How To Cook A Turkey

  1. Do not go to Spain. You had talked about going to Spain because you’ve ditched Thanksgiving for travel the last two years. This is a cute idea for an anniversary tradition, but don’t do it. Life is stressful enough this year. Do not go to Spain. Or Vancouver. Or Mexico City. Or even Montreal. Just stay home.
  2. “How have you never had apple cider????” Buy one of those jugs of apple cider and make your boyfriend try it. It’s not alcoholic! It’s a real drink people enjoy in the Fall. You’re thinking of hard cider, that’s a totally different thing. You could spike this but it would still be different. Push half a jug further and further back into the fridge.
  3. Meet at the grocery store to buy breakfast food about a week before Thanksgiving. See a weird lumpy turkey in that net thing with the rope handle. Buy it?????? Buy one of those deep foil pans too because this is probably going to be messy. Put the turkey in your refridgerator. I guess we’re doing this.
  4. Casually “research” how to cook a turkey. Get an email from your friend Dan, who is the best cook you know. Slip a small little “hey btw how do you cook a turkey?” at the end of your message. “i always just load my turkey with stuffing and then rub it down with tons of butter, salt and pepper.” If Dan says it, it must be true.
  5. Spend the day before Thanksgiving treating yourself to one of those ~magical~ New York City days because you didn’t buy plane tickets to Spain/Vancouver/Mexico City/Montreal. Eat lunch at Cafe Mogador. Wander through the Union Square farmer’s market until it stops being quaint and crowd anxiety kicks in. Eat an epic gingersnap cookie. Buy “thanksgiving herbs” because the sign says so. Go to Fishs Eddy and buy a meat thermometer and a turkey baster. Get a massage because of all the “tension in your neck.” Buy 4 of the same t-shirt at Urban Outfitters that you already have 3 of. Have dinner. Have dessert. Go to bed so happy.
  6. Wake up after a 10-hour melatonin-fueled deep sleep. Briefly process dreams were you felt victimized by previous situations or people you once knew. Scroll blindly through twitter. Read all of the cooking and recipe tweets. Seems a bit late now, @NYTFood. It’s already the day. Fave a “turkey cooking times” infographic. Climb into the shower.
  7. Toast a ton of bread from the freezer. Google “stuffing how” and realize you need onions and celery. Call your mom outside on the walk to the grocery store, then do all your shopping while still on the phone with her. Impulse buy some other shit you might not need. Buy more apple cider. Buy ice cream for the pie, then buy whipped cream because it’s a holiday, obviously.
  8. Prepare the stuffing ingredients. Listen to the new Adele album. Get a few songs past When We Were Young and then realize that’s all you really want to hear anyway. Tap the repeat icon twice to loop just that song. Google says to cook onions until they are “translucent.” Add chicken stock.
  9. With the stuffing about ready, open the lumpy turkey net/sack. Oh my god it has like, meat water in there. Oh my fucking god. Realize you are about to be touching literally a thing that has legs. Take a deep breath. The package says to “reach inside the turkey.” REACH INSIDE THE TURKEY! You didn’t do it yet, that was just your internal monologue. Actually reach inside the turkey. Remove small bag that has “giblets” in it. They’re probably what they sound like so don’t google it. The wrapper, half torn and in the sink, says to remove the turkey neck. There’s a neck?????????? Reach inside again and remove the neck. Oh my fucking god oh my fucking god oh my fucking god!!!!! Fling it into the sink. It is okay if you scream a little. Everything is sort of feeling horrible now, but there’s no turning back. You’ve literally been inside the belly of the beast. Like, that’s what we’re doing here. Rub an entire stick of butter into the cold turkey. Mash it in your hands and wonder if god really wants us to eat meat. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Stuff the stuffing into the turkey. Cram it the fuck in there so you can forget there was ever a hollow space. Don’t overstuff or the stuffing won’t cook. Throw all those herbs you bought all over the thing. Group text the photo to your dinner guests. Sneak an oatmeal cookie. Oh yeah, you made oatmeal cookies, btw. Not from scratch.
  11. Write an email newsletter now because if you’re going to disturb people on a holiday, it might as well be fresh. The apartment smells like rosemary. Or thyme? What is thyme exactly?

Originally published November 26th 2015 in my this might be a good thing newsletter.