Turkey terror

Well, my first-ever Thanksgiving turkey has been bought. It's currently staying frozen on the garage floor of my in-laws house as a mild winter storm keeps the room at a cozy 24 degrees.

It's a little intimidating to be thinking about cooking my first turkey for a Thanksgiving meal, I'll admit. All my life, I have been surrounded by fantastic cooks at the holidays. My mother, grandmother, aunt, mother-in-law....all are whizzes in the kitchen and can seriously produce a delicious meal. For the last 10 years or more, it has been tradition for the Tuercranians to gather together and feast at Thanksgiving. Those ladies lay out a spread that allows us to feast for days upon days. I. Love. It.

When college started drawing to a close, and then when I was on my own in Raleigh, I was able to still enjoy these family feasts, thanks to a willingness to drive 14 hours so I didn't have to cook. A month after Adrian and I got married, I had a mild panic attack at the thought of having to conjure up a Thanksgiving meal for my brand-new husband all on my own. The panic fueled us to drive 6 1/2 hours to ride with my parents 9 hours to St. Louis, just so we wouldn't miss family Thanksgiving and so I wouldn't have to learn to cook a turkey.

Last year, our second Thanksgiving together, we were blessed to be invited to join friends from church and their family, so again, I was spared the horror of hosting Thanksgiving. I contributed a pumpkin cheesecake and called it a day. We enjoyed the week of Thanksgiving feasting on soups for the two of us and watching a Harry Potter marathon.

This year.....I've got my game face on already. As we've settled into our new home and our new life in Denver, we've had the opportunity to meet a TON of people who are as far from home as we are. Recognizing that it's way more fun to be alone together, Adrian and I are throwing caution to the wind. I'm rising to the challenge. All these little Thanksgiving "orphans" will be extended an opportunity to come and experience first-hand a potential Thanksgiving meltdown at he VanderHouse, courtesy of yours truly. Denver friends, if you need a place to spend Thanksgiving, consider yourself invited to the fiesta!

I have no idea how to thaw a turkey, cook a turkey, clean a turkey, stuff a turkey...I'm turkey-illiterate. But, with a week and a half to learn the ins and outs of turkey-making, I'm confident something will get figured out. Right?So....umm....any tips?

Either way, everyone knows the best part of Thanksgiving isn't the turkey. It's the family, friends and thankfulness, but mostly the stuffing and mashed potatoes and pie. I'm confident my friends will pull through :)



Elisabeth said...

You'll do just fine. Just make sure you give him (turkey) plenty of time to thaw. It takes forever!

Michelle said...

My only real advice is to make sure to keep your hands and all surfaces clean when preparing the turkey (and of course when finished!). The first time I made a turkey I got sick...must have cross-contaminated turkey juice onto something else. So, that being said...be careful!

Other than that, mix some butter with some spices and rub it between the turkey skin and the meat. Bake however long you're supposed to at whatever temp you're supposed to and it'll taste just fine. Good luck! It's not that big a deal, but intimidating the first time!

Kristel said...

Hah. I had to cook a turkey...and practically everything else...for our second thanksgiving as a married couple. Actually, it was just a turkey breast. But it wasn't so bad, and you know I hate cooking.

Derek and Amanda said...

That sounds like it should be fun. You will have to update on how the turkey cooking goes! :) I have never had to cook a turkey either, in fact, i dont think i have ever cooked anything for Thanksgiving dinner. Oops...but like you I have a family full of good cooks! :) Derek though last year smoked a turkey in a charcoal smoker everyone loved it and he is doing it again this year. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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