Friday, June 14, 2013

Aneta Turkey Barbecue-Memories and Anticipation

In a small town, recorded history is a relative thing. We record the history of our relatives. 
The Aneta Turkey Barbecue is a big deal for every family in the community, but I can't tell you very much about other families. When I think of the Aneta Turkey Barbecue, I think of my family. My dad, pictured in the middle above, has been involved in the Aneta Turkey Barbecue since the beginning, I assume.
 He will be in the park again on Saturday, I hope.
My early recollections of the Turkey Barbecue Day are of lots of work. Working together as a community made it fun. Back then, we served homemade potato salad and baked the beans. I don't know exactly when that changed, but I remember driving to Jamestown with Dad in the station wagon to pick up potato salad in five gallon cartons. The station wagon was air conditioned and we turned it up on high for the trip home to keep the potato salad cold. I was well chilled by the time we arrived in Aneta.
At that time the beans were all still baked in homes. Everyone must have owned a huge turkey roaster. Mom and other bean bakers picked up the ingredients at the store and ham at the meat market. She used her own recipe. She made very good beans. There was a time schedule for the beans. A roaster or two came into the park every half hour or so, as the serving continued into the evening. I remember people asking Mom when her beans would arrive at the park, hoping they could get a spoonful on their plate with their turkey. 
Some older women were very good cooks, but couldn't transport roasters of baked beans, so we went and picked up their beans. Eventually we went commercial with that, too. I don't suppose that the health department would consider it a good idea to bake beans for public consumption in a home kitchen. 
Dad likes to spend the entire day in the park on the third Saturday in June. He wants to be sure that the turkeys are properly cooked, which he considers the single most important part of the celebration. He wants to help with that as much as possible.
Dad has been insistent, over the years, that young people learn how to cook the turkeys. If that knowledge is not passed on, the day will fade away.
Dad has taught my sons and many others all that he knows. He believes that the key to this event is to have as many people as possible involved and educated in the process for cooking the turkey. Delicious Turkey makes for a successful day. 
It takes a lot charcoal. Weather conditions dictate how much.
Dad wants the boys to understand that charcoal burns differently on a windy day or a cold day. Dad knows how to line the ground with aluminum foil if the ground is too wet. That simple step will keep the birds roasting, rather than steaming.
 Turkey is the star of the day, and cooking it properly is the most important thing to Dad and the cooks on the third Saturday of June.
There will be a Lutheran Ladies Lunch Stand in the auditorium basement on Main Street starting around 10:30. It features home made pie and sloppy joes, which we call barbecues in GriggsDakota. My mom has made two of her famous-in-the-family Pecan Pies, which will be sold by the slice to a lucky few who happen to be in line when we cut them. There will be many homemade pies such as rhubarb, apple and more.
There will be a parade in the afternoon before the turkeys are ready.
It will feature smiling children. 
And smiling adults who are just happy to have made it one more year.
The turkeys will be done roasting at 4:30 on Saturday for another 
Aneta Turkey Barbecue. 
I predict that they will be perfectly barbecued,
 in the City Park nearest GriggsDakota.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! Looks like fun and looks delicious!
    Such a blessing to have such a community to live in. Have fun! Post pictures!