I put most of the ingredients on the counter for you. The turkey is in the freezer.
Get the large soup pot out of the cupboard. Turn the stove onto medium heat, and pour the can of diced tomatoes into the pot. Go ahead and fill that can with water and pour it in as well.
Then add the tomato sauce and tomato paste.
Put in both cans of beans.
Add about a tablespoon of Chili powder.
Put the turkey in and turn the heat down to low.
Make sure to stir it regularly so the chili doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot. I’ll be home at about five,
Notes like this were pretty regular. Mom went to school after work. Dad and my older brothers all worked in the evening, so it was often just my little brothers, my sister, and me until late afternoon. I was in seventh grade, and would get home after band practice, turn Duck Tales on the television, and then start supper.
Following the directions on the note, I put everything in the pot. I liked being in the kitchen. The stove was warm, and even the light was cheery, bouncing off the orange shag carpet of the living room and gold tile in the kitchen which told the story of a house that had been built in the seventies. All of this provided a welcome contrast to the cold overcast sky and bare trees of late autumn. Tomato, beans, chili powder, stir, turn down the heat. As the soup began bubbling merrily, I went to the freezer to get the final ingredient. Using a sharp knife, I cut the ends off the wrapper and then slit the plastic along the middle so I could peel it off the meat. Lifting the whole bird, I slid it gently into the pot so I wouldn’t splash the soup out, and stood back to admire my work.
It looked weird.
Take the turkey from the freezer and put it in the chili…I looked at the wrapper. “Fresh Young Whole Chicken” Was printed plainly in the center of it. As an eleven year old, I didn’t have the experience yet to know that a chicken is not a turkey. The directions were very clear, if you’re aware that your mom uses ground turkey as a substitute for ground beef. “Oh nooooooo…what have I done?” May or may not have been my exact words.
Thinking fast, I went back to the freezer and found the tube of ground turkey, got it out and threw it in the microwave to speed thaw it…It would probably cook a little in there too, but I was running out of time fast. While that was defrosting, I grabbed a skillet out of the cupboard, checked the time, and got dishes out for the table. Hearing the beep that the turkey was done, I slid across the kitchen floor, turning on the stove as I whizzed by. I took out the log of ground meat and slit it open, just as I had for the chicken…”The chicken! Crud, it’s still in the pot!” I started to turn away to take care of that, but stopped myself in mid turn to actually get the turkey started, dumping it in the pan and mashing it down across the whole bottom hoping to cook it faster.
What was I going to do with this whole chicken? Here was this naked bird, lounging in the middle of a bubbling soup pot like the worlds grossest hot tub parody. An adult probably would’ve told me to fish it out of the soup, rinse it off and put it in the biggest Tupperware I could find. It was fine, and could still be cooked for Sunday dinner. “I’m just going to throw it away.” I told myself.
Crisis averted, I put the actual turkey in the soup. I remembered to stir the pot so it didn’t burn. Mom and Dad got home from work, and we all sat down to soup and crackers with iced tea. They asked how our day was and we all said fine. Evenings like this were pretty regular. Mom went to school after work. Dad and my older brothers all worked in the evening, so it was often just my little brothers, my sister, and me until late afternoon. I was in seventh grade, and would get home after band practice, turn Duck Tales on the television, and then start supper.
On Sunday, My mom asked what happened to the chicken she’d bought for dinner after church.
A friend of mine who does a lot of memoir writing said recently that when she started, she expected it to be therapeutic. Mostly though it just ended up being work. I’m finding that as I’m starting to put these stories down on paper, I’m seeing both sides of that. Sometimes its self-editing, asking questions like “Is this on brand for me?” or “I’m not sure exactly how that person fits into this story” or even “I’m just not ready to talk about that right now.” Then, as I lead up to the 100 day project, and my stated intent is to blend these stories, the story of what I know and want to say, into a family of fictional characters…that’s scary. These are my stories and not theirs. I’m excited to explore their characters, but am not really certain what I’m doing. This is new ground for me.
Updates from Sheltering At Home…I see a ton of posts on facebook and twitter about “How to work at home”, “Keeping your kids active and engaged during quarrentine”, “Resources for teachers and students learning from a distance”, and even “How to prepare your pet for when you go back to work after Corona Virus”. But I haven’t seen any about “So you’re coparenting, and worried about exposing your kids as they move between one house and the next.”
No cute kid photos on this post, because I haven’t seen my kids in two weeks, and it’ll be at least another two before I do. So, I text them and let them know that I love them. This is going to be all right and we’ll come out the other side with hopefully a new understanding of who we are as people and as a community.
I’m working on new drawings and am thinking about the best way to share that with you all. The 100 Day Project stuff will be up on Instagram and Twitter, then I’ll collect it here on Fridays, I think. Monday’s will be works in progress and accountability posts for patrons only. Are those two things enough? It’s weird feeling at the same time like a person who’s too much and not enough. Laugh.
I hope you all are doing well, are safe and healthy and loving each other. Until next time, take care and be good.