Turkey troubles

Posted: Sunday, November 28, 2010

What is it about turkeys that cause so much chaos around the holidays?

Some people go ape trying to figure out the perfect way to cook them. Others blow mental fuses because they believe e-vile omnivores should be munching on tofu turkensteins stuffed with various multicolored fungi while knocking back double-shots of tryptophan to swiftly put themselves into a semi-coma before the aftertaste kicks in.

Easy now, I have nothing against veggivores unless they get preachy about my lifestyle. Take for instance a minor incident the other day at a Safeway store.

I had just loaded a beautiful 20-pound bird into my shopping cart when this lady decked out in attire that she could probably smoke after it wore out approached me and snorted, "Don't you feel guilty about what happened to that poor bird?"

"Not really." I answered. "It was already dead when I got here. By the way, do you know where they keep the young Cornish game hens by any chance?"

She turned redder than Alabama's school colors and, for a moment, I thought she was going whack me with her gluten drenched loaf of free-range wheat bread. Luckily she regained her composure and stormed off to the Totally Organic and Awe-Inspiringly Overpriced Plant-Based Consumables aisle.

I must admit that she did get to me a bit. I gave the bird a full week to make a run for it while it was thawing in the basement fridge and gave its chest one last strong thump before it was slipped into the oven.

Smooth segue to cooking section:

Being a country kid I've never been around people who couldn't bake a turkey to perfection but according to the hot-lines companies set up during the holidays there are folks out there who have less active brains cells than the giblets of the entree they are attempting to roast.

Take the person who asked, "Your directions say to roast the turkey, but my oven says only bake or broil; how do I set it?"

Other question posed was if one of the turkey's legs is dark meat and the other white. Another inquired how they would recommend cooking a 16-pound hen that had been in the freezer since 1969. The company rep suggested that the meat might be kind of tough and not to use it. I would have urged that they ship it to the Pentagon to be used as a military weapon deterrent to any threats from North Korea. Launch something like that and it could put a hole through the whole country.

A woman called to find out how long it would take to roast her turkey. The answer personage asked how much the bird weighed. The woman responded, "I don't know, it's still running around outside."

One guy wanted to know if he could use his oven's self-cleaning cycle to speed up the cooking process.

Another brain stem with hair wanted to know if he carved his turkey with a chainsaw would the oil affect the taste. Others wondered if motor oil would make a good baste.

Then there was a man who called in stressed out because the turkey he bought was too big for his oven. The dude decided to wrap it in a towel, take it outside and stomp the hell out of it until it finally fit into the oven.

I'm not making this stuff up.

Finally there was the woman whose chihuahua got stuck in the cavity of her uncooked carrion and called the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line for help. It seems the lady had the gobbler on her kitchen counter. Somehow, the miniature mutt climbed up, crawled into the turkey and got stuck. She couldn't get it out and called in all super stressed. She claimed that she had tried grabbing, pulling and shaking the carcass but the doggie was seriously implanted (insert visual here).

The official bird basting counselor suggested that she carefully make snips around the entry to the cavity and give the pup's butt a slight yank. The pooch popped out. His mistress was relieved but I'm betting itty bitty Chi Chi Poo will have fowl flashbacks for the next five years.

I personally feel that none of the aforementioned preschool dropouts should be allowed anywhere near cooking utensils or a kitchen for that matter.

As for me, my turkeys continue to be roasted to perfection following an ancient recipie developed by the men of the Varney clan eons ago. We give them to our wives and then stay out of the kitchen because they are armed and very territorial this time of the year.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn't out hunting and gathering with his Visa card.

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