Sunday, October 24, 2010

Not Talking Turkey: Mock Turkey

Wow! November is almost here which for many of us, causes our minds to turn to turkey. Or, mock turkey as the case may be. There is a recipe in the Mennonite Community Cookbook by that very name. The endorsement at the bottom of the recipe says, "This dish actually tastes like turkey." That it does. Or at least like turkey stuffing. I remember Grandma making it for us once when we went to visit her and subsequently my mom added it to her "occasional" list of recipes. You know, not the regular list of go to recipes but the ones pulled out occasionally. So, I remembered this recipe and prepared it last evening for dinner. It was satisfying and it tasted as I remember Grandma's dish.

Thinking turkey and making mock turkey led me to think of the phrase talking turkey and it happens that I have a story about that. I think of it every November since it happened and I retell it if someone will listen. In 2005, I was going through a divorce and it was a rough time. Most of the time the pain felt so intense that it seemed as though I wasn't wearing skin. Small words of kindness and the slightest signs of hope kept me going. My faith led me to be grateful each day for small blessings and large gifts like breath and grace. It was a time when I didn't feel I had much to give and with the holidays approaching, I felt rather depressed. But,alas, being a Mennonite means you believe you are genetically equipped to go forth and serve no matter what the circumstances. Despair, who cares? Put on your sensible shoes and go do some good for the world.

So, I heard there was going to be a dinner for the homeless in our community and it was to be served at a church in town. I called the pastor, whom I shall call Reverend Zeal. He has a good heart and a call to lead the church of Relentless Evangelism. When I picked up the phone to make this call I had no idea what I was in for. Hello, Reverend Zeal. My name is Ellen and I heard that your church is serving a Thanksgiving meal for the homeless. I would like to help prepare or serve some food if you need it. Ellen? Ellen? Where are you from Ellen? North Newton, sir. Ahh Ellen, do you believe in our wonderful, sweet, sweet Jesus, Ellen? Yes, yes I do. Why Ellen, why, do you believe in our wonderful sweet, loving Jesus? Well... (because answered prayers are the only thing keeping me from going over the edge didn't seem like a good response) ...because He is wonderful? Now, I do love Jesus and I would like to know if you need some help with your Thanksgiving meal. I could help serve or bring some food. I would just like to help in some way. Ahhh, Ellen, can you give a testimony? We need a testimony. Well, Reverend Zeal, these days I am going through a bit of crisis and just trying to hang on. I do want to share and I really just want to serve some turkey. Well, Ellen what we need is a TESTIMONY! I am not just TALKING TURKEY here, Can you give us a real Jesus testimony? That is what people need- a TESTIMONY! ( I am starting to think I will just stay home on Thanksgiving.) Reverend, I would be very happy to come and talk to people and try to share some hope one -on -one but could I please just serve some turkey? Well, Ellen we really need some testimonies but I suppose you could just bring a potato dish. (Clearly, he was disappointed.) Okay, thank you Reverend, goodbye. Exhausted, I hung up the phone. I was looking for signs and this seemed to a good one that perhaps this year, I was allowed to stay home and be healed. Sometimes we have to show ourselves the kindness we offer so readily to others.

So, I share with you now the recipe for mock turkey... perhaps for times when you aren't talking turkey!

1 loaf stale bread
1 quart milk
1 carrot, grated
1 onion, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 dash of pepper
1 lb ground sausage
1 tsp poulty seasoning

Remove crust from load of bread;tear apart and moisten with milk. Add meat, chopped vegetables and seasoning.
Mix together well and place in a buttered baking dish. (9x13 is about right)
Bake at 350 for 1 and 1/2 hours.

This recipe is adapted from the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950).

Take good care,

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