Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
10:11 pm EDT
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Turkey disasters

I can laugh about it now, but never ask me to cook the bird. 

I’ve taken pride over the years in making dishes from scratch that my family and friends have loved, including homemade noodles, lasagna and rolling out the dough for my award-winning crumb-topped apple pie that won the grand prize in the 1990s in my home state of Indiana.

My last culinary grand prize was a few years ago for a luscious, rich peanut butter chocolate sweet treat at my former employer’s companywide holiday dessert contest.

Just never ask or expect me to cook a turkey.

Yes, I know roasting a turkey is a piece of cake. You just throw the bird in the oven with some wonderful spices and a few hours later, it’s done, right? But I’m telling you, I have turkey phobia.

Blame it on the first turkey I roasted back in 1978. I forgot to take out the plastic bag of giblets and everything else that was supposed to be removed. I can still vividly remember the horror of cutting into the bird and being appalled to see what looked like melted plastic inside. It was clearly evident the bird was raw, pink and not fully cooked.

I cried. No, actually, I balled. It was supposed to be the perfect Thanksgiving meal. And the horrified looks on the faces of my relatives and husband didn’t help. I really don’t remember what happened after that moment, but I was relieved the following Thanksgivings not to be cooking the bird. I willingly volunteered to make yeast rolls from scratch, side dishes and pumpkin pie—everything and anything besides the bird.

OK. I did succeed a couple of times in roasting a turkey just fine until 2013, when disaster struck again. That was the year of the last bird I roasted—or attempted to roast. My youngest daughter was home from college in Tallahassee and greatly anticipating a wonderful holiday meal.

After a couple of hours, we noticed there was no aroma from the kitchen, no enticing smells of a wonderfully seasoned bird. After opening the oven, I discovered it was stone cold, and the turkey was still raw. The circuit breaker for the range had blown out. This time, my daughter cried over the sight of the uncooked bird. I broke out in hysterical laughter.

So, no, I don’t do turkey. Thankfully, Cracker Barrel does.