The Thanksgiving Turk-Off
My husband is massaging Kosher salt into the glistening skin of a raw turkey. He's balancing it on our granite kitchen counter on what used to be the dead gobbler's head. It's the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
He looks up at me and asks, "Are you nervous?"
"Me? No, you mean the Turk-Off?"
"Yeah, do you even have your turkey yet?" he asks.
I reply that I don't, but am smug that my simple recipe with a quality turkey will Out-Turk him for the second year in a row.
And so begins our second annual Turk-Off, a competition judged by the thirty or so relatives who attend my mother-in-law's elbow-to-elbow Thanksgiving extravaganza. Worn out by previous Thanksgivings, last year she asked us to bring the turkey, so I ordered the biggest one I could get from Whole Foods. A Diestel organic turkey.
My husband knew about my purchase last year, but he can't bring himself to eat anything organic because the price per pound makes him sick. He's an organo-rexic. This pretty much defines our marriage. Having battled chronic illness using natural means, I have a cost-benefit equation which always maximizes health, while his maximizes The Deal. If he's not sporting wood after paying for something, it was not a good deal. Costco is his boner zone.
So, last year, despite knowing that I already had a close-to-30-pound turkey in the fridge, my husband purchased a turkey at Costco that according to him cost only $6. I heard him come in the door, heavily walk into the kitchen, then was startled by a loud thud as his frozen bird hit the counter.
"I already have a turkey!" I said.
"Mine's going to be better."
"What? We now have to bring two turkeys?"
"Well, yeah, I thought I could do mine in the new rotisserie in our outdoor grill."
I was perplexed. It took a couple days for his antibiotic-laden turkey to defrost, but when it was soft, I found my husband in the kitchen with the counters covered in cookbooks from Jacques Pepin to Good Housekeeping.
The day before Thanksgiving last year, he decided on a very fancy recipe. He began hand-shelling pistachios. Then, he sauteed onions and sausage. Then, you won't believe this, but he de-boned the entire turkey. I have no idea how he did this, but suddenly the turkey was flat. A deflated invertebrate.Continued on the next page