I come from a family of cooks. Serious, Bon Appetit reading, spices you’ve never heard of using, take no prisoners, start cooking a week before Thanksgiving cooks. And then there’s me. My first solo turkey was in 1993 in Charleston, SC. I cooked the giblets in the turkey and had to throw the whole thing away when the kitchen started to smell like melted plastic. Fail. I’d like to say my domestic prowess has improved with time, but y’all? I’d be lying.
My sister Rob (Our parents have 3 girls called Al, Rob & Chris..think anyone was hoping for a boy?) was telling me yesterday about her menu (yes, there is a menu involved) for today and how long she had already been cooking and she’s all, “White wine, clarified butter, sausage, thyme, diced green apple, maple syrup, chocolate bourbon pecan pie” and I’m all, “Stove Top, Heinze, Betty Crocker, Mrs. Smith’s…” I know she dies a little inside when we talk food.
But in my defense, I do dress things up. Chicken broth instead of water for the stuffing and in the mashed potatoes with cream. Lots of butter and extra touches make it yummy and
no one has to call the fire department easy. I set out lots of olives, pickles and cheeses for snackies and do olives ever taste better than on Thanksgiving?
I talked to my Mom last night and she’s on the same crazy cooking train as Rob. Homemade cranberry sauce (I only like canned), a ton of vegan recipes for our little sister, Chris..everything by hand, including the fresh turkey..not frozen . So where did I come from? Dad says he traded a bottle of Jack Daniels and a bag of beef jerky for me at a fireworks stand in Georgia. Makes sense.
Now let’s talk turkey. I HATE making turkey. I have the germ thing..which makes touching something potentially filled with death-inducing germs tough. So handling a squishy plastic bag filled with 14-20 lbs of emergency-room-waiting-to-happen is less than cool for me. I swear every year that we’re going to just go out for Chinese on Thanksgiving. No muss, no fuss, no possibility of poisoning my family by mistake.
So I buy the
little son of a.. turkey at Shaw’s a couple of weeks ago when they had their 43 cents per pound sale going on. I got a 14 lb bird and promptly tossed it’s sorry carcass into the freezer. I took it out of the freezer early Tuesday morning thinking two days to baste in it’s own poisons thaw in the fridge was more than enough. Guess what? Not even close. Hard as a freaking rock as of 8:30 this morning. So going against every phobia I have, and there are many, I put it into my lobster pot, dropped the whole thing into my big sink in the garage and ran cold water over it for 2 hours.
So while most of Salmonella-Rex was thawed and the giblets (ugh) came right out, the neck was frozen solidly inside and so that’s exactly how the darned thing went into the oven. And then there was much of this…
Gah, you guys…I love my family. I really want to give them a nice holiday full of love and laughter and good memories of working in the kitchen with Mom, but man I pay for it in spades. I’m wigging out about eating the turkey, feeding it to my family, spending a day or two in the hospital with severe gastrointestinal distress. Has it ever happend? Nope. Does that keep me from climbing my crazy tree? Nope.
With Salmonella-Rex slowly doing it’s thing in the oven, we should eat around 11pm tonight..if anyone is traveling over this way, I’d like an order of General Tso’s, and some sweet and sour soup, please.
A very Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friends.