Friday, November 26, 2010


So, much discussion was had (on my part) about my Thanksgiving-day chore this year. You see, I was to make the turkey, arguably THE most important part of the Thanksgiving day feast. Of course, I will always make the argument that gravy trumps all, but for the NORMAL people, I believe that turkey is THE THING to eat. In any event, I had never made a whole turkey before yesterday. In fact, I was wholly unprepared for the DISGUSTING NAKED BIRD that popped out of its neat little packaging.

Okay, so I may have screamed when I had to pull the neck out of the bird's cavity. Sickness. So gross. I like to make meat when it doesn't look like it used to be an animal. True story. My most memorable thing that happened was this little interaction. I had heard a rumor that the giblets would be hiding in the bird. After I shrieked at the whole neck popping out, I realized: I had to go back in there and pull of the giblets (if any).

I took a deep breath and PLUNGED my hand into the wide hole. I found nothing. But then I was scared. I had read that if there were giblets in there and you did not remove them, the plastic bag containing them would melt and ruin not only the giblets, but the ENTIRE turkey. I could not risk that happening. Oooooh, P.I.C.

"You need to come here and stick your hand in the turkey. I want to make sure that there are no giblets in there. I kinda freaked out at the neck so I my feeling of the turkey's insides was very fast. Please double check for me."

P.I.C.: "I can't, I just put on hand lotion." (THIS IS FACTUAL. HE ACTUALLY SAID THIS.)

"DO IT before I SCREAM."

P.I.C. removed his sweater, his watch and rolled up his sleeves. At this point, the turkey was sitting in the sink after the neck extraction and looking all dead bird-like. He walks over to the turkey rather cautiously.

P.I.C. "Oh my GOD, F.A. You can just look down in the hole. There are NO giblets in there. See?"

Really? Oh. You CAN look down the turkey's hole. And nope, I don't see any giblets too. TURKEY IS GOOD TO COOK. Good thing P.I.C. was there to back me up, right?

I had been diligently watching the turkey experts on WGN Morning News all week, so I knew that the butterball lady had told me "NO BASTING." So I didn't. I had the oven preheated, I heaved the bird, named Tom, duh, onto the roasting pan, sprayed him with a little olive oil and put a light dusting of seasoning on him. Into the oven he went.

I had advised EVERYONE, "DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN FOR FOUR HOURS." I wanted that bird to have its own massive roasting area without disruption. See, I took the 1-800-Butterball lady very seriously. Of course, I did many random "turn the oven light on and check on if it looks good" passes.

After four and a half hours, Tom was done. Brown and beautiful. (I feel that you should make the trumpet noise in your head as you look at this photograph of my lovely first made turkey.

 If Tom could still speak, this is what he is saying in this photograph: "Hey. I USED TO be Tom. I might be beautiful and brown, but that's not gonna stop me from trying to fly away from this crazy motley crew of Thanksgiving celebrators in their eating pants."
It's beautiful right? It tasted as good as it looks, I promise. I was like a small child on Christmas who had just received the most lovely present in the world. Jumping up and down, I kept on saying "I DID IT, I DID IT!!!" (I have no capacity to act cool or calm in these situations. NONE.)

Luckily, my friend's stepdad was on hand to carve the big boy up. Despite my careful attention to Stephanie Izard's demonstration earlier that week, I was not about to butcher Tom. Nope. He cut all the bird up and it was marvelous. Only one thing: He pulled me aside and pointed to a small, rather beat looking paper bag. "F.A., the next time you cook a turkey, you can just pull these out." WHAT? Yes, kids, the giblets were STILL in the turkey. Oops. Luckily, they were in a PAPER bag, so cooking them inside the bird did not ruin anything. Something HAD to go wrong. I'm grateful that it wasn't anything serious.

On a sad note, the gravy? Not as great as I'd hoped. I suppose that I shall have to perfect that aspect of the meal.

Here's the spread:

Looks pretty good right? See that corn casserole? That's P.I.C.'s specialty. And it's DELICIOUS.

Everyone ate and I'm pretty sure everyone was happy. Please note that I did not make everything in the spread. Everyone had their share in the efforts, and not photographed was the marvelous salad with homemade dressing that was a part of the meal.

I love Thanksgiving.

As an aside note, TRADER JOE'S, really? You say "Make sure you pull out giblets, if any." How about you just TELL me that YES, there are GIBLETS in here. GET THEM OUT.


  1. I'm so glad it went well!! It looks so pretty and browned. And you are braver than I. I would never have pulled a neck or giblets out. I'm fairly squemish and that's just not happening. Also, I don't like when food looks like it did when it was alive. Whole fish served? Nope. Full lobster? Never.

    But glad it was delicious and everyone had a good time!

  2. Roasting a big bird is not an easy thing to do - congrats on losing your turkey virginity!

  3. I just leave that shit to my mom. My whole family dug into the gizzards once they were cooked. I politely declined because, really? that shit is gross.