Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but cooking a turkey always scared me. I thought that turkey was a difficult, mysterious meal that only someone with Top Chef-type abilities could pull off. I was also convinced that someone would wind up in the emergency room if I was in charge of dinner.
So as much as I love Thanksgiving — and turkey — I was always hesitant to host the meal, because clearly I was not going to be able to do it justice.
I’ve learned three important things from the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line experts: the first is how to safely (and simply) defrost my turkey, and the second is how to know that it is truly cooked.
(You can find full instructions for thawing your turkey at Butterball.com, as well as food safety tips, including the correct internal temperature for properly cooked poultry.)
But the most important thing I’ve learned from the Talk-Line experts is this: Cooking a turkey is simple. In fact, the turkey is the easiest part of the Thanksgiving meal. And because the turkey is the centerpiece, even the least confident cook can look like a star when she brings that Butterball to the table. (As long as she has defrosted it correctly and cooked it to the proper temperature. Don’t forget those two.)
I limped along for years cooking turkeys for friends and family without the vaguest idea what I was doing; every year, I worried so much about poisoning someone that I would overcook the turkey just in case, which was probably a good thing since I was thawing my turkey the absolute wrong way in the first place. Thanksgiving was never a fun, rewarding meal for me if I was cooking. Actually, it’s amazing that Thanksgiving never turned into a full-on food poisoning nightmare.
Two years ago, though, after I went to Butterball University and learned the safe (and easy) way to prepare and cook a turkey, I volunteered to be in charge of the turkey for my son’s kindergarten class feast. And let me tell you: that turkey was delicious. And so easy to make. I was surprised how simple it was, but I was more surprised at how good I felt about being the cook. And — most surprising of all — people assumed that I had some secret hidden cooking talent. Just because I cooked a turkey.
I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner now; it doesn’t scare me a bit. I’m happy to have friends and family come for turkey — even my Top Chef-type friends. Of course, I let them bring the side dishes, but I do the turkey. They are always impressed.
If only they knew how very easy it was.
Have a happy Thanksgiving!