What the turducken taught me about rituals

When I first heard the name I thought it was a joke.

I tend to be an extremely gullible person.  My mind just seems to shut off for a second or two.

So when I heard “turducken” I thought someone was trying to pull my leg.  Make me start talking about “turducken” this and “turducken” that.  Take advantage of that mind shutting-off thing.

Then I googled it.   Discovered that it was a real thing.  A deboned turkey stuffed with a duck that was stuffed with a chicken.  With a bunch of tasty dressings inside – wild rice, corn bread, and Cajun.


One of my go-to Christmas meals has been turkey stuffed with sausage and oyster dressing for years.

For someone else to stuff the bird for me?

Sounded like heaven.

Plus something new.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am a sucker for ritual.  In fact, building family holiday rituals with my husband and son has been one of the joys of having a child.  Of being partnered.  I have kept many of the sentimental traditions of my and my husband’s family as well.

But I have always liked to introduce something original to a particular holiday.  “That was the year you cooked that tortilla soup where you used too much jalapeño and made everybody cry.”

Christmas.  Dallas.  1990.

This year?  I had found it.  THE TURDUCKEN of 2013.

It was very good.  All said it was a comeback for sure.  Various comments: “I can’t tell what meat I am eating”.  “I thought the dressings would taste more unique, but they are delicious”.  “The meat was incredibly juicy, even the duck”.

Me?  I missed ownership.

One of my proud but tired teaspoons.  Signs of a "real" home cook.

My proud but tired teaspoon. Sign of a “real” home cook. OR of not paying enough attention to what goes down the disposal.

Yes I had COOKED it, but I had not MADE it.  I could not present it.  “Ta-Da!!”.  That sense of accomplishment and even risk you feel when you are- or try to be – a home chef. Just not there.  True, I had created side dishes and a gravy.  Too thick but tasty.  But I had not sweated over the main event.  I couldn’t chat about what spices were in the different stuffings.

I was relegated to being an eater.

Thus the Turducken of Christmas 2013 may sadly be my last turducken.  Not because  it wasn’t delectable.  Not because it wasn’t great fun.

Because a part of MY Christmas ritual has become that feeling of ……… “Ta-Da!!”.

I missed it much more than I realized I would.

That’s the funny thing about rituals.



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