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Entry 3 -- Who's the Turkey?

Tumeric, garam marasala, cinamon, cumin, white pepper, and garlic. Not too much cardamon. No cardamon because no one around here likes that spice. The turkey drummies for tonight's salad are all ready boiled. I pitched the stock because it had no vegetables in it to give it flavor and besides it is too warm for stew or soup at this time of the year. We'll get turkey drummies again and I'll make oso bucco with them later this fall.

Orel watches me cook. He's on break. We have three night runs tonight and that means I'll be helping in the shop. "We got way backed up cause of that preacher's banner," snaps my boyfriend.

"It couldn't be helped. You yourself said, we compete on service not price. Besides everyone going to that church will see that banner and if they ask the preacher wehere he got it, he's going to mention us. Consider that advertising."

"Aliza," sighs my boyfriend. "You talk one hell of a good game sometimes."

"If you'd say that about my cooking," I counter.

"Your cooking is fine. I'm not fussy. Stasch..."

"I'm putting some meat aside for him. I can't have him running this house. We'd live on premade breaded chicken turds, beef patties, and spahgetti from a can if he did that. Besides curry looks pretty and smells good, even fake curry which is sort of what this is."

"It's artistic," Orel eneers.

"Look, you haven't complained before."

"I'm not. You're a girl. You got girl fetishes. You should have seen whatit was like with my exwife. Three girls and Oisin for the longest time. Then along came Stasch but we were outnumbered and it was endless fixing things up in a hundred cute and curly squirrely ways. I laughed it off. A woman who wants to fix fancy dinners I can live with. You pull your weight in the shop. You like to go out. You don't spend days starving yourself and fretting about food. You're t here when I need you for those times. What does a man ask for?"

"A man wants his baseball team to win the World Series," I reply.

"Nah....I care more about the Stanley Cup but it's only preseason for hockey. Now those guys on skates aren't bums. Half of them come up from the minors and there's a lot fewer million dollar contracts."

"Orel," I ask. "When do men switch from doing sports like riding bikes to watching sports like you do?"

"It should have happened a long time ago with Oisin," snaps Orel. "He's not normal. He's smart so I put up with it. You admire it. Maybe that will be good when he gets old enough that girls are serious. A nice, steady, clean cut little guy might have a shot. The kid works better than I ever did when I was young."

I cut up the turkey and stick it in the bowl. The pasta water boils and I dump in the farfelle. "We're out of pasta," I announce. I ask Orel to get the celery, any carrots that are left, the not the onion...and the fruit bowl from the fridge. He glances unhappily at the load. I pull two bruised apples from the fruit bowl.

"Those are going in with the turkey?" he asks.

"Why not?" I answer. "Besides, the boys won't eat 'em. I'll cut the bruises off and they won't go to waste. I test the carrots for rubberiness and pitch two. The celery is OK and the scallions are usable but barely."

"Orel, please get me a bag of frozen peas from the freezer, not the fancy petit pois unless that's all we've got."

"How do I know what's a petit pois?" he asks.

"You can read can't you?"

Orel gets the peas. I set them in a corner bythe warm stove. "I'll fix frozen turnip greens for the vegetable. We need to shop."

"We're not doing it tonight," answered Orel.

"Tell me about it," I say.

I start cutting the fruits and veggies as I time the pasta. When the pasta is ready it goes in the colander. I wrap up Stasch' portion of plain turkey and put it away. I rinse the pasta and start assembling the salad. The trick to running a good kitchen is being efficient.

"Those boys have been gone a long time," complains Orel.

"Oisin probably took them up to the South End Mall," I reply as I mix up the curry dressing for the salad. "I guess he did a good job with Stasch' seat."

"That kid should run a bicycle shop. It's his one sport."

"Bikes are transportation."

Orel snorts.

"That kid wants to..." I stop myself. In a year or two we'll know if it really will happen. If Oisin's grades are good and he gets to take advanced courses, it could happen. MIT, Harvard, this family. I can see how Orel has mixed feelings. It's a big jump. Big jumps like this are not supposed to happen, but they do. Orel had a great grandfather who was a rabbi with a big beard and a black hat. He tells me he is named for him. He said it was a long time ago back in Hungary. His daughter from whom he descends, one of his daughter, a rebel, a younger kid, not a dutiful kid like Oisin, ran away from home. She got all the way to the states some how. She was looking for her lover who went ahead of her. She even went west looking for him but she found someone else instead. Meanwhile she had changed her name when she came in to this country. They asked her name and she made up a Hungarian name instead of a Jewish one.

She took back her Hungarian name when she got divorced and gave it all her kids which is how Orel's dad had the name. I hear these stories every now and again. It's the person who gets up off their ass and runs or fights who is the big scucces, not the one who stays put and studies and reads or sits in the workshop and fixes things either. That is why Orel has mixed feelings about Oisin.

I don't know. I had a wild youth and roamed all over the country. I don't have all that much to show for it. I'm happier settled down. Go figure on all of this.

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