Turkey Day at the Soapbox House

“There’s no such thing as too much turkey”.— Mr Soapbox

Mr Soapbox is a peculiar man.

He’s a wonderful cook who rises to any occasion but when it come to Thanksgiving (or Christmas for that matter) he believes that it’s unnatural to allow the celebration to pass without roasting a massive flightless bird in his own oven.

A majestic turkey

And no, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house does not count because then the bird (and its wonderful aroma) is in their house, not our house.

Too much turkey?

Mr Soapbox’s unnatural affection for turkey came to a head when the Soapbox family moved to the US.

Like a chipmunk trying to carry six acorns in his mouth all at once, Mr Soapbox decided to observe Canadian Thanksgiving in addition to American Thanksgiving. Had he been successful the Soapbox family would have consumed five turkeys in less than seven weeks—one in October, two in November (one at home and one with friends on American Thanksgiving) and two in December (one at home and one with friends at Christmas).

Luckily American grocery stores don’t stock turkeys until November—for which the distaff side of the Soapbox family is eternally grateful.   

Stealing a bird

Apparently there’s an art to buying the perfect bird. Mr Soapbox used to “reserve” his bird until the practice almost landed him in the hoosegow.

A purloined turkey

Serious turkey lovers place their orders with the butcher weeks in advance. They return to the shop a day or two before Thanksgiving to pick them up. Mr Soapbox inadvertently grabbed a bird “reserved” for another turkey fanatic and didn’t realize his mistake until he brought it home.

At that point there was nothing left to do but pull the blinds and eat the bird under cover of darkness. The experience so traumatized Mr Soapbox that he’s taken his chances with “unreserved” birds ever since.


The Soapbox family enjoyed their turkey dinner on Saturday.

Mr Soapbox spent the better part of Sunday preparing turkey leftovers—soups, curries, sandwiches and something called a “divan” (?). Tonight we’re going over to a friend’s house for another turkey dinner (Mrs A is a wonderful cook, I’m sure it will be delicious).

Then in December we’ll do it all over again in reverse order.


Notwithstanding the surfeit of turkey, Ms Soapbox is ever so thankful.

Her parents, both in their 80’s, are doing well. Her sisters just finished the Run for the Cure. They started running years ago after one sister developed breast cancer (she’s fine now). All brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews are making their way in the world and the Soapbox girls have grown up into bright young women striding boldly off into the future.

And her husband, the quirky and delightful Mr Soapbox is, even as we speak, whipping up turkey stock in a caldron the size of a bathtub with Ziggy the dog glued to his side waiting for scraps that “accidentally” fall into his mouth.

A poutined turkey

From the Soapbox family to you and your family, may you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Mr Soapbox: There’s no such thing as too much turkey.

Ms Soapbox: Sorry, I draw the line at turkey poutine!

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16 Responses to Turkey Day at the Soapbox House

  1. champspersonaltraining says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to Mr. and Mrs. Soapbox and all the little Soapboxes. My spouse has brought home a ham but always makes his mother’s sausage stuffing. He is one of 9 children and the only one who has the recipe. My spouse has had to work all weekend. I could make turkey dinner but my adventures in the kitchen always has our dog taking cover in his crate. Happy Thanksgiving. ☺

    • Champs, your husband is an excellent cook, consequently you and I are well advised to leave the cooking to the menfolk. Interesting that he brings home ham for Thanksgiving. In the US, they serve turkey at Thanksgiving and honey-baked spiral ham at Christmas (even the Americans know there is such a thing as too much turkey!). These cork-screw hams are so popular that the ham companies set up temporary kiosks in the malls around Christmas time to keep up with the demand.
      Happy Thanksgiving to the Champs family!

  2. Rose MacKenzie-Kirkwood says:

    I am with Mr. Soapbox, there is no such thing as too much turkey, but that being said for the first time I will be dining out. When I decided to have children no one ever told me that they would eventually end up having successful lives of their own. With work, and prior commitments, we would have had to have 3 turkey dinners so we decided to try this again at Christmas which always works better for us.
    So as I said, for the first time in my life I will not be able to prepare my favourite dish for Thanksgiving, canned cranberries. Yes, believe it or not, I can cook a turkey, with all the trimmings, but have never successfully made cranberries. Where is Mr. Soapbox when you need him?

    • Rose, I chuckled at the “canned cranberries” comment. I love canned cranberries but after Mr Soapbox figured out the secret of fresh cranberries (they need just the right touch of sugar–too much and they’re sickeningly sweet, too little and your teeth fall out–we’ve never looked back. Now if we could just figure out how to make decent gravy we’d all be in heaven.
      I’m sure you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your sweetie and you and your family will all be gathered around a Christmas turkey (with canned cranberries) before you know it.

  3. Liz says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
    Last month I was in Montreal for a few days and managed to cross off a couple of items from the infamous bucket list. One item was a Montreal smoked meat sandwich and the other was (chicken) poutine. Both were delicious and the chicken poutine served was amazing!! Try it with turkey and I’m sure it’ll be great too!!
    I live in Edmonton and am grateful that Calgary Elbow has you running for MLA, so I hope they will support you to victory in the by-election. Cheers!

    • Liz, I first heard about turkey poutine from my hairdresser. He tried it at the Calgary Stampede and was so impressed that he went back the next day for a second helping. I put it down to cheese curds. Absolutely everything tastes fabulous with cheese curds. So based on his and your endorsement I will relent and give it a try.
      Thank you for your support of me running in Calgary Elbow. This is a very interesting race. I’m very interested in hearing how the unelected Health Minister, Mr Mandel, is doing. He’s up against formidable competition from the NDs and Liberals.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving! We had our Turkey dinner last Saturday! The only day everyone was available! And we have had it every night since! (Tonight I am making a frozen pizza for myself!!). Oh yes, and I had to make a double batch of homemade cranberries (ie. Two cans worth!) and they were still all gobbled up (no pun intended)!

    • Linda, I love the way people get creative around holidays and celebrate them when it makes sense for their families regardless of the date. When the Soapbox family lived in the US we used to celebrate Christmas twice: once at home in the US around Dec 15 and then again with the folks in BC on the 25th (talk about having too much turkey!)
      I’m sure you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving, yummy homemade cranberries and all.
      PS I don’t know about you but I have yet to find anybody who makes stuffing that tastes as good as Mom’s stuffing, although I must admit Mr Soapbox’s stuffing comes pretty darn close!

  5. Roy Wright says:

    Hate to break the news to you…turkey again tonight! Actually, turkey is more than just a meal as it symbolizes holidays past, dear friends who shared with us (in their houses or ours), and in many instances, part of the Soapbox mythology of holiday epics. I will try to capture some of those “moments” below!

    1. Our first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Nanaimo in our little basement suite (actually a converted carport) where Mrs. Soapbox “did” her first turkey and had the senior Soapboxes over. Being students, being ultra-poor, and being novices, Mrs. Soapbox had to improvise to keep the stuffing in the bird and secretly used safety pins to hold it in. She thought she had removed all pins before serving but part way through the meal, grandpa Soapbox unfortunately bit into one, and the saga began!

    2. Stuffing is as much part of turkey as is cranberries, and all families have their unique heritage when it comes to how to make it. It took the Soapboxes a while to establish tradition, but there were a couple of horrendous mis-steps in the evolution of the process. Mr. Soapbox wanted to experiment one year and attempted to add some moisture and elegance to the stuffing by adding oysters. Unfortunately he used smoked oysters which “flavoured” the whole d…bird, and he also learned another invaluable lesson…no Soapbox (other than him) liked oysters, especially smoked ones!

    3. Not to be outdone, Mrs. Soapbox attempted to re-create the stuffing she recalled as a child. There was some heated discussion as to whether bread crumbs or chunks of bread was the base. Mrs. Soapbox won the argument, and proceeded to serve up sawdust to our company, who attempted to say it was wonderful, but their mouths were almost glued shut with the breadcrumbs paste.

    4. Tradition is the essence of holiday meals, and we still have a recipe for sweet potatoes and apricots that we used on our first turkey meal (that included safety pins!). Mr. Soapbox was getting a bit tired of it after almost 20 years and decided to introduce a Cajun version called “Sweet Potato Pone” for our December 1989 Christmas fare with the “A” family whom we shared last night’s Thanksgiving supper with (I write who and when gets the meals in all of my cookbooks). Within hours, we all came down with flu like symptoms and retired early. The next morning we had remarkably recovered. However, the Soapboxes had leftovers and immediately came down with the “flu” again only to discover the sweet potato recipe now had the name of “killer pone” because it was so darned rich (and so good you could not stop eating it!). We have modified the recipe over the years and if we practise restraint, it is a wonderful alternative to the apricot version.

    5. At times, we used to go to the west coast for either Thanksgiving or Christmas and stay with Grandpa and Grandma Soapbox. All the related Soapboxes arrived and I was in charge of cooking for the 22 of us. I had Mrs. Soapbox’s next youngest sister as my co-pilot and I insisted all eight of the assorted youngings had to help in some way. The youngest tore bread into chunks for the stuffing (no more bread crumbs!), while others measured, or stirred and the very responsible ones waved knives around to slice mushrooms or potatoes. Many years later, most of the nieces and nephews have commented to me how much fun it was and how it felt so neat to be part of the team that produced the meal for three generations.

    So, turkey might be the excuse, but there are many other reasons and associated memories with the sounds, smells and tastes that go along with the bird. Besides, there are soooo many recipes for leftovers!

    • Sigh I’m never going to live down that “safety pins in the turkey” episode am I? But you make a very good point Mr Soapbox about all of these episodes becoming part of our holiday tradition. Even the disasters–smoked oyster stuffing, sawdust stuffing and killer pone–are part of our tradition now. These stories will continue to be told long after we’re gone.
      As I type this I can smell a delicious aroma coming from the kitchen…my daughter just informed me that we’re having brussel sprouts with bacon in addition to left over turkey…yummmmm.
      I have to hand it to you Mr Soapbox, you might be right. There’s no such thing as too much turkey when it’s accompanied by fabulous vegetables. Well done, sweetie, well done.

  6. Linda says:

    Mr. Soapbox,
    I still smile when I remember my dad announcing, with a twitch at the corner of his mouth, that we were having ‘scraps’ for supper when it came to turkey after a holiday! We all grew up loving turkey buns and other dishes almost as much as the turkey dinner. Sans cranberries for me, “home made or otherwise.”
    Bring on the turkey poutine!

  7. GoinFawr says:

    The Fawr household has much for which to be grateful; including silly, but delicious turkeys. Even unelected, appointed ones. Speaking of which, did you hear Mr.Mandel’s rhetorical gaffe (Freudian slip?) on the CBC October 15:

    ‘…We will be bidding (on), oooer, ‘building’ new hospital beds…’ ?
    (Note that with the exception of “bidding”, it is not a precise quote; but still completely verifiable)

    • GoinFawr says:

      Here is where you can hear the actual quote:
      Just scroll down the the audio of the news conference.
      Mr. Mandel begins his spiel @ around minute 7, and the doubleplusungoodspeak happens at ~8:23
      Just for lulz, natch.

      • GoinFawr: I listened to the clip and Mr Mandel does indeed say “bidding”. Given the PC government’s propensity to go with P3s (pay later, pay longer, pay more) “bidding” may indeed be exactly how he intends to proceed with the construction of LTC facilities. He also says that AHS has the health professionals it requires right now to “man” these facilities already in the system because these people were not “properly” deployed in that they weren’t working full time. Every time the poor man opens his mouth he says something damning. One can only hope that the voters in Whitemud are paying careful attention.

  8. Carlos Beca says:

    I apologize I am late. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
    I have not been feeling well because of the overwhelming love the new premier is spreading around in the form of all kinds of goodies that until the day before he took over, we did not have the money to afford. It is quite a miraculous turn around and I wonder if we have another Saint in our community that we had not noticed. This morning, after a couple of weeks of not paying attention to any financial concerns, he claims that we have to be prudent because the oil prices have fallen dramatically. WOW the man is smart. A formidable change since the diet times of our other Saint Alison Redford who is somewhere laughing about what we poor creatures do with her palace. That unfinished 1 million dollars sky palace. Small change of course, especially when one takes in consideration that was to be used by such a bright, special person.
    Oh well, such brilliant times. It almost feels like a second Renaissance does it not?
    I am speechless – it seems the more we try the worse it gets.
    I bet those 464 NEW BEDS are going to be run by some private company. A close friend maybe?

    • Carlos: you nailed it. How does the PC government intend to pay for the promised new schools and promised new Long Term Care facilities? My guess is a P3 arrangement, which we all know will cost more in the long run. Add to that the bump up in operational costs–the teachers, teaching assistants, doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals needed to staff the new schools and hospitals and it becomes evident that it’s going to take a lot of money for us to climb out of the hole Ralph Klein dug for us. I’m prepared to pay more taxes to ensure that our children are properly educated and our elderly are properly cared for…what I don’t want to see is a portion of that money siphoned off to a friend of a friend of the guys in power. Providing social services like education and healthcare is the job of government. It should not be a profit generating enterprise.

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