On Turkeys And Tree Surgeons
Flying|April 2018


Martha Lunken

Last Thanksgiving, instead of wrestling with turkeys and relatives (not necessarily in that order or degree of difficulty), I fibbed and told my family I’d be out of town. Actually, I’d accepted an invitation from friends who always throw a splendid “do” with a large and eclectic collection of family, friends and assorted “homeless” souls like me. The feast is awesome, with all manner of libations, preprandial munchies, boned and roasted turkeys (Try talking your Kroger butcher into doing that!), both sweet and cured country hams, loads of sides and salads and far too many decadent desserts. My contribution? A “mess” of ham hocks and butter beans.

OK, it’s a little off the wall, but the hostess told me her mother always said lima beans were a Thanksgiving essential and I didn’t want to show up with a pot of naked lima beans. So, I found this recipe for what my mom would have called a “gemuse,” maybe something Appalachian folks cooked up after exhausting all the rabbits, squirrels and venison the old man shot. Those ham hocks and butter beans turned out to be good eats, but my homely looking mess got short shrift next to more sophisticated sides. So, I bagged up the leftovers in a heavy duty plastic sack and, a few days later, bombed a friend’s sod airstrip from the 180. What a magnificent splat!

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