My daughter's PreK teachers have a Thanksgiving feast every year complete with turkey, ham, stuffing...you name it. They do a really nice job of breaking everything up so that no one person is responsible for the entire meal. All parents are asked to pitch in pot-luck style. I signed up to bring some turkey. I figured I could cook a breast and all would be well. However, as the big day approached (Nov 21), it became clear that no other parent was willing to share the burden of providing perhaps the single most important part of the feast! And Publix put their whole turkeys on sale for about 60 cents a pound...so I thought, "Why not?" I asked the PreK teachers if I could just cook and bring in an entire turkey rather than pray someone else would help at the last moment. The PreK teachers were THRILLED. "Could you do that? We'd be so grateful!" OK, so now I'm cooking a turkey.
Perhaps you've cooked a turkey. If so, you know exactly how easy this could be. But me? Total turkey virgin. No clue what I've signed up for, but I figure a girl's gotta figure this out sometime, right? So away we go!
Four days before the turkey needs to be cooked I put this 25lb monster in the fridge to defrost. I clear out an entire shelf and pop that bad boy in there. Oh yeah. I was told to give it at least three to defrost. Everyone, including the Monty Python Knights, knows that four is more than three, and three shalt thy number be, so four's gotta be better, right?
Two days until T-day...and I'm ready. This turkey has been defrosting now for four days, so it's got to be ready, right? I haul it out of the fridge, dump it into the newly cleaned sink, cut into the plastic, and unwrap it....and realize that I have no idea what to do with this naked carcass. I've done my research, talked to my mom, but staring at this behemoth in front of me...what was I thinking? I grab the legs and pull, but nothing. I call my mom, who tells me not to be afraid of hurting the bird since it's already dead. I get the turkey ready to be cleaned out and discover...a sold wall. I flip the turkey end over end trying to figure out where to get the entrails out, but I can't tell. What the heck?
I call my mom, but she's at work. No answer. I call my DH, who suggests I call his dad (who is a master turkey cooker). He listens to my description and then says, "Sounds like your turkey is still frozen inside. Start filling the cavity with hot water." I do this, and I begin to see the cavity emerge. Eureka! But now I've got to get it emptied. More hot water, chipping out the ice by hand, and I can finally find the neck. Except this neck must go all the way through the bird! It's attached at both ends? Seriously??? Completely annoyed and loopy from frustration, I call my FIL again.
My FIL is a patient man. I moan about how it's been two hours and this neck is still attached! "I can't get it out!!" I wail. "Well, what's it feel like?" he asks. The neck? Have you ever gripped a turkey neck, folks? I can't think of any other way to describe it except to say, "It feels like a penis!"
"Um, I meant does it still feel frozen."
Turns out the neck does detach when thoroughly thawed. More hot water goes in...lots of wiggling (oh shut up)...and slowly I hear a slurping sound and..."Ding dong the neck is out!" I'm crowing!! I'm posting my joy on FB...my friends are debating whether to call the funny farm or run...One friend, after inquiring as to my sanity, says, "Sounds very strange...this is your first time, right?" "Yes, I'm a turkey virgin," I proclaim.
Once I get all the bits and pieces out of the center, I can stuff the turkey with pre-made stuffing, slide it into the bag, and stick it into the oven. The thermometer pops up, and the turkey is done! WHOOHOO!
Turns out my DH is an expert carver. We slice this sucker up and get it ready to take into the girls PreK class.
I bring the turkey in, and can I tell you, I'm almost as proud as if I'd birthed the bird. I set it out on the table. Parents come up to get food - and there is quite the feast! Ham, stuffing, veggies, fruit, desserts as far as the eye can see...OK, perhaps I exaggerate a little. But there were a LOT of desserts.
At the end of the little performance and meal, one of the moms asks me about the turkey. I confess it's the first one I've ever cooked. "SHUT UP!" she hollers! "That's one of the best birds I've ever eaten!"
All hail the turkey virgin!!
|Twin B finds Native American life so very funny...or maybe it's just the thought of mommy's turkey struggles...|