Confessional Sunday: The Great Turkey Debacle of 2002

Ivy says:

As regular readers of Home Ec 101 know, my inability to cook is legendary. I have to give my family credit, though, they keep on letting me try to cook things. Hence, The Great Turkey Debacle of 2002. I was totally unware of how long you have to let turkey thaw in the refrigerator (about a day for every 5 pounds, by the way) and I only let mine thaw for 2 days. My big, 20 pound turkey.

The day of Thanksgiving, my turkey wasn’t thawed, naturally, and I just figured “Eh, it’ll thaw in the oven.” Mistake number two, for those counting. I took the turkey out of the oven without temping it, assuming that the time was correct. Mistake #3.

My dad went to carve the turkey and said, “Ivy? Are you trying to kill us all?” The turkey was totally underdone. It was a complete disaster. Ugh.

So, what holiday horror stories can you tell us? (By the way, time to start thawing your turkey in the refrigerator, if you have a 20ish pound bird. No thanks necessary.)


  1. Princess Leia on November 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    It was the Thanksgiving before hubs and I got married and both sets of parents were in town for the holiday and for the wedding shower which was that weekend. I’d “done” thanksgiving dinner a couple of times before on my own (at least once overseas where substitutions had to abound), so I wasn’t terribly concerned about it. I got a _fresh_ bird and cooked it according to package directions.

    It never “popped” its thermometer, so I just assumed that the thermometer was bad…but when we’d stick a real thermometer in, it never quite got up to temp. Everything else was ready, we were all starving, and we kept giving the turkey “just a few more minutes” but it never seemed to get completely done (and we ended up giving it at least an hour extra). Finally we sliced off a bunch of the meat and stuck it in the microwave until it was edible.

    All I can think of is that either the weight was _way_ off, or it had been frozen at some point and didn’t completely thaw before they sold it to me as “fresh.”

    Kind of an embarrassing way to “prove” your cooking abilities to the future in-laws.

  2. Lisa on November 24, 2008 at 6:27 am

    A few years ago, I agreed to cook the turkey and bring it over to the inlaws, who were preparing the rest of the feast. Hours went by, but according to the thermometer, the dark meat was not cooking right at all. Finally, almost two hours past the approximate cooking time, I realized I had the oven on broil! With the family calling every 15 minutes to ask where we were, we cut our losses and brought over the half-cooked bird. At least the breast was edible.

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