Shaking Tom Turkey’s Leg (G-uno)

As the holidays approach I think of all the little traditions people have to celebrate with their families, and how these traditions enrich our lives. Life has become so hectic that many of  the wonderful little details are swept to the side for the sake of convenience. It has been said” that most of what we do in life is of little importance but it is very important that we do it.” I am a fan of rituals and tradition. As a child I could hardly wait for the holidays to arrive.

I lived with my father’s sister from the age of five until the age of eleven. My Aunt was the queen of holidays! We had very little money as I look back on things from the perspective of an adult, but she managed to make every holiday a spectacular event. Thanksgiving (An American holiday) is traditionally a time when families gather for a huge feast of some very traditional recipes. The turkey is the star of this feast. We take great pride in the preparation of this bird.

Growing up I remember the women in our family gathering the entire week before Thanksgiving to start cooking each of their own special dishes to bring to the feast. The table would be set with a beautiful table cloth and our best dishes. My aunt would have the children working on handmade decorations to adorn the table. We would scrub the house from top to bottom as a family to make sure the house was suitable for our beloved guests. It was a time when people dressed in their Sunday best to enjoy all of the efforts made by the entire family for this special day.

There was one tradition that stood joyfully out from all the others. My Aunt would have my cousins,  and I report to the kitchen first thing Thanksgiving morning. The kitchen was filled with all the wonderful smells of the dishes she had been preparing the night before. It was time to put the turkey in the oven. The turkey was always named Tom, but before this enormous bird went into the oven each of us would approach Tom (smiling and giggling) in order to thank Tom for his contribution to our feast by shaking his leg.

This was the one moment all the kids looked forward to, watching each other go up to this raw turkey was just hilarious to us. Such a simple little tradition with the warmest intention of bonding us together as a family. Many years have passed and even to this day I cannot see a raw turkey without having the urge to shake it’s leg. 😉


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