Tag Archives: Turkey

Defrosting the Bird

Defrosting turkey in the water method.

Defrosting turkey in the water method.

In 35 years of marriage, I have roasted at least some of 35 turkeys and probably 100 whole chickens. So with that said, I have defrosted most of them in either of three ways. The first way, is to take the bird out of the freezer, and place it in the refrigerator so it can defrost totally which typically takes a couple to several days, depending on the size of the bird. The other way is to take it out of the freezer and place it in a tub of cold water, which helps to keep it cold yet defrosts it at the same time. The water is changed often. The third way is to do a combo of both methods. Most times, I do the combo method. This particular story is about defrosting a chicken. I took the chicken out of the freezer, filled up a large pot of water and placed it in it to defrost for the recommended time. Then, I took it out and placed it in the refrigerator as I planned to stuff and roast it for dinner the next day. The next day came, and I unwrapped the chicken. I looked at it with a perplexing look, as it was an odd shape, which I mentioned to DH. Then I went to retrieve the neck and giblets bag out of the breast cavity. The darn thing was still frozen!  So I placed it back in the refrigerator and we went out for burgers. DH told me I planned it that way, so we could go out for dinner. Of course he was just teasing me, so the next day when it came time to prepare the chicken for the oven, I took it out again. And that chicken was still partially frozen! I could see and feel the giblets bag but couldn’t get it out. So, DH said to me, that I should let him try since his Dad had been a butcher originally, before going into poultry sales. DH couldn’t get it out either, so he went to the garage and got pliers and vice drips which he boiled to decontaminate them. Then I held the chicken and he pried it open and he was able to pull everything out. I changed my mind on stuffing it and decided to make a beer can chicken instead. Only then did I realize I had the chicken upside down the whole time. DH had pulled everything out through the neck hole. This story makes me laugh just writing about it. I’d like to say this happened when I was first married which would be a newlywed blunder, but no, it was a couple of years ago. I just do not know, what I was thinking? Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you all don’t have any kitchen antics!

Thanksgiving Sharing

For most of our married life DH, our two daughters and I would alternate between DH’s Parents’ celebrations for Thanksgiving and mine. My FIL would create the menu and cook for the crowd of some 20-people. The whole bird on the carcass was never seen as he pre-carved it and placed it in chafing dishes or on platters. Everything was served family or buffet style, depending on how many people were there. The turkey was always very juicy which probably was due to his superior cooking ability and that it was a Kosher bird. I loved his stuffing recipe although I have only a vague memory now of how it tasted. As the years went by, DH’s sister took over the cooking of the feast. And when she owned a seafood restaurant in South Jersey, she would have the gathering there. She would not only cook a turkey or turducken, but other meats as well like venison, elk, ostrich, shellfish and various fish. She was always trying something new. Unless, you actually cook such a feast as this, the average person doesn’t realize all of the expense involved. I have heard of some people charging attendees so they aren’t footing the whole bill which can run in the hundreds of dollars. There are mixed feelings about it for sure. In our families typically everyone brings something, usually a dessert. My DD#1 always makes a delicious deep dish pumpkin pie and I bake bread. Since DH’s sister and her DH have moved out to Arizona full-time, we now have two Thanksgiving celebrations, our own and at my Parent’s house. Since 1979, every other year we would celebrate the holiday with my Parents, Sister and her family and our daughters. Thanksgiving at my Parent’s house was and is very traditional with the bird carved at the table by my Dad, served on good china with crystal goblets. The feast is always the same, and if they dare change anything, the family traditionalists will squawk NO! Then they will lament about it all year. So with that said, changes to the menu never occur. Their menu is always turkey, stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, jellied cranberry sauce, either green bean casserole or broccoli drizzled with cheese sauce and cole-slaw. Pumpkin pie, chocolate cream pie, coconut custard pie or ice cream for dessert. I might also add that for the last 4 years we have celebrated Thanksgiving with them on Black Friday as my niece is a flag twirler at her high school in Central Jersey, and the school has a football game on Thanksgiving proper. As a result, DH, DD#1 and I often have our own Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving, and this year is no different.