By Ross Mohan
Note: Ross has been a customer of ours for many years. Last Thanksgiving, he decided to try cooking a turkey for the first time ever. Afterwards, he sent us the following email about his experience. He humorously highlights the trials of trying to sort through the many methods of turkey cooking, things that many of you who cook can identify with.
Dear Cathy, Myron and Horst Family,
We had a lovely Thanksgiving and hope you did as well.
Our special meal was superb, in no small part thanks to the superb quality of the turkey you raised and sold us.
Having never cooked a turkey before (yes, really — I’ve always been a spectator ’til now) I did everything I could to ruin the bird.
I say this only partially in jest. Allow me to explain.
I read dozens of recipes. Brine. Don’t Brine. Wet. No, dry. Deep fry (Good Lord!), Spatchcock, Butterfly, cook ‘high and hot’, no, ‘low and slow’, no, ‘fast and then slow’, covered and then open, no open then covered, convection oven, no: conventional oven; bake, then broil….I kept reading….deep into an anxious and uncomprehending night. That night, I slept fitfully. (Covered, unbrined, low and slow.)
Finally, the next morning, it came to be 11am on Thanksgiving Day, the time of day for when — for a 16 lb. bird — the proverbial rubber meets the road. I had no plan. My anxiety radiated so powerfully the kitchen fluorescent lights were flickering.
I shuddered, my eyes rolled up into my head, and I think I might have even blanked out and then somehow I got the poor bird into the oven. Unbrined. Uncovered. Unstuffed. (I did manage to spill a variety of spices and some oil haphazardly on the surface, but only in an effort to minimize ease of later handling.)
Yet, I was not done with my subversive efforts.
As my wife and mother-in-law toiled away at lasagna, tabouleh, soups, pies, stuffed grape leaves and Waldorf salad (a family favorite of my own mother’s…) I managed to poke that poor bird in the oven with a meat thermometer like a madman no less than a dozen times starting at 15 minutes into the roast. By the time I was done, it looked like a pincushion.
I don’t know how or why — but due certainly to my boundless culinary expertise — I detected that the bird was “done” after approximately two hours of cooking. Clearly impossible, so I denied the evidence of my lying eyes (and my handy meat thermometer) and kept cooking it for another hour.
I’ll spare you the details of the carving except to say that it involved my mother-in-law actually arm-wrestling at the dining table with the drumstick. (And losing.) So, how did this bird come out, really?
In all seriousness, it was….a miracle.
Everything was cooked perfectly. The light, the dark, and everything in between. The skin was golden and fragrant, the meat was beyond moist, the steam rose fragrantly and languorously from the plate and the “oohs” and “aahs” started early and did not cease. My wife and I received compliments such as “this is the best turkey I have ever had” and “I have never had such moist and flavorful meat” and “we are so impressed with your kitchen skills.”
Now, all kidding strictly aside, this result had very little indeed to do with my cooking, and nearly everything to do with the quality of what you folks do up there in Dickerson. We salute you and thank you.
We’ve been eating this turkey for days in soups, curries, sandwiches and salads, and it remains delicious. I simply wanted to write and say “Thank You” one and all for your hard work and for allowing Providence to warm our kitchen and table this season.
Ross & Roula Mohan