In my visits to the Maryville Fire Department kitchen, I have visited two shifts, but had yet to visit C-shift. The good firefighters of C-shift -- my brother Steve Davis included -- decided to “give thanks” when I finally made it to the station during their shift by frying up a turkey.
Capt. Johnny McCaulley provided a wild turkey for the evening meal. As to the origins of this wild bird, I can not attest, as the story was a little unclear as to whether the fearless hunter was the Captain, his cousin Larry Coulter, or their dog.
Firefighters are full of stories and visitors are likely to hear more than a few. The favorite of the evening, given the main dish, was that Tommy Russell, a well-known and longtime employee of the department, would be absent for the dinner. Story was Tommy had been banished to an out station since turkey was to be the featured entree. It seems Tommy had been in charge of preparing the Thanksgiving turkey for the crew in the not-too-distant past and cooked the fine bird the required length of time with one flaw: He forgot to turn on the oven. Tommy and turkey haven’t been seen together in the same station since.
The crew working the night I visited was Sara Breid, Richard Sargent, Randy Thompson, Patrick McGinley, Johnny McCaulley and my brother, Steve Davis.
Johnny McCaulley’s Deep-fried Wild Turkey Breast
2 to 3 turkey breasts, cut into small strips or nuggets
2 to 3 cups Italian style bread crumbs, seasoned with an extra dash of garlic salt, seasoned salt and Cajun seasoning
Canola or vegetable oil
Milk to coat turkey pieces
Dip turkey strips or nuggets in milk and roll in seasoned bread crumbs. Deep fry a few at a time until they are golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain.
Johnny’s Quick Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 (12 oz) can Diet Sprite or a diet orange drink
1 egg white
Combine cake mix, soft drink and egg white. Mix for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium to high speed. Pour into greased and floured cake pan (9 x 13 in.) and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp. baking soda
In medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, buttermilk and orange juice. Cook just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and add baking soda, causing it to foam just a little. Pour over warm cake.