No, seriously, the woman who can burn juice successfully defrosted, unstuffed, stuffed (sort of), cooked, cooled and CARVED a gosh darned turkey!! And also? Nobody was wounded or maimed and I didn’t die of food-poisoning! It was a red letter day, people!!
(to which you ask “all by yourself??” To which I answer “are you mad??”)
Here's the deal: my work gave everyone free turkey or free pies for the holidays, and of course my first thought was “Mmmm – Free Pie!!” (because that’s actually one of my life mottos – “Mmmm – Free Pie!!” I’ve got it tattooed on my right butt cheek, across from my other life motto tattoo, “There is no such thing as a good morning”) But then I thought to myself “some day all the grown-ups might not be around to cook us a turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas. The Horror!” and, fueled by the idea of sitting down to my Christmas balogna sammich, I grabbed me a frozen turkey and bypassed those pies! Shunned them, even!
Of course then I was just some clueless boob with a frozen turkey and no idea what to do with it. And kind of wishing I had a few pies to console me.
Next step: I called my Mom, a woman who has made successful turkey after successful turkey; a woman who is not easily flapped by a cooking disaster; a lovely, generous and PATIENT woman… I called her and asked “please oh please, oh mother of mine, would you teach me the Jedi ways of the cooked turkey?” And then I bribed her with brownies. (And can I just say thank all the cooking gods for the invention of the boxed brownie mix, from which excellent brownies come and which is so very impossible to screw up, at least beyond the second time? Oh yes I can.)
This woman, this wonderful Mom-woman, she spent her Sunday afternoon and evening helping me to do this. And as those of you who have ever cooked a turkey already know, it is the classic example of the “hurry up and wait” project. She got there and helped me to confirm that yes, the insides of this bird were still 80% ice. Which, apparently, is bad. And then it was a couple of hours of thawing tactics, as well as yanking things out and pouring things in and chipping things loose…
Once it was thawed we put stuff in it and lavished it with yummy, yummy butter and stuck it in a box ever so hot. And then it was ‘wait thirty minutes, check-poke-slather, wait thirty minutes, check-poke-slather, repeat until crazy…’ She was smart enough to have other chores and errands that she could run during the waiting periods, but even at the end she still came back, at 8pm that night, to show me how to carve a turkey without also carving my thumbs.
Some things I learned:
- Turkeys actually keep all their internal organs collected together in a little plastic bag. Smart thinkin’, evolution!
- The little “I’m done!” indicator on a turkey lies, it lies! Listen to it not, for that way lies madness!
- You can never put too much butter on a turkey. Go ahead, try. It will never be too much. Never.