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My first turkey…

This Thanksgiving I got the wild idea to try a turkey… yep!

Even Greg told me this, and I agreed because I thought the same thing… It seems weird that I have never done a turkey before or at least helped with one after all the cooking done by my mom growing up… but it is true, this is my very first experience with a turkey!  Grandma usually took care of the turkey department… which now I am more thankful for!

I thought it would be fun to try one and Greg encouraged me to do so… I mean why not? … You have nothing to lose and if it does not work nobody will care! This is true, since we did not have a huge gathering or anyone to impress or disappoint. So off to the store I went with my thanksgiving list which included a big ol’ turkey.   Thanks to the advice from my mom, I got one that was already thawed because trying to thaw out a huge turkey shaped rock was not on my list of exciting things to do for thanksgiving prep. Plus, it was already Tuesday evening.   Finding a bird NOT frozen was more difficult and there was either huge turkeys or baby turkeys… so I went with the baby of the huge! We still ended up with a hefty 18 pounder.

Here are some of the thoughts that ran through my head through my turkey experience before I move on to the dramatic process:

 What on earth am I doing? What was I thinking?

What if I just got a rotisserie chicken already cooked and present it on a platter?

Why does pizza sound good at a time like this?

What day is thanksgiving again?

Who would want to work in the turkey factory (if there even is one)?

I’m glad this thing does not really have a smell.

I wish mom was here.

Someone or some…thing missed a few feathers.

This is heavy and slippery, bad combo

I should move the pie to another room, it does not deserve to watch this.

Greg is really missing out on a show!

but really… OH MY GOODNESS!

So, back on track: I have my turkey… now what? For started I tucked it in the fridge and tried not to worry about it, but honestly somehow I saw a very fast-forwarded version… basically in the bag to on the plate.  I knew it would not bake itself, but I had accepted a chore it felt like.  I love to cook, don’t get me wrong, but I think most of all I like to bake, and create things… or use pretty, colorful and clean ingredients…not wrestle with raw, cold and rather icky things.  So, help I needed indeed.

I did my research at least so I was not completely in the turkey dark… I looked to my Food Network Magazine, which I love getting in the mail and milking over the month until the next one comes (thank you mom)… and there was a whole section on thanksgiving which included ideas, meals and directions and more… Let me tell you, the page that talks turkey has some stains and wrinkles on it needless to say.  There were all different options for brining the turkey, different selections of butters, glazes, gravy and seasonings but since I am a new-bee, I went with the most basic “dry brine”.  It involved rubbing the bird down thoroughly with salt (lots), pepper and some herbs and letting it chill in the fridge overnight… uncovered, there to greet me every time I opened it up.

I have to back up a little bit, my whole process started with having to remove the bird from the fridge, unwrap it and wash it off…  I wanted to be done after the first feather I saw once I peeled back the plastic.  I am such a baby, huh? I pressed on and got over it pretty quick… So here I am alone in the kitchen, just standing there with a huge ugly naked bird in my biggest bowl staring at me (although he was headless of course) just sitting there in the sink. Oh man….

What does one do? CALL MOM !!!!!

(and pray she answers immediately even though she is in a different time zone and almost 3,000 miles away)

She answered…thank goodness and gave me a little pep-talk and help, which is just what I needed.  She told me to remove the neck and giblets and laughed at my response: huh? She told me to reach into the “cavity” and there would be a packet in there. Phew, a packet of guts is better than I was expecting. What a relief that I did not have to gut the thing.   Next, she said I needed to find the neck and remove it… it is in there… just feel around. Finally finding that long nasty thing was half terrifying. At a time like this it is easy to forget turkeys even have necks for crying out loud. Sorry folks that use all that “stuff” inside the cavity because I tossed it.  Yes, wasted it without a thought. Too much to deal with at once.  After our talk and a lot of strong laughter, I was ready to tackle this thing.  I will master you turkey!  I washed it off, inside and out… dried the thing and made my “brine”.  I rubbed that turkey down like nobody ever has ever rubbed a turkey down… put it on a pan and tucked it in the fridge for the night (Wednesday night that is). It really stared at me every time I opened the fridge.  It is not everyday you open the fridge and see that!

Here is the birdy, early early Thursday after a chilly night.

A fresh new day helped, I was ready to tackle this bird again.  As the directions told me, I was supposed to rinse it off , dry it and then rub it down again, this time with butter butter and more butter galore.  I made my “butter rub” out of well, butter   and some herbs (thyme, sage and a little bit of clove I believe) and again gave that bird the rub of its life.  I rubbed the butter all over the outside and as much of  “under the skin” that I could get to and sent him to the hot place.

About half way through (~2 hours later) the house started to smell of turkey so I snapped a picture of it baking and texted it to mom… who informed me that I forgot to tie the legs together… ummmm. Well? Great! It was probably too late at this time so I stuffed him with onions! If a next time finds me, I will go further and stuff him with carrots, onions and maybe potato too! 🙂

So, I really have went off on this whole turkey business but it actually worked out pretty good and was pretty tasty too!

Check out that roasted bird fresh out of the oven!  Greg’s grandpa and aunt joined us for thanksgiving late-lunch and we had a good time!  I was a little nervous about making a thanksgiving meal but there is a first for everything! It all worked out pretty well and we had a good time! Everything seemed to go smooth… but I have to admit, they arrived to our home about an hour early which as many of you know is “prime time, rush, go crazy time”… ya know, just as the turkey was coming out of the oven, before the rolls were baked, before the table was all pretty, before I wiped food off my shirt and before I could get the dog out for a potty break!  Can you imagine me trying to carve a turkey alone, let alone with company present? Well it was rough, but like I said worked out pretty well. I did not get many pictures, but I managed to snap a few of my made by Beka rolls just out of the oven… and my pumpkin pie that exited the oven just before the turkey hogged it for hours.   I hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving and finds themselves overwhelmed with stuff to be thankful for!

Thanks for reading my blog and my dramatic turkey expereince!

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2 thoughts on “My first turkey…

  1. Loved reading your account of the first time you cooked a turkey. Hilarious! The pie looks so delicious and the turkey does, too. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. You did an amazing job on your first Turkey, not to mention an entire meal! Greg is a lucky man! And your phone call to me was priceless… I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time! Keep trying new things 🙂

    Love you!

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