A CookBook Recipes & Other Stuff or How to Keep the Kids from Developing Beriberi After They've Moved Away From Home

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cooking the Turkey

Before you can cook the turkey, you must take out the stuff that's left inside (Jeanne from Levittown once did not do this - and almost got divorced after only 3 months of marriage) - I know none of you like to do this - but you have to - check both ends of the turkey - then wash in the sink - both inside and out.

Take the neck and giblets (do not use the liver - it will make the broth taste too strongly - see Note#1) - and place them in a small pot with some celery stalks, and onion chopped in large bits and some thyme salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat while the turkey cooks - if the water boils away - add a bit more. This broth will be used for the gravy - and it perfumes the air with the smell of Thanksgiving - making sure everyone develops a good appetite.

After stuffing the turkey (see Stuffing the Turkey), place the turkey in a roasting pan. Place slices of bacon across the breast and over the legs - this serves two purposes - it keeps the meat from drying out & it gives all the kibitzers and noshers something to pick at before dinner - otherwise they'll pull out pieces of stuffing or tear off pieces of skin to see if it tastes ok ...

Preheat the oven to 425F. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, then turn down to somewhere between 325F and 350F. Roast for about 4 hours, basting it about every 30 minutes.

When the turkey is done - take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 30 minutes - making sure it is on something that will catch any juices.

Carving - if you want to know how to carve it - you'll have to watch someone do it - I can't give a good description that would help in any way - except to point out that several generations of males in this family have royally messed it up and blamed it on bad knives, bad turkeys, bad cooks and bad weather - bad carving does not make good turkey taste worse and good carving doesn't make a bad turkey taste good.

Hmmm ... I forgot something - After Thanksgiving is over, there is a way to get even for having to do all the cooking - Make Turkey Soup! A large turkey will make enough soup to last until Christmas ...

Note#1: If you don't know which is the liver - get out one of your old anatomy books & figure it out - you should know this by now - don't call me!!


Buying the Turkey

Firstly, buy a turkey that has no stuff added to it - no self-basting - all they are adding is broth and fat - and it makes it impossible to make a decent gravy - they are just not worth it - if you are going to go through all the hassle of cooking a turkey dinner - the turkey ought to be the best you can get!

Buy a fresh turkey - there are two reasons for this - one is that they taste better - the second (as Chris knows only too well) is that you don't have to defrost it. If you do get a frozen one, defrost it in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours before you need to cook it - check the night before and if you think it is still too frozen - leave it out for a few hours.

Buy at least a 20 pound bird - it is stupid to go through all this trouble for a 10 pounder - and you certainly won't want to cook again for at least a week - so it might as well be a big one!


Thanksgiving Menu

It is time to start thinking about Thanksgiving - it doesn't really take much thinking as it is always the same - no one likes to be adventurous on holidays - the whole family is very big on tradition. This makes it much easier on the cook - So here is the menu as it appeared in the first edition of this cookbook:

Turkey Stuff


Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for this family can be a real pain - do not - attempt it unless you are dedicated & are prepared to follow through on an extremely rigid menu - everything has to be done exactly the same as the year before - or the family curse will follow you forever (see Note #1).

The Menu

Shrimp Cocktail*

Olives and Celery

Roast Turkey


Bread Stuffing

Potato Stuffing

String Beans

Sweet Potato Rolls

Mashed Potatoes

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Creamed Onions*


Mashed Rutabagas*

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Pie

French Silk Pie

Apple Pie

Custard Pie*

Tawny Port (see Note #2)

*These are optional - to be served ony in case of large numbers of out-of-town relatives.

Note #1: No one knows exactly what this involves - because no one has ever taken the chance to find out!

Note #2: This is not to be served with the dinner - it is primarily for the cook - with a small amout to be added to the gravy. This is a tradition that dates back to your Great-great grandmother - it is not an optional part of the dinner!