By Michelle Sanford, Editor
So I have a confession to make…before this Thanksgiving, I had never cooked a turkey before.
My husband and kids are not particularly fond of the taste of the big bird, so it’s never been a meal that I’ve prepared. That is until this Thanksgiving.
This year, most of mine and my husband’s family were scattered for the Thursday holiday. However, my sister and brother in law, who live in state, were free, so I took a big breath and invited them over for Thanksgiving. Gulp.
I bought the turkey about ten days prior to November 25. I did a little research regarding how big the bird should be based on the number of servings.
With most sites saying about 1.5 pounds per person, I bought a 14-pound turkey for six people; feeling that would be plenty for the meal yet also provide some additional meat for leftovers.
“You only bought 14 pounds?” my sister-in-law said. “Oh, you’ll need a bigger one than that. There won’t be enough for leftovers. Rookie mistake No. 1.
I literally started to sweat, but decided to stick to my guns and go with the bird I bought.
I stuck the turkey in the freezer, thinking 24 hours would be plenty for it to thaw out properly. Rookie mistake No. 2.
I woke up the day before the holiday and googled, “How to Properly Thaw Out Your Thanksgiving Day Turkey.” I now realize I should have read that web site four days before, as apparently you must place the turkey in the refrigerator four days prior to Thanksgiving to thaw out correctly.
In a panic, I flew out the driveway in my car and drove to Hannafords on Thanksgiving Eve at 7 a.m. praying on the way they would have an unfrozen turkey I could put in the fridge. Driving, I had an image in my head of placing a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken on the table and telling everyone to dig in. Thankfully my prayers were answered at Hannafords.
Later that evening, I read the directions to prepare and cook the bird. Now at this point, I’m just assuming the directions will say slather it with softened butter. Rookie mistake No. 3.
“Brush the turkey with vegetable oil,” said the directions. Excuse me? I quickly google this and I come across everything from cover the turkey skin with butter to cover it with vegetable oil or olive oil. Then I read another Web site that says don’t ever use vegetable oil or olive oil on a turkey.
I quickly call my older sister who lives out of state; she’s the cook in the family. “Oh, I brine my turkey,” she said. Brine? What the hell does brine mean? I don’t have time to brine anything!
She finally convinces me that using butter is completely fine. After the turkey is finally ready to roast, I somewhat hesitantly put it in the oven and set the timer.
About ten minutes later, my cell phone rings. It’s my sister. “If you haven’t already—don’t stuff your turkey with stuffing. It cooks slower and unevenly. Cook the stuffing separately if you can. Rookie mistake No. 4 and that’s it. I’m done. This turkey has kicked my you know what.
Suffice to say, after all the stress this stupid bird caused me, it did end up tasting delicious. And although I am truly thankful for that, I am even more thankful that this year’s turkey dinner will likely be my last.