F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 13 Tips for What to Do with Your Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

fitzgerald turkey

Image by “The World’s Work” via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

“At this post hol­i­day sea­son, the refrig­er­a­tors of the nation are over­stuffed with large mass­es of turkey, the sight of which is cal­cu­lat­ed to give an adult an attack of dizzi­ness. It seems, there­fore, an appro­pri­ate time to give the own­ers the ben­e­fit of my expe­ri­ence as an old gourmet, in using this sur­plus mate­r­i­al.” There writes no less a leg­end of Amer­i­can let­ters than F. Scott Fitzger­ald, author of The Great Gats­by and Ten­der is the Night (both avail­able in our Free eBooks col­lec­tion). His words quot­ed here, from “Turkey Remains and How to Inter Them with Numer­ous Scarce Recipes,” a col­umn found in the Fitzger­ald mis­cel­lany col­lec­tion The Crack-Up, hold just as true this day-after-Thanks­giv­ing  as they did dur­ing those his life­time. Lists of Note offers the full piece, which itself offers thir­teen poten­tial uses for your left­over bird, some of which, Fitzger­ald writes, “have been in my fam­i­ly for gen­er­a­tions”:

1. Turkey Cock­tail: To one large turkey add one gal­lon of ver­mouth and a demi­john of angos­tu­ra bit­ters. Shake.

2. Turkey à la Fran­cais: Take a large ripe turkey, pre­pare as for bast­ing and stuff with old watch­es and chains and mon­key meat. Pro­ceed as with cot­tage pud­ding.

3. Turkey and Water: Take one turkey and one pan of water. Heat the lat­ter to the boil­ing point and then put in the refrig­er­a­tor. When it has jelled, drown the turkey in it. Eat. In prepar­ing this recipe it is best to have a few ham sand­wich­es around in case things go wrong.

4. Turkey Mon­gole: Take three butts of sala­mi and a large turkey skele­ton, from which the feath­ers and nat­ur­al stuff­ing have been removed. Lay them out on the table and call up some Mon­gole in the neigh­bor­hood to tell you how to pro­ceed from there.

5. Turkey Mousse: Seed a large prone turkey, being care­ful to remove the bones, flesh, fins, gravy, etc. Blow up with a bicy­cle pump. Mount in becom­ing style and hang in the front hall.

6. Stolen Turkey: Walk quick­ly from the mar­ket, and, if accost­ed, remark with a laugh that it had just flown into your arms and you had­n’t noticed it. Then drop the turkey with the white of one egg—well, any­how, beat it.

7. Turkey à la Crême: Pre­pare the crême a day in advance. Del­uge the turkey with it and cook for six days over a blast fur­nace. Wrap in fly paper and serve.

8. Turkey Hash: This is the delight of all con­nois­seurs of the hol­i­day beast, but few under­stand how real­ly to pre­pare it. Like a lob­ster, it must be plunged alive into boil­ing water, until it becomes bright red or pur­ple or some­thing, and then before the col­or fades, placed quick­ly in a wash­ing machine and allowed to stew in its own gore as it is whirled around. Only then is it ready for hash. To hash, take a large sharp tool like a nail-file or, if none is handy, a bay­o­net will serve the purpose—and then get at it! Hash it well! Bind the remains with den­tal floss and serve.

9. Feath­ered Turkey: To pre­pare this, a turkey is nec­es­sary and a one pounder can­non to com­pel any­one to eat it. Broil the feath­ers and stuff with sage-brush, old clothes, almost any­thing you can dig up. Then sit down and sim­mer. The feath­ers are to be eat­en like arti­chokes (and this is not to be con­fused with the old Roman cus­tom of tick­ling the throat.)

10. Turkey à la Mary­land: Take a plump turkey to a bar­ber’s and have him shaved, or if a female bird, giv­en a facial and a water wave. Then, before killing him, stuff with old news­pa­pers and put him to roost. He can then be served hot or raw, usu­al­ly with a thick gravy of min­er­al oil and rub­bing alco­hol. (Note: This recipe was giv­en me by an old black mam­my.)

11. Turkey Rem­nant: This is one of the most use­ful recipes for, though not, “chic,” it tells what to do with the turkey after the hol­i­day, and how to extract the most val­ue from it. Take the remants, or, if they have been con­sumed, take the var­i­ous plates on which the turkey or its parts have rest­ed and stew them for two hours in milk of mag­ne­sia. Stuff with moth-balls.

12. Turkey with Whiskey Sauce: This recipe is for a par­ty of four. Obtain a gal­lon of whiskey, and allow it to age for sev­er­al hours. Then serve, allow­ing one quart for each guest. The next day the turkey should be added, lit­tle by lit­tle, con­stant­ly stir­ring and bast­ing.

13. For Wed­dings or Funer­als: Obtain a gross of small white box­es such as are used for bride’s cake. Cut the turkey into small squares, roast, stuff, kill, boil, bake and allow to skew­er. Now we are ready to begin. Fill each box with a quan­ti­ty of soup stock and pile in a handy place. As the liq­uid elaps­es, the pre­pared turkey is added until the guests arrive. The box­es del­i­cate­ly tied with white rib­bons are then placed in the hand­bags of the ladies, or in the men’s side pock­ets.

What, you expect­ed recipes more… fol­low­able than these? And per­haps recipes with less alco­hol involved? These all make much more sense if you bear in mind Fitzger­ald’s for­mi­da­ble cre­ativ­i­ty, his even more for­mi­da­ble pen­chant for the drink, and his mor­dant sense of humor about it all. “I guess that’s enough turkey talk,” con­cludes this lit­er­ary icon of my Thanks­giv­ing-cel­e­brat­ing nation. “I hope I’ll nev­er see or hear of anoth­er until—well, until next year.” If you haven’t had enough, and indeed feel like get­ting the jump on next year, see also the Air­ship’s list of twelve Thanks­giv­ing recipes from favorite authors, includ­ing Jonathan Franzen’s pas­ta with kale, Alice Munro’s rose­mary bread pud­ding, and Ralph Ellison’s sweet yams.

via Lists of Note

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Recipes of Icon­ic Authors: Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Roald Dahl, the Mar­quis de Sade & More

Pre­pare Mar­i­lyn Monroe’s Per­son­al, Hand­writ­ten Turkey-and-Stuff­ing Recipe on Thanks­giv­ing

F. Scott Fitzger­ald Tells His 11-Year-Old Daugh­ter What to Wor­ry About (and Not Wor­ry About) in Life, 1933

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, lit­er­a­ture, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Face­book page.

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