Well, Halloween is over, so in the minds of merchants and die hard capitalists everywhere the next holiday in line is Christmas, but to turkey addicts and football fans there is something standing in the way of tinsel and carols: Thanksgiving.
In the spirit of getting excited for Thanksgiving this year, I submit for your consideration a little bit of a different story, because my adversary this time is not a person at all, but a turkey.
Last Thanksgiving I was stuck up here in Philadelphia alone while my girlfriend, my family, and everyone I ever liked were off having great times and eating great food without me.
Not that I'm bitter or anything.
However, I had won a free Thanksgiving turkey from my local grocery store and I had no intention of letting that go to waste. If I had a free turkey, I was going to have a free turkey.
I consider myself a bit of a chef, but I had never tangled with the likes of a full grown turkey before so, naturally, as a male, I assumed I would have no problem.
I assumed wrong.
First and foremost - those fuckers are nothing but solid blocks of ice! If you put a frozen football out to thaw the day before, that damn thing will have thawed and then some, meaning your only problem is: why did you have a frozen football at all?
Turkeys! Not the case. I had that thing soaking in water, hot water pouring inside and it still was colder than Superman's Fortress of Solitude in winter! This was a problem because, the instructions I was working with said:
Step 1 - Thaw Turkey
Well… balls, that isn't happening until it goes in the oven. What's step 2?
Step 2 - Remove neck and giblets
Ok… well it has no neck for some reason, so that's already done. I know the giblets are in a little baggie inside it… but its still frozen and…. grrrrrrrr. Repeat step 1…
Now, I know a little something about anatomy, at least in humans, which aren't that different from turkeys. Namely: they both have a neck and an ass and as long as nothing has gone horribly wrong one should never be near the other. I also know that the spine extends to the ass, not beyond it.
That is important.
So I'm staring at the gaping hole where this turkey's gut used to be and sitting there right in the frozen opening is about six inches of TURKEY VERTEBRAE that has NO BUSINESS being there, wracking my brain to try to understand why this mutant turkey has about half a foot of spine curling back up inside itself. Is this why I didn't have to pay for this damn thing?
I know that, somewhere behind this mysterious vestigial tail, the bag of giblets is lying in wait, I can feel the baggie up in there, so how the fuck do I get to it to get them out?
GRRRRRRaahhhh - I jam my now numb hand, once more, into this fucking ice bird.
FLLLAALAAHHHHHH - I root around in this thing, constantly hindered by this funky out-of-place vertebral column
RRRRAAAAUUUUGGGHHHHHHH - I make one last ditch effort before throwing the whole thing out the window and going to Denny's!
pop… - the neck pops out of the back of the turkey, giblets follow with minimal effort.
It wasn't a tail at all, it was the neck… in the… ass… wait…
What makes me maddest is that I know there was a rational reason behind this. I know somebody thought this out, reasoned it out in advance, and then jammed the neck up that poor turkey's butt. But while my grandmother, mother, friends, well-wishers and the internet were all telling me to "remove the neck" they never included the key piece of information, the LOCATION of the neck. I thought I had done good when I cut the little flap of skin off from around where it's head used to be.
Nobody told me they STUFFED the neck up inside along with the giblets! When did that become a good idea? If you're going to include the neck, why not leave it where THE NECK IS!? I know the thing had it's head cut off but... come on! What is this, some metaphor for American culinary habits? Are we ass backwards or… neck-stuffed-in-ass backwards?
Either way, the turkey was delicious, even without the neck. But for God's sake… start thawing your turkey a month ago and make sure it isn't some mutant bird, even if it is free.