Wow, what a crazy week it’s been! My last post was on Thanksgiving Eve and then it’s been a whirlwind since then!
On Thanksgiving, for the past several years, Summer’s mom has hosted Friendsgiving in Salem; I’ve always had family Thanksgiving in the early afternoon then been able to head back to Salem and have Friendsgiving in the evening… This year, since Summer’s mom is gone, it was a bit different. Summer hosted Friendsgiving at her home in Portland! Family Thanksgiving was much later this year so I bailed on that and, instead, had breakfast with my family then headed directly up to Portland to spend time with Summer and cook dinner – I was in charge of the turkey.
Now, I’ve only been back on the meat for less than a year and haven’t been able to bring myself to eat birds until a couple months ago when I decided that turkey lunchmeat wasn’t repulsive. I still can’t eat chickens. I’ve never cooked a turkey before in my life but I’ve watched my grandpa and my mom do it every single year for my past 31 years of existence. The generations-old family recipe is like the most simple, fool-proof recipe ever so I figured it would be a snap!
I ordered my 9.3 pound, freerangeorganicglutenfreecrultyfreekosherfuckingridiculouslyexpensive turkey and was totally prepared and confident in my family’s “brown bag” recipe! I got the recipe from my mom the morning of Thanksgiving and there was an alternative time/temp for all kinds of sizes from 20 pounds all the way down to 5 pounds, but it didn’t include a ten-pounder specification. My mom did her best to guess based off the 7 and 12 pound specs and sent me on my way.
Once it was time for me to put the turkey in the oven – it would only take about 2 hours after all – I followed the instructions: I used a whole cube of butter to slather the inside of the paper bag; I jammed my fist in every hole that bird had to feel around for the neck and gut-sack; I plopped the turkey inside the bag and stapled it shut. Then I realized I didn’t bring my roasting pan. Dammit! Summer and I decided that her Cast Iron pot was the best we could do so I put the bird-in-bag inside the pot and slid it in the oven to magically transform into a delicious, moist dinner!
When it was all done, I put it on the serving platter to rest. While resting, it began to ooze pink juice! WTF?! We checked the temp to make sure it was at least 165 degrees… turns out we were using a candy thermometer. Leave it to the reformed-vegetarian to not know what they’re doing when cooking meat! Annnnnyway, we put the bird back in the oven for another 30 minutes… better too much than not enough, right?
When we got it carved and placed beautifully on the table, among the marshmallow-adorned sweet potots, from-scratch green bean casserole (my personal favorite!), home-made cranberry sauce, gravy, and salad, I was SO proud! I had made my first turkey ever with only a couple snafus!
Then, I ate it.
It was like trying to eat a warm, moist beef-jerky! OH MY GOD! I overcooked my turkey?! Shit. Well, lucky for me, the guests were no kind of picky or ungrateful – they are friends, after all!
So, even though my first turkey ever was an all around fail, it was still a wonderful Friendsgiving! We laughed, we drank, we ate the marshmallows off the top of the potatoes, we all really enjoyed creating a new tradition, sans Janna.
Next year, I’ll get my mulligan and try making the perfect turkey again…
Today I’m grateful for friends who’ve become family.