Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Talk Turkey to Me

For the first several years of our marriage (five, it was five) (but I'm not counting) (nor am I dwelling on the past) (no dwelling) we lived in my parents basement. So clearly, when we got back from wherever baseball had taken us that year and the holidays rolled around, we weren't at the top of the list to host any shindigs.

 We weren't even on the list.

 No list.

 I don't really know what the problem was. When I hear one bedroom, one bathroom, no windows and wall-to-wall green faux wood paneling I immediately think


About four years into the basement dwelling we (with my parents blessing) got a dog. When said dog was about 5 months old Andy got called up to the big leagues for the first time. Then towards the end of that season we started to think hey! since we are SO GOOD at keeping this dog fed, watered, walked we should totally have a kid. Because really, this being in charge of stuff is super simple.

It's one thing for two people to share one bedroom/one bath. It's quite another for three people and a dog. And while our story of becoming parents is one worth telling, I'm just going to fast forward to the part where it's another full year later, we're homeowners, and I'm out-to-there pregnant with Lainey.

I know. It's a lot to take in. But I have faith in you.

Right after that, we inherited Thanksgiving. I can't recall how that happened.

I might have volunteered. I can't be sure. It's all a blur.

I also may have said

Cook the turkey? NO PROBLEM.

Here's where it gets entertaining. I am not what you would call a whiz in the kitchen. If you call me at all, I'm probably not even IN the kitchen. While this may not have been the only reason my husband started googling  "turkeys for dummies" (it's real), I'm sure it had entered his mind.

And that is how Andy became the turkey man.

He really had no choice in the matter, truth be told. I started muttering to myself about how the bird was just staring at me, STARING at me and how it was going to give me Lyme disease and where did I put those giant rubber gloves......Then I loaded my large grumbling self into the car and drove to the HoneyBaked Store.

Which is how we became the turkey and the ham people.

A smorgasbord of meat, if you will.

Anyhoo, over the years we have tried several different cooking methods. (Please note: for the rest of this paragraph, when I say we, I mean he. Just a clarification). There was the first year, when we cooked it at a super high temperature while wrapped tightly in foil. Check. The ever popular roasting bag. Check. Then after a quick trip to the hardware store for some lawn bags, we had a deep fryer. Check. And for the last several years we've used a very high tech infrared propane thingy that cooks 12 pounders in under three hours. (I'm looking at you, Lowe's). 

So when Thanksgiving rolled around this year, I was feeling pretty good. We've done this for seven years now, and while we have moments where we still feel like two kids living in a basement, I think we've got this.

Until the night before Thanksgiving when my love said

I think I'm going to try brining this year.

From my perch on the couch near the roaring fire, I said

Go for it, I totally believe in you.

And turned to Netflix for a screening of White Christmas.

After all, we already had the ham. My work here was done.

So off he went, dragging out ice and the cooler and boiling things and mixing things (brown sugar? orange zest? tapioca?). I don't know all that was involved, but it smelled good and all was well in the brining department when we went to bed late that night.

Until we woke up in the morning. And the first thing my fella says is

Huh, Pioneer Woman says we aren't supposed to brine previously frozen turkeys.

To which I replied,

Would have been nice if she told us that last night. I'm sure it will be fine.

It was indeed, not fine.

Turns out frozen turkeys are injected with a saline/salt/broth solution. Brining the bird just sends it right over the top.

Might as well dip the thing in the Dead Sea.

What I'm trying to say is we had two turkeys, one we called Mushy, the other Soggy.

Which is why, at 3:30 in the afternoon on the very day of Thanks, in-laws were arriving, I was finally cleaning, Mush and Sog were drying out in the oven, and my husband high-tailed it to the store for a fresh turkey.

You know, as a back up.

Good thing we have that high speed, infrared turbo boosted turkey terminator thingy. (Still looking at you,  Lowe's).

And also, in case you were one of the 26 people at our house,


I had no concerns about any of the meat served that night.

Nary a one.

I mean, it's not like any of the birds we cooked still had the neck inside.

This year.


  1. Bahaha!!! I am with you on the Thanksgiving thing...49 here this year. Yup. Cooked a neck. Never brined...have barely been able to get the bird thawed enough to cook! I think we should just serve ham and call it good :) Or cheeseburgers;)

  2. (didn't cook the neck THIS year, but may have a previous year...)

  3. Yay! You're blogging! :)

    Our first turkey had me and my friend Missa pulling as hard as we could to get the neck out (it was still frozen inside). I don't know if I've cooked one since.