Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The return of the Turkey Cake......

     My mother, God rest her soul, was a person of legendary frugality.  The kind of frugality that would not occur to people now, so this story will likely never be re-played in the future, but it is a part of each and every one of my sibling's past.  

     For many years on Thanksgiving my family would rent the local firehouse and host our holiday there.  It was a large space with a commercial kitchen and enough tables and seats to host the 40 plus of us that would be in attendance.  I've blogged about this before in one I titled "What I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation" so feel free to look it up if you want a little background on this story.  I'll pass along a little tidbit if you ever want to quickly search for a previous blog I've done.  Go to Google and type "Ongion" along with a phrase or topic that you remember from that blog.  It will automatically re-direct you to "Onion" but click below where it gives you the option to really search for "Ongion" and the blogs with that phrase will come right up.  Back to the story now, we had some great Thanksgivings at that firehouse, but one was slightly more memorable than the others, the year that the Turkey Cake made it's first appearance.

     The dessert table was always full at this event, chock full of pies, cookies, cupcakes, jello, and assorted pastries.  One year, however, a sheet cake was set amongst the other items and frosted into the top of it was a picture of a turkey.  It's a matter of debate now as to who even brought the turkey cake, some
siblings say it was my brother Aquaman, but what isn't debatable was that it sat untouched for the duration of the dinner.  No one wanted to take the first piece and the pies are so much more traditional for that holiday, so the party ended with it intact, and when Mom saw it, she graciously offered to take it with her to feed her guests over the coming days.  I was actually one of those guests a few days later when I visited her house in Bristol and sure enough, on the counter, sat the Turkey Cake.  I wasn't really sure about the frosting on the cake and whether it was meant to sit out at room temperature for half a week, but considering I was in a house where the occupant would cut around the spots of mold on bread and serve it, I politely declined (While I do whine about this, it's likely why I have such a great immune system, thanks Mom).  No one else took her up on her offer either and a week later when I visited, the Turkey Cake was gone, I assumed that it was disposed of, but I could not have been more wrong.

     Fast forward to the 2nd week in August, that following year and we were once again at my Mom's celebrating our pre-reunion annual corn roast.  It's pretty informal, so we just set the food outside on the
What heat does to frosted cake....
tables and people find places to eat.  I walked down the line to get my food, and it ran pretty close to normal, corn, hamburgers and hot dogs, salad, buns, but then on the end sat a sheet cake with it's frosting slowly melting off but still clearly distinguishable as a picture of a turkey.  "Mom", I inquired "Is this the same cake from last Thanksgiving?"   "It is" she replied "I couldn't see it going to waste, so I froze it for the next time we had a party."  Needless to say, I skipped the Turkey Cake once again.  I shouldn't have been surprised that she had done that.  Countless times, I'd go and get a beer out of her refrigerator downstairs and find it was skunky.  After parties, Mom would simply unplug the fridge that held the beer until a day or two before the next party and then plug it in again.  The cold beer you tried to drink had actually been in a warm fridge for months prior and most times, tasted like it. The same folks that had not eaten the Turkey Cake 240 days earlier, chose not to eat it again and the party ended with the cake still intact.

     The last sighting of the Turkey Cake is up for debate too, my sister, She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named thinks that she was offered a piece of it at Mom's house the following day and others of us think it made it to
A simple optical illusion
the family reunion.  What is consistent in both stories, however, is that the Turkey Cake no longer had a turkey on the top of it.  When Mom realized that people were hesitant to eat something that was leftover by that amount of time from Thanksgiving, she took a knife and removed the frosting and tried to present it as a plain sheet cake.  She almost got us, but we figured it out prior to cutting into it. It could be like one of those optical illusions that you see on the internet, we had seen that same cake with a Turkey on top if it so much that we only had to glance away and back quickly again to get a quick glimpse of the missing turkey.   The cake was unceremoniously disposed of, after that, and I'm sure my mother shook her head the entire time she did it, thinking what a waste of food it was.  I started this blog saying that this feat will never likely be attempted, but it pays to be vigilant.  Next time you are at a party, before you eat the sheet cake, make sure the design is appropriate for the holiday that you are celebrating, cuz you just never know. 


1 comment:

cdyarger said...

As I recall, it was a Fourth of July party that the cake made it's second appearance at (Thanksgiving being the first) and then it was either at or around reunion time when it made it's third and final appearance! I love this story! Your mother could teach us all a lesson about frugality! Maybe this one took it to the extreme, but she was an amazing woman who managed so much on a very tight budget!