I’m officially intimidated, for the first time in this project. Why? Well, I’ve never made a turkey, for starters. Let’s face it, turkey somehow became the official star of the Thanksgiving show, and aside from sandwiches, it’s the only time most of us see this particular protein all year. And since either my mom, Aunt Denise, or my grandma (all amazing cooks) have always played Thanksgiving hostess, the one shot per year of cooking a turkey has never fallen to me.
Two, in addition to being full of talented cooks (the boys too!), my clan is also a fairly discerning bunch of eaters. So, in theory, I’m sure Mom would have graciously stepped aside to let me roast a turkey during my formative years, but neither she nor I would have really been interested in taking that kind of gamble. Plus, our table topic at nearly every gathering consists mostly of raving about each other’s food, so if the turkey centerpiece falls short, what the heck would we talk about? (I’m thinking now about the turkey in the Griswold Christmas vacation movie… when it breaks open and spews out a cloud of dust… classic.)
Third, frankly, I’m not all that interested. Nothing against turkey, of course, but meat’s not really my thing to begin with. And while I’ve made almost every cooking mistake in the book at some point, excepting perhaps burning down my house, tossing out 15 pounds of protein (read: expensive) just seems morally reprehensible.
And lastly, there’s the issue of sex appeal. Whether strutting around live or served up on a platter, turkey loses every time (profusive apologies to Ben Franklin). As I told you last year, sides and desserts are where it’s at. A pumpkin cheesecake from yesteryear comes to mind…
All that being said, if I’m going to bandy this food blogger title about, especially one that includes a tagline about being reasonably competent, I’d better darn well be able to cook a turkey. In fact, after Mom warned me about this whole turkey business, I decided to press forward with this project precisely because it would force me to bite the bullet. It’s time to graduate to big-girl panties.
So, bring it on, Salt-Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Oregano. If all else fails, I’ll have Rosemary Bread Stuffing with Speck, Fennel, and Lemon to back me up if the turkey is terrible.
Of course, I’ll make it well before Thanksgiving… in order to test the recipe in plenty of time for you, dear reader, and also to avoid all that awful pressure. Call me chicken if you will. Just don’t call me turkey.