Thursday, November 25, 2004

Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it. We are at my parents' house and the smells wafting up from the kitchen are KILLING me right now. John and Ty are headed outside to play a little Tee Ball, so I thought I would escape the holiday hubbub for a bit and read some journals. MusenLA was talking about her turkey phobia and she reminded me of my first time cooking one of those big boys.

It was back in my single days. I had just moved into my first apartment and I was eager to assert my new-found independence by cooking a big meal and having a dinner party for my friends. There was only one problem... I didn't feel comfortable cooking in my new kitchen with my roommate about. We were still getting to know each other and I felt more like a guest than a roomie. The solution? Cook the meal and have a party at my boyfriend's place! Perfect!

I had a great group of friends. I knew they would be up for anything, so I decided to really challenge myself. Why not make a turkey dinner with all the trimmings? I'd been helping my Mom do it for years. I was confident I could handle it on my own. John was all for it. (Then again, he was ALWAYS all for it if someone else did the cooking.)

I started spreading the word that Saturday would be the big day. Turkey party at John's place! I was so excited! I knew even if the meal was a total disaster, we would all still have a great time. Then my pal Harry, master of the obvious, said; "Uh...Bec? You do realize it's JULY and you are about to make a meal that requires use of an OVEN?"

Ah yes. July. And it was pushing 90 degrees every day. A heat wave is the perfect time to make a big turkey dinner, no? The solution was obvious. Turn the A/C on full blast and set the thermostat to 50. Problem number one, solved. Then came problem number two. The turkey, which had been defrosting in the fridge for 3 days, was still a touch frozen inside. I mulled over that for a bit, then decided to just rinse the bird under hot water. It needed to be washed off anyway, right?

I propped the turkey upright in a pan, turned on the water and left it to putter around the kitchen getting other things ready. After a few minutes, I went to check my bird. There was something odd bobbing up and down inside the carcass filled with water. Ah yes...a bag full of giblets! Good thing that bird was still frosty or I probably would have missed the neck/heart/gizzard et. al. and it would have added a nice giblet and plastic bag flavor to my stuffing. Problem number two, solved!

The giblets were popped into a pan of water on the stove to boil. Why? I had NO intention of eating them or putting them in my gravy. Hate that. But it was something my mum always did, so...time to stuff the turkey! Grease the outside good with butter, season with a touch of salt and pepper and into the oven she went. Done and done. Don't forget to baste...don't forget to baste...don't forget...door bell!

My friend Harry was early. No problem. I put him to work on peeling potatoes and other domestic tasks. John was off on his second, no third trip to the market to get yet another item I'd forgotten. I was melting hot by this point. Turkey dinner in July during a heat wave? Can't recommend it, but it sure was fun! Hours later the guests began to arrive. I'd timed the turkey badly, it wasn't going to be ready for a while. Good thing each of my guests came bearing a bottle of wine.

Our friend Kerry arrived bearing a bottle of champagne and porn. Porn?? He grinned and said something about British tradition. I didn't question it. The, er, questionable literature was set aside for another day.

Dinner was a smash hit! The turkey was perfect, the mashed potatoes, stuffing, cauliflower and cheese sauce, cranberry sauce...all perfect. I knew I could do it! I also knew I wouldn't be in any hurry to do it again. Now I knew why Thanksgiving was only once a year. Whew!

To top off the evening, one of my guests had passed out on the living room floor. Too much wine and triptophan, I wager. While he was snoring peacefully, we hatched a dastardly plot. His hand was already trapped under his body at a most unfortunate position...so we grabbed onto his pants and yanked them down a tad. Just enough to expose a little, er, crack. Then I grabbed my housewarming gift...the porn magazines my pal Kerry had so thoughtfully brought us. We carefully arranged the magazines around "the body" and propped one open in front of his face (the title was something like Big Jugs or somesuch).

The final touch? Why, photos of course. I still have them somewhere...if I locate them when I get back home, I'll post one here. You don't mind, right Harry? That's a warning kids. Don't drink and eat turkey. Your friends will play nasty pranks on you.

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