Here's an unfortunate secret about my foolish prideful self: All it takes for me to pull out all the stops is to perceive that someone thinks I am not capable. (Yes, this has repeatedly gotten me in trouble--like an unfortunate piercing 14 years ago that only lasted a couple of weeks but made for an unfortunate pregnancy stretchmark on my navel...but I digress.)
I am not a cook. I can follow a recipe and produce decent results, but I am horribly out of practice, short on time and surrounded by little people who think new things are "bluck-y!" Because my husband is rarely home at dinner time, I prepare kid-friendly foods on the fly (lots of fresh fruits and steamed veggies) and generally warm a precooked meat. Or we eat out.
You can therefore imagine the raised eyebrows I have gotten from almost everyone who knows me well when I mention that I am cooking a Thanksgiving turkey this year for 20. Never one to back down from a challenge, I spent last week researching methods and this week practicing. I successfully prepared a turkey 4 years ago, but that was pre-children and as you know that means my memory of it is all but lost.
I have fallen in love with a cooking website that is entertaining, simple and shows step-by-step (with beautiful pictures) the process of delicious recipes. I am feeling inspired! I spent yesterday afternoon brining and as I type at 7:25AM my bird has been thoroughly washed and is roasting in the oven.
I have already learned some great things as a result of a trial run.
1- My garage refrigerator is abnormally cold. It took 5 days for a 10 pound bird to defrost.
2- When twine is not available, dental floss makes a great substitute.
3- It is a good idea to remove the extra racks from your oven BEFORE you preheat.
4- Managing a large, slippery bird can only be compared to wrestling a wet child from the bathtub.
Here's to trying new things--even if it is neurotically. It is times like these I am especially grateful for keeping my laptop in the kitchen. Next stop, turkey gravy!
UPDATED: I learned at 9:52AM that some thermometers melt in a 375 degree oven. This is why we practice, I suppose!
UPDATED AGAIN: It is done. This bird is so tender, juicy and delicious! I may have to become a cook now. Seriously, brining seems to make all the difference in the world. YUM! Excuse me now while I go take a big tummy-full-of-turkey nap before the children finish preschool. I wish. :-)