The House of Six Doors received an honorable mention at The 2015 Amsterdam Book Festival! I am thrilled.
Let the Words Flow: Writing Prompt 12
When I think of holidays, I think of gatherings, which in turn makes me think of food. Homes are filled with colorful decorations and sumptuous dishes are prepared in the kitchen. The dishes I think of during the holidays are from Curaçao. When you think of the holidays what smells, tastes and textures come to mind? I invite you to join me: you’ll need pen and paper or a computer, a cup of tea, and a comfortable place to sit. Ask yourself what part of your story needs to be told today. The prompt is an invitation to let the words flow. Slowly read the prompt, whether fact or fiction, write what needs to be written today. Feel free to change the prompt from first to third person, vice versa, or any other way.
I smelled something cooking, and I knew….
From The House of Six Doors~
Sint Nikolaas was a four-hundred-year-old Dutch tradition. In the Netherlands, Zwarte Pieten had to use large quantities of shoe polish to blacken their pale skins, something not necessary in Curaçao. I liked the Zwarte Pieten but I feared Sint Nikolaas. In spite of being disciplinarians the Pieten were only following orders. To a Curaçao native, however, the image of a white man commanding his black servants to carry out his wishes was a familiar old story from the slave days.
Oma never celebrated Sint Nikolaas Day—she disliked it because she felt the celebration was hurtful for some and that a celebration should not be painful for anyone. Mama, on the other hand, loved everything Dutch.
… When Sint Nikolaas called my name I was afraid and didn’t want to go up to his throne. Willia saw my reluctance. “He’s not real,” she whispered in my ear. “It’s Mr. Brand, our neighbor. Go ahead, it’s all pretend.” Shocked, I turned to look at her. She winked as she pushed me toward Sint Nikolaas. Slowly, I walked up to him and sat on his lap. I examined his face and saw his beard was not real. Then I saw the large freckle I knew Mr. Brand had on the left side of his nose. I was relieved that Sint Nikolaas wasn’t real. He handed me a marzipan doll as one of the Pieten extracted a pink bicycle from his burlap bag. It was exactly what I had hoped for. Papa walked up to the throne and helped me with the bicycle. We took it outside to the driveway. We were alone. He held the handlebars while I climbed on. I sat up straight, trying to balance. He smiled down at me then walked alongside, holding the seat with one hand and the handlebars with the other. As I rode my brand new bike, I felt safe with Papa holding me. We turned right out of our driveway, onto the sidewalk, and down the street, leaving the commotion of the celebration behind. The night enveloped us with a blanket of stars.
If you are looking for an exciting and delicious new way to cook your turkey this year, this is a traditional Curaçao recipe. On Curaçao turkey is usually served for Christmas, but ever since I moved to California I’ve been making this recipe for Thanksgiving and it is always a highlight. It’s festive, flavorful and it brings Caribbean warmth to American holiday.
Prep Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 6.5 hours
1 whole organic turkey 12 to 15 lbs
1 cup of organic red wine
¼ tsp organic garlic salt
3 organic garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp organic olive oil
1 tbsp organic chicken bouillon paste
¼ tsp dried organic thyme
¼ tsp dried organic sage crushed
¼ tsp dried organic oregano
¼ tsp organic nutmeg
1 cup organic chopped onion
2 cup organic chopped celery
6 organic garlic cloves chopped
1 cup organic ground turkey
1½ cup organic raisins
1¼ cup organic walnuts
1 cup organic green olives
2 tbsps organic capers
1 cup organic chicken broth
½ cup organic red wine
3 cups organic bread crumbs
¼ tsp organic sage rub
¼ tsp organic thyme
¼ tsp organic oregano
¼ tsp organic nutmeg
Himalayan or Celtic salt
4 tbsp organic olive oil
½ Bottle of organic red wine
3 tbsp organic chicken bouillon paste
3 cups water
1 tsp organic garlic salt
Preheat oven to 325º F.
Remove the giblets from the body cavity along with anything that has been tucked into the neck skin. Discard giblets.
Rinse turkey under cold, running water, pat dry with a paper towel, inside and out. Coat turkey inside and out with garlic salt and rubbing spices.
Place onion, celery, garlic cloves, in a pan on medium heat. After simmering for 3 to 5 minutes, add ground turkey and cook until light brown. Add raisins, walnuts, olives, and capers. Add wine and chicken broth and finally add the breadcrumbs. Set aside to cool.
Fill turkey cavity with stuffing and tie with string. Place the turkey in a roasting pan with a little bit of olive oil on the bottom of pan. Prevent over-browning by covering the turkey with a tin foil tent. Put the pan in preheated oven.
Combine basting ingredients. After the turkey cooks for 30 minutes, prick turkey and baste every 15 minutes.
Turkey should be done in approximately 4 to 4 ½ hours. To allow for browning, remove the tent during the last 45 minutes of baking. To ensure that the turkey is done, insert a meat thermometer into thickest part of the breast. Once the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 180º F, remove it from the oven and let it rest approximately 15 minutes before carving.
Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!