Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I was going to have a little rumination on today's blog about the Pope's pronouncement on body scanners -- but in getting to my blogsite I ran across the above picture, which has actually trumped the Pope. Not many things can do that. So I'll save the Pope for tomorrow and deal with turtles today.

I have a few blogs that I follow, and probably the one I like the best, Tom McMahon's, is where I found the "turtles" pictured above but apparently the recipe has been around for a while. As I understand it, they originally were made for a Superbowl party. But it's a great idea and it makes a stunning visual presentation.

These are called Bacon Cheese Turtleburgers and are made with handmade ground beef patties, topped with sharp cheddar cheese and then wrapped in a bacon weave. At this point the Hebrew Nationals are inserted as the heads, legs and tails. Place them on a rack, cover loosely with foil and then put them into an oven heated to 400 degrees. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the bacon is done - cooked through and a little crispy, but not too crunchy. I didn't search the internet for the exact recipe but anyone thinking to try this for an occasion of some type might want to do a little more searching. For me, just sharing the funny/strange/clever turtle replications was enough.

But that does make me recall my one venture with eating turtles. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s there was a restaurant in Balboa called Dillons, as we recollect, that featured a wild game night. One night Jerry and I went there with our friends Bev and Ed to see what might be tempting enough to try. Jerry and Bev were both adventuresome eaters. I was less so and Ed was strictly a beef and baked potato man. I do not recall what our friends ate, but Jerry ordered a lion meat steak. I ordered turtle soup.

I recollect very little else about the evening, except that Jerry's meat was exceptionally tough, and we finally figured out that undoubtedly the old lion Frasier from Lion Country Safari had finally kicked the bucket and was having his aged body now served to those unsuspecting patrons at Dillons who ordered lion steaks.

And for me, to this day I can remember the taste of my soup, not because it tasted like turtle but that it tasted like tarragon. And my mind still says that turtle tastes exactly like tarragon does. I don't think the intention of the cook was to camouflage the taste of the turtle, but it did. There is, at the Souplantation restaurant, a nice salad of pasta, tuna fish and tarragon, and every time I eat it I always think that perhaps they've added a bit of turtle to their salad.

It is funny what things are capable of jogging the memory. Tastes and smells both lodge in my brain and bring up mostly good recollections. I smell White Shoulders perfume and my college years flash in front of me. I taste tarragon and I'm immediately back at Dillons eating turtles!

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