Here’s a quick story about my experience cooking my first Thanksgiving turkey. It was November 27, 1980 and I’d been married only 4 months. I eagerly volunteered to have Thanksgiving at ‘our place’ and couldn’t wait to put my cooking skills to the test. My husband’s parents, sister and grandparents would be there as well as my mom and sister. We lived in a 1 bedroom apartment, so to say the least we were a tight squeeze around the dinner table.
We had a big turkey, can’t remember how many pounds but it was big enough to feed us all. All the traditional fixin’s were part of the big feast, with the turkey of course being the star of the show. It was my day to shine, and I was ready! I had never cooked for that many people, and they were going to be my guinea pigs for my first shot at a turkey dinner.
Everything was really going quite nicely. I made the stuffing, stuffed the bird and put it in the oven and let nature take its course. The side dishes were situated, everything was cooking . . . I was feeling great about my first Thanksgiving meal. Fast forward to ‘time to take the turkey out of the oven,’ which I do. I haul the roasting pan out and set it on the counter so the turkey can ‘rest’ on a cutting board for a bit. I call for my husband to give me a hand getting it out of the roaster. He walks into the kitchen and starts to laugh, which causes others to wonder what’s so funny. I had no idea what at this point most everyone was laughing about when they looked at the turkey and was feeling a little worried about the situation. He tells me that I’ve cooked the bird upside down (breast side down). Ha! No kidding I say, and join in laughing.
I have to tell you, his grandmother spoke fondly for years about this particular Thanksgiving turkey. She said she’d never had a more delicious, tender and juicy turkey in her life! And you know what? I see now that some famous chefs (Alton Brown for one) say upside down is the only way to do it!
So no matter which way you put your turkey in the oven, I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving.