November 28, 2013

My Turkey's Name is Murphy

It's 8:02am on Thanksgiving. I have been up for exactly 32 minutes and already I have laughed and I have cried. And I'm the only one awake.

It started with me randomly waking up enough to look at the clock and realizing that I overslept. I was supposed to be up an hour earlier to get the turkey in. Jump out of bed, race to the kitchen, dig out the only-used-once-a-year roasting pan from where it is stored on top of my hutch and beneath all the mini appliances--without waking the kids, of course--and then start prepping the oven and the turkey.

The turkey was freed of all its hidden giblets and other unknown organs that I refuse to think about lest it remind me that I have my hand inside something that was once a living animal, and then it was rinsed and patted dry and set aside in the roasting pan to await the final treatment. On to the onions.

I know there's some secret to cutting onions without them making you cry but I have yet to discover that. And lucky me, I chose the onion that I had bought several weeks ago (don't freak out--onions are good up to 6 weeks after you buy them). I have discovered that onions are like wine or cheese; the longer they sit, the more they ferment and they grow more potent. While it was still fresh and usable, that seemingly innocuous onion was harboring secret kryptonite-like powers. I cut the ends off first and immediately smelled that obnoxious onion smell, but it wasn't until I cut the thing in half that it hit me. Oh, good heavens! The wave of onion vapors didn't just waft through the air, it came at me like a freight train and slammed right into my tear ducts. My eyes started to water and I had to turn my face away. Squeezing my eyes tight seemed to help a bit so I did that a few times and turned back. Good night! I swear, the onion had grown stronger. My momentary show of weakness was just the opportunity it needed to double its forces. My eyes started closing on their own and I had to force them open so I wouldn't cut my fingers instead of the onion. Tears poured out in a useless attempt to wash away the burn. It was all I could do not to rub my eyes which probably would have resulted in a trip to the emergency room so instead I grabbed the nearest towel and rubbed it on my face.

Yes, that would be the towel I used to dry my raw turkey after rinsing out the giblet residue.


I just used the essence of raw meat to cut through the onion burn.

On the plus side, it worked. So after some serious scrubbing, I finished prepping my turkey--buttered, seasoned, foil-tented (which is an art itself). I have 2 built-in ovens and I had already checked to make sure I was using the bigger one and had lowered the rack. This isn't the first time I've cooked Thanksgiving turkey in this house so imagine my surprise when the turkey didn't fit. I had to flatten down my beautiful dome so I could get it past the heating coils and still didn't fit. No problem; I turned my roasting pan sideways. It still didn't fit. My pan was just way too big. How was it that I didn't remember this particular problem?

I set the turkey on the stove and just laughed as I tried to come up with a solution that didn't involve ordering a pizza for Thanksgiving dinner. I took off the foil tent and then grabbed one of my other baking pans. I picked up the rack and set the whole thing down in the new pan. The rack was too big. The ends of it hung over the side. The turkey fit, however, and all the drippings would be caught in the pan so I figured it was a good last choice. I dug around a bit and found another baking pan. I had better luck with this one as I was able to force the feet of the rack inside the pan.

Turkey is in--crisis averted. Nothing else can possibly go wrong today. Right?

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