Pipe Down, or go ahead and cut your hair, David Crosby.
By Jim Peterson
I love Thanksgiving. We cooked up a big turkey this year, 16 pounds, but ended up only serving four people, so there were leftovers for days. Finally we had picked most of the meat off the bones, and it was time to make turkey soup. Here’s what I did.
First, I put on Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. No real thought went into this, but I am in the middle of the great new Neil Young bio Shakey, and had just finished reading about some of the crazy, coke-fueled antics of Crosby and Stills. As it turned out, this record was key to my soup-making process.
I put the record on, and took the turkey carcass out of the refrigerator. To the strains of Carry On, I cut off the remaining drumstick and the wings. As the insipid Teach Your Children started, I considered going to the living room to skip past that song. But as I was playing an LP rather than a CD and my hands were already pretty covered with turkey grease, I was reluctant to mess around with the turntable.
Next it was time to hack up the turkey carcass. This is always kind of difficult. Unlike a chicken, it takes some real brute force (and a certain barbarism) to cut up turkey bones. This is where Déjà Vu really came in handy. As I started in with the cleaver, on came David Crosby’s tragicomic tale, Almost Cut My Hair—four minutes and twenty five seconds of overblown bellowing:
Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It's gettin' kinda long
I coulda said it wasn't in my way
But I didn't and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
Cause I feel like I owe it to someone.
There are very few songs in rock, or any other genre, about haircuts, with good reason. It is hard to write a compelling song about a haircut, harder still to write one about a near-haircut.
Cleaver in hand, I was able to tap into David’s righteous anger at almost cutting his hair, and to augment it with my own ire at the fact that this self-indulgent song was ever recorded. In no time I hacked through the breast and back bones, cut the results into smaller pieces, and was ready to add them to the stock pot.
1 turkey carcass
Water to cover, 3 – 4 quarts
4 celery stalks, with leaves
1 cup sliced fennel bulb
2 medium onions
3 bay leaves
1/2 bunch of parsley
1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 4 hours.
Turkey broth (above)
4 celery stalks
2 garlic cloves
1 cup wild rice
1 tsp. Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Pick as much meat as you care to off the bones. Reserve. Cool broth and skim off fat.
I like to cook the wild rice separately, so it doesn’t absorb the turkey broth, which can result in more of a stew than a soup. Cook the wild rice for 30 minutes in two cups of water or chicken broth.
Add broth back to stock pot, along with meat. Add vegetables. Cook for about 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings, add the rice and continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
Jim Peterson is the former manager of Garage D'or Records in Minneapolis, and is now a librarian living in Oak Park, IL
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