#002 Worst Thanksgiving Meal You’ve Ever Had
I feel like this could end badly. I’ve had a lot of bad Thanksgiving meals. But most of the people who have cooked them are still alive and read this blog. So instead I’ll just tell you about the time I cooked a frozen turkey, at the advice of the checker at WinCo.
It was Thanksgiving time and WinCo was running a special where if you spent over $200.00, you got a free turkey. I can spend $200.00 on breakfast cereal alone, so yes, I qualified for a turkey. Problem was, I have nowhere to store a turkey. They’re huge. And we have a side-by-side fridge, so even with nothing in it, I still don’t think a turkey would fit. So I told the checker, thanks, but no thanks. I’d pass on the free turkey.
But Checker Friend was horrified that I’d leave a free turkey. It’s free, she said. So I kindly explained to her that I just didn’t have the space. And I didn’t even know the first thing about cooking a turkey. But my she felt very strongly that a.) I take the turkey and b.) she could teach me how to cook it.
I should note that this woman had no teeth and was chewing on her hair from boredom when I approached the line. That probably should have been Clue #1 that I wasn’t dealing with Martha Stewart.
Checker Friend tells me that I just need to go home, remove the turkey from the plastic wrapping and pop it (frozen) in my oven at 200 degrees for 12 hours. It’s like a giant crock pot, she tells me. Now I’d seen my mom cook turkeys before. And from what I could remember there was a lot of basting and dismemberment and cleaning and something about the neck involved. But Checker Friend mentions nothing about any of that. So I think to myself, well this is typical. Mom’s been over-complicating this all her life. Like the time she tried to cut and paste an email into another email. Except she printed out the pages and literally used a pair of scissors and a glue stick. She shouldn’t be allowed to use scissors at all.
So I took my frozen turkey and my new degree in culinary arts home. I preheated my oven, unwrapped and threw my turkey in, and headed to bed dreaming of turkey sandwich I’d have for lunch the next day.
Did I just find a new way to cook turkeys? I think so.
I woke the next morning to the smell of Thanksgiving dinner. I was composing the Thank You Note I’d write to Checker Friend in my head on my way to the oven. When I opened the oven and peeked in at my bird, it looked…okay? I say that with a question mark because I didn’t know what it was supposed to look like. The outside didn’t look crispy though. It looked pink. And bumpy. Like, I could see all of the turkey’s pores.
And no amount of Biorè strips were gonna help it.
I didn’t want to leave it in the oven and I know it’s not good practice to leave meat out at room temperature, so I put it in the fridge and left for work.
When I got to work, I told all my co-workers about my new turkey cooking method and my new Checker Friend. I became genuinely concerned when they all became genuinely concerned if I had actually eaten any of my turkey. It wasn’t until someone ran to find a thermometer to take my temperature, that I thought, okay, maybe this is bad. Once they were convinced that I had not partaken in the turkey, then the jokes started. My office is not the place to work if you have self-esteem issues.
At lunch time, we took a field trip to my house so they could all inspect the turkey. I pulled it out of the fridge and the juice and blood (yes there was still blood) had congealed. It was basically a little cooked on the outside and completely raw in the inside. Oh, and floating in a mess of juice and plastic, because I hadn’t cleaned it out.
I’ll wait, while you grab a puke bucket.
We hauled that turkey straight out to the trash can, washed and sanitized EVERYTHING and went to Sonic for burgers. This experience has been somewhat traumatic for me and I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to cook another turkey. Although, for Christmas, I got a book titled, “The Turkey Cookbook: 138 Ways to Cook a Turkey.” (And I’m not kidding, the very first page says, TIPS: Never cook a turkey frozen. Never cook it at a low temperature for a long period of time.) I’m considering re-gifting this book to Checker Friend.
So even though this was not an actual Thanksgiving Meal, this was by far, my worst Thanksgiving Meal. 🙂