I’m sure you’ll all have a tale or two to tell about a holiday dinner that completely challenged you but has made you laugh - in years following. These incidents get added to the family memory chest and get brought out for a good laugh, generally over the holiday festivities.
I’ve got a few tips for you to avoid adding these particular memories to your family gatherings.
GET A STURDY TURKEY LIFTER
The turkey was smelling so good. It was picture perfect. It was time to get the turkey out of the roaster so that the gravy could be made. Guests were enjoying Xmas cheer in the living room and everyone was getting hungry. I lifted the turkey out of the roaster and then the world seemed to go into slow motion. The turkey slid to the floor. As I stood there frozen, my son walked into the kitchen, grabbed the oven mitts and deftly put the bird on the platter. I don’t think the three second rule was violated, but it could’ve been. It was presented to the table to the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ of the guests. Everyone enjoyed the meal and our family secret was never shared.
WATCH THE DEEP FRYER
A neighbor decided he was going to deep fry his turkey. When it was time to take the turkey out, all but one part was fully cooked. Simple fix, he figured, just cut that part off and let it cook a while longer. The family and guests were enjoying the deep fried turkey and all the trimmings, when one of the guests remarked on the beautiful glow coming from the back yard. That ‘beautiful glow’ was the deep fryer on fire. Even the dog didn’t want that turkey part from the deep fryer.
MAKE SURE YOUR OVEN IS BIG ENOUGH
Have you ever bought a turkey that was too big for your oven? You’ve got the stuffing made, the bird trussed and you just have to pop it in the oven. Then you discover it won’t fit and you have guests coming. Your choices are limited and your blood pressure is soaring. You can either cut the bird up or run around your neighborhood and find an oven not in use. Luckily, I had invited a single neighbor to dinner so I knew his oven was free. I only made this mistake once and maybe you’ll get lucky and never have to go through it.
TAKE THE GIBLETS OUT OF THE TURKEY CAVITY
It is always somewhat embarrassing when guests find the giblets still in the bag they came in, nestled in your beautifully displayed stuffing. Remember to check for, and remove this bag, from the turkey cavity when you are rinsing the bird out. Besides, you need them for some great gravy making. With a little care, you can save yourself this small humiliation.
KEEP THE TURKEY AWAY FROM PETS
This may seem like a very obvious tip but not obvious enough for me. I went into the kitchen early Xmas morning to get the dressing started. It took about ten minutes before it registered with me that the turkey was not where I placed it when I took it out of the fridge the previous evening. I looked back in the fridge. Not there. Not anywhere. Then I noticed small fragments of bones scattered in the kitchen, living room and hallway. The dog was napping peacefully and contentedly. Luckily, I could still find a thawed turkey at the grocery store.Just a bit of stress that no one needs on Xmas morning. I never made that mistake again either!
Wishing you all a great, disaster-free, holiday cooking experience.