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When Someone Offers You the Roast Turkey, You Take the Roast Turkey


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Nobody can whip up Christmas lunch the way my parents do. My dad is a trained chef and every year always puts out a festive feast that leaves you in a food induced coma until the New Year. You name it they cook it from roast chicken, ham, beef, curries, salads, tuna cakes, and Mum’s seriously divine Christmas mud cake with ice cream. We also have the fruitcake with custard. So when Mike and I were six months into our relationship he wanted to spend Christmas with me and my family. I warned him what our Christmas was like, the food, the routine of how we did things and he was quite keen to see it all. However it proved a different story on the day.

We learnt on Christmas day that in Canada they have Christmas dinner. We learned that he does not eat ham or chicken, roast beef or fish. He had some salad and was desperately eyeing off the mud cake up on the kitchen bench (Mum thought he was making eyes at her). He talked about Canadian Christmas where there was snow and fire in the fireplace (although one Christmas they had fire in their garage!). He reminisced about the great big roast turkey that his mother would store outside in the snow until Christmas day, and my parents felt terrible. Dad went into the kitchen to fix him up something he would eat and they made a mental note that next Christmas they would make sure he had his Roast Turkey. They couldn’t make it snow, and at the time Melbourne was surrounded by bush fires, but they could give him that turkey.

Christmas 2009 was the year they surprised him with the turkey. Dad slow roasted it, made the stuffing and the pan gravy. He had the cranberry sauce ready to go with the big dish of roast veggies. The house smelled delicious. My parents were eager to see Mike’s face when they showed him what they had done to help him feel like he had a bit of Canada (despite my parents now living in Darwin). It was the first time we had a roast Christmas lunch, so this was going to be good all round! That morning whilst Dad worked his magic in the kitchen and mum drooled all over her Scott Dillon long board, Mike and I played with our kids and their presents until the call for lunch came out.

There on the big dinner table was the roast turkey in all its glory with the veggies, gravy, cranberry sauce – all Canadian. We all waited to see Mike’s response. He was taken aback by it, touched that his in-laws had gone to so much effort after listening to him over the years talk about the Canadian White Christmases. He thanked them, but then we noticed he was starting to sweat profusely and his voice seemed a tad weak. “Oh Steve and Deb wow! This is fantastic, just like home. Only I uh….only I…uh… don’t like turkey”. My parents didn’t flinch. They stood there smiling at him. I honestly thought for a second they had died. Dad had the big carving knife in his hand, ready to hand over to Mike to do the honours, but his grip seemed to tighten. Then the moment passed, my parents laughed, mum piled up the veggies on her plate and went back to loving her Scott Dillon long board and Dad, vein in his forehead slowly receding walked back into the kitchen where he came out with steak. He had a “here’s one I prepared earlier” look on his face as he put the steak down in front of Mike.

The turkey did not go to waste, there was more for the rest of us and we thought it was fantastic and Mike did sneak a few pieces of turkey onto his plate too – crisis averted and another awesome Christmas Day chalked up with full bellies and sleepy heads.



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