Thursday, November 6, 2008

Talking Turkey

Ok, let's move on to something a little less grim, shall we? Thanksgiving is only a mere 3 weeks away, and THAT is sweet music to my gluttonous ears. I can't begin to tell you of my affection for this holiday with all it's yummy goodness.

Mark and I have always hosted Thanksgiving in our home from the first year on after we were married. I'll never forget, as long as I draw breath, when I had 5 hungry sailors who couldn't go home to their Mama's cooking, and one vegetarian girlfriend, who all decided that GAYLE needed to make a turkey and all the fixings.

Have I ever told you how insufficient I was in the kitchen for the first few years of our marriage? Let me just put it to you this way, the folks at Golden Corral totally knew us by name in Virginia Beach. And I STILL have a scar from my first feeble attempts at making a chicken breast. Plain, with no sides, thankyouverymuch.

Then there was the time that I thought I'd go all FANCY and make chicken enchiladas (notice it was only our fine feathered friends that I'd even try), but instead of using a few drops of pepper sauce as the recipe called for, I chopped up half the jar of the hottest, yellow peppers on the planet, seeds and all. My SWEET, smitten Mark acted like he wasn't internally engulfed in flames for as long as he could.... He probably still has a part of his tongue that's been permanently seared, God love him.

Anyway, they wanted ME to make the most important meal of the year, and there was no getting out of it. One of them went to the store and bought a bird that would have dented steel with it's massiveness, and plopped that bugger right down on my counter, hoping for a miracle, I guess.

I had no choice but to go Head to Severed Head with this thing, so I did what any newly married young girl would do, I winged it (and who could avoid a pun like that?). But guess what? It totally worked! Mind you, these were the days without internet, so I couldn't simply "Google it". I just figured that it would need something to seal in the juices, so I rubbed that bad boy down with butter and then gave it a drizzle of oil before putting it in the oven at the temperature that the directions read. I did, however, neglect to take out the...ahem...extra parts that are stuffed in it's "cavities". But who's keeping track?

I remembered my Grandmother basting her bird several times during the cooking process as I was growing up, so I had Mark run to the grocery store in front of our apartment, to get one of those "squirty do-hickeys". Funny, but he knew exactly what I'd meant. So I basted that bird every single hour on the hour until the little red button popped up. The meat actually rested before Mark carved it, not because we knew to do that, but because we were both so freaked out about it that we just stared at the thing forever.

Eventually we all gathered around with our Walmart china and dug into the Stove Top stuffing, canned cranberry sauce, and that blessed bird. I want you to know, that was one of the moistest turkeys any of those boys ever put into their mouths, by the sheer grace of God. It was nothing but dumb luck that I did all the right things that day to make that turkey turn out the way it did. And I haven't strayed from the original way of doing things with my turkey from that point until now (well, except I stuff it...and I remove the parts). I've added a few spices and things, but, that's it.

So tell me, do you make your own turkey on Thanksgiving, and if so, what's your way of doing things? Soon, we'll talk Sides....because that's a whole 'nother Paradise.


15 comments:

3girlsmom said...

Oh, I don't do turkey. That's my mom's neck of the woods.
However, your chicken breast injury....wait, that sounds weird...ahem...the injury to your hand due to slicing a piece of chicken...better...reminds me of the chicken pot pie I made when I was a newleywed. I made that bad boy from sctatch, including crust. It took me all stinkin day. However, I thought that the paprika that the recipe called for looked so pretty in the recipe that I tripled it. Needless to say, Rolaids were our friends for several days after that. We still laugh at the ridiculously spicy chicken pot pie. But bless his heart, hubs ate every single bite on his plate!

DaNella Auten said...

lol r u kidding , my hubby cooks the turkey. I am the queen of the cornbread dressing...I'll have to share my recipe...

beyond this moment said...

I do turkey two ways - the traditional way with homemade stuffing and orange turkey.

My orange turkey involves quartering oranges and stuffing them in the bird. Then I squeeze out 3 or 4 oranges, put the squeezed oranges in the bag, set the bird in on top of them and baste the turkey with the juice. I usually throw in a sprig or two of rosemary too. No other basting necessary.

Angie said...

girl you guys should try smoking one it is so good!!! I wish we were closer so we could do a thanksgiving together

Ang

Caroline said...

I am going to let my precious mom cook this year. ALL of her children will be sitting around her table. IT have been YEARS since that has happened and we are going to eat till we pop.

I will add that we NEVER, never, NEVER stuff the bird. I like my dressing on the side in it's own pyrex dish....not touchin' raw meat.

Tell me...does it taste better??

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

Having lived in both canada and the US I have to say the there are no Thanksgiving differences. Unless you count green bean casserole (ICK) or marshmallow topped sweet potato stuff as a difference. Otherwise it's all about the turkey, stuffing and the gravy. LOTS of gravy! Oh- and the being thankful and all that stuff too!

Tammy said...

My hubby is a Food Network junkie so I just leave it up to the resident chef in perpetual training.

Last year, I paid a friend of mine to fry a turkey. It was a bit expensive, but WELL worth it.

Kelli said...

I have done my own turkeys in the past. Now, however, we take a family vacation every Thanksgiving. This year it's to the Creation Museum. We always manage to swing by my husband's aunt's house on our way home-so we eat a huge Thanksgiving dinner with all his cousins and I'm not required to bring a thing ;-)

Halfmoon Girl said...

Mmmmm, I LOVE turkey dinner. I only eat it 3 times a year-Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Our traditions are similar. In my family, we make the load way easier on the hostess by doing it potluck. The hosts do the turkey, dressing, gravy, set up, while the rest bring the potatoes, more veggies, buns, pumpkin pie, etc. A lot easier! We did a Thankful tree last year- it was a neat idea:http://shorestories.blogspot.com/2007/10/i-already-showed-you-this-thankful-tree.html
I have discovered that once you try it, cooking a turkey is pretty easy. I get stressed out at the end, cause I worry that it won't be cooked in time, etc, but usually things turn out pretty good.

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

Hee. I can just see you panicking over that big bird on your counter. We'll probably order pizza this year. I've got other things to worry about!

Trista said...

We brine it, infuse it, then Deep Fry it. THE.BEST.TURKEY.EVAH!!!!

Growin' with it! said...

the way you described things in this post were hilarious and scrumptious...you even made "the parts" sound interesting!

i can surely identify w/ the golden corral part. when we lived in oklahoma, away from family, we tried hometown buffet one year and it was THE MOST depressing holiday ever. all those poor lonely people sitting in there sad. won't try that again!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

My secret recipe: I have my momma make it. ;)

carrie said...

I love pure dumb luck.

And from this point on, I refuse to talk about Thanksgiving because I have to work and I'm being juvenile about it.

EEEEMommy said...

I love this glimpse into your newleywed days!!! :) Navy and all. (My newleywed days include lots of Navy too!)

My way of making Turkey: sprinkle with oregano, lots of basting, and DON'T stuff the turkey (it dries it out). I'm totally trying the butter though this year! ;)