A Turkey Timeline: Did I Ruin Thanksgiving Dinner?

So Friday night, I did a post about my nervousness in regard to my ability to actually cook a full Thanksgiving dinner for myself, the boyfriend, and our friend Shawn on Saturday.  Usually, I have things a little easier because of the pre-stuffed Butterball turkey I love to get, but the store was sold out and I had to get a fresh turkey that would require stuffing my yours truly.  At first, I decided that I wouldn’t stuff it and just cook a bunch of boxes of stove top because I didn’t want to have to bother to cut up the bread into tiny square, season it and then spend my time shoving it into the nether end of a turkey.  However, I read the Stovetop box and discovered that you can stuff a turkey with it, which made things a little easier.  So the decision was made to actually attempt stuffing the turkey.  What follows is a timeline of the journey I embarked upon to get dinner ready.

10:30 – I got up around this time and spent a while playing some World of Warcraft and watching a few episodes of Invader Zim on Netflix as I didn’t actually have to start the turkey cooking until about 1:00 for it to be done around 5:00.  I also did the dishes (two whole loads by hand as we have no dishwasher) and ate some Lucky Charms, breakfast of champions…screw Wheaties.

12:30 – Started cooking the 4 boxes of turkey flavoured Stovetop to then be inserted into the nether regions of the turkey.  I certainly hope these poor creatures aren’t aware of what we do to them after the axe falls.

12:50 – The stuffing was cool enough to insert into the disgusting, raw, squidgy turkey.  I opened the turkey and found the giblets bag (eeeww….straight into the garbage) and a long, meaty, tube-like object which confused the hell out of me and the boyfriend and I pondered whether or not it was the turkey’s fun bits but after talking to my mother about other turkey related questions, she informed me it was actually the neck.  This joined the giblets in the garbage and I found myself wondering why the turkey packaging people would bother to remove the neck of the bird and then shove it in the other end for me to find and be confused about.   Anyway, I stuffed the bird using a kitchen ladle so my hand did not have to enter the actual turkey (we all remember how well this worked out for Mr. Bean, and packed it all in there nicely, rubbing oil onto the skin of the turkey (let me tell you, massaging olive oil into a raw turkey is revolting) and put it in the pan with water in the bottom, covering the whole thing with tinfoil and placing it into the oven at 1:02

2:18 – So, remembering to baste the turkey every half an hour is going to be a pain in the ass. I don’t remember things like that, I’m too distracted by playing WoW and watching Invader Zim with the boyfriend….sigh…I have missed one basting so far, but I have managed to rewash all the dishes I used in preparing the bird for oven insertion.

2:40 – The turkey has basted for a second time and is starting to brown nicely.  Also, things aren’t burning, so that’s always good.  I now have to wash the pot I cooked the stove top in because I need it for potatoes.  I’m going to hate this more than the raw turkey massage…peeling potatoes is my most hated cooking chore.

3:15 – We had a slight (and disgusting) disaster with the potato preparation. Don’t worry, the potatoes themselves are fine, in case you were panicking about that.  However, there was a major detour on the road to having them peeled, cut and in a pot of water for future boiling.  I pulled out the under the sink garbage to peel them into and discovered a multitude of dead larva from some kind of bug stuck all over the underside of the garbage pail lid and in the garbage as well (eeew…this was not a pleasant find).  This required a clean up and sanitation before I could proceed with the potato preparation.

4:17 – The turkey has been basted once more, the squash is in the oven with butter and brown sugar slowly seeping into it and making it deliciously sweet, and the potatoes are now on to boil…I have no idea if the timing is right on all these foods, but we shall certainly find out later when they all start to be finished.  Potentially, we will have to microwave some of the food while the others are finishing.  This is not an uncommon occurrence in the kitchen when I am cooking more than one thing at a time.  The boyfriend is used to it by now.

4:50 – I’m freaking hungry and this turkey smells good. The lucky charms and coffee I consumed so far today are doing nothing to keep me from wanting to tear into all the food right now and leave the others to fend for themselves.

5:02 – Problem, I went to check on things and discovered that when last I took the squash out to baste the sides with the butter/brown sugar mix, I forgot to put it back into the oven. Let’s hope this doesn’t ruin the squash because I’m looking forward to it.

5:55 – The turkey is now finished, the little meat thermometer tells me it won’t kill us to eat it and I have removed the roasting pan from the oven.  However, we have run into a small problem.  The little metal rack that keeps the turkey from cooking to the bottom of the pan has handles that I’m suppose to leave up along the sides of the pan for easy turkey removal.  I did not do this.  They are folded nicely under the turkey with the rest of the rack and I have no means of removing the turkey from the pan to get the juices to make the gravy.

5:59 – Solution to the problem – I got BBQ tongs from the drawer, pulled the legs and wings off the turkey and put them on the platter before I used a giant spoon to remove the stuffing and put it in a pot.  I then just used the tongs, inserted them into the gaping turkey cavity and lifted the dismembered bird from the pan, allowing me to make the gravy.

6:10 – The boyfriend pointed out that I had forgotten to make the Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.  He kindly volunteered to do that for me when I went into a panic and started running around the kitchen screaming about too many food components for three people.

6:20 – Everything is finished, and we are able to finally sit down and eat our lovely Thanksgiving dinner.  I’m happy to announce that nothing was burned, no one was poisoned and there will be enough leftovers to feed us for a freaking week because this was way too much food for three people.

The dismembered turkey after creative removal from the roasting pan

Peep decided that he was going to have some turkey too...I got up to get a drink and came back to find this.

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A Potential Turkey Disaster

Well friends, as discovered in a previous post, I’m not exactly a chef extraordinaire.  I have things that I make and I definitely kick their metaphorical butts, but sometimes, when venturing outside the realm of my comfort zone of food preparation, things can go a little astray.  I only bring this up because tomorrow, the boyfriend and I are going to be having a little Thanksgiving dinner here at our house, just us and another friend.  This may not sound like too big of a deal, and usually it wouldn’t be, but disaster struck at the grocery store today when I stopped after work to buy the actual turkey.  They were out of Butterball, pre-stuffed, self basting, cook from frozen turkeys.

Now, a little background on the need for this particular kind of turkey, they’re very user friendly.  It’s not that I don’t have the potential to be able to work with a normal turkey, stuffing all that bread up it’s hind end and basting it myself, it’s just that when it comes to cooking a large meal with lots of components, with the main part of it taking HOURS to cook, I need something that can handle the fact that I’m easily distracted and likely to wander away and forget the stupid thing is in there.

For the last two Thanksgivings, Butterball has saved my butt in this respect because the boyfriend and myself split all the other food chores in half and the turkey sat in the oven, happy as a bug that escaped the big squish, cooking away with no intentions of sucking up all my attention.  I only had to check on it once in a while and possibly use the baster thing to pour some liquid over it and keep it from drying out.  Butterball is a happy, self-sufficient turkey.

I love this turkey...made just for the absent-minded cook!!

Because of the lack of the desired type of turkey, I searched around for a while before I finally chose a fresh one so I would at least not have to defrost the stupid thing overnight, and put it in the sink of water like my mother always did and still have it be partially frozen because it NEVER FREAKING DEFROSTS!

This is the point in the shopping trip at which I cursed The Real Canadian Superstore for their lack of hand sanitizer in the meat section as one of the fresh turkeys somewhere had leaked disgusting turkey blood all over the rest of them and now they were all covered with it.  So then I had to spend the rest of my shopping trip selecting things without touching them…no easy task.  Luckily, the nice girl at checkout had some sanitizer at her station and the problem was solved.

So, stay tuned for an update on whether or not the turkey joints the ranks of The Doom Cake and Pizzapocalypse or if it turns out to be a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for all.