge, creating a tangle of elevated roadways and the related underpasses beneath them. Rather than hiding them away behind fences to keep people away, they invited local street artists to decorate the concrete support columns and created a park there. Some of it is used to provide parking commuters and a skateboard park was build in another area along with a basketball court. Apparently the area is also used once a week for a local farmer's market.

The result is a clean and attractive area used by the local people. Even the garbage cans have been decorated by street artists. We went there on a weekday, so it was not busy, but there were still people there playing basketball, skateboarding and just enjoying the art.

What a great way to utilize a unwanted area of the city!

Mirrors on the roof

Immortalized on Concrete

Even garbage Cans get Painted

Go Fish

Skateboard Park