Friday, November 29, 2013

Survived Another Thanksgiving

Cooking does not come easily to me. I have no passion for it, so self-doubt and anxiety are my companions once I step into the kitchen. I overheard a woman at a coffee shop last week saying she was “just having twelve people over for Thanksgiving dinner”. In my world, the words “just” and “twelve” don’t EVER go together. Every year I struggle to complete the seemingly thousand-course dinner on time, without anyone having to go to the hospital with food poisoning or botulism. This year I decided to cook a turkey breast instead of a whole bird. I picked out one at the grocery store that looked suspiciously like a small turkey. I was thinking a turkey breast would be just a chunk of white meat, similar to a chicken breast. Oh well, I thought, it had to be better than dealing with the usual dead bird carcass. I shoved it into the fridge and didn’t revisit it until Thanksgiving day. When the time came, I cut away the wrapping, and discovered a dead bird carcass but on a slightly smaller scale. It was smaller because it had no legs. It still had the bones and various holes that I don’t like to dwell on. I guess I wasn’t paying too close attention to the packaging that said it was a turkey breast ON THE BONE. Funny thing about not having legs - the turkey wouldn’t sit up as usual. I had to place it in my oven with the meat side on the bottom. This probably made it juicier. However, after a couple hours I needed to get the underside brown. Using two barbecue forks, I flipped it upside down on a little rack and put the turkey back in the oven. About ten seconds later, I heard a thud. The rack had collapsed and Turkey Lurkey was laying on his side. I had to stand the rack up again and shove balls of foil in a few spots to hold the rack in place. I totally MacGyvered it! I felt like a frickin’ genius, but also a little silly. I wondered how many other chefs out there had to do this. Seems like if you have to jimmy stuff and improvise, you’re doing something wrong. In the end, the dinner turned out fine. I had only a small meltdown, and wasn’t reduced to tears. Booyah! Score a big one for me... until next year.

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