Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Of Mashers, Hat Pins and Turkeys

Given the backwash of bad behavior on the part of men today - and 30, 40 years ago - it would behoove us to take a look at Olden Days.  Especially as a man's basic character, personality whatever don't change.  or so 'tis said.  Long gone are the courtiers of yore who wooed with poems written for their beloved as well as flowers, and valuable gifts.    Oops - valuable gifts do still exist.  "Oh, baby - I'ma in love - what color Beemer you want - tell Daddy!"

Be that as it may be.  In 1903 American women were wearing enormous hats - many of them were themed - several birds in an elaborate nest perched on and in the woman's hair were popular.  Great swaths of tulle were wound around a basic bonnet frame and from extant pictures, this head gear looked like the pictures of A-bomb testing on a slightly smaller scale.

To hold these weighty and not dainty at all confections on their heads, women employed a tool called "a hatpin."  These instruments were often a foot long and always had a very sharp point (to force the way through the tulle) and a dull end for the fingers pushing it into the hat/hair.  

Mashers and lechers (virtually interchangeable) were in for a rude awakening and the birth of what they themselves called the "Hatpin Peril."    In Scranton, PA, a 19 year old girl gave her boy friend a "playful" stab which fatally pierced his heart where upon he upped and died. 

Hatpins weren't used just against men.  Wives would tackle mistresses and the duel would commence out in the street to the amusement of all of the neighbors. 

By 1909 Hatpin Peril had spread internationally and the mayors of Hamburg and Paris were considering banning hatpins. 

But, as the '20s approached, women began getting their long-enough-to-sit-on hair bobbed with the advent of the flapper.  Out went the hatpin; in came the flapper slap.

Interestingly enough, you can still buy hatpins today.  Hello, Google?  But sadly what no longer seems to exist today are women tough enough to pack a hatpin and use it.

A Stroke of Genius - or Not?
Over the years, our usual Thanksgiving dinner guests have waned in numbers.  Moving for the job took three adults; even worse two died and others had never come to us because they already had somewhere  else (and doubtless better) to go.  This year's head count is one with maybe two more.

I don't like baking a turkey in the first place for that awful sweetish, nasty smell after about a half an hour in the oven.  Further, I had to go through a couple of years of Richie whining, "I want a real turkey!"  This means wings and legs.  He has been overly influenced by turkey ads.  I counter that no one we have ever invited likes dark meat.  "I don't care - I want a real turkey!"  You can imagine the amusing conversations here re "real" turkey vs. breast only.

Another reason is that we always have leftover turkey.  I have spent time with paper, pencil and calculator trying to calibrate number of guests with size of turkey to be purchased.  I always have gotten it wrong and poor old turkey lingers in the refrigerator in its little aluminum dress forever.  Or at least until one of us bites the bullet (but no part of the dead turkey) and tosses it. 

This year I got smart.  I strutted up to the deli counter and bought a pound and a half of Boars Head Oven Gold turkey sliced into half-inch thick slabs.  My turkey is boneless and skinless and you can eat every bite of it!  It was $35, but zero waste.  I think that's worth it.  I will gently baste it in chicken broth to heat it and put it in descending slices prettily on the platter and drizzle gravy down the middle just for garnish.    And do dance steps as I bring the rest of dinner to the table.  NO TURKEY WAS BAKED IN THIS HOUSE. 

And I didn't have to use my hatpin on Richie to convince him we don't have to have a "real" turkey.  Win win.

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