It was known far and wide and in another time in the land of the Bronx that Sam the furrier loved Rose the housewife. Rose cooked and cleaned and stuffed all manner of food down the throat or her unwilling husband who always wanted to please his Rose no matter what the consequence. Sam was in those days a health nut with very particular tastes that did not always coincide with her menu plan.
Sam had his food day planned from early morning to just before he arrived home from his factory. From then on Rose called the shots and war was declared when the Mr. refused to eat what the Mrs. put on the table. Rose had the notion that more was better while Sam knew that less was best.
On this specific holiday Rose presented a turkey. Sam hated turkey and to that day no one had any idea why because he loved chicken. “What is a turkey Sam but a big chicken?” she cried but to no avail. We all loved turkey and suspected her fraud but kept quiet because who wanted to start trouble?
It all began in 1950 when I was old enough to know that chickens didn’t weigh twenty pounds. Aunt Esther and her brood arrived for dinner that snowy New Year’s Eve. The table was set as we all waited for what we thought was our usual holiday fare, roast chicken.
Rose pranced out of the kitchen with a huge bird on a platter surrounded by roasted vegetables. Sam looked suspicious as he rose from his chair, shaking his head and we knew it was trouble.
Before he could open his mouth, Rose recounted her visit to a new butcher in Brooklyn who knew another man in New Jersey who raised special chickens fed on a secret diet that no one knew because if they did it wouldn’t be a secret and then the man in New Jersey wouldn’t have such a profitable business. With this special diet the bird got big and had a fabulous taste that everyone loved.
On this New Year’s eve it finally came out that Sam had never tasted a turkey, a fact no one in the family had ever known except Rose. His reason was, as he told us, “They look funny. I don’t like the neck and that big thing that hangs from it. Why should I eat something that looks funny?” We all agreed because we loved Sam and why start trouble?
Sam eyed the bird up and down. “So this is a big chicken. If it’s so fabulous maybe we should go into business. Why should the butcher in Brooklyn make all the money?” Sam carved the big chicken and ate every bite. From that day on we always had the big chicken for every holiday. When he told this story to his friends and customers in the fur market, I suspect they always knew the truth but never revealed it.
Everyone loved Sam so why start trouble?