ABT (anything but turkey)

The heir apparent?

There is a push-on from within the family circle to have anything-but-turkey this coming Christmas dinner. I do all the cooking on Christmas day. It is the tradition in our household and , though the ravages of time are making it seem like an increasing amount of work, I am happy to comply.

Having married into a European-based family we have had all manner of wild game at the table around the yuletide. There has been goose and duck and pheasant….even wild boar. On Christmas Eve we gather to nosh on smoked salmon, escargot, various pates and good cheese. But the next day…the BIG day for North American sentiments…has always been turkey and I have forever cooked the bird.

I have heard that duck may be on the menu. Duck is no slam dunk. You have to get the right duck (not the one pictured above)…and it’ll have to be a couple of birds to feed the table. You want young duck…with not too much fat. Duck requires a little more maintenance than a turkey. I will, inevitably, have to go to the mountain and consult the 90-year old Omamian oracle on such matters.

Of course, if it’s done right there is nothing to match it. (Although we’ve had some scrumptious goose.) A well roasted duck with braised chestnuts, some brussels sprouts..maybe a little red cabbage..is a meal you don’t forget. I’m smiling as I write this. Duck confit, for example,  happens to be one of my palate’s Achilles heels. (Can your palate have a heel?)  If there is duck confit , for example, on a restaurant menu it’s a foregone conclusion that I will have to order it. You could bury me in duck confit (just dump it in the casket) and I’d be a contented corpse.

There will be no leftovers on a Christmas duck. It’ll be picked as clean as a wounded wildebeest on the Serengeti. There will be no midnight snacks to savour…no latent sandwiches to assemble..and unless the Marx Brothers make a sudden Jacob Marley-like appearance, there will be no duck soup.

The Christmas duck will be well and truly finished by the time we all push back, in one collective satiated groan, from the table.


4 Responses to “ABT (anything but turkey)”

  1. Mike Orlando Says:


    You’ve done it again! These Manic Tapas entries are great. I can just picture you telling these stories in person, and it cracks me up knowing what a character you are.


  2. Ditto to what Mike said.

  3. Louise Henry Says:

    I hate to be a bah-humbug person, but you forgot to mention the teatowel apron 🙂

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