I don’t like meat items that still look like the original animal. Frog legs? No. Clams? No. Squid? No. Hogs head? No one’s ever offered, but no.
So a turkey is really stretching it for me. Because it’s just a naked, headless bird. So weird.
And last year it wasn’t even completely naked, because it still had one little feather sticking out of each of the wings. Horrifying.
This year was my 3rd time cooking thanksgiving dinner. (My sister claims it’s my 4th, so either she’s crazy or I’m blocking a traumatic memory.) So I SHOULD have it down. But that’s actually where I’m at my worst. When I’m like, “Oh, I know how to do this. No biggie,” that’s when things go horribly wrong.
So the day before Thanksgiving, I checked the turkey cooking chart on the box of my turkey-cooking-bag. Don’t judge me, it’s only my 3rd (or 4th) time doing this. Later that evening, without looking at the box, I asked Chris (who is my personal calculator) to do the math for me, “It’s supposed to cook for 10 minutes for every pound, and then add 15 minutes. And the turkey is 20 pounds.” He said that meant about 3 and a half hours.
We were planning Thanksgiving Dinner for about 3:00. And we were kind of locked into that, because, not only were Chris’ parents at our house, but we’d also invited some friends over.
Thanksgiving Day, I was feeling pretty chill, since the turkey only needed to cook for 3 and half hours. I lazied around, drinking coffee and watching the beginning of the Macy’s parade.
Around 9:30, I decided to get a jump start on the turkey. I was feeling really proud of myself for being proactive and not waiting until the last minute, since it didn’t really need to be in the oven until 11:00.
First thing I did was to check the box instructions again.
Guess what? The cooking chart said 15 minutes for every pound and then add 10 minutes. Now, I’m no mathematician, but I knew that when I had transposed those numbers, it drastically affected my cooking-time calculations. I checked it on my iPhone calculator, since Chris wasn’t around. 5 hours, friends. 5 hours.
And if I could have just popped the turkey in right then, it would have been fine. But it’s never that easy.
Because, even though I’d looked up on the internet how long it takes to thaw a 20 pound turkey in the fridge, the turkey was still frozen. The internet lies.
I panicked-ly enlisted Chris’ help. Because we needed to get the nasty stuff out of the inside of the bird. (Anyone know of a turkey company that just throws the neck and giblets away? Please hook me up.) But all of the turkey’s holes were frozen shut AND it had it’s legs crossed. It wasn’t giving up without a fight. When we got it all unfrozen and unhooked, we pulled out the neck (ugh) and went digging for the giblets. No giblets.
After we’d both groped around inside of a dead bird for awhile, we called Chris’ mom. She wasn’t super interested in sticking her arm inside (can you blame her?) but she eyed it a little and said, “Well. I don’t know. They should be in there.” We discussed whether maybe they’d forgotten to put the giblets in. But I could never be that lucky. Then in a moment of genius or something, Chris found them in the OTHER hole. So awkward.
So we finally got the turkey in its bag (stop with the judging!) and into the oven. And it only threw our dinner itinerary off by about 30 minutes.
Everything else went pretty smooth. I did manage to fling some sweet potatoes around the kitchen, but that wasn’t much of a story, comparatively.