My friend, JL (whose name rhymes with Virginia), has been on a turkey hunt with me every X’mas season over the past three years.
In December 2008, she wanted to eat “real turkey” for X’mas, so a few days be4 X’mas we headed for the Greenhouse at Ritz Carlton for its expensive buffet lunch.
I was less than sanguine that we would find “real turkey” outside of someone’s home, as I had called around several hotels be4 we settled for the Ritz. And each had said “no” when I asked if I could opt for the drumstick or the wings from the turkey served. This was because they only served turkey breast.
Actually the Four Seasons had said “yes” when i called. I had also been to its X’mas buffet once when I ate not one but both wings off their turkey served. However, it was on the wrong side of town for JL whose office is closer to the Ritz.
When we arrived at the Greenhouse, we were heartened to see there was a whole turkey on display. Alas, that turkey remained on display and we were served turkey breast from somewhere in the deepest bowels of the kitchen.
Last X’mas, JL persuaded me to try the X’mas menu at the Tanglin Club, convinced that for such a bastion of British customs, the turkey would surely come with drumsticks and wings.
Again I was less than sanguine. Because a few years earlier I had ordered a turkey to take home to share with family and friends to mark the year end festivities. Imagine my horror when I took the turkey out off its box to serve and discovered that the bird was sans wings.
After the festivities, I lodged a complaint with the club’s F&B department and was given a discount but not be4 I was told haughtily that other members preferred their birds wingless to make the carving easier!
And as anticipated, despite JL and I were told by the wait at the club that we would be served both breast and drumstick, what actually came on our plates was a travesty of the two types of meat. Both had been deboned and cooked like a meat roll!
This year was no different when JL hosted a group of university undergrads and fresh grads she mentors at the club and included me. While most of the group had the so-called trad turkey meal, I opted for pink trout.
Still, I managed to eat real turkey twice this season.
One was entirely accidental. I was at the Isetan supermarket in Shaw Centre when I happened to see turkey set meals from Tierney’s being sold at the deli. And yes! Each set had a whole wing or a drumstick. All for a steal of $6.90, that included veggies and a small cheese and mashed potato pie.
Then today, I had a whole turkey drumstick when I dropped by — as has been a custom for more years than I can remember — at the R family’s home in Upper Serangoon on X’mas Day.
There’s always a long table groaning with savoury lip-smacking food in the centre of the dining room. On a long sideboard parallel to a row of windows will stand plate upon plate of desserts, from the traditional fruit cake and bread and butter pudding to sugi cake thick with marzipan and much much more. It’s no different today.
Booze a plenty would be found in the room nearest the kitchen as well as in the kitchen. For the several dozen guests, it’s a free flow of food and booze for hours on end.
I would usually go for the superlicious bone-in-ham that BK, the son, always gets from Mandarin but this year, because I’ve been so psyched by JL to want to eat turkey for the X’mas season, I went for the bird. And no, I wasn’t responsible for all the damage done to the turkey or the ham. Hic!