Christmas is coming - anyone for turkey?

@JudyEv (227787)
Bunbury, Australia
November 22, 2020 6:11am CST
My parents were born in 1910 and 1914 so they grew up in an age where everyone worked hard and luxuries were few and far between. My parents had a farm and Mum made a bit of extra ‘pin money’ by selling eggs, butter and cream and, occasionally, a dressed chook (chicken). At Christmas, dressed turkeys were added to the list. Our turkeys looked the same as the wild turkeys that our American myLotters sometimes show on their posts. Well before Christmas the turkey hens would go broody and set on their eggs. The chicks would be fattened for Christmas and sold by word of mouth. One year, she did really well from the sale of the dressed poultry. This would have been hard work catching, killing, plucking and ‘dressing’ a few dozen of these birds. They couldn’t be done ahead of time then frozen as we had no freezers. My sister, eight years older than I, told me just recently that, the following year Mum took the turkey eggs to a poultry farm and had the eggs incubated. However they didn’t take good care of them and the vast majority did not hatch. I can only imagine how devastating this must have been for her. The photo shows Mum with one particularly large turkey which she cooked one year for our Christmas dinner. I forget now how much it weighed but it looks like it would have fed a few.
33 people like this
29 responses
@just4him (226989)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
22 Nov
That's a good-sized turkey. I'm sure she was devastated that the people didn't take care of those eggs and they didn't hatch. She was a very busy woman.
5 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
22 Nov
It would have been a huge disappointment for her. Thanks.
2 people like this
@owlwings (43251)
• Cambridge, England
22 Nov
That looks quite a big bird, possibly 12 to 14 pounds. I grew up during and after the end of World War 2, so food was rationed for my early years, though i remember very little about it, I think that my parents must have saved up their coupons for Christmas because our Christmas dinner table was always bright and laden with all sorts of food besides the main item (which I think would have been a large chicken rather than a turkey) and Christmas pudding and mince pies and nuts and crystallised fruit, sugared almonds, brandy butter ... the lot. Looking back, I really don't know where it all came from, though my mother made her own Christmas puddings and mince pies and a lot of the vegetables came from the garden.
4 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
Parents went to a lot of trouble and sacrifice back then. I remember Mum talking about ration books but I think they were a thing of the past by the time I was born (1946). Being on a farm, there was always plenty of milk, cream and eggs. Hens past laying and reject sheep provided meat so we were well off in some respects.
2 people like this
@owlwings (43251)
• Cambridge, England
23 Nov
@JudyEv I think that rationing was probably less severe in Australia (and the US) than it was in Britain. Rationing on meat and bacon ended in July 1954. Sugar and confectionery rationing was lifted in 1953 and I remember that because I didn't have to give coupons when buying sweets any more! I believe that our ration books had to be sent to the boarding school we went to but I wasn't aware of how late the rationing on meat was ended until I looked it up. The whole system was extremely complicated with special concessions for people with certain illnesses and disabilities and for people in key jobs. Also, anyone who was able to eat out while at work effectively doubled their family rations.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
@owlwings I recently read a book (based on fact) about Australian brides being shipped to England to join their British husbands. All the Australians believed that rationing was very strict in England and didn't just involve food. All sort of rumours abounded - no shoes available, no clothing. It seems the book was on the money. I don't remember much at all about rationing in Australia. I have an idea some people swapped coupons depending on what they needed.
2 people like this
@Juliaacv (62566)
• Canada
22 Nov
What a wonderful memory. My mother also made a little pin money by selling eggs from the house. She did not dress turkeys, although she always had a turkey in the oven on Christmas day as well as Boxing Day, her family always descended to our place on Christmas and my Dad's family all congregated at our home the following day. And as much work as it is to cook just 1 big meal, my mother did 2 in 2 days and surprisingly enough we never had too many leftovers. I love the picture, your mother had a huge turkey that year.
4 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
22 Nov
I think that is the only reason it had its photo taken - because it was so big. Like you, we sometimes had a double celebration over Christmas and Boxing Day then the whole thing was virtually repeated for New Year. We never stayed up to see the new year in though.
3 people like this
• United States
23 Nov
oh, bless her :( 'tis most disappointin' when others don't do's they claim'n ya suffer such a loss. i'm sure she'd grand plans from the funds generated. folks back then worked, rarely complained 'f such. so much to be tended, so few hours quite oft. dressin' poultry 'f any sorts 'tis not a fun nor easy task. sooooo many pin feathers...quite stubborn, but'd to come out. wowzers! ya sure y'all'd not company fer such beast? sure looks yummy 'n 'nough to feed a small army.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
Yes, I remember pulling out the pin feathers - and singeing off the whiskers with lighted twist of newspaper. Our Christmases were sometimes very large affairs!!
2 people like this
• United States
23 Nov
@JudyEv ya did such 'lso? i 'lways consoled myself (very diff'cult fer me to kill a critter 'f any sort) that such 'twas required nourishment fer our bodies. i wish i'd newspaper fer such, lol. most oft 'twas squattin' next to an open fire fer those. 'tis grand when y'ave a houseful durin' the holidays. used to 'lways make my heart jest sing. miss those days...
2 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
@crazyhorseladycx I was to have grown up when I did and possibly you'd say the same. They were good times and much simpler in a way.
2 people like this
@Ronrybs (10914)
• London, England
22 Nov
With the coming of the supermarket, we forget how we used to get food
3 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
I could do the whole chicken deal from go to whoa but I'm glad I can just pick one up at the supermarket now.
2 people like this
@Ronrybs (10914)
• London, England
23 Nov
@JudyEv Same here!
2 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
@Ronrybs I'm still glad I know how to do it so that if push came to shove it might mean the difference between eating and not. God forbid it should ever come to that.
2 people like this
@DocAndersen (30094)
• United States
22 Nov
it is such a huge part of American culture - the only specific food that people eat on one holiday (Christmas in the US is all over the food map)!
3 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
22 Nov
White turkeys were only just becoming available when we had our flocks. I know there are a few different breeds now. Ours, and I guess your native birds, were called 'bronzewings' for obvious reasons.
2 people like this
@DocAndersen (30094)
• United States
22 Nov
@JudyEv that is cool. Over the years we have learned to get fresh turkeys versus the store fast frozen trukeys. the quality is so much better.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
22 Nov
@DocAndersen Mum found the turkeys easier to dress as they were so much bigger than the normal rooster.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (311876)
• Switzerland
22 Nov
That was a good looking turkey. I loved those old time holidays with the family... no phones, no internet, only the joyful discussions among people! I can imagine your mom was devastated for those eggs.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
She would have been banking on getting quite a few chicks so it would have been devastating at the time.
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@LadyDuck (311876)
• Switzerland
23 Nov
@JudyEv At those times it was not easy to make some money, my grandparents had hens and they sold the eggs, I remember the day my grandfather fell with a big box containing almost 100 eggs, they were not happy.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
@LadyDuck That would have had a big impact at the time. Poor people.
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@Tampa_girl7 (43041)
• United States
22 Nov
Thanks for sharing your memories. That is a really decent sized turkey.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
22 Nov
It was a big one that year. I don't know long it would have taken to cook it. It was probably done in the wood stove.
2 people like this
@Tampa_girl7 (43041)
• United States
22 Nov
@JudyEv I bet it smelled delicious.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
@Tampa_girl7 You can almost smell it from the photo, can't you?
@jobelbojel (19837)
• Philippines
22 Nov
I have not tried turkey. That must be a good meal and a wonderful memories there.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
We rarely have turkey now but it seems Americans have a lot of turkey.
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@jobelbojel (19837)
• Philippines
23 Nov
@JudyEv my uncle used to have turkeys. I am not sure if he still have turkeys.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Nov
We had chickens and turkeys that we raised and butchered. It was nice to have fresh poultry. Poultry is my favorite protein. Hated plucking hot, wet feathers though. Stunk so bad!!
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@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
22 Nov
The feathers did stink - and they stuck to your fingers.
2 people like this
• United States
19h
@JudyEv nasty stuff!
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@ZedSmart (13844)
• Philippines
22 Nov
I think I had only eaten roasted turkey twice.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
22 Nov
Americans seem to eat a lot of turkey as it's always being mentioned in food posts on here. It's not eaten so often in Australia.
2 people like this
@ZedSmart (13844)
• Philippines
22 Nov
@JudyEv yes, it's specialty.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (128558)
• United States
22 Nov
We have it so easy now, but I bet your dressed poultry was very flavorful because it was so fresh.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
Yes, they would certainly have been fresh.
1 person likes this
@pjmurphy (2189)
• United States
22 Nov
Great story. My parents grew up in that era here also. It was called the great depression, and they had to labor hard to put bread on the table.
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@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
Those must have been really difficult times. I think we had it a little bit easier being on a farm.
@Nevena83 (55603)
• Serbia
22 Nov
Wonderful memories. I think women worked a lot more at home and on their property, now women don’t want that.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
Times have changed a great deal, haven't they?
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@Nevena83 (55603)
• Serbia
23 Nov
@JudyEv Yes, women still have a lot to do here in the villages, but that has changed a bit.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
@Nevena83 I think in many countries women do work very hard. In many Western civilisations women have it easier.
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@shaggin (55344)
• United States
23 Nov
Aww that is sad. I bet back then she wouldn’t have been compensated for the loss of those eggs either.
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@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
You're right - no compensation. It would have been an awful time for her. She probably had advance orders for turkeys for Christmas.
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@shaggin (55344)
• United States
23 Nov
@JudyEv oh man
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@rebelann (77986)
• El Paso, Texas
22 Nov
Yes, that is one heck of a huge turkey she has in her hands. My dad was born on a farm as well in 1921 and he would tell us about how hard it was for them during the great depression.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
It was probably a bit easier on a farm as most would have a cow and chooks at least.
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@rebelann (77986)
• El Paso, Texas
23 Nov
I'm not sure if they had a cow but I know they had chickens @JudyEv grandpa was always raising chickens. He had a kind of incubator where he would keep the eggs he'd hope would hatch. My folks told me stories of how much trouble I'd get into for chasing the chicks when I was 4.
1 person likes this
@RebeccasFarm (12839)
• Denver, Colorado
22 Nov
What a wonderful photo Judy!!! Such fond memories thanks so much for sharing with us and sharing that photo of your dear Mum Not sure what we will have this year.
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@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
23 Nov
I'm not sure either but I don't think it will be a turkey this size. lol
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• Denver, Colorado
24 Nov
@JudyEv Yeah that is a bit of a sizer
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@Fleura (11402)
• United Kingdom
22 Nov
She certainly worked hard. Must have been a terrible disappointment when the incubator idea didn't work out. How could a poultry farm not manage to hatch the eggs? Maybe they just told her that. And then they sold Christmas turkeys that year.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
25 Nov
Turkey eggs are a bit different to hen eggs. I know as the chicks were hatching out under the hens, Mum often had to moisten the membrane and 'help' them get out of the shell. They wouldn't bother doing that at the poultry farm.
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@Fleura (11402)
• United Kingdom
25 Nov
@JudyEv No I can imagine they wouldn't. What a shame.
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• Philippines
23 Nov
It really is nice to reminisce at times! And thank you for sharing that beautiful photo with all of us.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
25 Nov
You're welcome. I think Christmas as a child was very special. It's lost a bit of its magic now.
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@ShifaLk (18095)
• India
22 Nov
I really liked reading the post. Wow. That was a very nice time. How people were free of mobile phones addiction and busy doing work with heart. Your muma looks adorable
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@JudyEv (227787)
• Bunbury, Australia
25 Nov
Thanks for the kind words. Christmas was a very big occasion in our house.