My First Thanksgiving Turkey
I grabbed a knife and cut deep. There was more blood than I expected. It gushed into the sink. The bile rose in my throat. This was worse than I expected and I wasn’t finished. I had to reach into the turkey’s gut and pull out its gizzards and neck.
I’d offered to host the family Thanksgiving dinner now that I had my own apartment. Mom had done all the work for years and she jumped at the chance to eat my cooking instead of her own. This was my first attempt at cooking a turkey. Mom’s advice was, “Stick it in a roaster, turn on the oven and cook the darn thing.” Thank goodness I had my trusty Good Housekeeping cookbook for a reference. But it didn’t warn me about all the blood.
I looked at the dripping knife and the red swirl going down the drain. I weaved on my feet and clutched the kitchen counter for support. I pulled out a chair, sat down and put my head between my knees. The dark spots drifting before my eyes started to recede. I got back to work and pulled out the package of innards then tossed it in the trash.
The turkey went in the sink and I rinsed it out until the water ran clear. I’d torn up bread for stuffing the day before, added sage, chopped onion and celery. It was all ready to go inside the bird. I grabbed a double handful of stuffing and squeezed it into a ball then punched it into the turkey’s cavity as hard as I could. I smashed it in with my knuckles. Once all the stuffing was in, I set the bird in the roaster.
I melted some butter, added sage and basted the turkey using a pastry brush. I drizzled
the last of the butter over the exposed stuffing. I grimaced as I shoved toothpicks through the skin to close up the hole. The lid went on the roaster. The pan was surprisingly heavy as I slid it into the oven. After a couple of hours the apartment smelled like Thanksgiving. The mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables were ready to cook and mom was bringing the pumpkin pie.
When dinner was over, she asked if I had any trouble preparing the turkey. I said I followed her advice; stuck it in the roaster, turned on the oven and cooked the darn thing.
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