Cooking the Turkey

by Mavis J. Matheson

Thanksgiving is over here but Grey Cup is coming and Christmas won't be far behind. Turkey dinner is the traditional meal on special occasions. When I tell fellow polio survivors I still make the turkey dinner for holidays they are impressed. They say “I just don't have the energy any more.” Using my cooking methods, anyone can make the festive dinner.

An aside about side dishes -DELEGATE - It doesn't matter if you insist your guests bring everything else, she who cooks the turkey, cooks the dinner. I MAKE SURE EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS THIS. I cook the turkey.

About a week before the holiday, turkeys go on sale. I'm not strong enough to actually lift a frozen turkey so I need some help. After their first experience of lifting the third, fourth and fifth turkey out of the freezer for me to reject, the store clerks eyes glaze over and they scatter when they see me coming. I have to flush them out of the foliage in the produce department to get their help.

It is best to take a family member along. Family members know they will be eating the bird so they have a vested interest in helping me pick the best one. I find by rotating the job, each family member has time to forget the experience of his last turkey expedition. After we choose the bird, he puts it in the shopping cart, lifts it on to the checkout counter, loads it into the car, carries it from the car to the freezer and puts it in the freezer. My turkey rests in the freezer until I am ready to prepare it.

The day before the big feast, I thaw the turkey. I put on my apron and I put the plug in the sink. I get someone to lift the turkey out of the freezer, and put it in the sink. I run cold water over the turkey and let it sit until it thaws. This takes me about 12 hours. Once the turkey is thawed, I call for someone to lift the turkey into a bowl and put it into the fridge until it is time to get it ready for the oven.

My son loves stuffing so he cuts the bread into squares, chops the celery and dices the onions. I toss the bread and herbs and spices together. I set the stove to 325 degrees. I get my partner to lift the turkey out of the fridge, take off the wrapper, clean off the bird and put it on the roasting pan. I spoon in the stuffing. He turns the bird over so I can stuff both ends.

My partner puts the roaster into the oven. It takes me 5 to 6 hours to cook the turkey. Two or three times during the cooking process, he lifts the turkey out of the oven and tips the pan so I can get at the drippings. I baste my turkey. He returns the pan to the oven. My partner takes the turkey out of the oven so I can remove the cover for the last half hour of cooking. He returns it to the oven. When it is done, he removes it from the oven again.

I allow the turkey to sit on the cutting board for 10 minutes before carving. My partner puts it on a serving platter and puts the platter on my kitchen trolley cart. I triumphantly push the turkey into the dining room. I savor my turkey and my family's admiration.

Because I cooked the meal, my family cleans up. They cut the meat off the turkey, put the leftovers in the fridge, boil up the bones for soup, and clean the kitchen while I have another coffee.

I know it all seems like a lot of work but your friends and family will appreciate it.

Cooking the turkey for your feast, it's a good thing.

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