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The First Turkey
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The First Turkey

the look that says it all

The very first time I cooked a turkey it was Thanksgiving and we were having the entire extended family over to our house. We had just bought a house, had a baby, and the idea of having to schlep five metric tons of baby paraphernalia across two states made me think that preparing the Thanksgiving dinner would be infinitely less stressful.

Which maybe it would have been had I heard of the Butterball Turkey Talk Line or if AL Gore had invented the internet in a more timely manner so that I could have read all of the how-to’s and instructions at the new cooks section of the site.

Instead I got conflicting advice from all the women on both sides of our families.

I brought the turkey home from the grocery store and just stared at it. It needed to be basted. It didn’t need to be basted. I had to make stuffing. Under no circumstances should I stuff the turkey. It needed to be covered with tinfoil. No covering it with anything. Put butter on it. No slather it with oil. Rub spices all over it. No for the love of all things holy do not put any spices on the turkey.

I ended up using a combination of these things, randomly and haphazardly, and roasted it in an open pan, which incidentally is what Butterball recommends

And you know what? The turkey came out just fine. It looked beautiful. It tasted tender and juicy, the way that you always want your turkey to taste.

It out on the dining room table being oooh’d and aaaah’d over. My husband picked up the carving knife and began hacking away at the turkey. Suddenly one of the relatives, I have forgotten exactly who it was now (though the person may have been the one who gave birth to my husband, ahem) pointed at the turkey and loudly asked, “WHAT is that?”

Somehow in all of the advice giving, no one mentioned removing the bag of giblets from the inside of the turkey.

I had to endure good natured ribbing for many years. Until the year that our dog got into the pantry and ate all of our desserts and side dishes that were setting out. But that is a story for another day.

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