Molly Kendrick writes Contemptible Impudence, a blog about freelance writing. she hosts yeah no yeah podcast with co-host katie brandt.

Thanksgiving and The 5 Stages of Turkey

We're at the 1 week anniversary. Now that we've gotten some distance between ourselves and Thanksgiving, I feel ready to talk about it. As should anyone after Thanksgiving, I have spent the subsequent days fasting and meditating on what I could have done differently. Fasting is easy once you see what congealed gravy looks like. In its refrigerated form, it reveals its true colors and forms a thick, 70s-nightmare-orange crust. It's the food version of taking home what you thought was a satisfying beauty and waking up next to a greasy transvestite, wearing a really ugly orange hat.

Turkey, turkey, turkey. What the fuck is your problem? For years, people have quietly accepted that white turkey meat is edible only with the addition of cranberry sauce and/or gravy. All the time, effort, and expense, for a meat that hobbles around on sauce crutches. Next year, I will be doing my part to bring this sham to an end by preparing a tasty, cheap, reliable chicken. DOWN WITH TURKEY!! Look into the eyes of the man in the lower right-hand corner. He has definitely planted a bomb in the turkey, and I don't blame him.


DENIAL. I will be the one person, I told myself, who makes a juicy masterpiece of turkey on their first try. Oh, the arrogance. I thought I had the answer, relying on Gordon Ramsay to show me the way. Ramsay's habit of bouncing on his toes for emphasis when he speaks fills me with confidence.

The way was paved with butter.  First, you must loosen the skin. Meat is terrifying!

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Stuff the lemon, butter, garlic mixture under the skin and squish it around. Yes, there are still tiny bits of feather clinging to the skin. Stop crying and SQUISH IT.


(This is only going to get uglier, so nut up.) Now spread around the excess on the outside. ANGER: This goddamn butter won't spread evenly!

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Then I sneezed (true story!) and stuffed all the onions and lemon rinds I could can fit inside the cavity, resulting in something that was not appetizing.

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Then I roasted it at a high temp, for preliminary crisping, removed it, and draped bacon dramatically over its breasts. That sentence will be great for search engine optimization. Suh-pose-ed-god-damn-ly, the bacon will lock in the butter moisture.

I consulted a wide variety of online time and temperature guides, all of which had varying answers as to how long I should cook my 11 pound 4 ounce turkey.  I decided 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours and 40 minutes would be a good time to check, based on many calculations.

BARGAINING: Ok fine, I'll buy a meat thermometer if it means I can get this shit right. Buying equipment goes against my nature. I mash potatoes with a FORK, bro. Blender? Food processor? Meat tenderizer? No thanks, I'll use my hands, or my teeth, or my feet. Savagery is the only tool in my tool kit.

But, with a meat thermometer, I wouldn't have to cut the turkey open to check if it was cooked, thus preventing losing precious juices. So I gave in. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

When I took it out at the appointed hour, it was well over the FDA recommended 165 degrees. More like 180. And the breasts were dry.

DEPRESSION. All my research! All the defrosting! The special disposable pan, the special thermometer! AND FOR WHAT? Thereafter I tried to enjoy the dark meat, which turned out pretty well, but all I could hear was Gordon Ramsay's voice, berating me.

I also made mashed potatoes, which were good. Who cares. Mashed potatoes are easy. The gravy (also a Ramsay concoction) was sublime, but relies heavily on fat, which is cheating.

Now I know what people who have disappointing children feel like. This...thing I've produced just takes takes, not matter how much I give. You're just a drain on society's gravy supply,  Turkey Molly Jr! I rue the day I brought you home from the grocery store!

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Max made brussell sprouts and cranberry sauce, both of which turned out marvelous, which made me even more furious. He BEAT me at the great culinary game of Thanksgiving (football serves only to distract the simpletons). WHAT IS THE POINT OF GOING ON LIVING.

Mmmmm failure. I'm thankful for chicken.

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(Acceptance: Here, dry your tears on this cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce with orange zest makes everything great, even the most uncooperative bird in the world.)

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