I have never felt more carnivorous than when tearing apart our Thanksgiving turkey with my bare hands.
Yes this will be my fourth Thanksgiving hosting for Mike’s side of the family, but I have always, always managed to get out of this unpleasant task. Year one, I looked at my brother-in-law Joe and told him very innocently, “I don’t really know how to cook a turkey . . .” Year two, I was pregnant so I made my sister clean and prep the bird. Year three, I didn’t have a legitimate excuse, but my niece Jordan was kind enough to do the dirty work for me. And every year, my father-in-law has meticulously cut and sliced the turkey into perfect platters of light and dark meat while also disposing of the carcass and cleaning my over-sized roaster oven.
Not this year. I debated and debated cooking my turkey a day early, prepping it to re-heat before Thanksgiving dinner. Turns out I had a good idea. NOTHING else would have fit inside the oven for the better part of the day. Not exactly the discovery you want to make the morning of Thanksgiving. Because my father-in-law is sick, and I needed to use my mother-in-law to watch my very curious two year old, Mike and I were left to deal with the bird.
I remembered my sister-in-law Jennifer telling me she uses gloves to handle raw meat. I went through a few pairs rinsing the bird and removing the “innards” as my grandmother would have called them, and despite my husbands questioning, I even oiled the bird with them on. It made it bearable, and I am proud to say I didn’t even gag. What made things even nicer, was that my mother-in-law agreed to clean my sink and counter top for me.
Actually cooking the turkey was pretty easy. Except for the fact that I burned my finger trying to pull the roaster out of the oven – I would have to say that was my favorite part of the whole process. I mean I probably called my mom twenty-four times, and I did make sure to have my mother-in-law check the bird after every time I opened the oven, but it was a three and a half hour time block of no mess that I was grateful for.
When my mom and mom-in-law both confirmed that the turkey was in fact done, I managed to struggle it out of the oven sans injury and let it cool. I hoped with all my heart someone, anyone would volunteer to de-bone it. I couldn’t even get Elijah to look at it. So with an uneasy kind of determination I started at the bird.
Suffice it to say, despite being completely grossed out by the final step of the whole turkey making process, I am finished, and I am proud.
Although, I don’t know if anyone will actually believe it was me who made it happen :).