Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

How the Monsters Get Into My Refrigerator

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Daily Life,Gryphon,Special Events — folkcat at 4:38 pm on Friday, November 17, 2006

It’s happened again. Just like last year, there’s a monster in my refrigerator. (You can see a picture of last year’s monster there – scroll down a little.)

For the unitiated amongst you, here’s the story: here in New England, many small manufacturing companies still take a very paternal approach to their employees. One of the ways that manifests itself where Gryphon works is in the annual handing out of 20-lb. Thanksgiving Turkeys to every single employee.

And I mean, 20 pound Turkeys. To every employee.

Even the single ones who live in studio apartments with hot plates.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a very generous thing that they do, and we’re grateful for the bird.

It’s just that, it’s only the two of us for Thanksgiving. We’ll be freezing a lot of leftovers.

At least we have an actual oven. And a freezer.

Last year, I did the roasting of the bird. It was certainly something I’m capable of. But I don’t find much joy in spending my entire day tending a 20-lb. bird in the oven, basting it every half hour, etc. I’d rather be watching the parades and eating a Swanson Turkey Dinner. (At least, the way they used to be before they updated everything a few years back. Don’t mess with the classics!)

This year, I got to go along for the monster pick-up.Unlike many companies which hand out certificates you can take to the local supermarket, Gryphon’s employer actually collects a small truckload of the turkeys themselves. For second shift workers, that means going in a few hours early and bringing the bird home.

A Truckload of Turkeys
The Truckload of Birds

Not only that, but the birds (still in the original wholesale packaging of two birds to a box) are all directly labeled with specific employees’ names. So when you show up for your turkey, they have to hunt through the truck for your turkey.

The Monster Hand-Off
The Hand-Off

Phil was doing the searching when we arrived, and he poked among the boxes until he found the one labeled “Bill Q”. Which I guess is their way of saying Bill Kubeck. But we knew it had to be ours because, oddly, Gryphon is the only Bill working anywhere in the company.

Gryphon and the Turkey
Gryphon Gazes in Wonder

Now, after last year’s turkey, I had declared that I wasn’t going to do this again. But Gryphon, bless him, decided weeks ago that he enjoyed the whole thing enough that he would take responsibility for cooking the turkey and preparing Thanksgiving dinner this year.

I suspect the look on his face here comes from the realization of what he’s gotten himself into.

I’ll be doing my share. Something I actually enjoy is making the jellied cranberry sauce from scratch. I’ll do that this weekend, and between now and T-Day I’ll be deciding what we do about a pie or pies for dessert. If I get really ambitious, I wouldn’t rule out making one.

Mind you, we’re going to thoroughly enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. It’s actually something of a special holiday for us – we celebrate it as an anniversary. Way back in 1992, we had known each other for two years online already. But it wasn’t until he came to Syracuse to have Thanksgiving Dinner with me and my family that we ever laid eyes on each other.

So we like to have a nice Thanksgiving Dinner, and the Monster currently thawing in our refrigerator will be the centerpiece of the celebration.

Still and all – once again, there’s a Monster in my Refrigerator!

Refrigerator Monster, 2006



Comment by Karen in Wichita

November 17, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

Brine that puppy. Then you can pretty much forget the basting.


Last year, I ordered a 12-15 pound bird, since my father-in-law fries them. than, at close to the last minute, we decided not to mess with that, since my mother-in-law still insists on dehydrating… er, that is, on cooking a conventional one so as to get the gravy. Well, being that she hadn’t actually gotten a second one, when I went to pick up the beastie, the gal ahead of me in line was bemoaning the fact that all they left had were the 18+ pound birds (preorder, preorder, preorder!), and “There’s only four of us, and we don’t even LIKE turkey” (talk about your slave to tradition…), so I told the butcher he could sell her mine and I’d “upgrade.” (Soon as the door closed behind her, he sold me the big one for the little one’s price… sweet!)

I was a little nervous about cooking a monster bird like that (see “dehydrate” above), but I brined it, and it came out beautifully (except I didn’t rinse it quite well enough and there were salty spots where the legs meet the body… I’ll know to rinse there better this year). It’s amazing what brining does for the moisture level, even on a monster like that.


Comment by Arondelle

November 17, 2006 @ 5:50 pm


Good thing the Professor’s boss is somewhat of a cheapskate.

We’re still debating whether we’ll do one of those frozen “parts is parts” turkey rolls — or just go to MacDonalds…


Comment by Sara

November 18, 2006 @ 1:03 pm

When we lived in Tennessee – my boss actually gave us a turkey (at least 20# sometimes more) at Thanksgiving and a turkey and ham at Christmas – he would actually go to the grocery store and purchase the 20 of each and bring them in to the office and pass them out…it was his thing…and he liked doing it…


Comment by laughingrat

November 25, 2006 @ 11:25 am

That is so generous and lovely, if a bit overwhelming.

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