Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#106 In which our hero does not enjoy a meal.

It would appear that I am completely unable to successfully cook a Thanksgiving Turkey. Let me be clear, I have successfully cooked turkeys AND successfully cooked food on Thanksgiving... but when they meet, it's murda!

Last year I deep-fried a turkey for Thanksgiving. I've done this many times before, and it's always FANTASTIC. There's little that beats deep-fried turkey. Even The Scientist, who, as a rule, doesn't like turkey, LOVES deep fried turkey. But, last year, I kinda forgot how long to cook a bird and looked up a recipe that told me four minutes per pound, which sounded about right. Of course, The Scientist later confirmed that the correct cooking time is three minutes per pound. A minute doesn't sound like much, but when you're cooking a 20lbs. bird that's twenty minutes longer in the oil than it should be. The results were terrible... dry, flavorless. I felt all the more like an asshole because I talked up the delights of deep fried turkey to my in-laws so much. Oh yeah, I was cooking dinner for The Scientist's family and my family.

This year, I passed on the deep-fryer in favor of a plain ole' cooked in the oven bird. Now, Mom (who, I should mention, has never cooked a turkey that wasn't mind-blowingly tender and delicious, far as I know) always cooked her bird in a roster bag. I've never done that, but figured it couldn't hurt. After all, what's it do? Concentrate the flavors and keep the meat moist, right?


What it does is speed up the cooking time. I was planning on a five-hour cook, but it only took two. And here's the best part: I had my handy probe thermometer in the meat, ready to beep at me once it reached the optimal temperature of 165 degrees. But, the temperature was climbing so quickly that I decided that the bag was causing it to give a false reading. I think my exact words where, "this fucking thing isn't working!" before turning it off.

So, by the time I realized that the damn bag was speeding things along, I turned it back on to find the internal temperature at 199 degrees. Arrgh!

But, it wasn't horrible. I brined it before hand, and that helped retain a hint of moisture in the meat.

However, these are really just examples of the symptoms, not the real problem. The real problem is that I cannot cook a decent meal for my mother. I've tried and failed, on several occasions. Don't ask me why... maybe it's the pressure of cooking for the woman that cooked for my father, me and my three sisters for so long -- without screwing up the Thanksgiving turkey ONCE!

Next year: if anyone wants to come to the house it's Chinese take-out or nuthin'.


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