GOBBLE GOBBLE! Carmel and Eric Cocciola, with the seven-month-old turkey gobbler primed and ready for Christmas lunch.
GOBBLE GOBBLE! Carmel and Eric Cocciola, with the seven-month-old turkey gobbler primed and ready for Christmas lunch.

Talking turkey for Christmas

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL

THE Cocciola family turkey may rue the day it ever said 'gobble gobble'.

His owners, Eric and Carmel, will spend the next few weeks fattening the bird for their Christmas dinner.

But there is no chopping block in sight at their Parrots Nest property, between Lismore and Casino.

"I eat the head!" Mr Cocciola said.

"That's what they do in Italy. I never got to eat it when I was a boy in Italy. It used to be the father or boss of the house who got to eat the head."

The 73-year-old said that rather than resorting to an axe, he simply broke the neck of the gobbler to preserve the Italian delicacy.

"Turkeys are the best. I can't stand chickens!" he said. "You never have Christmas in Italy without a turkey and you never have Easter without a lamb."

When Mr Cocciola moved to Australia in 1952 the turkey tradition also became a December ritual for his wife.

"At first I turned my nose up at it," she said. "But I learnt to deal with it...I'd be divorced by now if I didn't!"

She has now become the family's chief 'turkey stuffer'.

"All I do is put ordinary bread, onion, mixed herbs and rosemary inside," she said.

"But I don't do the turkey's head for Christmas. I do it for a day when the kids aren't here. I can stomach it, but they can't."



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