We're about to have a feast up in here tomorrow. I'm in charge of the turkey since I'm so experienced with that and all. As a matter of fact, between the three women in the house this week, I am actually the only one who has ever cooked a whole turkey. And, I have to say, from that one other time I cooked a turkey, I did learn a couple of very important lessons.
The first year we lived in San Diego we weren't going home for Thanksgiving and neither were some of Paul's friends from school so we decided to do a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. I volunteered to make the turkey and dressing for some strange reason even though I'm kind of weird about meat. I once ordered a roasted chicken at a restaurant and when it came out looking like a small whole chicken that they had skinned and cooked (which was exactly what it was of course) I could hardly look at it, much less eat it. In other words, if meat is in the shape of the animal it came from, count me out. I even did the vegetarian thing for a while, which is another whole story.
Anyway, back to this story. I volunteered to cook the turkey, not fully comprehending that I would have to handle a whole, slimy, featherless bird and also stick my hand inside and pull out the extra parts! Ohhh. Emmm. Geeeee. I can barely stand to think of it now. I begged Paul to do it for me, him being the man of the house and all, but even he didn't want to tackle that task. So, reluctantly (reluctantly is a huge understatement here by the way) I donned a rubber glove, closed my eyes, reached in, (swallowed back some vomit), grabbed whatever felt loose and pulled it out. Whew! I'm not going to say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, because it was, if not worse, but it was over with and I could move onto the less invasive and traumatizing steps of prepping and cooking.
The turkey turned out picture-perfect -- beautiful and golden and smelling so deliciously of my favorite holiday. We drove over to our friend's house and I proudly lugged it inside. It was pretty hefty but I wouldn't let Paul carry it because obviously he had not earned that right. When it came time for the meal we all sat down around the table and proceeded to stuff our faces. The turkey tasted as good as it looked and everyone was enjoying it until... one of our friends cut a little too deep into it and discovered, to my horror, the sack of giblets that I had inadvertently left inside. Gross. Gross. Gross times a million. I totally lost my appetite and I'm sure everyone else did too but they were all nice enough to laugh it off and politely keep eating.
So, lessons learned from first turkey roasting experience:
a) Do not close your eyes while getting intimate with the turkey.
b) There are two separate things you must remove: the neck and the sack of giblets. (Why did no one tell me this?!)
c) If your sister-in-law is a veterinary student who enjoys dissecting mammals large and small and admiring horse intestines, by all means, assign her the duty of pulling out said parts. She will even do it barehanded!
Because of the third lesson there, my turkey cooking experience this year so far has been so much more pleasant and less traumatic. Here's to hoping it roasts up nice and juicy tomorrow and we find nothing that doesn't belong in there.
Happy Thanksgiving to my wonderful readers! I'm certainly thankful for all of you :)