Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I'm Too Neurotic to Cook a Turkey

OK, OK! I'm going to admit it. I'm NOT cooking my own turkey this year. I 'm buying it pre-cooked... from a restaurant... and picking it up Thanksgiving Day morning...

I know, the travesty. I have surely let all my readers down, in particular any of my male readers who must surely picture me barefoot in the kitchen! LOL! They're probably thinking, "Oh, she goes and gets a job and look at that uppity girl go! Now she won't even cook her own dadbern turkey!" Heh.

Well, there is kind of a story and a reason. First, Thanksgiving is at my house. I'm doin' it all folks, except for a green bean casserole and a salad someone is bringing. The rest of it, other than the Eggplant Parmesan my husband is cooking, is falling squarely upon these shoulders. No big deal. Women have been doing this for years... but here's the deal. My oven isn't big enough to cook all the food I have laid out on my timeline along with a turkey (I desparately need a double oven or a small convection oven or something) and my oven doesn't heat evenly. And the last Thanksgiving I did here was nearly a disaster.

My cousin is a phenomenal cook. He watches all the cooking shows. He is such a cooking addict that if you hum the theme song from ANY cooking show on TV, his young toddler girl could tell you what show it's from. Well a couple years ago, he imparted upon me this wonderful Turkey recipe that included soaking the bird in a brine solution.

I had beaucoup people coming over so I bought two birds. Then I went to Home Depot and bought these big damn buckets to soak these turkeys in. The birds have to soak over night. Let me remind you... I live in Florida. South Florida to be exact. I believe it was probably 90 degrees here yesterday and I feel certain that on Thanksgiving Day, it will be... you guessed it... 90 degrees again.

It is the day to start brining and I call my cousin and say something like, "Dude, where do I store these buckets with turkeys overnight? I'm getting kinda skeeved out at the thought of turkeys sitting OUT all night, not cool" to which he says something like, "Oh, I just stick them on my back porch, making sure I keep a board over them with a brick so animals don't get into it."


Yeah, you can do that if you live in the great white north, although your damn turkey will probably refreeze, but you can't be doin' that stick your turkey outside stuff in S. FL. Hell, it's cooler in my daggum house than it is outside in November!

So I say, "I can't do that!" and he says something like, "Well, when I lived in OH, I used to put it in my basement, that kept it cool."


We don't have basements here. Take a shovel in my backyard, dig two feet, and you hit water. There are no 'basements' in S. Fl.

Finally he says, "I think you're worrying too much, hun, the brine solution is half ice. You'll be fine."

Well, I was wigging anyway, picturing food poisoning in my house, which did happen to my sister in law one Christmas... when we were fortunately not there... and I was on the outs with her... so I laughed inwardly... and I know that karma is going to swing around one day and bite me in the arse. I just didn't want it to be that Thanksgiving! (Or really any. I am hoping I have made up with the Karmic Gods and all is forgiven.)

So all night I could not sleep. I'm picturing germs in my turkeys and so I kept waking up, going to the kitchen and adding ice to my turkeys. I worried needlessly. When it came time to take them out, those 'babies were turn your hands purple' cold!

That wasn't my worst problem.

Never having cooked a turkey, I went out and bought this stupid meat thermometer that runs on batteries. Have you noticed when reading my blog that I tend to not do anything in a small way? Yeah. Well, same thing here with these damn turkeys. I've got them 'plugged in' and now I'm a freak about watching the temperature (what can I say... I have issues with numbers) and I realize that my oven does not heat evenly nor does it maintain a good constant temperature. It's fluctuating here and there. I'm now completely freaked because I'm wondering about heat displacment in my oven... something like this:

"When cooking two turkeys, do you cook them as one big turkey? Take the pounds, add them together and then do 15 minutes per pound? Or do you assume that it will cook faster than two turkeys? And what about heat displacement? You now have two turkeys taking up all that heat, instead of one, so will it in fact make them cook slower..." and on and on and on... and I was on the internet and I was a mess.

It didn't matter the answer, evidently so irrelevant that I don't even remember it, the fact is, my oven wasn't cooking properly and those damn turkeys took forever and a half. Finally after what was literally hours and hours and everyone had eaten the appetizers, I pulled those suckers out. Upon cutting them, the legs were still not 100% done.

I spent all night worrying about the 'bad turkey karma' coming to get me. It didn't happen. Thankfully.

So I am buying my turkey, precooked and ready for me to pick up. And with my new job, yes, I am buying a new oven.


Blogger Christina said...


The. Only. Way. to do it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see it like I'm there. LOL

Me thinks your doing the right thing by ordering that turkey, now you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


7:56 AM  
Blogger Contagion said...

Mahn, that is a horrible injustice! Buying the bird. Hell, I'm making a special turkey for Black Friday.. My own Family tradition. (It helps keep me from having to leave the house to go Christmas shopping).

8:21 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

We are *gasp* going to a restaurant for Thanksgiving. It being just the 2 of us I had no plans to make a big meal, so when my husband's grandmother announced that she would be visiting that day (to see the new baby) I announced that I still had no plans to cook. Maybe I'll even have a steak...

8:27 AM  
Blogger Ogre said...

Eggplant? Bleech. What is it, and egg or a plant? Tell it to make up it's mind and come back later.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Stu said...

Find out how long it takes to "re-heat" the bird. We bought one once and it took almost 90 minutes to reheat it. At that rate, I could have cooked my own :)

9:40 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

I'm lucky. My mother insists on cooking the Christmas Dinner. She'd be O.K about me hosting it, but she's scared of my sister's "cooking". I can just imagine my Sis leaving the giblets in the turkey, shoving it in the microwave for five minutes and serving it with fries.

Darren amuses us every year as he looks beadily at the unfamiliar fresh vegetables :-)

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you ever decide to try brining a bird again, put it in a plastic trash bag (not scented or made from recycled materials). Put it in your ice chest, then pour the brine into the bag with the bird and close the lid. If you're worried about the bird getting too warm, add a bag of ice to the cooler, OUTside the bag so you won't dilute the brine.
Have a good holiday -- George

11:33 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I think that is a great idea, Bou. All I have to bring is artichoke dip. We are very lucky.

6:34 PM  
Blogger bothenook said...

oh bou, you've got me laughing my keister off. my ex had many of the same problems cooking, and wouldn't let me do any of it. we had a turkey at a friends house one year, just before she was sent to korea (my wife's friend was an army E-7). so the two of them decided to cook a turkey. and when it was done, i swear to the cosmic joker, the only knife big enough to carve the bird was her bayonet! some thanksgivings were better than others. that one was one of the best, just for the comedy involved.

8:57 PM  

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