I’m 27 years old and I’ve always found an escape route from the inevitable tradition of baking a turkey for Thanksgiving. It’s not that I’m lazy or don’t want to participate in tradition. It’s that I’m scared shitless of cooking whole birds. Go ahead and laugh, it really is funny.
So imagine if you will a rookie cook. (Not that I’m a pro now!) I was making the most romantic of dinners, Cornish hen. This was of course my first attempt at cooking a whole bird. I wasn’t scared, in fact I was fearless. I would impress the boy I was suiting with my homemade awesomeness and he would think I was the next Iron Chef. Or so I thought.
So here I am, a little intimidated by the fact that I’m about to stick my hand up a bird’s ass. I talk myself into it by reminding myself how the way to a man’s heart is through food. So here I go, hands first to dig out the giblet bag. I found that it was really difficult to remove. I thought I was doing something wrong. Should this thing not just slide out? What was it tied to? I looked around to see how it was secured and I was confident there was no more material that needed to be removed. That sucker just wouldn’t budge. I read the directions over and over thinking I was missing something. What could I be missing, all you do is pull! Why won’t this bad boy come out! So I give it the fiercest of a pull.
That’s when things went so dramatically wrong. The giblet bag burst! All over me, my hands, my clothes, and even my face. At this point it’s all I can do to not stuff these damn birds with vomit. I’m trying to figure out how this happened when I realized the giblets were still frozen. Apparently I missed the memo that you have to let the bird fully thaw before attempting to remove the giblets.
Not to let the giblet bag win I continued to dig out frozen bags from the rest on the hen’s asses. It was rather mortifying but I had to make this awesome dinner or risk losing the Martha Stewart stamp of approval I was so desperately seeking. I cooked those damn hens and fed them to my date. But it was months before I could even think about eating poultry again let alone cook it.
After the recurring nightmares stopped and the PTSD subsided I was finally able to cook poultry again. But I’ve never cooked a whole bird since that day. It’s been nearly 10 years now and I’m contemplating making my first Thanksgiving turkey. But I have so many questions! How do I make it taste unique? How do I know when it’s done? Is there such a thing as a giblet free turkey?
So this is where I need help. Do you have an awesome turkey recipe or advice on cooking whole birds? Perhaps you have a funny story that will help me through this potentially traumatic ordeal? Please share your experiences with me in the comments, and thank you in advance for helping me through this. With time I may one day achieve the ultimate success of becoming the next Iron Chef. Until then, I’m just that girl who once had bird guts explode on her.