I have no food today. I don’t even have a pretty picture.
I know, I know. It’s not food, but today I’m just gonna talk about food…and hopefully, you’ll all talk back.
See, I’m nervous. I’m nervous because I’m making a whole turkey tomorrow. I’m nervous because this is only the second time that I’m ever making a whole turkey. That’s right, I’ve only ever made a turkey once, and it was entirely underwhelming. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. It was completely unremarkable to the point that neither my husband nor myself can even remember it.
The only turkey I ever made was for our first Thanksgiving as a married couple. We’d been married for eight months, he had been deployed for about five of those months, and he was getting home that day. Oh yeah, and I was 22 years old. Not that age has anything to do with being a great or competent cook, but for me, it mattered. This was back when I still made most things from a box (my poor husband) because I was too scared to venture into the realm of do-it-yourself for fear I’d ruin everything. I’ve come a long, long way.
Anyway, I remember when he was dropped off by some of the guys. He came in and it was all tears and hugs and relief. Then, I was so excited and proud that I was cooking a real turkey, I dragged him to the kitchen. Probably not where he thought we’d end up, if you know what I mean…and I think you do. *wink, wink and a hubba-hubba*
Sorry. I won’t do that again. Promise.
I dragged him to the kitchen, pulled the oven door open, and stood there grinning from ear to ear, like a little kid…so proud of myself. He was so sweet…he could tell I was excited and proud of myself. He behaved the same way. If I’ve never said it before, I’m a lucky woman. My hubster is one of a kind, one in a million.
Maybe that’s why we don’t remember the turkey, though? It was such a huge, special day for us, and quite frankly, there are much prettier, more joyful memories in my mind than whether I made a yummy turkey dinner. Maybe, then, it wasn’t so unremarkable? I don’t know. What I do know is that I really, really want tomorrow’s turkey to be remarkable…in fantastic ways.
I have a plan. I’ll share that plan with you, but first…
How about another pretty picture?
Okay, let me explain why I haven’t made any more turkeys since then. It’s very simple. We are a military family, we have always been stationed very far away from our family, and there’s only three of us in our immediate family. Unless you count Loki…which I do. But really, not for turkey eating. Even if he does get some in the end.
In the ten Thanksgivings that my husband and I have spent together, only twice have we been blessed enough to be with family. Both of those instances were when we were able to travel to them (I encourage my family to visit during the prettiest times of the year, which is usually always summer). Needless to say, I wasn’t the turkey cooker on those days. Furthermore, our boy, on occasion, has spent the Thanksgiving holiday with his mother, leaving us reduced to two. Therefore, it’s always been a small turkey breast with a couple of traditional sides, and a nice cheesecake.
This year, though. I really want to make a turkey, huge amounts of leftovers be damned! So here’s my plan:
1. I’m going to use the Pioneer Woman’s favorite turkey brine.
2. My back up plan, should I fail, is to serve a Charlie Brown meal of toast, popcorn, and jelly beans (and probably some leftover candy corn).
3. That’s all I’ve got so far.
So, thoughts, suggestions, tips, advice?
I have a pretty little 12 pound (the smallest I could find) turkey ready and waiting. I can’t do any deep frying, so that’s out. Our grill isn’t big enough to hold a whole turkey, but even if it was, I’d like to roast it. What, my friends, do you suggest that I do to make it into a phenomenal Thanksgiving meal?