Cold Turkey for a Warm Thanksgiving

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:52

    For as long as I could remember, fall had signaled the coming of a new school year. But the fall of 1990 was different. I had recently graduated from college, and I was working and living with a friend and colleague. Caught up in the harvest spirit, we had a brainstorm. Wouldn't it be nice to have Thanksgiving at our apartment? We could invite both of our families and give our parents a break from the holiday frenzy. How hard could it be to cook a turkey? The day before the big event, we did a thorough shopping. We chose fresh cranberries (canned would never do) and bread for stuffing from scratch. We bought green beans, potatoes, corn, and cider. Most importantly, we purchased a huge frozen turkey. We would get up really early, put the turkey in the oven and whip up the side dishes. At the crack of dawn, we hit the kitchen ready to work on the holiday centerpiece. One small problem— the turkey was frozen SOLID. We had no idea that it would take days to thaw a giant bird. Frantic, I called my mom. On mom's advice, we plunked the turkeysicle in a sink full of steamy liquid. The warm water was working— but way too slowly. We didn't despair. We had another brainstorm. Why not put the turkey in the oven and let it thaw as it cooked? In a pan, coated with spices and covered by a perfect foil tent, our masterpiece was finally in the oven. One small problem— we caught the distinct whiff of burning plastic. We retrieved the turkey and examined it. To our surprise, we discovered a plastic bag of innards hidden in the bird's posterior cavity. One edge of the bag was melting and the other side was frozen to the turkey's carcass. Like some Julia Child, Bob Vila hybrid, I grabbed a hammer and screwdriver and pried the bag loose by chiseling at it. Of course, we could have built a bookshelf in the time it took to get that turkey in order. That day, we feasted on many delicious dishes but turkey wasn't one of them. Despite the folly, that Thanksgiving was more meaningful than most. My friend and I gained a true appreciation for our parents and the hard work involved in hosting a holiday gathering