And whether pigs have wings

Ed Smith
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If you live anywhere in the general area of Springdale, including St. Patrick, Little Bay and South Brook, do not panic.

You may have in the recent past seen a very, very large winged "thing" flying very low over your homes. It is not a terrorist robotic machine designed to drop bombs over your unsuspecting houses.

It is, in fact, a 100-pound flying turkey.

You are about to tell me that turkeys don't fly, and my experience with domesticated turkeys says that you are right. However, I am told by an American person who used to live in the wild that turkeys in the wild do fly.

I have to take her word for it because she has already told me something I did not believe and which subsequent research, namely No. 1 Son and the Internet, have shown to be right.

She told me about a marvelous meal concept called turducken. I believe that's the way you spell it, but I'm not sure. In the meantime, I want to know if any of you have already heard of this wonderful meal.

I want to give this to you in one mouthful - no pun intended.

Turducken involves placing a chicken inside a duck and then putting the duck inside a turkey and roasting the whole damn works. How you do it is another column.

I know what it sounds like. Something faintly alien and totally gross. I asked this lady where she had heard about it, and lo and behold she said she heard it first in Newfoundland.

I have lived as a clergyman's son in approximately seven different areas of this province, and practically all coasts. In my own life, after being sprung free of family ties, have lived in six other coastal communities. Other Half grew up in St. John's, for which most of her friends have forgiven her (me, too), but spent many of her summers in small communities on the northeast coast.

I hope you see the picture here: we have, in our growing up and growing out, covered most of this island. We have heard of all kinds of what seemed at first to be alien dishes but which have now become familiar to us. For example, lopscotch. I'm not sure that's the correct spelling, but I'm told that's how the famous Twillingate singing group The Split Peas spells it, and who am I to argue with them?

I would have spelled it "lopscaus" because that's how I've heard it pronounced. You want to tell me I'm wrong on that, too. Go right ahead. I'm not proud.

Lopscotch or whatever is, of course, a pan full of hash, usually made up from the leftovers of a Jigg's dinner.

Mainlanders react badly to "britches" which my mother loved, but the rest of us could not abide. Britches is the eggsac from a codfish, which is shaped like a pair of, well, britches or pants.

But this turducken has got them all beat to hell and back. Neither OH nor I had ever heard of it. I am almost sure it has never been done in Newfoundland.

I mentioned it to No. 1 Son and, to my great surprise, he knew all about it! Knew how it was prepared and everything. That really blew me away.

Evidently you can find out all about it by typing that word (that my NaturallySpeaking voice-activated program has never heard of) into Yahoo or Google and watching carefully. I have to say, it's a most interesting process.

But I digress. Back to our 100-pound turkey.

Last week, Daughter No. 2 invited us over for supper. A friend of hers, she said, had cooked a stew and it turned out to be too much for the friend's family. So she invited herself and said stew to daughter's house so they could all share it.

Daughter took one look at this and immediately called the three of us to come over. I love stew, so off we went.

I have to say this stew was delicious. I had two helpings, and I saw other people helping themselves enthusiastically. Lo and behold, when I looked into the pan after we were all finished, there was enough stew left over to feed this section of town. That may be a slight exaggeration, but only slight.

You may be wondering why I'm telling you this story. Well, my friends, the turkey story came from that same lady at that same meal. She had ordered a 23-pound turkey on the hoof for Christmas. Unfortunately, she was sick over Christmas and didn't feel like eating it at that time.

This lady wanted her turkey fresh, and I do mean fresh. You know, I'm sure, that "on the hoof" means still alive and wandering around in its pen completely happy and totally unaware it had just dodged a Christmas bullet.

Our lady friend, rather than have the turkey killed and frozen, decided on a temporary stay of execution.

It was during this "stay" that she discovered her turkey had been rather well fed and was growing by leaps and bounds. By that time, it weighed a healthy 40 pounds. That's when she realized she had a problem or two or three.

Where would she get a pan large enough to take a 40-pound turkey? Or a baster that wouldn't take all day to suck up enough juice to pour over it?

I figured that by the time she gets around to dispatching this poor bird, it'll be old enough to go to school and weigh about 100 pounds.

But as a friend of this lady (at least I used to be), there is one thing I feel I'm justified in looking forward to: many a meal of fresh turkey.

And perhaps, even a good meal of turducken.

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is

Organizations: Yahoo, Google

Geographic location: Springdale, Little Bay, South Brook Newfoundland St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Stephanie Ramage
    March 19, 2012 - 10:41

    Good Morning, I just thought I would leave a comment, Echelon foods is the maker of the original turducken. They are available across canada and in parts of the US check us out @ ours are not 40 lbs they run approx 9-11 pounds and feed 12 - 15 people. Hope you have a great easter.

  • Linda C
    March 19, 2012 - 07:29

    You must be the only person left who hasn't heard of turducken