Turkaphobia - One Woman's Struggle
According to the US Department of Agriculture more than 45 million turkeys are cooked in the U.S. on Thanksgiving. I cannot help but wonder, of those 45 million cooks how many of them do so with confidence.
I am a good cook. I am comfortable in the kitchen. I have run a home and a business for over 25 years. I am not dramatic and have no neurotic tendencies. I am competent, damn it!
Now that I have gotten that self-esteem declaration out of the way, let me confess to one of my greatest fears: cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. I have gone so far as to submit Turkaphobia to Urban Dictionary, for I am sure I am not alone in my plight. Perhaps we can start a turkey cooking support group.
The odd thing about this is I have been making Thanksgiving for a good ten to fifteen years; and every year the turkey is just fine(ish). But, as the calendar clicks over to the second week of November, I start getting worried about that crazy bird.
I have purchased digital meat thermometers, collected best recipes, considered brining vs. not, butter vs. healthy, to stuff or not to stuff... you name it. I will admit that the source of much of my worry comes from my beloved 1939 Chambers stove. She is quite kitsch but she surely has her own mind about cooking times.
But the most anxiety-ridden decision of all would be what size turkey I should buy? I ask everyone who will listen. I scour the web for pound per person recommendations. Everyone has their own formula, but for all things turkey I only trust the ever-famous Butterball.
In the pre-internet dark ages of not so long ago, there was the Butterball Hotline, which apparently is still going strong. Now, you can also reach out to them on facebook and that social bird of a different feather, twitter. However, nothing is as wonderful as their fabulous website, with easy-to-use calculators that help us gauge portions, thawing and cooking times. They even account for leftovers and big or light eaters. It could be said that Butterball has made the turkey idiot proof. Hey, if the idiot fits, wear it.Continued on the next page