Friday, October 16, 2015

Cooking the Big Bird - Turkey Rebel

Wednesday - Arrgh.  I had just typed up three pithy paragraphs on preparing turkey and then lost them through my own stupidity. I was side-tracked by thinking that another reason retirement is so nice is not having to do weekend duty anymore, and pressed the wrong damn key.  (The worst part of weekend duty was not getting midnight phone calls from Orlando PIs, nor having to review badly-written petitions that had somehow passed the muster of dilatory supervisors, nor having to wake up at some obscene hour to drive to the Orange County Juvenile Courthouse, nor having to go through a really stupid security screening that would embarrass Homeland Security - no, the worst part was having to deal with strange and cranky judges who knew shit about Chapter 39 or the Rules of Juvenile Procedure and were terrified that their next bench assignment was going to be 2 years in dependency court in Osceola County, and who still hated HRS even though we changed the name in 1996 and privatized the whole frakking agency in the early 2000s.)

Back to the turkey - yes indeed, this bird is giving me a New York salute.  This morning, tired of turkey-regulatory bullshit, I decided to do it my way.  First of all, I rinsed that bird under cool water, just as I have been doing since Thanksgiving morning of 1974. In case you missed it, the government is now telling us NOT to rinse poultry before cooking it. Something about cross-contamination. So I rinsed the turkey, patted it dry, washed my hands in very hot, soapy water 20 or 100 times during the process, and when it was all over I wiped my counter tops with bleach spray.  Just like I've always done, and nobody has died yet from eating one of my turkeys.  No way am I going to shove a Dirty Bird in my oven and then serve it to people I love.  Besides, who trusts the government when it comes to germs?  Ebola, anybody?

The government and Alton Brown have also ordered us NOT to stuff our turkeys. Sorry Alton, but fuck that noise. I like stuffing in my turkey.  I also like dressing outside of my turkey. It's all about choice. I really don't want the government or the CDC or Food Network or Michelle Obama telling me what I can and can't do with my family's food.  Leave it to our government to ignore the needs of our veterans but legislate the joy out of Thanksgiving. So I not only rinsed the bird, I stuffed it. And I broke all those silly rules about "stuff it lightly because the stuffing will expand" and crammed in as much as I wanted, in the body cavity, the neck, the spaces between the leg and the breast. I like my stuffing smashed because that's the way my mother made it, and her stuffing was always the best part of the meal.  (Incidentally, I reheated that stuffing I prepared yesterday in the microwave, tasted and re-seasoned it, and stuffed the bird with nice warm stuffing, then immediately put it in the oven.  Cold stuffing, cold turkey, we'd be waiting until next Christmas.)

But wait - I went totally off the chain, and did not truss the birdie. I did not tuck the wings under the back. I don't care if the turkey doesn't look perfect - I want crispy skin all over, and besides, Norman Rockwell isn't coming to dinner.  I never present a whole turkey to company - "picture perfect" moment my ass - and chances are, I roasted, rested, and carved it the day before, reheating it under foil after a good splash of chicken stock to keep it moist.  

So this turkey has been scrubbed, overstuffed, and left to sprawl out, legs and wings akimbo, like a randy streetwalker.  It's in the convection oven at 350 degrees, covered with foil to give it a chance to heat all the way through before the skin-crisping begins. And there you have it, a turkey rebel. With a headache, a backache, and a Bad Attitude. After 4 hours, and a nice long rest to cool down (the turkey, not me.)

The bad attitude didn't last, however, because I got to spend some time in my Happy Place today, playing in the dirt. That was after the appointment with my therapist and the side trip to Trader Joe's in Dr. Phillips. While I was in Trader Joe's that stabbing pain started up, which did not stop me from buying 5 or 6 different cheeses, prosciutto, chocolate covered marshmallows, and that cookie butter my niece Rachel had been raving about. It did, however, suck every bit of joy out of the experience, and I was throwing Zantac down my throat as soon as I got back to the car.

I did some more transplanting, and then baked some beer cheese dinner muffins, and so totally overdid that there was no blog published on Thursday. I was too tired and too achy to finish the writing and add the photos regarding my Wednesday. I also woke up with one of the worst headaches I've had in a while and had to take some Advil before I could even get out of bed at what was frankly a slothful hour.

Fibromyalgia - can't live with it, can't kill anything to stop it.

No comments:

Post a Comment